Heather Says, Non-Members

photo: mike, heather, kathleen, marcel, veronica, maryann, joe, jan, dana

When more than six charter members meet, their
names don't fit here.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Thursday, 11. November 1999:- Unlike last week, the weather is as miserable as it can get in November - a month which can have Paris' most miserable weather. Wind from the northeast, below 10 C. and shifting between 'about to rain,' drizzle and plain rain.

Just about right for the annual Armistice Day ceremonies in Paris and 11. November ceremonies elsewhere in Europe. If I remember correctly, 'carnival' officially starts at 11:11, on 11. November - in Cologne - and workers who can get away with it, get happily potted today throughout Germany.

A perfect day for a Café Metropole Club meeting in other words. For me it is 'between drizzle and plain rain' for the quickly-covered distance from the métro at Châtelet to the café La Corona.

Ah, this is what a cozy and warm café in Paris, in November, is supposed to be. Cars are splashingphoto: 2 onions soups by on the Quai du Louvre outside, the express café machine is cooking, and the café is sprinkled with refugees from the elements.

Hot, hot onion soup, on a cold, damp day in Paris.

The first refugees - ah, em, charter members - to arrive are Heather Stimmler, who is not working at Elle Online because it is a holiday, and Heather's husband, Mike Hall, who is not working at Barclay's Bank for the same reason.

As soon as they sit down, Mike becomes a new charter member and they both order onion soup. They also ask Patrick, today's 'club' waiter, for napkins. The couple think they been gassed somehow on the Quai du Louvre, and their eyes are all runny.

Patrick says kids spray tear gas in the faces of people on the terraces, in order to filch their portable phones. But there are no people on open terraces today. Maybe they got hit with an accidental spray from the plant boutique just down the quay.

Today is definitely an 'onion soup day.' I do not know the 'folklore' of this soup and neither does Heather, so we make some up. Besides lumpy stuff, Heather is certain the soup contains onions. We wonder together whether they are from concentrated onion juice, or from real, whole onions. She says it is hard to tell.

If you like onion soup, La Corona's is not bad, for 45 francs a bowl. "Not quite as good,' says Heather, "As the place near Sèvres-Babylone."

Jan and Dana Shaw come in from the elements outside. Their big news is a tale of scoring an autograph off Andrephoto: the corona's sundae Agassi and a shy Stefi Graf - who were in Paris for the 'Open' at Bercy, which Mr. Agassi won - while they were at the airport to put Jan's mother, Eveline, on a flight to Albany.

It being a holiday, for the 'club' it is 'Husband's Day.' I have met Kathleen Bouvier's Marcel before - most notably at the Statue of Liberty light-up. Kathleen is also the only one to bring a mom today; I re-welcome Veronica Hendrie.

But not so cold and damp - for a big chocolate sundae.

Meanwhile, Heather thinks it is her wedding anniversary. She and Mike got married - the 'civil' version - in the Mairie of the 4th arrondissement on 17. April and the church ceremony was - but I do not find out.

Veronica Hendrie has invited Maryann and Joe Platania, and they come in - from the elements - and instantly become 'magazine non-reader' charter members.

Mike quits trying to remember when the church ceremony was and asks, "If we are all charter members, what other kind of members are there?"

"Non-members," says Heather.

Most of the members present are drinking La Corona's red wine that comes in glass jugs. Patrick, who is definitely a charter member as well as our waiter, de-recommends the 25 cl. jug, saying, "You only get one and a half balloons out of one."

These are the customary Paris café 15 cl. balloon glasses. Kathleen and I try to calculate how many of these glasses can be filled from a 50 cl. jug. This is impossible because a 15 cl. 'balloon' only holds about the same amount as two shot-glasses, and these are being emptied before they get a chance to evaporate.
Continued on page 2...

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