La Vie en France #38: “Where Words Leave Off, Music Begins”

Sign pointing the way to my gite (rental cottage) in Boureuilles, France. Note the badly mangled “pig-tail” (aka screw picket) just to the left of the sign.



This quote by German poet Heinrich Heine seems appropriate as my final days in Lorraine, France wind down in 2018 and that melancholy feeling (of leaving France) begins to set in.  During the last two years I have had the great experience of being able to live in France for eight months as freelance tour guide!  I plan to continue offering tours in 2019; but I have to balance my tour plans with the realistic need to find a real job again too.  Stay tuned!


In the meantime, I have been thinking about the songs that, I believe, characterize these last two years for me.  By clicking on the link, you will be taken to a YouTube video of the song.


  1. Green Fields of France,” by Eric Bogle.  By virtue of the hundreds of times I have heard it, this is my favorite (battlefield) song.
  2. Ich Hatte einen Kameraden,” traditional German March.  I know this is a German song.  Call it the German version of taps.  I studied German in college and I lived for ten months as a Fulbright Scholar at the Universitaet Hamburg.  I also reenact as a German soldier; and one has to understand the enemy as well as one’s own troops.
  3. A Pirate Looks at Forty,” by Jimmy Buffett.  With slightly different lyrics:  “Mother, Mother Argonne, I have heard your call…  Yes I am a solder, one-hundred years too late…”
  4. I Am I Said,” by Neil Diamond.  “But nowadays I’m lost between two shores…”  Like Neil Diamond, I (and my heart) have been living in two different places.
  5. Sweet Surrender,” by John Denver.  The lyrics pretty much sum up this crazy two-year adventure of leaving my career to pursue my passion:  “There’s nothin’ behind me and nothin’ that ties me to something that might have been true yesterday.  Tomorrow is open, right now it seems to be more than enough to just be here today, and I don’t know what the future is holdin’ in store.  I don’t know where I’m goin’ I’m not sure where I’ve been.  There’s a spirit that guides me, a lit that shines for me…”  I have also always enjoyed John Denver’s music.
  6. Why Me Lord,” by Kris Kristofferson.  Today it’s not politically correct to talk about faith; but my Christian faith has played a major role in giving me the courage to pursue my passion.  And I like country gospel music; having grown up in the Midwest and having grown up in both the Methodist and Evangelical Fee Church traditions.
  7. Big in a Small Way,” by Eric Bogle.  Another Eric Bogle song–this one a fun one.  Lest I think that I am becoming too important.  It keeps me humble.


I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to one or more of these songs!


Randy Gaulke


(P.S.  Looking at the songs, you can tell I’m a 50+ year-old white American male–lol.)