'Sidewalk' Is Not Cricket

photo: group, l->r, karen, peg, jim, charles, heather

From left, Karen DeLaney, Peg and Jim Whitehead,
Charles Eitel and Heather.

The Club's First 'Chips of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 26. April 2001:- Today's weather is probably the best of the week. It is not freezing - that is, it is not below 10 degrees - and rain is not forecast for repeating itself at 15-minute intervals like yesterday. No sun is forecast either and it is running true to form.

The result is occasional bursts of rain, occasional lightening of the cloud cover and the rest is in the middle of mediocre. I try to get a couple of photos on the way to the club because for tomorrow worse is expected.

At the club's café La Corona, a group of potential terrassians ['terrassians' - people and their pets who inhabit café terraces] are discussing the terrace's Quai du Louvre potential. That nobody else has seen any 'potential' seems to be swaying their decision, or prolonging their indecision.

Inside the café the mood seems to be medium positive. It is medium full of people taking their time to drink andphoto: karen delaney eat late lunches, and people who have done this earlier are coming in for mid-afternoon pick-us-ups.

For once in quite some time there is no 'monde' waiting for me. But I do not get to enter much more than the meeting number in the - starting today - volume two of the members' booklet, before Karen DeLaney pops up to sign it.

Some members say 'no photos.' Karen said, "Take one - no problem!"

I ask her to wait a minute until I write in the date. When she tells me what it is, I also look at the last name in volume one, so that I can put the member number 219 beside her name.

Karen comes from Rochester, New York, on the recommendation of member number 189, Todd Sanders. While I turn to the 'reports' booklet and forget the meeting number, Peg and Jim Whitehead arrive, from Newport Beach, California. While introductions are made, I re-find that this is meeting 81, or the 30th meeting of the club's second year.

Since this secretarial stuff is really boring the new members ignore it and discuss how they don't read the papers, so they don't know - or care! - how their stocks are doing.

They also order refreshments, with Karen asking the 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick for a Leffe. Karen thinks this is one of the lighter beers, 'with a lemon in it?' - but Jim says it isn't.

"Have you had trouble with waiters?" Karen asks.

According to Jim there are hotel managers in Pigalle who are hard of hearing, and tells a tale of an agile pickpocket working the métro's line one.

He is standing in the métro with three big bags in his arms and feels a third hand go for his wallet, and getphoto: peg whitehead it. Just then the train slides to a stop at Châtelet, and Jim gets out of the wagon right behind the thief.

Peg says she is 'ready to go home' after three weeks, not days, in Paris.

"Hey!" he shouts, "He's got my wallet!" Passengers on the platform turn around and the thief drops the wallet and slips into the crowd. A 'pro,' he doesn't want trouble - from passengers, from the watching video, from the métro's own cops.

Then they tell Karen about the wonderful and inexpensive dinner they had in the Rue Yvonne-le-Tac on Montmartre. Karen tells the Whiteheads and me about the great wine bar she had to leave because of all the smokers in it - Karen is the club's first member to really mention the amount of serious smoke in Paris.

This is when another 'first' happens, in the form of the reappearance of the club's very own original member number one - Heather Stimmler! That's right - the first name in the first members' booklet - dated Thursday, 14. October 1999.

Now that I look at it, I see that I forgot to mention three meetings ago that Gary Martin's member number is two. Sorry about that, Gary!

Heather lives in Antibes on the Riviera now, so I decide it should be the 'City of the Week.' I have been worried about Heather because there have been reports of earthquakes andphoto: jim whitehead rockslides, plus a lot of rain down there during the inter.


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