"Put In Ziplines!"

photo, group of two, joe and max Joe and Max outside La Corona.

Add a Tailhook!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 19. July:–  Last Monday with its thrashing rain and cool temperatures put the fear of wet into us. Getting like that right after a perfect Bastille Day weekend, right before the grand opening of Paris–Plage – well, one could have thought summer is over, or here we are back with a usual summer that is no summer at all. But NO it isn't to be like that!

At least not for the next couple of days, according to tonight's TV–news and weather forecast. All the same tomorrow morning looks decidedly crummy. There's a breeze hitting 70 kph bopping up the Channel and a load of thick clouds over here. Then, voilà the whole mass moves east, leaving semi–sunny skies behind. Expect, though, temperatures to be lower, around the 21 degree level.

photo, beer of the weekBeer of the Week.

On Saturday the skies will be playing low games up along the Channel again but that is not nearly around here, so we are supposed to expect that it will be semi–good, actually, and for those with faith in their hearts, a temperature high of 23 degrees was predicted.

For keeping the faith, Sunday should come to us with a semi–decent ambiance which includes some sunshine. Up along the Channel everything will continue as it was, but who cares? In return, around here the temperature might be about 22 degrees. This is a little low for July and the third day of Paris–Plage but it's better than having a weekend's worth of tomorrow morning.

The "Put In Ziplines!" Report

My son Max, who is on a visit to see his old dad and eat a lot of very tasty cheeseburgers, has been painting a white shirt he brought. When he wasn't waiting to use the computer or watching French programs on the old TV, or playing Solitaire, or resting with his shoes off, was sitting on various semi–broken chairs all hunched over with a tiny paintbrush and a tube of black acrylic, painting infinitesimal little lines on this shirt.

I wanted to say, "Max, you'll lose your eyesight doing that," but if I had, he would have said, "Ah, sure now, there's enough light," even after it was quite totally nighttime. He didn't do this all the time – there were those other activities – but he worked steadily on it, morning, noon and night. Especially in the mornings, before I woke up and we went out tramping around.

photo, cafe of the week Café of the Week.

Sometime after this morning he finished the shirt, which has been left a bit asymmetrical so it looks hand–painted. I thought he finished it two days ago but I was wrong. To celebrate the occasion I did not force Max to take the métro at Raspail like usual. We took the métro from Gaîté to ride up to the Champs–Elysées and from there to Concorde where we got out and turned into the Tuileries, which I figured would be a good spot to shoot the shirt.

When the sun is shining on the Tuileries the sand is bright like snow in winter. In this glare we shot the shirt and then shambled eastward, past the Fête foraine with all the gaudy rides and sideshows, the shoot–the–shoots, the twisters, the twirlers and the ferris wheel. Max tried the maze but once in it discovered that is is not a maze at all, and docked the park five points.

We eventually passed the Pyramid and parked on a shady bench in the Cour Carée, which Max said could be improved by being filled with water, with some slides and maybe a high board or two. Or maybe is was for organizing paint–ball tournaments in rubber rafts. Whichever, it could be improved, made more useful than just being a decent place for meditation. "And put in ziplines!" he added.

photo, joe fitzgerald, 1968, danang Joe, way back then.

As on every Thursday sooner or later it is 15:00 and as it was, there we were installed in the club's café, La Corona. As I entered the particulars of today's meeting Max took out his phone and resumed the game on it. Then a person hove into view, wearing regulation shades, and I plucked a name out of the thin air – Joe.

And so it was, Joe Fitzgerald, longtime club member and part time resident, who sometimes calls Saint Louis, Mo. home too. Joe graciously told me the part of his name I was having a problem recalling, and then entertained us with stories about his recent adventures in Bangkok.

Well, this is Paris here so I don't want to write any rumors about Bangkok even if they were told to me by a club member in good standing, but Joe was in the hospital four days there. He said the nurses were very neat and tidy but he is not eating any more oysters in Bangkok. That is, I guess, a problem caused by eating oysters here all the time. You think every place has the same oysters.

Most of the time, Joe said, he was visiting places of meditation, like the temples at Angkor Wat. Or maybe that is next on his wish list. Maybe he really went to the River Kwai – pronounced some other way! – and learned that most of the guys who made the bridge were Thais and not King Rat or Alec Guinnss.

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