First thing we do, kill all the lawyers

[Second in a series of posts on a trip to the battlefields of WWI]

Les Halles Braisserie, Reims, France


It’s not “the” New York brasserie Les Halles – the restaurant best known for being Anthony Bourdain’s former home – but this one in France was a nice place to have an evening dinner. And pretend.

The hell with pretend. Here we are, we three, in Reims (city of French kings and Jean d’Arc – Reims, pronounced “Rance, it rhymes with dance. Go figure.). Having a great time. Anthony, I love you and your show, but give me Belgian beer and pommes frites. These days a Belgian euro goes a lot further than a New York dollar. An evening meal is an evening, not dine and dash. Okay, so the terrorists blew up the Delta counter in Brussels a month before we were scheduled to arrive. Not so many tourists and we flew United.

We three, you are wondering, who? Three brother-in-laws off on a trip to Belgium, France, and Luxembourg without the wives, the three sisters who are the common denominator. What is remarkable is that each brother-in-law has a name that begins with an “A”. – Adam, Andy, Art. Go figure. Moreover, each one is an attorney. What are the odds? Astronomical. Not really, but unusual, yes.

Oh Captain, my Captain, who shall the captain of three be?

Shakespeare knew well the bickering of noble minds, and the inevitability of armed conflict. No less a play than Henry VI to suggest, that the first thing we do is kill all the lawyers. That is a revolutionary idea, although one prone to greater anarchy than before.

Henry VI, part 2, Act 4, Scene 2


Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows
reformation. There shall be in England seven
halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped
pot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony
to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in
common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to
grass: and when I am king, as king I will be,–


God save your majesty!


I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;
all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will
apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree
like brothers and worship me their lord.


The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.

Unusual is the fact that we got along. Three is an odd number, usually given to pairings, pitting one brother-in-law against another. The white rose and the red. I am not going to say that it didn’t happen. It did. It is in the nature of things for men to disagree. Directions was the big thing. This way or that. To ask or to blindly go where no one knows. We’re lost.


Across the way at a table for two sit two ladies on a girl trip to France. We chance to speak. They are American. Their husbands accept that their wives travel unescorted. They amaze us by relating that their Audi does a 150 km on the highway. We are not so brave. The conversation turns to girl trips and they tell us that they get along, but it is impossible for men to do so.

Are they right?

Vegas put the odds of a meltdown at 11-2. But Vegas lost on that bet.

We had a great time. Home again and still married. That is the long shot.


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