Surprise 'City of the Week' - Antwerp

photo: club group photo

Fewer members only just fit, by squeezing, into the
week's group photo.

Attention Blonds - It's Where the
Diamonds Are

Paris:- Thursday, 1. March 2001:- Bernadette Costello is nervous because she has been waiting a long time to join the club, so I'll skip today's weather 'report.' It isn't anything much worth mentioning today. The blizzard was on the Riviera anyway.

Bernadette is a life-long pal of Marilyn Burke, even if she left New Jersey for the paradise of Teguesta, Florida, which is some minor part of Palm Beach or one of those other balmy Florida places.

"You can get drinks refilled in this café," Marilyn says, to reassure her friend. Charles Eitel marches in and immediately resumesphoto: bernadette costello moaning about how he's got to get a dog, which he thinks are much better than kids because their university fees are so low.

Meanwhile, Marilyn snatches the members' booklet away from Bernadette. When I raise my eyebrows, she says, "It's okay, we've known each other since we were three," as if this is a good-enough excuse for rowdy club behavior.

Actually, Bernadette got dragged to the club by Marilyn.

Before I can cite a nonexistent 'rule' about booklet snatching, new member Edgard Hubert is on deck, invited to sit down and join the club. It's a lucky thing I don't try to 'invent' any 'rules,' because Edgard has brought print-outs of the last dozen club meeting reports with him from Antwerp.

I had a girlfriend once whose name was Antwerpen, so this is why it becomes the 'City of the Week' instead of some Palm Beach suburb. Edgard wants to know what pedestrian areas in Paris are called, besides 'rare.'

While I am thinking hard about Edgard's question, one of my ears is hearing Bernadette saying how much fun she and Marilyn had with flashlights down in the catacombs, looking for Bernadette's great-grandmother.

This reminds me I should make the 'Public Announcement of the Week.' The catacombs closed on Wednesday evening and will stay closed until late June. The city is installing some electrical stuff, so that Charles won't have to go to Tampa for new flashlight batteries.

Because Edgard seems to be a very big fan of the club, I ask him why he's sent no emails in advance. "I didn't know 'Ed,'" he says. Apparently Edgard is joining the club because he intends to come to Paris most weekends, even though club meetings are usually on Thursdays.

Bernadette is also sort of a 'Hubert.' It was her grandmother's name before she married an American soldier and lived happily ever after in America.

The meeting is perfectly 'transatlantic' as I've always hoped they'd be. "For a European, it's better to visit Norway than Québec," Edgard says.

"My father was in the navy," Bernadettephoto: marie france billot says, adding, "He was riding around the Etoile on a bike in a blizzard and he was hit by a car. Parisians and the car's driver rushed him to a nearby pharmacy, and got him fixed up."

I must explain that this was in the '50's when blizzards were common in the Etoile area. It was also a rare time when car drivers would actually touch a fallen bicyclist with their hands.

Marie-France is happy that a waiter complimented her flawless Parisienne accent.

But even today, if you do have a 'bobo' in Paris, you can still get some first-aid in any pharmacy. These are signalled by hideous flashing green-cross signs. Navy guys riding bikes around the Etoile are as rare as ever though.

The next comment, from Edgard of course, can be classified as sort of mid-transatlantic. "Dogs are forbidden in Iceland," he says.

I ask Edgard if he would like to become assistant club secretary, because he obviously knows quite a bit about making useful public service announcements. But he skillfully declines, and the next thing I know, Switzerland is being nominated for having the best 'countryside.'

When Edgard says he plans to interrupt his Paris adventures in order to visit Australia in the fall, Marilyn says that she was there once, for 15 days. "That's better than nothing," she says.

Doug Fuss, the club's ambassador from Savannah, has come in a long time before now - and while Marilyn interrupts herself to introduce new member Marie-France Billot, from one of Paris' 20 arrondissements - Doug, Edgard and Charles get into a mid-depth philosophical discussion about how to be 'at ease.'

This is useful to know if you happen to be unemployed or retired, or some happy combination of both. While I would like to know more about this 'ease' business, my hearing is tuned into the other end of the club.

This is how I hear Marie-France say, "I know I sound French." This is what she said to a waiter, in French, when she was out having a dinner with Marilyn, and she was complimented on her mastery of the language.

Last week's new members, Robin Wagner and Bob Watkins, come along, giving me a chance to tell them how Iphoto: beer of the week wore some of my Mardi Gras beads to my local boulangerie yesterday - because the boulangerie ladies were dressed up for Mardi Gras in Halloween costumes on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Charles has taken an opportunity to talk to two lady civilians who have chanced to park themselves in the club's area of the café.

One of the club's refillable 'Cocktails of the Week.'

I overhear him making a recruitment attempt and a lot of laughing and the other kinds of noises people make in cafés when they are having a good time - but the ladies remain non-members.

Then, just when I think today's club meeting is over around the magic metric time of 17:00, I can't help noticing that somebody - I'm told it is today's waiter - has placed a fair-sized yellow 'La Poste' box on the secretary's table.

The club has had phone calls - international ones! - during meetings, but it has received no packages. I think I should photograph it first - it may contain anything, even a bomb.

Doug lends me his 'véritable' Laguiole dagger-like knife and I hack the thing open. Inside there is another package and inside it there are two boxes of 'Frango' mint chocolates - obviously the 'Surprise of the Week!' Doug's knife gets one of these open, and everybody has one, except those who are dieting in Paris today.

There is also a two-sided note included. One side, dated 26. January, says these chocolates arephoto: b waktins, today's waiter, e hubert a Marshall Fields' specialty. Sally Dilgart, one of the club's Chicago members, writes that these should be called the club's 'Bonbons of the Week.'

Between Bob Watkins and Edgard Hubert, the club's 'Waiter of the Week' makes a stretch-play.

The note on the other side, dated 19. February, is from another attorney, another club member - namely Eva Lee in Tranquility, New Jersey. She says she was supposed to bring these 'Frangos' to Paris but they arrived late, and when she got home she couldn't face them after what she did in Paris.

I enjoy my surprise 'Frango of the Week' and the other club members who try them do too. Patrick is not the club's 'Waiter of the Week' this week, so I'll have to save some of them and bring them to club meetings until he is - as Eva Lee commands.

I'll eat another one while writing this because nobody is watching me do this. Ten were eaten at the club. Some members must of had two already.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Historical but expired former club 'rules' concerning your Café Metropole Paris Club - as opposed a truthful 'report' like this one - can be found on the 'About the Café Metropole Club page,' which is about your club and has a link here, and on each issue's 'home' page, in case you forget to click on the one here.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Ignore the 'about the club' stuff if you really must but you should read the following about the next Café Metropole Club meeting - it will be held on Thursday, 8. March, which is exactly a week from now.

Thursday, 29. February 2001, noted here lastphoto: mystery packet week as the club's meeting date this week, inexplicitly did not happen this year. Readers and club members who noted this discrepancy and brought it to my attention, are warmly thanked for their keen-eyedness.

I will try to remember that certain months occasionally have 31 days, and not announce the coming last meeting of next January as Thursday, 1. February 2002.

Without warning this package was before me. I didn't see any postman bring it.

Regardless of whether you are in Paris or not it will be Saint-Jean de Dieu Day - which will be followed by Friday, which will be just another ordinary Sainte-Françoise day like it is every year.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is daily as well as every Thursday. Your club's meeting time will be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'MOLAX' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm otherwise.

The club's usual secretary, which is myself, will be scribbling some 'report' notes during the coming meeting, but do not pay any attention to this because it is pretty harmless. Bring a 'Quote of the Week' or a new 'City of the Week,' or even a 'Bonbon of the Week' or any other 'Thing of the Week' you want to share with other members.

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