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Only On Thursday

photo: kate, elizabeth, laurel, bryen, erin, marion, danica, sandar, kathy, joe, barry

The 'Group of the Week,' with Kate, Elizabeth, Laurel, Bryen,
Erin, Marion, Danica, Sandar, Kathy, Joe, and half of Barry.

Late Spring In Winnipeg

Paris:– Thursday, 15. July 2004:– It's official – we have summer weather. Le Parisien announced this on its front page on Tuesday. It was a bit sunny in the early part of the day and then it got cloudy. The same thing happened yesterday – it was sunny for people early enough to see the parade on the Champs–Elysées in the morning, and it was cloudy for the fireworks fans at the Tour Eiffel.

Even if the sun rays aren't at the rendez–vous, it has been warmer at last. Today may have reached its forecast high of 28 degrees, but I doubt it. It might have struggled up to 25 before darkness fell on the city of light.

The forecasts for the next three days are just as sloppy. Each day has a central sun ball in a not too–bright sky, with clouds in the northeast or threatening from the west. If the timing isphoto: beer of the week off by a couple of hours it will probably be very sunny at night.

Since it hasn't been turning out as good as it might have according to the past forecasts, it might turn out better than the future ones – as in, our glasses are half–full, aren't they?

Anyway, you may be able to leave your sweaters at home. For the next three days we have forecast highs of 27 degrees for tomorrow, 27 again for Saturday, and 25 of course for Sunday, when you may be feeling like having a musical picnic out at the Parc de Vincennes.

This good news this week comes from the TV–weather news which has decided to venture out on a limb and actually make a prediction for Sunday. I am just doing my job by pointing out that their forecast may be overly sunny. My trust is slight.

A Small 'Club Report of the Week'

To get to today's meeting I walked over from Saint–Germain. This part of the Quartier Latin seemed like it had been left to a few visitors poking around, looking for grass growing bravely between the cobblestones. Madame le Patron was standing outside La Palette looking up the Rue de Seine in vain for custom. If the Quartier Latin allowed 'free' dogs they could have been sleeping in the streets.

Crossing the Pont de Arts some people passing on a boat who waved must have thought I was a grouch for not waving back. I did think it was pretty wonderful that people taking boat rides think it's fine to wave at people crossing bridges in Paris. If I'm ever in their town I'll wave at people on shore too.

My impression of the Pont des Arts was that pedestrians were using it to cross the river. Hardly anybody was using it as a photo studio or an art gallery. A few people were having lunch, but none of them looked like total picnics.

The Quai du Louvre side has a sign for Paris Plage. The city's own riverside spa opens next Wednesday, 21. July. It will be more, better, like it has been every year, but it won't guarantee good weather. But with its palm trees, what can go wrong?

The traffic on the Quai de Louvre doesn't appear as dense as usual. The club's café, La Corona, seems deserted from a distance, but when I am close to it I see that its terrace on the quay side is pretty full. Some people have huge plates full of food.

The café's 'grande salle' is no fuller than usual. It is 95 percent empty in other words. It just seems fuller because of all of the people sitting on the terrace outside the windows.

In the club's 'reports' booklet I write, 'windy, rainey, cool.' Oops. I wrote this last week. This week I write, 'warm,photo: frites of the week 24 degrees, but overcast, no wind.' Some people outside get up to go, leaving half their hamburgers behind. I didn't know La Corona did hamburgers. There's half a big Coke left too. People can slim anywhere.

The 'Frites of the Week' with ketchup.

I am lazily thinking of writing some short sonnets when Joe Fitzgerald arrives. I haven't seen Joe since Tuesday, when I ran into him in the Rue Daguerre. If I was walking along Broadway in Hong Kong I wouldn't be surprised to bump into Joe.

I am surprised to see him at a club meeting because he said he was going to come. He tells me again how St. Louis isn't so bad. It is one of a dozen places where Joe lived, and the place he ended up in. He has Paris as a fallback.

When Elizabeth Flansburg arrives the first thing she does is explain why she's wearing a shirt with Maastricht University written on it. She doesn't really have to tell us she got it for warmth, but does. Everybody knows Maastricht is colder than Rotterdam.

Before we can find out much about Elizabeth's hometown of Wheaton, Illinois, Laurel Avery and Barry Wright arrive with Sandy Brent, who comes from Santa Fe like they do. Since I am considering Wheaton for 'City of the Week,' Sandy wants to know why Santa Fe is ineligible.

Rather than explain about the 'rules' that are no longer, I cross my fingers and throw the mental dice for an as–yet unnamed 'City of the Week.' Then Kathy Bahri arrives with Marion Ryan, who comes from West Caldwell, New Jersey. See? It could be Wheaton or West Caldwell.

Kathy, who was recently at a club meeting – this is why I'm leaving out her hometown – says they took a boat ride last night and by purest chance happened to be near the Pont d'Iéna at 22:30, and the boat managed to loiter there right between the Tour Eiffel and Trocadéro,photo: group 2 of the week allowing them to see the fireworks from the most unobstructed seats in town. Wow! On the Champ de Mars it was standing room only for 350,000.

The 'Group of the Week,' à table.

I can't quite get this noted because Bryen Lebar arrives with Erin Lebar and her friend Danica Plummer. They are from Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is in the far eastern part of western Canada. Winnipeg becomes the 'City of the Week.' My dice were hot.

There are now so many members that they get up and swirl around the club's tables introducing themselves to each other because doing this is beyond the club's secretary, who is writing at full speed. Joe says, "My neighborhood went downhill after the tornado."


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