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    Suburban Diary

    September in Paris, remembered

    The honeymooners enjoying Paris in 1977.
    The honeymooners enjoying Paris in 1977.

    Ah, Paris, where we went on our honeymoon. I will never forget the look in the eyes of the maître d’ when I told him my steak was too tough to eat. Pure French hatred for the ignorant American tourist.

    He snapped his fingers (and we were not on a movie set). Then our waiter came to his side with a serrated knife. The maître d’ started sawing into my tiny portion of French cooking, over which Julia Child would have torched the restaurant for serving, even to someone who had not read her classic book on cooking à la française.

    He had no luck in piercing the black, shriveled chunk of beef. He managed to cut his way through almost to the plate.


    “Ah, see, there is nothing wrong with this meal.”

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    My new wife, Amy, shrugged it off. She had spent her junior year abroad living with a French family and attending courses at the Sorbonne.

    It was a tough year for her, what with finding excuses not to enjoy cow brain for dinner with the family.

    She told me her first meal at a restaurant in Paris was highly instructive. She had ordered a salad and found a small wriggling white worm on a leaf of lettuce. She pointed this out to the server and he picked it up between two fingers and flung it into the air.

    “Voilà! It is no more. Enjoy, Madame!”


    But what about the Eiffel Tower, you ask?

    The romantic place Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes. Our experience atop that historic landmark was as successful as was TomKat’s marriage.

    As we gazed out at the lights of Paris at night below, my bride noticed one of those pay binocular machines that resemble a 5-foot-5-inch tall version of Robert Downey as Iron Man, wearing his metal helmet as he zooms around the skies.

    She got out her coin purse full of French change and put some into the slot. Within 30 seconds, she was complaining to me that the machine was broken.

    “Can you believe it? On the Tour Eiffel, yet!”


    Before I could stop her, she confronted two uniformed guards and soon all were speaking French rapidly with all their temperatures rising.

    They must have been used to demure foreign women who were easily conquered by shopping mall gendarmes.

    Amy once played tug of war on the T with a young criminal who had grabbed her purse strap. His friends finally told him to give up the battle.

    “That lady is NOT gonna let go of it!”

    In any case, there in the City of Lights, Amy got her francs back and a spectacular view.

    And then we kissed like TomKat. Except, unlike them, our marriage will endure, 36 years come this September, to be exact.

    Burlington resident George Weinstein can be reached at