THE MAYOR’S PALACE, JOINVILLE, FRANCE, 2009
Not the greatest photo, but you have to understand there was a lot of pressure on here. We were in the storeroom where THE mystery chest was tucked away. Forever. Nobody was opening this scary bear. If I could come close to a French accent in print, I’d do it, but here’s what the very dapper mayor of that beautiful French city told us:
This locked chest may never be opened. Once many years ago the Mayor of Joinville announced that a locksmith would reveal the contents of the trunk at a ceremony that evening. The mayor died that afternoon. Can’t remember if he had been fore-warned. For drama’s sake , let’s say he knew the curse.
So they did not force it open. Forward about 50 years and another brave mayor defied the curse and said he would reveal the contents. You guessed it, he died that day. Car crash.
The French in our party took a few steps backward. All except Girard who found a little round peep-hole and dialed away the metal button that covered it. His wife screamed so loud that we all did a double-take. Girard pursed his lips, gave a Gallic shrug and backed off.
Had to ask. Would the present mayor give it a go? I wanted to see what was in there. Crazy American. Not a chance.
But Le Mayor did offer to let the strongest guy there try to lift it. Beaucoup heavy.
Could be Louis XVI’s bowling balls.