'Flower of the Week?'

photo: chuck bush, doug fuss

Instead of acting normally, Chuck and Doug turn to stone
for their club photo.

1st Birthday Coming Soon

Paris:- Thursday, 21. September 2000:- We now have the season between the summer that wasn't and the fall that is already here, which is called 'The Heat Isn't Turned On Yet.' For this reason, a club meeting is a warm break from my refrigerator of an apartment.

This is a common-enough season in Pais, in case you were wondering why so many people are out on the streets, seriously striding around instead of merely meandering.

After not finding the new Châtelet métro entrance at Sainte-Opportune, I arrive at the club just a tiny bit late; but this is unnoticed by anyone other that the secretary - who is 'present' as soon as I arrive.

You already know the vastly complicated rigamarole I go through to call a club meeting together, sophoto: wildflowers of colorado, seeds I'll skip repeating it. But all the place mats I neatly align on all of the club's tables, are snatched away by Monsieur Ferrat, today's 'Waiter of the Week.'

Before I can get into serious thumb-twiddling, Monsieur Ferrat returns to the good graces with the club by escorting two new members to the club's area.

These are Shellay and Chuck Bush from a Denver, Colorado suburb named Lakewood. When they moved there, it was 'almost out of town.'

They have brought a gift for the club - or Chuck has, because he was one of the winners of the club's contest that sent out a bunch of sardine cans full of 'Air de Paris' as first prizes to all of the winners.

The seed packet produces a 'club first' - its 'Flower of the Week,' which is Aspen Daisy or Indian Blanketflower or Wild Blue Flax. I will pass this on to the server-lady, and she can sort them out with her trusty green thumb.

Shellay, who thinks she is half French - and Chuck is half Italian - says they didn't used to travel at all. But Chuck got sent to Cameroon once, and now they can't stay away from Paris, France, Italy or Spain. Paris was, "The sixth-last place I wanted to see," she says.

Now they've been here so often that they are thinking of settling on the border between France and Italy, "So we can have French bread and get pesto from Genoa whenever we want it."

Correction: Shellay doesn't say 'sixth-last place,' she says 'sixth-time' visit to Paris. I must see about my handwriting.

The couple also think the French restaurants in Tahiti are really good. At this point, long-time club member Doug Fuss arrives, straight from inspecting salt mines in Poland.

Shellay, who has also told me she's never read Metropole Paris and has no idea what this meeting isphoto: shellay bush about, says, "Are we going to vote now?" If this isn't a 'Quote of the Week' I don't know what is.

I call for a vote to get Monsieur Ferrat's attention so we can get some drinks, but he keeps looking some other way, or polishes cutlery.

Shellay Bush is completely unfazed by the club's secretary and the club's flakey camera.

Since a lot of the conversation concerns how many beers you are allowed to drink if you work at Coors, and is of no possible interest to readers and non-present club members - aside from mentioning that factory beer tastes better before it is pasteurized even if it is warm - here is what Doug has to say about the salt mines:

"Salt miners are allowed a choice of either bringing 77 pounds of salt or 77 pounds of water up 500 steps, six days a week," he says.

When I ask when he saw this he says it was two weeks ago, but adds, "They've been doing it since the 13th century."

This immediately makes the idea of working at Coors sound much more attractive, even if a lot of overtime and extra beers are involved.

Now, don't get me wrong - Chuck says he did this to gain weight because he thought he was too thin. "It didn't work," he says. "Even with a beer-break from work every 20 minutes."

Now I am wondering why, if Shellay thinks she may have been half-French in some other life, she wants to be the one to get the Italian pesto and Chuck is supposed to get the French bread.

After some more of Doug's stories about things other than tasty sausages in Krakow, we vote to give the 19th centuryphoto: doug's wine three stars, the yet-to-arrive 21st century three stars, and the about-to-end 20th century, the booby prize.

Continued on page 2...
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