"What Happened To Roissy's Rabbits?"

photo: 1st day of winter, la corona

Paris' first day of winter looks like this at the
club's café La Corona.

Oakland Enters Hall of Fame

Paris:- Thursday, 21. December 2000:- Punctured with needles, covered in plaster, shod for the first time in weeks and spiffed up a bit, I can't wait to get to today's club meeting on this brilliant first day of winter, so I can sit down.

Yes, the métro's stairs are tedious going down in the 14th arrondissement and coming up at Châtelet - but it is not crowded in early afternoon. I take the rear-end of the last wagon and let my leg lean on the floor like an especially long Buche de Noël.

Oh! how radiant it is on the Rue de Rivoli! Oh! how many Christmas shoppers are on the Rue de Rivoli - so I take my usual back-alley route to the Pont Neuf, where sunlight is whitewashing everything on the north side of the Seine.

I pass the fatal spot on the Quai du Louvre, butphoto: anne morton, adrian leeds the sun is so bright I can't see the banner that attracted me to my downfall a couple of weeks ago. So much for crummy and now uselessly old memories.

The reception in the café La Corona is a bit tepid, but this is probably because it is siesta time - except for the people sitting outside on the terrace, blinded by light.

On the left, Anne fills in her particulars; Adrian's colorful arrival, on right.

Monsieur Ferrat, today's 'Waiter of the Week,' shows me that the club's space in the café is as I left it. He gives the club's tables a wipe, sweeping all the salt and leftover frites on them to the floor. Meanwhile, I attempt to arrange one chair for my plastered leg's repose.

Before I can figure this out, Anne Morton approaches and asks in French if this is the 'club.' "Yes," I reply, "We are it - while it lasts."

Anne is from San Francisco, but she's spent some time in Paris, and some time in San Francisco with Berlitz tapes in French. She says learning French seems to be 'so fast.' Learning about the club takes more time, in fact.

Before I can finish even a tiny portion of its fabled history and former rules, long-time member Marionphoto: marion, stephen nowak Nowak pops up to my great surprise. She says Stephen is not far behind - he's collecting enough cash from machines to last the rest of the day. Pretty soon he arrives too, with a bulging wallet.

Marion catches sunlight while Stephen flattens wallet bulge.

They have not moved into their new apartment in Cologne yet and they don't like their current landlady there. "She's mean," Stephen says. For some reason, they've kept their old place in Orsay - so they're spending Christmas in their original home, because the rent is already paid..

And, gazooks! - it is anniversary time! Right before me I have Berta and L. W. 'Scoop' Maginniss, who first turned up last 23. December. They have come all the way from Aldie, Virginia, to do it all over again.

And sure enough, Scoop has his ever-trusty copy of 'Paris-Turf' with him. When staying in Paris, they are staying right above a PMU so Scoop doesn't even have to cross the street to bet on the ponies trotting out at Vincennes.

He says they are surrounded by horses in Virginia, so he doesn't see any need to deprive himself of them while in Paris. He's been to every one of Paris' half-dozen tracks at one time or another.

About this time Adrian 'I Love to Eat a Lot' Leeds arrives, in a long grey coat with three or four red scarves. Several people want to know how she stays so slim despite professionally eating about five meals a week, plus a lot of other non-professional ones.

Suddenly more new members are stepping up. These turn out to be Sharon Page and Elliott Medrich from Oakland, California. Sharon tells me what's new in their town since the Hell's Angelsphoto: corona's cafe and the Black Panthers were around, and it turns out to be Jerry Brown - who nobody seems to understand.

"Why would the ex-governor of California want to be mayor of Oakland?" Sharon wonders. I wonder why Ralph Nader wanted to be President.

Another new person arrives, mainly to talk to Adrian. This is Rebecca, who asks, "Are you the knee person?"

Rebecca isn't certain about joining the club because she doesn't have email - or can't remember it - but she comes from Oklahoma City, and I think this is good enough to get anybody in. "I don't have a criminal background," she says.

Therefore the 'City of the Week' is Oakland of course - with the agreement of all members present who know how to spell 'Oklahoma' if not sing it too. Luckily nobody even hums it.

After asking me about the secrets of European-normed ISO or DIN envelopes, Elliott asks Adrian if she's ever eaten at Astier. Even I've heard of it if Adrian hasn't, because she denies any knowledge of it.

My 'guide' says it has tablecloths and cloth napkins, which is certainly the sort of thing she goes for. Astier's only fault is that it's popular, andphoto: bertha, scoop maginniss a bit hard to get into in the evenings. But it's in a good part of town - the 11th arrondissement - with lots of other good places nearby.

But the really big question of today's meeting is, "What happened to all the rabbits at Roissy airport?" Everybody wants to know the answer.

Berta mulls over the chances for Scoop's tip on 'Gogo' in the 4th race at Vincennes.

This catches me flatfooted - no pun intended - because I came to Europe on a boat - known as a 'ship' for all fussy readers - and therefore never noticed any rabbits at Roissy. Just about everybody else has though, and there is much lore about them and oft-told 'rabbits at Roissy' stories.

This leads to many members except Scoop being awed by the idea of Fed-Exing race horses from track to track. Berta likes Paris and she likes it better this year because the plants in window boxes are still green - while it is freezing in DC, which is much further south and close to the gulf stream to boot - again, no pun intended.

And this, members and friends, wraps up today's meeting. As usual, it was like no other of the 64 meetings the club has had - including today's - which means I can't do this 'report' with a little clip and paste.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

The details about this are already included in this issue, along with Adrian's report of last week's meeting. If you must read the 'About' business again, do so. Otherwise just skip it.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

But you have to read this, because it is about the next Café Metropole Club meeting. It will be on Thursday, 28. December. If you are in Paris it will merely be the plural Saints-Innocents' Day, which will be followed by Friday, which is just as singular as usual.

photo: elliott medrich, sharon pageThe café La Corona meeting place will be open just as it is every other Thursday of the year. The time for your club's meeting will continue to be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'ECETZ' - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm elsewhere.

On the left, Elliott thinks our envelopes are strange, while Sharon thinks this club she's joined is strange.

The club's regular secretary will be attending the coming meeting, if sufficiently presentable. Since the date for it falls between Christmas and New Years, the meeting will be one of Paris' few lively events and I don't intend to miss the fun. I hope you don't either.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini