"Don't Light Your Thumbs On Fire!"

photo: l->simone, ira, janet, paul, kathleen

Incomplete set of members - from left: Simone, Ira, Kathleen, Janet and Paul.

A Deluge of New Members

Paris:- Thursday, 13. January 2000:- If it is cold, if it is damp, if a wind is giving both extra prickle today, it is surely my fault. But it is not until I get to the Café La Corona that I find this out.

But first, as soon as I get inside the door, I have to take the café's 'stock photos of the week.' Each week, because 'Club News' is divided into two - one page of ho-hum PR razzle and one page - today's page! - is sizzling, actual, real, new 'news' - I have to get enough photos to cover both pages.

Today is the day I get La Corona's staff to dig out from where it's hidden, the wire 'egg presenter.' This requires a phone call to hidden management depths, and Patrick, the club's waiter today, volunteers to fetch the hard-boiled eggs from kitchen.

Both are produced. Not here, but next Monday, for the first time ever in the history of the Café Metropole Club at the real Paris café La Corona, the photo of the 'egg presenter' will be revealed in all its stunning glory!

Alert members will remember that directions to the club's area within the Café Laphoto: corona food Corona, for an uncountable number of weeks, have included the instruction to 'turn right after the egg-thing on the bar.'

Today's 'Food of the Week' is onion soup again. It is an onion soup day if ever there was one.

This instruction was suppressed in Monday's directions, because I came to realize that there is no - was no - 'egg-presenter' on the bar. With the restoration of this long-absent artifact, this vital instruction is re-instituted. Remember, if you see this 'egg-presenter' gizmo on the bar, turn right, right after it.

Whew! Patrick is excited too. It is not quite 15:00, and two club members are already in the 'big salle.' As I follow Patrick - to the right - into the 'salle' I pass a couple and quickly say the club's location is at the rear of the room.

Their stunned look marks them as civilians I have mistaken for club members, and Patrick introduces me to the real ones, brand new real charter club members, Simone and Ira Poretsky from San Francisco, California.

We all move to the club's area and are almost immediately joined by two more brand-new real charter club members, Janet Rider-Babbitt and Paul Babbitt from Bloomfield, New Jersey.

The usual beginning-of-club confusion follows, which means by the time all the coats, hats, scarfs, gloves and other assorted arctic-wear are deposited, we find ourselves spread over eight tables, about 11 metres apart from end to end.

There are many empty tables and seats between us, and I use my club secretary's minor powersphoto: corona cognac to close the gaps. Hardly is this done when long-standing charter member Kathleen Bouvier traipses in and fills one of the gaps.

Right here, on the right, today's 'Drink of the Day,' is cognac. Also a day for it.

This is a big day for the club regardless of the weather, because another brand spanking new real charter member joins us and it is Bill Dunlap from Aix-en-Provence and points west.

Although not mentioned in a Wednesday, 28. May 1996 feature about the Rue Montorgueil, I met Bill on it. I watched him eat a sandwich in a park near the Marais, and this is the first time I've seen him since then.

To wrap this up and round it off tidily, another long-time now-you-see-him now-you-don't charter member arrives and of course it is Mark Kritz from Santa Cruz, which is also in California.

Everybody talks at once because there is 'no governor' and a club secretary has no authority. I hear, "Suddenly I found myself on the Perifreak! and the Eiffel Tower was right over there!" says Ira in one ear and in the other I hear, "Some tacky souvenir for five bucks - like a miniature guillotine," from Paul.

Before I forget - why it is 'my fault' about the weather today - Paul wrote from Bloomfield to ask about January weather in Paris. I replied it could be balmy or cold.

And Simone wrote from Christmas-wam San Francisco to ask if she could wear her fur coat in Paris without having paint poured on it. I suspected this was a trick question, so I replied 'yes.' A couple of days later I noticed every second person in Paris wearing a fur coat, so I sent a definite 'all clear' to San Francisco.


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