Fifth Visit, Going On Sixth

photo: darlene, gordon, dennis, francine

Today's crop of new club members wait for starting time on La Corona's terrace, like sensible people.

The 'Report' of the 48th Weekly Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 31. August 2000:- For most of the summer, regardless of the weather, I have been taking the métro to the club because of the roadworks on the Boulevard Saint-Michel that make the trip by bus an uncertain adventure.

On the métro platform, the loudspeakers are announcing the interruption of traffic on the line 12, because of a 'technical incident.'

Yesterday at 13:22, the front wagon of a southbound train fell on its side and slid 100 metres into the station at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, stopping a few metres from the front of a northbound train. Nobody was killed; although 24 riders were injured.

Some 'technical incident!' This phrase is not rare, but serious 'incidents' are. It is almostphoto: darlene greb four years since a train derailed and the previous 'incident' was six years before that. The last time anybody was killed was in 1930. As my line 4 train picks up speed, I give it no more thought.

Darlene Greb, despite new events, still audits 'household lectures.'

On Rivoli shoppers are rushing around getting their back-to-school gear. Those that aren't are sitting in the Café Massena. Around the corner, I don't come across any Fiat 500's. Are they fed up with being the 'Car of the Week?'

At La Corona, some people are on the Amiral Coligny terrace. Along the Quai du Louvre, there aren't many more. In the bar there is nothing in particular to photograph.

As I am shaking hands all round, I am presented with a face I've seen before - only a few minutes before. It announces itself as Professor Gordon Greb. The time before the last time, was in December 1997, when we checked out the Café Charbon up on Oberkampf together.

The last time was when I walked by the Amiral Coligny terrace; where Gordon takes me to meet Mrs. Professor Greb, Darlene, and Francine Miller and Dennis Bradley.

I ask them to take their time to finish their terrace business while I fix up the club's café area for their reception. When the new members do come in carrying their terrace drinks, they do what all new members do - spread themselves all over the club's area.

It really is a place with elbow-room. I like cozy meetings; telling Gordon I'm a bit deaf as he's telling me he's a bit deaf, so neither of us hears the other. This sort of mutual mumble gets the meeting off to a good start.

If I tell you Professor Greb was trying to come to Café Metropole Club meetings about 26 months before they began, this will give you an idea of what kind of Metropole fan he is. Darlenephoto: francine miller can vouch for this; but Francine and Dennis never heard of the club or Metropole before today.

I think the club has had Chico, California as 'City of the Week' before, so this week the honor goes to London in Britain, which is where Francine and Dennis live.

Francine Miller tries out the slow speed of the camera's shutter.

This couple are perfect new club members because even though they've never ever seen Metropole before, they ignore all the rules concerning the club members' booklet, and leave less information in it than Jerry from Brooklyn did.

Don't worry - I'm not going to have a contest where the briefest inscription wins. I don't want a bunch of Martians showing up and answering the questionnaire with '(!).'

The last time Darlene and Gordon were in Paris was for their 40th-something wedding anniversary. In a round-about way, Gordon tells me this year they are having their 50th anniversary - all year.

So far they've managed to fit in New York City - because it's there - Victoria, British Columbia - because it's there too - and now they are on a jumbo tour that started in London. A lot of it continued on a luxo-barge tour on the rivers of Holland and Belgium. "Past Europe's industrial wonders! And no cows," Gordon says.

Part of this tour involves four days in Paris - because it has a couple of rivers, and some canals too! - and the Grebs simply tacked on a couple of extra days to this.

Gordon tells me how he's become the President of the 'World Improvement Association.' He says he made this personal sacrifice because, "I worry more about the state of the world than the President does."

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