'Nutley of the Week'

photo: group, marilee, yoo mi, bill, kathi, mireille, kathy

From left, Marilee, Yoo Mi, Bill, Kathi, Mireille and Kathy.

New Jersey Honored, Again

Paris:- Thursday, 20. March 2003:- Very much unlike last week's predicted all-blue sky with one big sunball that wasn't, today's weather is an all-blue sky with one big sunball that is. Moreover, it has been going on for days. It is decidedly abnormal for 'this time of year.'

Actually a correct weather prediction being correct for five or six straight days is not normal for any year, but this is what we have here this week. Therefore, before today's club meeting even starts, we have a true 'first.'

There being nothing to whine about in the métèo department, I may as well get straight to the forecast for the rest of the week and weekend. Alas,photo: seine quai opposite club this year's war with Iraq started this morning, so tonight's TV-news has completely dispensed with weather predictions, as if they are of minor importance.

Newspapers, such as Le Parisien no less, are more responsible than TV-news, and 'La Guerre en 10 Questions' on today's front page is followed on the last page by the weather forecast.

Your club is just a road's width from being this nautical.

The first bit of good news is rising temperatures, from 14 on Friday to 16 on Sunday. Today's predicted high of 15 seemed like 17, so maybe you can add two degrees too.

With a magnifying glass I see no more clouds in the future than for today, up to and including next Monday. This is too unbelievable to be true, but cross your fingers anyway. The rain hitting the west coast may advance faster than predicted if you don't.

There isn't any particular reason that I am early for today's club meeting - not even after taking a couple of photos of all the terrassians perched on La Corona's terraces, enjoying the balmy wispy airs, one whole day before spring starts. On winter's last day, why not have spring's fourth day?

Since club member Marilee McClintock is already installed in the club's area of the 'grande salle,' today's meeting even starts before its starting time. If the secretary wasn't early, this would not be possible.

On the button of 15:00 members Kathi Callinan and Bill Ligarzewski stroll in and sit down opposite Marilee, and they begin a conversation about places to go, things to see, apartment renovations, and taking a look at Marilee's yet to be renovated apartment with a view to renting it sometime in the future.

'Places to go' and 'things to see' involve current exhibitions and going to the opera tonight. Bill shows me the tickets, thinking they are worthy of a photo, and I guess they are because the secretary does photograph them - before getting back to the members' booklet to write in the date and some notes, because all of this is going much too fast.

Marilee says this is the effect that 'interactive members' have. There are even members who are not at the meeting that members who are at the meeting, are being 'interactive' with.

Then Yoo Mi Park-Berrubé arrives. This week she agrees to sign the members' booklet, because she is not intending to run out the door inphoto: fast stirred cafe 10 minutes like last week. Yoo Mi has lived in Paris for 14 years, double the '7-year' rule.

Yoo Mi runs a Web site called French Giftshop out of an office in Montparnasse near where I live. Otherwise she lives in Vincennes, possibly near the zoo.

Bill speed-stirs his soup-bowl full of café.

Kathi and Bill are unusual visitors to Paris because they have come here for five weeks, with a six-week plan of things to do. Kathi says they are 'marathon' visitors. Even though Kathi was born in Manhattan, Bill once took her on a 10-day visit there and she saw everything except Staten Island.

Just to confuse the secretary, but not the other members, Kathy Bahri arrives with her daughter, Mireille Bahri. Kathy lived in Paris for the year of 1973, when she met Mr. Bahri. Kathy has written in the members' booklet that her favorite activity in Paris is 'café life.'

Kathy and Mireille's hometown is Nutley, New Jersey. The secretary inadvertently shouts, "Nutley, New Jersey! No! It can't be true." A reader wrote that last week's Blue Bell, New Jersey, was a smarmy trick by the club's secretary. What will he write about Nutley?

Marilee says, "Nutley? Of course. I've heard of it."

Marilee amazes the club's secretary because last week she said she heard of Blue Bell too. The secretary cannot understand how anybody who lives mainly in Agadir, Morocco, can be so conversant with New Jersey geography.

Anyway, without further ado - Nutley, New Jersey is the 'City of the Week.' How can it not be? It's a destiny thing.

The hammer that drives the Nutley nail home comes from Yoo Mi. "Nutley? Sure - I used to live in Fort Lee."

All the members present, every one, say 'Fort Lee' in unison.

The secretary is stunned. Should the club be renamed the 'Fort Lee, New Jersey, Café Metropole Club?' Obviously New Jersey has an importance that outreaches its name. Without counting every head, the secretar begins to think that half of the club members originate in New Jersey.

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