Clue: Laurel leaves and beefsteak tomatoes.
For as long as I remember, and even if I didn't, there are plenty of photographs of the family dressed up on Sundays, and whether we went to church or not, we would go to one of numerous massive outdoor restaurants and indulge in typical Lebanese fare starting with an incredible Mezze of literally dozens of appetizer plates until one couldn't breathe anymore, and then, yes then, the family patriarch would order if not one, two or three main courses that usually came in copious portions, to be followed by fresh fruit and then dessert. All of this quenched by Arak, the national Lebanese alcoholic beverage that is clear in the bottle but turns milky when mixed with water.
Of course, as a child and weather permitting, we did this weekly with Ammo Robert and Tante Loulou, driving in his then brand new Vauxhall to either of two of the most famous such restaurants in Lebanon, the Berdawni in Zahle, or Fawar Antelias. That was in the 1960's. In the 1990's Loulou and Robert had a new favorite haunt, Nahr, in Baqaata.
10 - 12
I had already established that roll 36 was from 1991, with the combed back hair style. This is another self-portrait with the Olympus XA on a self timer, most likely sitting on top of a "Breeq", or a typical Lebanese drinking carafe. The polo shirt that Robert is wearing will serve to identify roll #34 at this same location, Nahr Restaurant in Baqaata.
Robert showing with pride how beautiful a local beefsteak tomato can be. Here with the same Laurel Leaves logo on his polo shirt as in roll 36. A Breeq clearly visible on the left. 1991
Roll 44 was established as taken in 1992 using a clue not featured in this edited version of the full investigation. On this roll, Robert holds once again a pride of a beefsteak tomato, and in the foreground the neck of the compulsory Arak bottle.
Cherries and Watermelon for dessert. 1992
The platter of watermelon polished off, Robert slips into a post-feast coma nap. Loulou gives a mixed look of sympathy, amusement, and/or embarrassment. 1992.
Going from Baqaata to Aashqout to my cousin Georges' summer home. Not sure what village this is, but one can clearly see the destruction, even in the remote villages of Mount Lebanon.
Once in Aashqout, and even among an animated group of relatives, Robert slips into his second nap of the afternoon.
Robert awakened by Rania, Georges' daughter, serving a beverage to one of the guests.
In the 1960's these types of restaurants had on their staff at least one or two photographers who walked around and took pictures of the families at their tables. The prints would be ready by the time the meal was over, which was often two to three hours later if not longer. There are numerous such prints in my archive.
Here Loulou and Robert with a typical size Mezze that they surely polished off before moving on to the main course. Instead of a breeq, a carafe of water, with a bottle of Araq to the left of Robert.
circa 1962 - Robert, Loulou, me and my sister Lucette also at Birdawni.
On the back of the photograph, Ammo Robert's note stating: This time also in Zahle, and something to the effect that Dear Lucien standing near, saying that with the Will of God, you'll all be with us next time. Perhaps a never mailed note to my parents in Saudi Arabia.
Slide Roll LEB-12, frame 35.
That Sunday morning in 1991, we had indeed gone to church (here in the parking lot), Ammo Robert in his laurel leaves polo shirt, and Tante Loulou in her psychedelic dress and designer frame glasses.
Rest in Peace, Loulou and Robert.