I've done a lot of events in the last several years. The ones that stand out the most are less about the money and more about the occasion such as the Ethiopian wedding reception we did for Mac and Tewabech Mekonnen's son and daughter-in-law in October of 2006. The rich culture, amazing history and unparalleled love made it such an honor to take part in.
I felt the same privilege and honor on June 4 of this year when I and my staff were called upon to help welcome Mary Crumpler home with the party she'd been planning since December of the previous year.
Many know that Mary suffered a stroke in the fall of 2010, and how she has courageously worked and fought her way back. Her spirit and tenacity, as well as the support of dear friends, Kay Grubb and Sandy Welch, were an inspiration and lesson for all of us.
Minutes before the big night was to begin, I gathered with Mary, Kay, and Sandy. Holding hands in her front living area, we prayed and gave thanks for God’s help and healing in this amazing journey. Tears of joy flowed down our faces as each of us reflected on the long road Mary’s had to take and the culmination of her efforts as she finally returned to her heart's greatest desire: HOME!
Escorted to the party in the most charming way by the Paris Trolley, the number of guests who showed up to celebrate her homecoming said it all as each room of the house, as well as the beautifully pruned and decorated backyard and driveway overflowed with folks literally shoulder to shoulder in anticipation of this long and meticulously planned party.
Brilliantly hued flamingos, Mary's favorite bird, were strategically placed as part of the decor. Palms adorned her yard, Chinese lanterns floated above, and gorgeous floral arrangements courtesy of Chapman Florist were featured at the food service areas.
Culinary options were discussed, and a predominately and extensive Italian menu emerged for guests to enjoy. Selections included:
Spicy Artichoke Dip
Mediterranean Cheese Melt
Home Baked Crostini
Home Baked Rosemary Brown Rice Crackers
Four Cheese Bread
Freshly Fried Zucchini w/Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Freshly Fried Eggplant w/Marinara
Sundried Tomato Penne
Roasted Pepper/Artichoke Potatoes
Roasted Rosemary Chicken Slices
Chicken Italian Sausage
Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes
Tart Lemon Cupcakes (at Kay’s request)
Due to the typical hot and humid northeast Texas weather for this June evening, gallons of iced Fresh Cucumber Water and Almond Lemonade Tea were enjoyed by the guests, while chilled beer and wine were also available for the more adventurous.
It was such a pleasure to serve the crowd as they greeted the beaming hostess and mingled about. Eventually, many headed outside to witness Mary dancing to the tunes of the live band she’d hired to play. It was if she was shouting “Victory!” with each step. I can’t imagine there was a dry eye to be found, and it didn’t take long for others to join in and celebrate right alongside her.
At the end, after the last guests had said their goodbyes, Doc and I joined Mary for the evening’s final spin on the trolley. Seeing her smile of satisfaction and hearing her words, “It went EXACTLY as I’d envisioned” thrilled my heart and perfectly wrapped up one of the most memorable and cherished events this Food Snob has been privileged to take care of.
To my amazing staff of beloved family and friends: (my husband) Doc, Vicki Frankland, Tanya Welch, Jeri Lynn Golden, and Deanna Holladay- Thank You! I couldn’t do it without you!
And, just as big of a thanks to Mary for giving us an evening to forever remember. I admire and love you so much!
Polly~ The Food Snob