...Continued from page 1

Patrick, when he returns with more drink, wants member Terri Blazek to know how much he appreciated the chocolates she sent to him in her Christmas package that was mailed to the café in care of the club's secretary in December. He says they were very good.

When Linda asks what this is about and I tell her, she says "Thanks for the towels!"

The club's secretary is stunned. He's forgotten to open the presents Terri sent to him in the same package. Suddenly, in the middle of this 'report,' we have Christmas 2002, again, right now, without any tree or lights. What a dubious, but nevertheless true 'first!'

The Chicago subway map envelope is fantastic! The card that is inside it is wonderful Terri! Everything is wrapped up so perfectly, all in red, with ribbons. Rip. Shred. Gazooks - a travelling case for Faber-Castell pencils! I have never seen anything like this before.

Egad. With a dozen silver, already sharpened, 'Grip 2001' Faber-Castell pencils in it - enough for ten years. Hyper nifty! There's a big box of 'Les Sarments de Médoc,' which are tangerine-flavored dark chocolate twigs. They'll last a year, now that there's only ten months of it left. Oh - oh - there's a brilliant lithograph done by Terri. '37 South Wabash, 1937.' It'll get framed! By Dimitri.

Finally, and not least, there's a sack full of 'Santa's Coal Bubble Gum' - for those late nights early in the morning when I am writing club 'reports.' All of this is beyond - thank you, Terri!

Well, the ill-kept terrible secret is out of the bag. Your Café Metropole Club secretary is a true boob. There is no way to gloss this over. My head is hanging low. I think I'll have one of the chocolates.

But first I crawl crimsoned-faced back here, to today's 'report.' I humbly submit that Linda says, "After taking salsa for two years, I'm still in Salsa 101. It's really hard. One, two, three is harder than rock-and-roll's one, two, three, four."

All the same, when we are out on the La Corona's terrace getting the 'Group Photo of the Week,' Linda doesphoto: crazy legs of the week show us her salsa legs. Passing cars honk their horns. Civilians look as though they are going to rise from their tables and do one, two, three.

Back inside the café, Linda pulls on her parka. "I am not making the Fashion Statement of the Week," she says. Anita, Eva and Susan say that it matches her basic scheme of red and black, even though it is sort of turquoise. Linda buzzes off, to beat the traffic - which is lighter than usual.

These 'salsa legs' belong to Linda Thalman. Beep, beep!

At exactly 17:00, as agreed, the young lady returns to conduct her survey with Susan, about frozen foods. They move to another table to do this, but the club meeting is over - with Anita and Eva staying for the overtime part caused by the secretary's inertia.

When the survey is completed Susan returns. I catch - "I don't know you well enough to needle you," Susan says to Anita, who returns, "Go ahead!" Ah - the club members! What would the club do without them?

Susan Ellis is the poetry editor for the online magazine 'Moondance.' When you have the opening page, click on 'sections' and then look for 'poetry' in the bar on the right-hand side.

Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

This endless repeat 'Call for Restaurants' is receiving a constant trickle of candidates. This is convincing me that it will be possible to put a list together, even if I'm in a little doubt about whether I can do it in this century.

I think the 'list' will serve everybody better if it is more than just names and addresses. Some of you have already gone this step further. I think it will be worth it even if I never eat in any of them. My memory of food is a bit hazy anyway.

About the 'Café Metropole Club About' Page

If you have rashly made up your mind to become a member of this club it might be a good idea to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page first, but nobody can stop you from not reading it. It explains a bit about the club, like about it being free. The rest of the information doesn't amount to much.

Skip this 'About' page if you are pressed for time. All you really need to know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at one of its meetings in Paris. It's like the club that's too easy to join, so only more than 400 people have done so.

More club 'lore' has been forgotten than ever existed. Luckily all of it that does exist can be found in past club 'reports' if you are hardy enough to plough through some of them.

What, Why Not, Who, When, Where, How?

This club's meetings begin - usually on time - in Paris at 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's typical Metric Time Zone - which is inexplictly 'CET' for short and not 'tMTZ' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in some other worldwide areas, even though club meetings are usually only held in Paris.

Come by with your own new 'Quote of the Week' handy or mention your hometown as a possible 'City ofphoto: terrace, la corona the Week' or invent any other 'Things of the Week.' New true 'firsts' will be welcome too, with 'first' often having preference over 'true.' The club secretary's 'firsts' don't count.

Café La Corona this afternoon in winter.

'No-names' is an option you can also opt-in for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'out-opted.' 'No rules' have creased being an 'exception.' They are not a 'rule' either anymore. There are some other 'exceptions' so it seldom pays to pay attention.

Whatever you say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, and there almost always are some, and if they are listening which they do sometimes - and by all readers of this online magazine, if you ever read this - if it should happen to be written here, as happens sometimes.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli, Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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