"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.


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