"I Wish Everybody a Happy 2002!"

photo: group of the week

Too big to fit all of their names in, here's the club's
'Group of the Week.'

More Gala Club Anniversaries

Paris:- Thursday, 4. January 2001:- Unlike last week when a nice-weather club day followed a crummy-weather Wednesday, today's weather is neither better nor worse than Wednesday's - which wasn't too bad at all.

In fact, and I'm not making this up, there is actually one real person sitting on the Corona's terrace with a face uplifted to the sun's somewhat feeble January rays - as if the Quai du Louvre in Paris was some sort of higher-class alpine spa where lack of snow is of no importance.

The rest of 'not making this up' is mentioning that there is exactly one person doing this, and the terrace's other dozens of tables and scores of chairs are completely empty. It is some solar fanatic, weak-sun or not, no doubt.

Inside the club's host café, which is known far and wide to one and all as La Corona, the inter-holiday crowdphoto: pamela bateman present during last week's meeting is no longer in evidence. This is probably because we have all arrived in the 3rd millennium after a very long period of time in the 2nd one.

The world didn't come to an end, and everybody who was in Paris for the event, has probably gone home to wait 999 years and 361 days until the next chance.

Pamela Bateman is not the club's only member from Webster Groves, Missouri.

This means that the club's secretary can take repossession of the club's area in the café's 'grande salle.' Well, part of the club's area. The other part has two Italian couples in it, waiting for their cafés after having had a sizeable lunch - and they don't appear to be potential club members, judging from their lack of leftovers.

In fact, I have my doubts about any club members appearing today. Maybe after Valentine's Day. It's okay though - I have the whole 'grande salle' in which to park my ailing leg in comfort and safety.

Until about 15:05 that is. This is when Simone and Ira Poretsky show up for their first-anniversary club re-visit, just a bit over 51 weeks after they joined the club. They decided to pop over to Paris from San Francisco, to see how it is doing before heading for Chile.

Actually, I might not have the timing right, due to my scrambled 'report' notes. I think it may be that Pamela Bateman is the first to arrive, from Webster Groves, Missouri - and I am sure the club has other members who have also come from this St. Louis suburb.

Pamela looks through the official members' booklet and doesn't come across Webster Groves - but after digging deep I find it was the 'City of the Week' at the 22. June meeting last year, when Nicole Martineau and Charles Fremont joined the club.

I may be forgetting a lot these days, but Webster Groves is somehow unforgettable, unlike today's notes. This means that new member Michelle Royston succeeds in getting Berkeley, Californiaphoto: ira's beard of the week put up for this week's 'City of the Week' without even knowing about the distinction.

Older readers and other fans of Americana may remember Berkeley's fame as the birthplace of the 'Free Speech Movement' in the early '60's, which indirectly led to President Johnson showing the world his operation scar - much like I've shown my leg getting buzz-sawed out of its cast elsewhere in this issue.

Ira Poretsky hinted that's he'll try for 'Beard of the Week' next year too.

The other reason for Berkeley becoming this week's 'city' is due to all the other participants at today's meeting already being members, and they are not few either.

Not in order of arrival today, they are Berta and Scoop Maginniss, Anne Morton, Mark Kritz and Charles 'I Voted for Lower Taxes' Eitel - who insists in hanging out in this high-tax country where he can't even vote.

I see 'Paris Turf' sticing out of Scoop's pocket and Berta is quick to say, "He won 208 francs yesterday - and has high hopes for today too!" A minute later she adds, "We don't keep track of what we've lost though."

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