Sunday Dinner Will Never Be the Same
He’d been ill for a long time, so we don’t have Covid-19 to blame for losing Jim Haynes to his new after life. He put up a really good fight, though, and stayed as active as he could until there just wasn’t any breath left in him this past Wednesday, January 6th.
Jim’s Sunday Night Dinner Soirées that lasted almost half a century and hosted more than 100,000 people ended with the Covid-19 confinement, not with his health issues. The friends who surrounded him managed to keep the dinners going full speed while Jim perched on a stool or sat in his wheelchair or rested on one of the sofas along the wall of his atelier-style apartment in the 14th arrondissement, while the festivities went on around him. He was still the most popular guy in the room, even if mildly participating.
If you hadn’t ever met Jim, then you’re one of the unlucky who missed the opportunity to get to know a truly great individual…so great that a documentary was made about him by a small group of young women who met at Jim’s Sunday Night Soirée. They had never done a documentary before, but were inspired by his story. They called it “Meeting Jim.” It turned out to be a brilliant work of art immortalizing the life of this American in Paris so many of us came to know and love. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at its World Premiere in June 2018 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I urge you to see it if you want to be inspired.
My love for Jim Haynes grew largely after knowing him many years thanks to “Booray.” One day he called me up and asked, “Adrian, do you know how to play Booray?”
“No, Jim, what’s Booray?”
“You’re from Louisiana,” he said. “How did you miss learning Booray?”
“Hell, I don’t know, Jim. But sure, I’m game.”
Booray, aka Bourré, is a Cajun card game that if not for Jim, I’d never have learned it nor known anything about it. He hosted the card games in his atelier for a handful of Louisianians (like himself and me) plus a few “outsiders” who knew the game, too. Periodically we’d meet at his apartment, organize a simple dinner, then sit around the table playing cards and either winning or losing money…with just 50 centimes as the ante. The pot could get pretty large, even based on that small an amount with which to start off. Jim lost often because he didn’t care about the money and was more interested in enjoying the play of the game than winning a few shekels.
That was Jim. Money didn’t interest him and neither did winning, or needing to be right. He let everyone else have their own egos while he let go of his. As long as everyone was having fun, nothing else mattered.
Jim turned 87 this past November 10th. His health was declining and a birthday party was out of the question. It was the only time I’d ever heard him complain about anything. He wouldn’t say “It sucks,” because “Suck” is the name of a sexual freedom newspaper he created in 1969 based in Amsterdam. He also often joked that “there’s nothing wrong in sucking!” But, he did complain about getting old and all that comes with it since he had so much more life in him to give, not to take.
I could write endlessly about Jim Haynes and have many times over the years. Last October 13th, we held our monthly coffee gathering, “Après-Midi,” at the Cafè de la Mairie during that period of deconfinement and showed the documentary. Our viewing of it was by special permission of the producers and Jim himself, who all came together the last 30 minutes of the event on Zoom to answer our audience’s questions.
In the film Jim imparts his wisdom on us about being happy—that we make our own decision to be happy or not; that we control our minds and our moods. He’s right. We do. He did and that’s why Jim was Jim. We all bathed in his glow.
I will miss Jim very, very, very much…as will all of the people whose lives he touched.
An obituary in The Guardian did an excellent job of painting a picture of his life…but it’s just one of many facets of a man who made an indelible mark on Paris and wherever he shared his heart: “Indefatigable leading light in the arts counterculture who founded the Traverse theatre and campaigned for sexual liberation…Jim Haynes.”
WICE TAKES THE PANCAKES
Bestselling author and Paris restaurateur (Breakfast in America), Craig Carlson, will be Zooming as the guest speaker for WICE this coming Wednesday, January 20th, at 6 p.m. CET. The one-hour event, “Pancakes in the City of Light” is free to WICE members or with a €10 donation to WICE. Learn more about the event and register here.
PANCAKES ON FRANCE 24
Craig Carlson was also invited to speak this past Friday on France’s national news channel, France 24, about how the food industry in France has been hit hard by Covid-19. See france24.com/en/ for an inside look at how confinement is affecting the restaurant industry in France.
TRUMP TWEETS TWITTERED OUT
It wasn’t really shocking that Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol since talk show host Bill Maher and lots of others predicted it years ago…that Donald Trump wouldn’t leave the White House if he lost the election. And it wasn’t even really shocking that he’s the one who actually called up his public militia to take the march to the Capitol: “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol…” “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength; you have to be strong.”
What did surprise (and please) me is that Twitter permanently suspended Donald Trump’s account on Friday:
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Thank you, Twitter. What took you so long? But, others might argue this is censorship, so stay tuned for the fallout on that side of the argument.
FOCUSING ON FINANCE
What makes France an attractive place for U.S. expats? Join us January 27th at 12 noon EST/6 p.m. CET, for our North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum 2021 with Brian Dunhill (Dunhill Financial), myself and other special guests—U.S. tax accountants, mortgage brokers, and other professionals that can make your journey as streamlined as possible in France.
It’s free and it’s informative. It’s four times this year. Mark the dates in your calendar now:
* Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
* Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
* Wednesday, July 28th, 2021
* Wednesday, October 27th, 2021
For more information, visit our website events page. To register now for the January 27th event, click here.
HOUSE HUNTING INTERNATIONALLY FROM HOME
Turn on your VPN (virtual private network) for the U.S. and watch our latest House Hunters International episode, “Putting Down Roots in Paris, Season 150, Episode 2” on HGTV.
“A newly engaged couple looks to move from Oslo, Norway, and put down roots in their favorite city of Paris. She dreams of buying an apartment with tons of Parisian charm, but he’s a frugal Frenchman who believes that he’s got all the charm she needs.”
ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE HELPS US PERSUE OUR DREAM TO LIVE IN FRANCE
If you’ve had even a glimmer of an idea to enrich your life with a move to France—whether living full-time or part-time in the Hexagone—this is your opportunity to learn the steps to help make the dream come true. In this one-hour session on Zoom you’ll get the inside scoop from moving-to-France: getting a visa, determining where in France you might want to live, and the steps to finding the perfect home. The session will also include an open forum for questions.
Pursuing the Dream: Living and Investing in France, with Adrian Leeds
Sponsored by the Federation of the Alliance Française USA
Saturday, January 23rd
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. Pacific/12:00 p.m. Mountain/1:00 p.m. Central/2:00 p.m. and here in Paris at 8 p.m.
This Zoom event is free for all Alliance Française members, AATF members, and ADRIAN LEEDS READERS! Click here to register.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian with Jim Haynes
Anyone who ever met Jim or had the pleasure of attending one of Jim’s dinners was indeed, blessed. I had the pleasure of attending his dinners on several occasions…always a wonderful time..We have lost a good man. And “Breakfast in America?” A great taste of the US when I needed it. Pancakes …yum!
I absolutely enjoy reading your nouvellettres! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
Rest in Peace, Jim. Our condolences, Adrian, to you and Jim’s many friends. May his memory be a blessing.
Thank you for introducing us to Jim. it sounds like his life story would make a good book to read.
So sad about Jim. The first time I went to a Sunday dinner at his atelier — 30 years ago now — it changed the whole course of my life. He was a wonder. May the seeds of friendship he’s sown all over the world keep blossoming.
Dear Adrian, after reading about your friendship with Jim, I do feel like one of the unlucky ones to have never met such a man. But how lucky you must feel to have had the honour of calling him a friend.
Also, thank you ! I’ve just printed off the Booray instructions and will introduce it to my 4 girlfriends who I play 500 with over a few glasses of airated, fermented grape juice 😉
Regards from Melbourne, Australia, Clare
Thank you for a tender and touching account of Jim. I suspect he’ll be checking in on his friends to be sure Sunday dinners carry on.
Adorable photo of you with Jim! I met him several times over the years and took visiting tourists with me to his dinners. What a dear man he was!
Adrian, I’m so sorry that you lost such a wonderful friend. I enjoyed the Paris episode on HGTV as I always enjoy your episodes. The young lady was certainly an inspiration! Merci!
It was only through recent writings you posted about Jim that I became aware of this uniquely extraordinary man who opened his heart and home to all that he met. Such people are few and far between therefore, he’s my loss for never have made his acquaintance. May his wonderful friendship always be a memory in your heart, too.