No 'Sausage of the Week'

photo: group of 9 of the week

The authentic 'Group of 9' photo of the week, with
nearly no carnival effects.

But Patrick Gets 'Bisous' from Chicago

Paris:- Thursday, 28. February 2002:- On my 'week off' getting up to go to the club meeting is no problem because Dennis - who I thought was in Prague or Berlin or Kiev - phones to invite me to lunch. I decide to have breakfast first - and Dennis says he'll tell me how it all comes out in Mitteleuropa in three weeks.

Outside in the open air, once I get out of the canyon of my street, I see that Paris is enjoying one of the rare troughs between waves of rain clouds marching relentlessly across northern France.

There are even bits of blue sky scattered around. These are meant to lure people out of their hotel rooms into lines waiting to get into museums. Do not be fooled - these blue bits are very transitory. And when it rains, sometimes it is real rain.

I do not waste time while scooting along the Rue de Rivoli to get to the club's café. But my first call is at the lucky Loto office, to collect my zillions of euros-worth of winnings.

At the doorway my entry is barred by a young ladyphoto: anita bennett who says I cannot enter to become rich today because a film crew has taken over the place to make a fiction movie called 'Ah! Si J'étais Riche!' I'll add that this is being directed by Messieurs Munz and Bitton. I assume they are 'Messieurs.'

Anita Bennett is looking forward to a month at the Alliance Française.

'Munz' is good, 'Munz' is lucky - in German it means coin - but I cannot gain entry. This is the only Loto office in Paris where my Loto tickets are truly lucky.

Another sign of it being lucky is the poster for the new film 'Monsieur Batignolles' that is overlooking the scene. Part of this was filmed last summer around the corner from my place in the 14th.

Even with all these visible 'lucky' signs, I can see it is no use forcing an entry because a film crew fills the entire Loto office. Drats!

I am so off-balance from having a pocket as light as it was before I didn't get my winnings, that I pass up the illegally-parked 'Fiat 500 of the Week' that has already been featured more than once - in different weeks, of course.

At the Café La Corona last week's 'Waiter of the Week' tells me his name is Vincent. I must remember this next time he is 'Waiter of the Week.' I write his name in the club report booklet to make sure of this. Meanwhile, this week's 'Waiter of the Week' is Patrick, and he does not say the 'whole world' is waiting impatiently to join the club.

But before I can write the week's meeting number and date and so on in the members' booklet and the reports' booklet, the week's first new member is in front of me and we are shaking hands, and this is Anita Bennett from Boston.

But before I can register this properly, member Edgar Ladouceur arrives with new member Annalee Ladouceur. Edgar comes every year - 'since about 1980' - and Annalee has been before too, but not to this club.

But before I can register this properly, other club members and new club members who have been waiting somewhere just out of sight, all decide more or less at once to join the meeting too.

For members, these include Dinny Moyer - number one of the notorious 'Band of Moyers' - and Fred Faure, who joined last week. For new members, there is Monica O'Neill Shay from Washington, DC, and Kathy Bridges with Kevin McMahon from Denver, Colorado, are close behind.

To round things off, and to get everybody registered properly, long-time and multiple-meeting member Doug Fuss arrives just before 16:00.

But before this, Anita says, "It seems like euros go faster than francs." Edgar adds, "When the money was francs, it seemed like confetti." For 28 seconds in my life, I am glad we are not talking about former Italian liras.

Another thing to clear up is the 'City of the Week' andphoto: toast of the week with annalee ladouceur Anita supplies this with Franklin, Massachusetts - which had the new world's first public library with books in English, which Benjamin Franklin donated from his own library to get the free public library thing started.

Annalee Ladouceur takes part in the big 'Clink of the Week.'

For the unrelated reason of no longer working in this library, Anita is taking lessons in French at the Alliance Française, which was founded somewhat later than Franklin's library, in 1883.

Edgar is still thinking about money. He says, "Aren't ATMs wonderful?" Annalee thinks the lifestyle in Paris is different too. She says you can stand in a café for half an hour and waiters don't 'chit-chat' or ask you 'where you're from.'

"They take your order and bring it and then go away until you can catch one to pay up," she adds. This can take a half hour without half trying, which is a long time to spin out a thimble of café.

Monica is in Paris because her dog was allowed to enter France but not Britain. Instead of putting it into quarantine there - which she describes as sort of hard-time solitary confinement for dogs - it can run around Paris in semi-freedom for six months before going over there.

And, it turns out Monica is staying right near where Dinny lives, and you will all remember Dinny has this dog named Tobia - a bona-fide club member too! - so there'll be some dog-meets-dog to come out of this meeting. It's not only people who get to know each other by becoming club members.

For a reason I don't note, Kevin shows us his Swiss Army watch. These are the Swiss-steel ones with the Swiss white cross on them, but they don't come with 32 useful blades, corkscrews and lock-picks. All they do is show Swiss Army-time.

Some members ask Edgar about Paris' current 'Beautiful Cow Show' going on at the Porte de Versailles.

He describes being in a huge glob of a crowd. He saw this lady become aware of asmall kid leading a 'four-ton' bull by a piece of string behind her, and "She freaked out! But the crowd was so dense she had nowhere to go," he adds with a big grin. Readers and members should note that there are small animals at the Aggi Salon too.


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