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The Red Mugs

photo, group of 17 of the week

The club's first 'Group of 17 of the Week,' freezing in Paris.

Not Faces, Coffee

Paris:– Thursday, 24. February 2005:– The weather map in today's Le Parisien shows two black clouds here and there, and 15 white clouds dropping little white circles all over the whole country except on the Riviera.

There were some times today when very tiny little white circles fell, no, drifted, over Paris today. It was hard to tell whether they were snow flakes or loose feathers, or maybe confetti. It means General Winter is nearby – out west in fact. But our breeze is coming from the east.

Oops. I look again, at the Ile–de–France map and see that we were to have two black clouds, four gray clouds and two white clouds with the snow flakes. The sun is peeping out from behind the gray clouds. I don't remember anything about this.

No matter because this is what we're to have on Friday. An orange snow–alert warning for out west, stopping at the edge of the Ile–de–France. Here it is supposed to be semi–sunny semi–time, with a low of minus two and a high of plus 4 degrees tomorrow, probably about 14:42. Gorgeous sunshine again for the Riviera of course.

On Saturday around here it is expected to be semi–sunny again, with the old clouds hanging upphoto, soupe a l'oignon, quai du louvre along the Channel. It will not be warmer because we're only supposed to expect 3 degrees. Then on Sunday the whole aspect will get really agreeable with more semi–sunny times and the clouds sitting out east someplace.

Should have been the 'Soup of the Week.'

Maybe not. Sunday's high has been forecast as 2 degrees, which is not 'high' at all. Le Parisien says we should rejoice because no snow and no rain is forecast, and there's a thaw coming on Monday. Some thaw! High is predicted as 4 degrees, fully twice as much as Sunday.

The 'Red Mugs' Report of the Week

It wasn't snow that slowed me down getting out of here to go to the club meeting this afternoon. I haven't actually seen it snowing, the white stuff was just there yesterday morning. But it hasn't been warm so it is taking its time to get lost.

Being late had something to do with not having any orange juice. It didn't actually, but I am remembering it because I need to get some. It was something else that I've forgotten. Since I can't remember it either, I can always get the orange juice and set things half right.

Then I get halfway down the road beside the cemetery before I notice that the sidewalk on the other side is ice–free. If I wasn't late I'd go back and do it over again. In the Métro tunnel at Raspail I see there are few other passengers, and the train when it comes in almost empty too.

The driver puts on a burst of speed between Placide and Sulpice. Probably for testing the brakes. They work fine at Sulpice. I get out at Saint– Germain because I can walk the rest of the way and be on time. If I stay with the Métro the driver might decide to play slow driving on account of being ahead of time.

I don't notice anything out of place in the Quartier Latin. Going across the Pont des Arts I see some brave souls on a sightseeing boat, and they cheer – the Pont des Arts? The Ile de la Cité? On the other side a Joe is wailing away with a saxophone on the quai. Except for a few cold seagulls there isn't much of an audience.

The club's café La Corona is sitting in its usual place. The tear–up–the– pavement guys have finished its sidewalk and are attacking the crosswalk. I wonder what they are really doing.

The inside of the café is sleepy. There are only a few dozers in the 'grande salle.' I remember that I forgot to bring a paper to read. I have a new 'reports' booklet, so I get it in shape. Meeting number 278, blah blah. Banners outside indicate an east wind. I remember, a guy on the bridge offered to trade me a whisky for a cigarette. I told him I live in the 14th and he gave up.

Then I see members Berta and Scoop Maginniss winding through the café, bearing bundles. Berta isphoto, cafe mugs cafe metropole excited. She unwraps and hauls out three coffee mugs, riot–engine red. White writing on them says, 'Paris,' and 'Café Metropole.'

There is a red coffee bag too, with a label that says 'Café Metropole' and 'Paris' and 'Premium Coffee.' Another label on the back gives the name of the café, the address and the meeting time.

A first! Snazzy red Café Metropole Paris coffee mugs.

Not content to merely think that this club needs coffee mugs and appropriate coffee to go in them, Berta and Scoop have had these samples made. Alright. Without further notice, up the flagpole they go. Order your very own Café Metropole Club red coffee mugs and coffee today! Write to metropoleparis@aol.com this minute.

A few details need to be worked out. Like the price and the S & H. Scoop says he'll do the coffee research. I need to do a drawing for the coffee bag labels, but otherwise the bag is red, like the mugs. Any color you want so long as it's red. Very red, of course, to remind you of café awnings and Paris fire trucks.

It's like Christmas. Berta even has a red Champagne box, and the three mugs almost fit inside. Scoop says he's going to Galeries Lafayette to check out their coffee. He says it'll be called the 'Thursday blend,' the 'Corona' blend and the 'Cartoon' blend. It's the start of a blended empire.

Scoop says, "We'll get the Columbian anywhere. The label won't need a warning." And upon reflection, "If we get an order, we'll come up with a price."

Afer all this excitement we have to sit still to absorb it. It gets quieter. Berta bends the Champagne box stuffing coffee mugs in it. People come in the café, frozen. Warm people leave the café.

Continued on page 2...
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