A New First - a 'Club Mutiny'

photo: monica, michele, ike, fred, anita, dory

From left, Monica, Michele, Ike, Fred, Anita and Dory -
not doing any carnival turns.

Secretary Flummoxed

Paris:- Thursday, 7. March 2002:- On my second 'week off' - in a row! - getting out of bed to go to the club meeting today is no problem because it is a Thursday, and this is what the club's secretary does on Thursdays.

Actually, it is not my second 'week off,' because the next issue is also getting done - after a fashion. But I shouldn't bother you with quibbly details, and keep on sleeping as long as I can.

It is even a nicer day in Paris than forecast. These have been less than optimistic lately, but the weather has been on better behavior than predicted and has been treating the city's residents and visitors to reasonable days.

Tonight's TV-weather news forecast has even gone out on a limb to predict that it will be even better, although a bit cooler because the skies are clearer at night. Clear night skies are not much use to anybody, so I would object to them making the days cooler if there were a way to do it.

On the way to the club meeting I pause at the Pont Neuf to see if the Seine has fallen enough tophoto: front - anita, michele, rear - dory, monica, fred open the speedways. TV-news has said it has gone down, but I can't tell for certain from the bridge. What is certain is the Quai de Seine is clogged with traffic as usual.

Due to mirrors, a semi-'Group Photo of the Week,' lacking only Ike.

In other parts of town, during the week, it has seemed like traffic has moved to some other country - even though Paris' school holidays are over. Maybe drivers are ignoring certain streets for reasons of their own.

Many bouquinistes along the river side of the Quai du Louvre have their lids up and a fair number of people with absolutely nothing better to do are looking for printed treasures or 90 year-old sexy postcards.

It is just like a really nice day in February, but I have work to do across the street at the café La Corona, which even has a several clusters of people who have become weary of looking for postcards, sitting on its south-facing sunnyside terrace.

All of the 'waiters of the week' inside are happy with all the trade, because most of it is outside. The club's section of the 'grande salle' is free and cleared for action, except for the usual grains of overlooked salt.

Fred Faure shows up on the dot of 15:00. Since we have metric time in Europe, I suppose I should write, 'right on the decimal' of three, but the 'dot' habit is not easy to break.

We pass about two minutes talking 'shop' before Ike Payne arrives. Ike comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which he spells for me and says is handily located in the middle of the state, but is somewhat close to Mexico. This is more than good enough for it to become the 'City of the Week.'

Getting a 'City of the Week' within fifteen minutes of a meeting's begin is a good sign, especially when Ike says it can be spelled like "B-B-Q."

But the best thing about Albuquerque, Ike says, is you can see for '75 miles' there, except of fourphoto: kir royal or five days a year when it is only possible the see 42.5 miles. What there is to see so far away is some bit of Rocky Mountains, so seeing these at night is not so easy - like seeing Paris' clear skies at night.

After being in the air force for 29 years and then living in Albuquerque for a long time Ike decided to try Charleston, but he didn't like it for more than about two days.

The first of several 'Drinks of the Week,' all of which were Kir Royals.

There wasn't any way to see 75 miles there. Ike was a pilot and he flew more planes than Tom Cruise, including F-100s, F-4s, F-16s, B-52s and even KC-135 tankers. I guess once you spend a lot of time high in the air, you get really accustomed to seeing a long way.

My notes have a blank at the times Monica O'Neil Shay and Anita Bennett arrive separately, so neither of them get 'clocked.' The only way to be 'late' for a meeting is to come on any day that isn't Thursday, so 'clocks' don't really count.

The blanks above are followed by more inexplicable time blanks when Dory Gresl arrives from Corte Madera, California, and Michele Karlander arrives more or less straight from a jumbo jet that has flown in from Chicago and plopped itself down at Charlie.

It is Dory's first visit to Paris and she is here to learn some French, and to do so she is staying with a Parisian family. I overhear her ordering something wet in French, and wonder if I shouldn't stay with a Parisian family too instead of just with my TV set.

Michele is a different sort of visitor. Whenever she feels a lack of Paris, she jumps on a jet and comes for five days or a week. A couple of years ago she even stayed at Shakespeare & ompany, and got put up on the third floor - which apparently is a luxo palace compared to the austere fourth floor.

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