"I Thought It was a Famous Bear!"

photo, group, jerry, sue, ramona, linda Jerry, Sue, Ramona and Linda are the Group of the Week.

Runner–up Quote of the Week? "Holy Moly!"

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 25. January:–  Another Alert Orange snow day in France but not here. It's been moving around and wherever it goes there are big messes on the autoroutes and folks in villages are without power. I wonder about that – before EDF guaranteed power for everybody, everybody used to go out and gather their own wood, or coal, or gas, or briquettes. We were always helpless in Paris – to strikes, to thin walls and single–pane windows. We still are. Brrrrrr.

It's possible that it's not an Alert Orange day tomorrow. The predicted low tonight is minus four degrees but the high on Friday should be 3 degrees above freezing, 300 percent more than today. There will be some breezes from the northwest but I forgot to note their velocity, if it was even mentioned. Semi–sunny in the morning will turn into semi–cloudy in the afternoon.

photo, zero degrees, pharmacy  sign

It's the beginning of an almost–heatwave. On Saturday we are supposed to expect 5 as the high, and perhaps some more semi–sunny over our heads. Then on Sunday the northwest wind is back, this time expected to be 70 kph. Around here there are lots of clouds on the map, and these may turn into semi–cloudy in the afternoon.

Note that semi–cloudy and semi–sunny are not the same at all. Semi–cloudy is not total overcast but it might be hard to tell the difference. Semi–sunny is what we get when we are expecting all–cloudy and then it fools us with three flashes of brief sunshine at 13:00. The good news is that the high for Sunday is forecast to be 7 degrees. Other good news involves our sunsets, which are now about 17:30, if it is being exceptionally semi–sunny.

The "I thought it was a famous bear!" Report

I got ready to go to today's club meeting by sitting down for breakfast wearing my new coat. I had to take off my new gloves so I could eat my bread slices without getting them sticky with jam. Then I made a big pot of strong café and poured it in. Out of the window the cemetery across the way looked freezing, but folks over there never notice.

photo, micro cup, ex mini expresso Typical one–sip mini express.

A little later, passing its long walls it occurred to me that being underground would be less exposed to the wind, which was right in my face. It reminded me of the season I delivered Christmas mail, in a month–long blizzard. Through heat and hail, through rain and flood, through lightening and gales, the club's secretary never faltered getting to club meetings on time, day or night.

In fact I did the usual stuff. Got in the métro and rode it to Odéon and tramped the rest of the way, over the Pont Neuf and against the wind along the Quai du Louvre. At La Corona the waiter of the week, Patrick, said there were a lot of lady members waiting for me. Waiting a long time. My watch said 14:53.

When I walked into the café's grande salle I immediately spied members Ramona McDaris and Linda Thalman huddled together behind the club tables almost completely covered with bottles and glasses and cocktail mixings. It looked like they were having a party. They invited me to take a seat. So I did.

photo, feve from lindaLinda's fabulous

Before I could take care of the administrative chores – they take about 63 seconds – Ramona handed me what looked like some sort of key ring thing, that turned out to be a ring with some simple tools – a screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver and a bottle opener – the sort of thing handy to carry on airplanes for dismantling seats even though it is almost certain to be confiscated. Okay, for taking apart handcuffs if I'm ever arrested.

Ramona said they were the kind of thing you can buy in Boerne, Texas if you ever happen to be in that nook of the weeds. At this exact moment we were joined by Sue and Jerry Marterer from Jacksonville, Florida. Jerry told me yet again how he isn't always in Paris on Thursdays so I remembered him right away as the member I don't see when he isn't in town at meetings on Thursdays.

Almost immediately, or a little bit before, everybody was talking at once. Four members can talk a lot faster than I can write notes, especially with Ramona asking me to set her camera straight after Linda made its flash work, which was the opposite of what she was trying to do. Ramona said, "People are so political..." and you'll have to guess the rest because I was looking for the flash in the menus and coming up blank.

"You never know what's going on," she continued, about what, I have no idea. "It's mysterious." I know. Then Jerry was saying something about what the dogs do on the sidewalks. "It's much less than it used to be," he said. Right! Don't mention it. Not at a table full of cat lovers.

photo, set of tools What every club secretary needs.

See? I almost forgot. Before Jerry and the dogs Ramona and Linda had their cameras out for something besides the flash thing – they had photos of their loved ones. For Ramona this was Sheba, whose cat crate was tooheavy for Air France to carry, and for Linda it was Starlet, her relatively–new favorite cat. Especially since her Tiger became an independent contractor.

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