'Bump' of the Week

photo: l->r, doug, linda, christina, elizabeth, roberta, debbie, michel, billy

Today's under-cover, everybody-showing, 'Group Photo
of the Week.'

"What Would You Know?"

Paris:- Thursday, 12. July 2001:- You would think the weather would know it is the day before the eve of Bastille Day and would be getting itself ready to be fine for France's grand and annual 'Fête Nationale,' but it is doing no such thing.

On the way to the métro for the ride down to Châtelet I get through local drizzle without a scratch. But riders getting on at later stops have to sluice the water off their glasses before they can see the métro tunnel's colorful billboards.

Rain is falling steadily on the Rue de Rivoli and it is just as serious near Pont Neuf and the Quai du Louvre sidewalk glistens with puddles and ripples with the wavy, dark reflections following strollers who are carrying the rainy day versions of parasols.

The reason the sidewalk has been almost deserted becomes apparent inside the club's café, La Corona. Except for one table and its two chairs, the club's whole area is filled with civilians - many of whom are eating great, steaming bowls of onion soup or have heaping plates of frites.

Actually, it looks like each of the twenty people nearby have ordered twenty different things from La Corona's menu. I cannot remember the last time I saw so much being eaten by so many here.

New member Roberta Morris from Dallas, Texas squishes to a stop in front of me; but she is closely following byphoto: rain, quai du louvre Michael McKinnon and Billy Chan from Pomona, California - meaning we have to switch to a salt-strewn table for four, just vacated by well-fed but un-member visitors.

The weather seems to be unaware that tomorrow is the eve of Bastille Day - as well as being in July.

It is only about five minutes later when Patrick - this week's 'Waiter of the Week' - signals that four tables are now ready for club use, and we all pick ourselves and everything else up, and move back to the club's traditional tables, which have had the salt and bread crumbs swept from them.

While Michael it is telling me it is Billy's birthday today - the club's first 'Birthday of the Week,' if I remember the statistics correctly - Roberta says, "This place reminds me of a diner. They should call it 'Le Diner La Corona.'"

Then she tells me how long she has been in Paris - 29 1/2 years - but this is because she is trying to guess Billy's age, and she says, "Those sandwiches look good. Where's a menu?"

Michael, who has been reading Metropole since at least 1997, tells me he saw a vacant parking spot, for 'two minutes.' "It was in the 13th," he adds.

Roberta has a reason for not wanting an all-day onion soup. She has a refrigerator where she's living and she says 'things go bad in it fast,' because 'there's no preservatives.'

While my attention is elsewhere, she chooses the simplest sandwich on the menu - out of 37 choices - and has the French café staple of ham and cheese 'in a baguette.' This reminds somebody else of 'Adam and Eve On a Raft' and this delicacy is explained to me so that my wealth of knowledge will grow a bit bigger.

'Elsewhere' is focused on the arrival of new members Debbie and Elizabeth Foster from El Dorado Hills, California. Elizabethphoto: sandwich of the week, roberta says she likes sandwiches in Paris but her mother thinks Paris' 'cops on skates' are more interesting.

This meeting is turning out not to be like the last two and my reporting pen is travelling across the page at a furious pace, when near-regular member Doug Fuss arrives in coincidence with the server-lady, Linda Thalman, who is not dry.

Roberta shows the proper way to eat the French staple of a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Teeth are handier than a knife and fork.

Savannah's weather was hot and humid, Doug says, so he decided to try Paris' cool and humid version for a while. He also notes that one can tell it is serious rain because drivers in Paris have their windshield wipers set to 'on' instead of 'occasionally on.'

While I am taking an out-of-focus photo of Michael's Café Metropole Club membership card, Patrick the waiter returns to tell us somebody will have to go to the next-door church - Saint-Germain L'Auxerrois - to get a candle for Billy, because the café has none.

It is either about this time, or earlier, that Christina Witberger arrives from Takoma Park, Maryland. Christina is in Paris for everything remotely connected with Frédéric Chopin and thinks Paris is selling Chopin short by not having a mueum for him.


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