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''She Had Shoes On''

photo: group, ed, kim, berta, scoop, barbara, betsy

The 'Group of the Week,' with Ed, Kim, Berta, Scoop,
Barbara and Betsy.

The Club's Alligator Policy

Paris:– Thursday, 5. August 2004:– By now good weather is so old hat that it's kind of surprising to have an overcast sky and have actual rain falling out of it. The French farmers' rain dance trick must have worked. Even if it's only in Paris our trees need some water too.

Well, actually, since we haven't got it here, I won't mention the localized floods and hailstones the size of garages that have battered other parts of France. It's what? It's crazy weather all over, with Paris being a bit like Rio – but without a lot of samba.

In fact stormy weather is not forecast for Paris at all, but there are some areas near the Alps and Pyrenees where the orange alert is flying the flag, for tomorrow at least.

Around here the outlook is confused, with Le Parisien's morning maps not overlaying with this evening's TV–newsphoto: ever ready water weather maps. As near as I could make out the sky is not going to be very blue tomorrow, but the sun will be shining anyway, in sort of a hazy way.

The temperature will be quite high with a prediction for 29 degrees. I suspect it will feel pretty humid. This kind of time will continue on Saturday with everything the same. No rain in sight, but maybe muggy.

The club's Italian 'water of the week.'

For Sunday, it looks like the west half of France will continue with more of the same, and with the temperature hopping up a degree. But, from somewhere in the middle, eastern France might have true blue skies. This 'middle' might be in the Ile de France region and if it is, then the blue skies will be here. It depends on what the Atlantic shoves our way, when, and how hard.

Club Report of the Week Regains 'City' Status

To celebrate August's arrival I selected one of my original Hawaiian shirts and then went a step further and put it on. This attire caused, I'm afraid, rain to fall on me and about 189,000 other people hanging around on the Ile de la Cité. They were wondering what to do with themselves because Paris Plage is a bit damp.

I did not suffer from this indecision. This year's Paris Plage in the rain is a 'first' and I'm glad I was alert enough to capture it so that I can report the event to the world. I expect a flood of postcards from hither and yon congratulating me for this tremendous scoop.

My dictionary is a bit hit–or–miss about the exact location of 'hither and yon.' This I know because in the interests of accuracy I have verified 'yon.' It is poetic for 'yonder,' and it is usually within sight, but not actually far away from Yonkers, in the dictionary, at least.

However this research is later, and now I have inspected Paris Plage from the safety of the Pont au Change. The few folks on it have plenty of elbow– room for their umbrellas. This very same anti–rain gear is somewhat harder to dodge on the bridge.

There are a lot of people occupying all of the terraces under the awnings along the Quai du Louvre, except for the club's café, La Corona. Why this should be I don't know because the view of the traffic is superior.

Also, in the café's 'grande salle' I am surprised to find it is not jammed to the rafters. I don't smell anything bad. The windows are open and damp breezes are weaving around thephoto: cafe stirred fronds. It is a clean, well–lighted place. Where is everybody?

Prunes, I think, everybody must be in the Louvre next door. I sit in the secretary's customary place and enter the meeting's particulars into the club's booklets. I add that the trees need the rain.

The week's best café–stir.

I am just about to twiddle the fingers when members arrive. It is Kim and Ed Hurwitz, with Barbara Cooley, all from Sanibel in Florida. This is the place that became a 'City of the Week' when Barbara joined the club two weeks ago, and not when Kim and Ed joined the club at the end of August in 2001. Oh, that was 149 meetings ago.

I happen to remember that Sanibel became 'City of the Week' at the meeting before last. Ed tells me it has great sunsets and so–so sunrises. "The other side of Florida gets those," he says. "Miami is a good two–hour drive," he adds, "If anybody wants to go there."

Here I get mixed up. Either new member Betsy Russell arrives before Berta and Scoop Maginniss, or the other way around. Almost before Berta sits, she is discussing the merits of highway '123' with Barbara and Betsy. "I go down it every day!" she claims.

Two weeks ago when Barbara joined the club, I had a strange feeling that she might know Kim and Ed. Sanibel isphoto: group cash session not a huge place, is it? Well, Betsy is another one of these Sanibel folks. Except that Betsy lives in Fort Myers, which is the location of Sanibel's mall.

Members figuring out silly metric euro–money.

But the really good news is having Fort Myers, Florida, for a 'City of the Week,' no matter how many malls it has. To be fair, with all the 'Sanibel' I completely forgot about Fort Myers, so it is today's club members who are doing the right thing.

"I didn't paint the windows because it's raining," Scoop says. I write it down, and then ask him why I've written it down. He is saved by Betsy,who says, "Artist? First you have to sell water when it's hot, umbrellas when it's raining."

I write it down. Ed says, "We have a villa in a park. It looks like it should be out in the country but it's in the 9th arrondissement." I write it down. At the other end of the tables there is a lot of loose conversation I'm not getting at all, until I write down, "Is everybody born in the Fairfax hospital?" I have attributed this to Ed, but I'm pretty sure he was talking about last year's heatwave at the time.

"You deal with repair people?" Barbara asks.

Continued on page 2...
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