The Ink Well Prompt #48: Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois Inherits Everything

"A True Blue Heart," by the author, Deeann D. Mathews

Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois, decorated military officer and equally revered in his second career at Interpol, always said something that people who did not know his father always thought was a touch of false modesty.

“I have lived my entire life being but a weak reflection of a far greater man, who himself is a fine reflection of God – and I am content with knowing my station.”

To Major Dubois, Monsieur Jean-Luc Dubois had glory and majesty and honor, made brighter by contrast to what the world assumed – if he were a French nobleman no one would have doubted it at all, but this king of a man was from Black French Louisiana, from deep in its bayous.

It was enough to think of being this man's eldest son – Major Dubois had never worried a day in his life about an inheritance, had never worried about his family's never having a great deal of money because as their money increased, so too their generosity. To be Dubois, and to know how to live richly with God in the world, was to him sufficient inheritance.

Even when the major had gotten home on leave after Hurricane Katrina, which had permanently dispossessed his family of everything on earth they had ever owned, his father still was smiling and said what he always said.

J'ai tout – I have everything! God has not abandoned us, and everyone we know and loved survived! J'ai tout!

Notwithstanding all of that, the Dubois parents knew that by late 2020 their eldest son had sacrificed money he might have put away for his old age for their old age, for all of the 15 years since Hurricane Katrina. They had not asked him for anything; the chaste bachelor had given them eighty percent of his income out of the deep love of his heart for them, and simply would not hear of their not receiving it.

Little did Major Dubois know: turnabout, 15 years later, would be Dubois family fair play.

Thus, across the Atlantic in France on the last day of September 2020, there was a great commotion.

“Jean-Luc Dubois has agreed to sell the recipe!”

Lots and lots and lots of people in the world knew how to make court-bouillon in French terms, but that number dropped dramatically when courtbouillon became one word in French Louisiana and referred to a dark, rich fish stew.

Once upon a time, an actual French nobleman and his friends had eaten Jean-Luc Dubois's courtbouillon and declared it the best thing they had ever eaten. All of France's gourmets and gourmands had wondered after it ever since. Every now and again, even since Hurricane Katrina, Monsieur Dubois had hopped on a plane for the weekend, rented a little kitchen in Paris, made courtbouillon, and dropped it off with his compliments, but would not sell the recipe.

The shrewd old chef had spent 20 years driving a mania and thus, driving the price up.

The whole idea always gave Madame Dubois a fit of giggles.

“They are going to read that ingredient list and go out and be busy fermenting this and that, never realizing that the result will not be a special-made wine but soy sauce – Jean-Luc was experimenting one day after we met a Chinese chef. We ought to cut Kikkoman a little check, too!”

But Kikkoman would not get that check. The Dubois parents would present their eldest son with that check instead, a check that accounted for everything he had sent them in 15 years, plus 20 percent interest.

“The Bible says a righteous man provides an inheritance for his children's children – and are you not my son, Jean-Paul?” the father said when his son came to. “All my other children but Èmile are situated – and le bon Dieu will bring my last prodigal home in due time. You have no children, but I see the work you are doing with the young men of the Stepforth Study Hall, and especially young Delford Drake, and also especially your little niece Louisa.”

“But … but you and Maman could take that money, and retire in great style!”

“I keep telling you -- nous avons tout – we have everything!” Monsieur Dubois said. “I made this money out of five splashes of soy sauce over 20 years, for this day! God is good and He blesses obedience, and obedience means that the fathers lay up for the children, not the children for the fathers! For 15 years you have made sure your mother and I had everything we needed – it has all come back in, and we are returning it to you! This is only one-fifth of what I made with five splashes of soy sauce, and our friend Thomas Stepforth Sr. along with your brother Jules are going to make good investments of the rest!”

“Just one splash of soy sauce,” Madame Dubois said. “It's just one splash, Jean-Paul – un petit merci.

A little thank you … but the point, however, was that once again Jean-Luc Dubois had proved himself the man his son knew him to be – a righteous man, who followed the Lord down to every detail he knew.

“It would have been forever enough just to be your son,” he said as he embraced his father, “but, I gladly receive the splash of soy sauce on top. Thank you both – because I know you schemed this all up, Maman. Your fingerprints are all over the international food community incident this check comes from!”

Madame Dubois curtsied and smiled … she never boasted about her contributions to the family wealth, but everybody knew she was as quiet as she was brilliant, and that was where her son had gotten the same traits.

Much later, Major Dubois woke up startled out of a sound sleep, having heard these words in his dream: “Well done, my good and faithful servant, on the first half of your earthly service. Now, prepare for the second half.”

Major Dubois was 52, a few months short of 53 – so if he were only halfway – that indeed was a startling thought.

He was also about to be a rich man – that hit him in full as well.

And, all this had come from one thing: fully embracing all of the Godly heritage that came with having been born Dubois, including coming to Christ for himself, and then following the model his parents and aunts and uncles had set before him.

Jean-Paul Philippe Dubois had everything, a living inheritance that he would enjoy for a long, long time to come.

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