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…from the Latin plausibilis (deserving applause), from plausus, past participle of plaudere (to applaud). I had liked this word and have used it now and then in the first of three meanings found today–

  1. Seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; credible
  2. Giving a deceptive impression of truth or reliability
  3. Disingenuously smooth; fast-talking

but will be more cautious now, knowing the other ways it might be understood. Verisimilitude doesn’t serve me any better. So what is Agincourt, anyway?

“A few figs from thistles…”

by Howard A. Tabor

Sister Cities (Part 2)

Members of the Schütz family have done us a great kindness.

Rummaging through albums and packets of letters, they’ve shared with us this photograph of Mike Schütz taken in 1919 just before his return to the United States after his service in the Great War. Mike is standing in the ruins of the Church of St Ahab, in Azincourt, France. The picture was taken by Fr Gaston Cornot, the parish priest.


Since he spoke no French, Mike’s communication with Fr Cornot must have been limited—exchanges of pleasantries and gratitude for Cornot’s hospitality—but once the priest learned that Schütz, despite a German name, had come with the American Expeditionary Force to rid France of the Bosch and had been born in an Iowa town with the same name, all of Azincourt’s doors were opened.

The packet of letters sent to Mike’s wife Adele (still tied with a lavender ribbon and preserved in order of their arrival) reveal that the French priest was put immediately in contact with our Fr Farber (another German, dammit), who fluctuated in the spelling of his given name (Emil/Emile) for reasons that may now be clear.

One letter in particular tells of Ahab’s relics having been removed from the church only hours before an air strike that destroyed the church roof. The saint spent several months in a nearby dairy barn, where services continued among lowing livestock until the church could be repaired. Will heaven be like that, do you suppose: the quiet contentment of cattle; rumination without end?

Buildings can be more readily repaired than lives, however. Other than an exchange of gifts between our two communities — icons, paintings, quilts and such; “care packages” before there was C.A.R.E. — I wonder in what other ways two rural towns helped each other heal.

Thanks again to the Schütz family for enabling us remember.

1 Comment

  1. R.H.L.M. Ramsay says:

    I’ve sought information on the French priest Fr Cornot, but without success so far. It is perhaps more than a little interesting that his given name is an anagram for unbelief: Gaston=Agnost.

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