Wrap the Cat with Frites!

photo, ramona mcdaris This proves, even to Ramona, that Ramona is in Paris.

Is Nothing Appropriate?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 11. January:–  I see I was last here the day after searching for last year's Beaujolais Nouveau. It was warm and breezy and felt like springtime in Norway. Well, I got over the BJ by going to New York for a long time. Frankly I am a little surprised that it still seems to be like springtime in Norway around here.

Tonight's TV–news showed very impressive scenes of big winds, especially up along the Channel where the ferries had to stop running and all the trucks had to go through the Tunnel instead. To demonstrate how terrific this might be, TV–news showed us some video scenes of the normally out–of–sight refugees who would like to hitchhike to Britain rather than hang around in France forever.

photo, beer of the weekYellow cocktail
of the week.

Other than this one traffic sign was blown over in Calais and my hat would have been lifted in front of the club's café La Corona but luckily I wasn't wearing one. This is another way of saying that it is windy in Paris today. There is a high in the Irish Sea and a low somewhere west of Portugal and we are in the middle. No, I don't understand it either.

By tomorrow it may all be blown away except for a 50 kph aftermath, whistling towards the northeast. The good news is about how mild it still is. Tonight's low is forecast as 8 degrees and Friday's high is supposed to be 14 degrees. As for the sky, well this isn't New York is it? Expect it to be gray gray gray. It looked so depressing on the weather maps I forgot to use the magnifying glass to look for the telltales of rain.

For Saturday you can expect the same winds to be shooting through here, perhaps blowing fresh air into Germany. The thrilling high for the day may be a respectable 13 degrees but all the rest will be gray gray gray. But wait, there's Sunday. Exchange the gray–gray for semi– sunny, whack three degrees off the high to get 10, and imagine it is what Le Parisien says, "Douce folie." Ah, well, they are talking about the Riviera where it will be 16 and sunny.

The 'Is Nothing Appropriate?' Report

Before leaving for the club today I put on a new and clean shirt even though I doubted that prospective new member Ramona McDaris would be there. The rule, which is not a rule, is – any person who writes to say they are coming to a meeting is very unlikely to turn up. It has something to do with the rule of fives or global warming – even though it happened often enough before there was any global warming. Maybe it was the hole in the ozone layer.

photo, drink mix of the week Cocktail mix of the week.

Ramona wrote to me a long time ago to say she would be at today's meeting and then she sent some updates. One said I should get ready to meet her cat, Sheba. A following note said that Air France refused passage for Sheba because she was too heavy. Actually, Sheba was the right weight but Sheba's cage was too heavy. So no Sheba. On that low note I thought Ramona would scrub the junket.

Anyway the wind blew me past the cemetery and across the Pont Neuf and almost tore the camera out of my hands while shooting posters in front of Samaritaine, which is not having any Soldes d'Hiver on account of still being closed. Somewhere along the way to the café I noticed no folks about, and the café looked deserted when I arrived, completely wind blown.

Patrick, the waiter of the week, jumped out the door to say that the club's area was full of fans. I am not making this up. Full of fans is what he said. Going past the bar, to the welcoming whoops from the café's front end crew, I was handed, with ceremony, a letter too – from club member Terrie Blazek. Wow! Thanks for the card, Terrie!

After rearranging my blown–to–hell hair I entered the café's grande salle and spied a lady sitting in the club's area at the back–of–the–back, cozy but alone. On greeting, Ramona said I could excuse myself, to, "Go downstairs and freshen up." But I had already rearranged my hair so I sat down.

I quickly learned 1. that Ramona's flight landed this morning, 2. that Sheba is being well looked after and 3. that this week's City of the Week is Boerne in Texas. According to sketches made later, Börne – in its German spelling – is somewhere near San Antonio, and maybe Paris, and maybe Arkansas.

As a welcome back – from the centre of the world? – Ramona presented me with a really nifty and genuine Corona cap. My size too! Patrick, in passing said, "C'est joli!" A sewn–in motto says, "Mas fina," which is Spanish for "Make the next round a double."

photo, corona cap of the week The – official? – cap of the week.

With these formalities out of the way we got down to business. Ramona pulled out her new Olympus camera and asked me if I was ready for the Question of the Week. "Here comes the question!"

Did I know how to put a memory card in her camera No problem! All of these cameras are made by the Xzing Xzingo camera and phone factory in downtown China so they are all the same except for the logos. With the new card in it looked like we lost the initial ten photos Ramona had taken, but we had already looked at the photos of Sheba. Her cat doesn't look like it is 18 years old.

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