A Writer’s Garden Featured Three Authors Plus A First Look At The Dallas Arboretum’s 12 Days Of Christmas

Judge Clay Jenkins

Judge Clay Jenkins

Everyone was in various stage of election recovery on Thursday, November 6. In the shadow of downtown Dallas, CitySquare had celebrated the official opening of its much-needed 52,000-square-foot expansion with a host of dignitaries and supporters like County Court Commissioners Clay Jenkins and John Wiley Price.

Over at the Dallas Arboretum, the annual Writer’s Garden commenced starting at 9:30 with writers galore. Here’s a report from Rosine Hall:

A Writer’s Garden

“The Dallas Arboretum was in full fall color for ‘Treasured Legacies’, the eighth annual A Writer’s Garden Literary Symposium and Luncheon presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Attendees got an extra bonus because it was also the preview day for the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit which opens November 16.

“With three noted authors, the program featured vivid portraits of two of the most widely read and beloved writers in literature and compelling personal stories exploring our gardening heritage. Each speaker had captivating and varying stories to share from their books.

Kathleen Cunningham and Greg Grant*

Kathleen Cunningham and Greg Grant*

Greg Grant, a seventh generation Texan and co-author of Heirloom Gardening of the South, lives in deep East Texas in an old dogtrot house of his great-grandparents. He renovated it through the years and transformed the grounds with heirloom gardening from seeds that have been passed down through the generations. He has dedicated his entire lift to gardening, nature and family and has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry.

Kelsey Mullin is the Director of Public Programming and Education for the Mount and author of The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home. Edith Wharton was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Age of Innocence. Mullin shared the transformational effects of Wharton’s magnificent home and gardens on her success as a writer.

“Author Kim Wilson’s new book At Home with Jane Austen was published less than two months ago.

“’Jane’s life was deeply influenced by her surroundings and travels in Southern England,’ said Wilson. ‘The importance of house and home to her characters is a noted hallmark of her brilliant and endearing stories.’

Books selling briskly*

Books selling briskly*

“Their books were available for purchase and were bought by the armload! Several were sold out before the program even began.

Dorothea Meltzer and Linda Huffines*

Dorothea Meltzer and Linda Huffines*

“The event was chaired by Dorothea Meltzer. Marena Gault is president of the Women’s Council.

“Proceeds from the event make possible the continued expansion and improvement of A Woman’s Garden. Since 1986, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Arboretum.  A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women.”

* Photo credit: Danny Campbell

MySweetMonday Music For November 24, 2014

As everyone scurries to get home for Thanksgiving, let’s hope that one train station or airport might have as much fun as these folks.

JUST IN: LaunchAbility Announces Dana Carvey Will Replace Bill Cosby For “A Special Evening”

It was just a week ago Thursday that the LaunchAbility team announced that comedian Bill Cosby would be the headliner for its fundraising A Special Evening. Since then, Cosby has been slammed in the media with accusations of rape by women.

While the 77-year-old comedian has refrained from comment and has never been charged with a crime, he has been the center of controversy resulting in the cancellation of an NBC series and the postponement of a NetFlix special.

Due to the situation, LaunchAbility’s CEO Kathryn Parson was contacted about Cosby’s April 2nd appearance. The following statement was just received from Kathryn:

LaunchAbility® announced today that Emmy-award winning comedian, Dana Carvey will be performing at the organization’s annual fundraiser, A Special Evening, scheduled for April 2, 2015. The agency is excited to have an entertainer of Carvey’s caliber to perform in place of Bill Cosby who was previously scheduled.

Carvey was a regular on “Saturday Night Live” for seven seasons and well-known for his characters, The Church Lady, Hans (from the duo Hans and Franz), and the Grumpy Old Man. He is also known as Garth, the ‘most excellent’ co-host to Mike Meyers immensely popular Wayne’s World. His uncanny comedic impersonations of political figures such as George and George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, H. Ross Perot, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, as well as Johnny Carson, Andy Rooney, and Regis Philbin continue to add to his comedic legend.

“We are delighted that Dana Carvey is available to share his humorous personality as our entertainer for LaunchAbility’s 14th annual Special Evening Event on Thursday, April 2, 2015,” Kathryn Parsons, CEO of LaunchAbility® said. “We look forward to welcoming him as our host this year.”

Over the past 14 years, A Special Evening has garnered approximately 2,000 sponsors and raised more than $2 million. All of the proceeds from A Special Evening directly benefit LaunchAbility® and have allowed LaunchAbility® to continually expand its programs and grow each year.

Past entertainers of A Special Evening include the following: Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, k.d. Lang, Tom Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Bonnie Raitt, The Pointer Sisters, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins, Vince Gill and Smokey Robinson.

The 2015 A Special Evening Event Co-Chairs are Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, and this year’s Honorary Event Co-Chairs are Ambassador Kathryn and Craig Hall. Past honorary chairs are Margot & Ross Perot, Ruth & Kenneth Altshuler, Linda & Bill Custard, Caren Prothro, Georgia & Doug Smith with Jessica Smith, Anne & Steve Stodghill, Sara & Glen Agritelley, Marinelle & Kip Sowden, Ebby Halliday, Laura & Ellison Hurt, Stacey & Nicholas McCord, Brill & Jason Garrett, Marianne & Roger Staubach, Beth & Steve McGaw, and Caroline Rose Hunt.

Past event chairs include Anne & Steve Stodghill, Kate Rose Murphy Marquez, Laura & Ellison Hurt, Stacey & Nicholas McCord, Jenny Wolf & Jay Fox, Kristi & Jody Bare, Nicole Kapioltas & Angie Hubach, Leigh Anne Haugh & Kristen Johnston, Diana Hamilton & Lauren Maggard, Elizabeth & Eric Gambrell, Laura Johnson & Wendy Messmann, Susan & George Kelly, Cecily & Scott Gooch, and Piper & Mike Wyatt.

Sponsorships for A Special Evening with Dana Carvey hosted by Alliance Data, begin at $750 for individual sponsorships and $2,500 for corporate sponsorships.  For more information, please contact Karen Cooper at (972) 991-6777 ext. 7120 or [email protected], or please visit www.LaunchAbility.org.

ABOUT LAUNCHABILITY®

For more than 50 years, LaunchAbility® has been expanding worlds for people with disabilities by providing services to help them reach their maximum potential. LaunchAbility is dedicated to helping employers build diverse cultures through disability hiring while supporting our clients, who are adults with diverse abilities, in leading independent lives. To do this, LaunchAbility’s team helps adults find and maintain meaningful employment, supporting employers throughout the employment relationship. Our services range from career development/coaching, resume/interview preparation, job identification, and on-the-job coaching for clients, to disability etiquette training and consulting for employers. Please visit our website at www.LaunchAbility.org to learn more.

Bill Cosby: Dr. Huxtable And Mr. Hyde

Bill Cosby (File photo)

Bill Cosby (File photo)

Bill Cosby is not a nice person. No, we’re not talking about the recent allegations of his raping women in the past. There is another issue about “Cos.” It is his Dr. Huxtable/Mr. Hyde personalities.

Having witnessed two episodes more than 10 years apart, it’s perplexing to see him bring an audience to their feet with his jokes, while there are others behind the scenes in tears from his demeaning behavior off-stage.

Such accusations need first-hand accounts.

In January 2011, it was pathetic to see the lovable Dr. Huxtable greeting and charming VIP guests at the Catholic Charities’ Bishop’s Ball at the Anatole. On one side of the room, he was such a doll that the patrons didn’t notice the Catholic Charities staffers on the side looking like puppies who had been beaten with a stick. For those who had witnessed his exchanges with the staff, he was a cruel bully who seemed to take delight in exercising his ability to abuse. His amazing skill with words and delivery that had made people laugh for decades was just as masterful at verbally berating low-paid staffers who indeed looked punch drunk.

The other episode was back in 1996, at a benefit for the St. Paul Foundation. In this case, a volunteer assistant made the mistake of opening the VIP lounge at the Meyerson and having the guests head to Cosby’s open-doored dressing room for the meet-and-greet. As the paid staff scrambled to corral the patrons back to the lounge for the grip-and-grin with Cosby, the comedian verbally dressed down the female staffer in front of the guests and volunteers. Despite her apologizing again and again and trying to explain that it was an innocent accident by a volunteer, he continued to berate and humiliate the staffer to a point where she would have welcomed a slap in the face instead.

Is Bill Cosby a nice person? No. He’s not even funny, when you know the back story.

Change Of Plans: City Lights Is Rescheduled To Sunday Evening

The City Lights switch on for Saturday night has been postponed until Sunday due to Mother Nature’s potentially throwing a temper tantrum Saturday. Everything else remains the same — loads of holiday activities, concessions, etc. And, yes, it’s still gonna be held from 3 to 8 p.m. at Main Street Garden and Pegasus Plaza.

Round Robin November 5: Too Many To Mention But Dang It If NorthPark Isn’t Part Of All Of ‘Em

According to six degrees of separation, everyone/everything is just six or fewer steps away from another person in the world. On Wednesday, November 5, NorthPark was less than two steps away from all the fundraising activities in the area.

Nexus Annual Appeal Campaign Kick-Off Party

Billie Leigh Rippey*

Billie Leigh Rippey*

The Nexus Annual Appeal Campaign Kick-Off Party was taking place at CH Carolina Herrera at NorthPark. According to plans, “The annual appeal kick-off event, chaired by Faye Briggs, will be hosted at CH Carolina Herrera in NorthPark Center. Guests of the chic occasion including society fixtures, fashion savvy personalities, media and Nexus patrons and leaders— will savor champagne, wine and heavy hors d’ oeuvres. In addition, partygoers will have the chance to win a donated CH Carolina Herrera tote. Mid event Nexus Executive Director, Becca Crowell, will express her gratitude to Faye Briggs and CH Carolina Herrera for their support. She will also highlight the annual appeal campaign which begins on November 7th with a mail drop of 9,000 appeal letters to supporters, associates, friends and family of Nexus and of Faye Briggs. Furthermore Carolina Herrera CH will announce that 15% of purchases made at the event will be donated to Nexus Recovery Center as well as any purchases made through November 9th, 2014 with a mention of Nexus Recovery Center.”

Everything went according to plan except Faye wasn’t there. A Nexus representative reported, Faye “had two events booked and wasn’t able to be in two places at once unfortunately. She was trying as far as my understanding to make both.

“The event however, despite her absence was a success.”

So, where was Faye? Check the next item.

TACA’s Founders Circle Dinner

Faye Briggs

Faye Briggs

Alas, poor Faye Briggs was in a quandary. She had just recently been named the honorary chair for Nexus Annual Appeal Campaign and they were having their kick-off party at CH Carolina Hererra in NorthPark. But she was also slated to be at Barbara and Don Daseke’s place for a seated dinner honoring the TACA Founders Circle. (The Founders Circle included people who’ve made multi-year commitments of at least $5K per year.) Since cloning was not available, Faye could only attend one and it was the Daseke dinner catered by The Joule Hotel with Chef Jaco Smith orchestrating in the kitchen.

Barbara Daseke and Nelda Cain Pickens

Barbara Daseke and Nelda Cain Pickens

Sure, it may have been dark, rainy and chilly outside, but inside the Daseke’s teak mansion, it was glowing with TACA art lovers. Despite the fact it was less than 24 hours after the area elections, the world “politics” never was heard. For this crowd of 20+ (Linda and Steve Ivy, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Nelda Cain Pickens, Karol Omlor, Addison Mayor Pro Tem Blake Clemens, Caroline Kohl and Holly and Tom Mayer) had art on the brain.

Caroline Kohl

Caroline Kohl

Karol Omlor

Karol Omlor

Linda Ivy

Linda Ivy

As guests gathered in the two-story living room overlooking the wooded grounds, Diane Brierley welcomed the group and TACA President Becky Young reported how TACA had grown over the past 30 years. She added that the Founders Circle’s commitments represented $2.5M to TACA through 2018.

Then it was time for a little art talk. That’s when Dallas composer Margaret Barrett, who is one of the TACA grant recipients, took over. She told about the “Universal Language” performed by The Obscure Dignitaries and inspired by the DMA exhibit “Concentrations 57: Slav and Tartars” taking place on Saturday, November 22. Free to the public, it will be performed in the DMA Horchow Auditorium.

Diane Brierley and Tom and Holly Mayer

Diane Brierley and Tom and Holly Mayer

While Barbara, Becky and Diane were single wives for the night, others enjoyed a fabulous dinner of scallops, lamb chops and killer lemon tart. And the talk of the performing arts continued to be the table topic.

Fall Into Fashion

Over at Neiman Marcus, the United Way was literally “falling into fashion. Here’s a report:

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas hosted a sold-out crowd for its fabulous ‘Fall into Fashion’ runway show and fundraiser on the third level of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.  More than 300 guests (Robin Bray, Debra SoRelle, Allison Shelton, Emily Hatcher, Brenna Pontarelli, Meryl Olsen, Laura Downing, Donna Epps, Lori Mc Williams, Susan Hutcheson, Debbie Stewart, Jessica Lee, Scarlett Landry, Pamela Osborne, Kristy Faus, Jan Strimple, Lauren Hendershot, Caroline Vu, Deborah Arango, Debra von Storch, Donna Sweatman, Ashley Wathen, Stacy Gibson, Margie Elkins, Cecelia Hodges, Arden Ellis, Jamie Sowa and Katie Anderson) sipped on champagne and cranberry cocktails as they enjoyed watching models display the latest fall must-haves.

Cecelia Hodges, Arden Ellis, Susan Hutcheson, Jamie Sowa, Katie Anderson and Debbie Stewart**

Cecelia Hodges, Arden Ellis, Susan Hutcheson, Jamie Sowa, Katie Anderson and Debbie Stewart**

Ginger Allen and Jan Strimple**

Ginger Allen and Jan Strimple**

“United Way supporters, many of them Women of Tocqueville members, mixed and mingled, nibbling on heavy hors d’oeuvres and listening to beats, courtesy of DJ Blake Ward.  Attendees were entered into a drawing to win a Gucci handbag, and all left with swag bags featuring the best in fall beauty.

“CBS 11/KTVT senior reporter Ginger Allen graciously served as the evening’s emcee.  Guests were generous in bringing their gently used career clothes, accessories, and shoes to donate to United Way programs supporting victims of domestic violence.  For more information about United Way programs, please visit www.unitedwaydallas.org.”

Trains At NorthPark Sponsor Party

And while the Ronald McDonald House’s Trains at NorthPark Sponsor Party didn’t take place at the shopping center, it was certainly center of conversation. Here’s a report from the field:

Tia Wynne, Len Critcher and Jamie Singer***

Tia Wynne, Len Critcher and Jamie Singer***

“Before The Trains at NorthPark, Dallas’ favorite holiday miniature trains exhibit, rolls through Dallas for its 27th year, there’s plenty of fundraising, building in the new trains space, and thanking the sponsors for their incredible support. At the November 5th Trains sponsor party, hosted in the home of Len Critcher, there was plenty to celebrate, but apparently the House is nearing capacity.

“The House referenced isn’t Critcher’s that could be in the pages of Traditional Home, but the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, the organizer of The Trains at NorthPark—its largest fundraiser.

Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, welcomed about 100 supporters. ‘Thank you for your support. The House is at 93% capacity tonight, and The Trains raises nearly a third of our operating budget. Our Trains co-chairs, Jamie Singer and Tia Wynne, have done a tremendous job of fundraising, and we can’t wait to see all of you at the opening on November 22.’

Courtney Westerburg and Claire Raggio***

Courtney Westerburg and Claire Raggio***

“Jamie Singer, who has volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House since she was in high school, thanked Claire Raggio and Courtney Westerburg, last year’s Trains co-chairs who organized the sponsor party. ‘I’m also pleased to announce next year’s Trains co-chairs Jennifer Tobin and April Cook to fill our shoes.’

“Tia Wynne, who has taken her children to the attraction for seven years, added, ‘Thank you for Bank of Texas for helping make the Trains roll as our presenting sponsor for the sixth year.’

“Bank of Texas’ Bob White added, ‘What Ronald McDonald House of Dallas does is important work, and it’s a pleasure for us to be a part of this community.’

“Dr. Jeffrey Fearon and his wife, Regen Fearon, serve as this year’s Honorary Co-chairs. (Regen was just named the Junior League of Dallas’ Sustainer of the Year on November 6 at a luncheon where Laura Bush spoke.)

Bob White, Diane Fullingim, Regen and Jeffrey Fearon and Jill Cumnock***

Bob White, Diane Fullingim, Regen and Jeffrey Fearon and Jill Cumnock***

“He told a personal story from his childhood about how his mother had taken his sister to Boston Children’s when she was very ill, and there wasn’t a Ronald McDonald House for his mother. She stayed in a hotel by herself and apart from the family. Fast forward years later, and he worked at the same hospital.

“Through his practice as a craniofacial surgeon, he sees plenty of patients, many of whom stay at the House. He finally decided as a family that he and Regen needed to take their twins and visit this place. ‘I was taken by the humanity of the people feeding families at the House.’ He was referring to the fact that volunteers serve families three homemade meals a day, the caring staff that supports the families, and the comfortable accommodations each family receives. ‘The amount of stress that the House reduces is enormous.’”

* Photo provided by Nexus Recovery Center 
** Photo provided by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas 
*** Photo credit: Rhi Lee

Baylor University Louise Herrington School Of Nursing’s Going For The Gold Patrons Learn Deets About Upcoming Gala

As has recently been recognized, the profession of nursing is on the frontline in the world of healthcare. Due to advanced technology and research, the knowledge and information are constantly being updated. That is why the most up-to-date education of this vital force is paramount to the well-being of the community as a whole. To help fund this preparation, the following event took place on the evening of Monday, November 3:

Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) hosted its second annual PRE Gala VIP reception at the Belo Mansion in Dallas. This event continued the tradition of spotlighting championship efforts to help raise scholarship funds for student nurses.

Alice Starr, Tammy Simon and Shelley F. Conroy*

Alice Starr, Tammy Simon and Shelley F. Conroy*

“The evening was generously hosted by Baylor Scott & White Health to support the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. Welcoming over 160 distinguished guests was Dr. John B. McWhorter III, Senior VP, Baylor Health Care System and President, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, in addition to Joel T. Allison, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer, Baylor Health Care System and Baylor Scott and White Health. Extending thanks on behalf of LHSON and sharing the convocation was Dr. Shelley F. Conroy, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, Dean and Professor, LHSON and Inaugural Dean of the new Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, Baylor University.

Bill Simon and Ken Starr*

Bill Simon and Ken Starr*

“Giving a short keynote address was Bill and Tammy Simon who were the events honored guests and are Baylor parents. Bill was U.S. CEO of Walmart from 2010-2014 and Tammy is a former Clinical Nurse Specialist in Obstetrics and Cancer survivor. The VIP reception included closing remarks by Judge Ken Starr, 14th president and chancellor of Baylor University, and Alice Starr, Baylor’s First Lady. In addition, a special video about the importance of nursing and nursing student scholarships was shown that included a message from Robert Lee Griffin III (RG3), NFL Quarterback for the Washington Redskins and Baylor University 2011 Heisman Trophy winner. RG3 will give the keynote address at LHSON’s 4th Annual 2015 Going for the Gold Gala on Saturday, February 28, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Gala sponsorship opportunities will be available soon and individual tickets will go on sale in early 2015.

“The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas is passionate about preparing exemplary nurses for the 21st Century and the key to doing that is recruiting and retaining outstanding students. Past Going for the Gold Galas featured champion athletes such as: America’s gold medal legend Mary Lou Retton in 2014; former Dallas Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith in 2013 and Baylor’s championship-winning women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who joined former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman at the inaugural gala in 2012. Over the years the three gala have raised more than $1.7 million for student scholarships.

* Photos provided by Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing

Use Those Warms Thoughts To Take The Chill Out Of Munchkin’s Holidays

The advantage of being a firstborn was you got new stuff. The problem with being #2, #3 or #4, you got hand-me-downs. By the fifth kiddo, the clothes were so threadbare, that your folks ended up getting new stuff.

So, the lesson learned is that new is always best when it comes to clothes, shoes and facelifts.

And that’s what Metrocare Services is aiming for this year. No, not the facelifts or even the shoes. They’ve set a goal to “collect 1,000 NEW coats, jackets, sweaters or sweatshirts in size 2-18 for many of the children and teens we serve.”

While some are asking for “gently used” items, Metrocare is ramping things up because “There is something special about receiving a gift with the tags still on, and for our kids, it is a very rare thing. It says, ‘You are special and you deserve this!’”

So, with the brutal chill of the past days in mind and your sights set on Black Friday, why not do one of the following things:

  • Individual donations of clothing or money. They need to be delivered to Metrocare Services (1380 River Bend Drive) from December 1 through 12 from 9 .m. to 4 p.m.
  • Host an Angel Tree at your office, in your community group or neighborhood for coats.
  • Volunteer your time to help the Metrocare team sort and match donations with a child. You can help out on December 11, 12, 15 and/or 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Or better yet, do two or three of the above suggestions.

Who Are These Kids Who Hope For A Holiday Gift?

Hello, Dallas? We’ve got a problem. There are people who are shivering without even the most threadbare coats. There are animals that are chained to outdoor porches without so much as a cover.

Those are dreadful situations. If you can help, go for it!!!!

Further down the priority list are the children who will have nada for the holidays.

Hey, so who are these kids? They should be grateful for what they have.

Who said that?

“These kids” are ones who have been snatched from abusive situations by Child Protective Services. They’ve witnessed scenes that would snap the backbones of most adults. They have been rescued from households that would shudder the strongest among the community. In many cases, they’ve never known a new dress, their own toy or even a book to read.

Who are these kids? They are the “clients” of Community Partners of Dallas. For them, there is no holiday from the horror that they have witnessed. And this year the “urgent need to fulfill the largest number of holiday wishes” is greater than ever. There are more than 8,100 wishes, an increase of 1,134 wishes over last year. Recalls Children’s Protective Services’ caseworker Natosha Hooks, “I had a case with seven children in the family. The oldest child, who was 13 years old, told me that for Christmas they get one toy and he, as the oldest, plays with it first and then it goes down the line to the smallest kids who get to keep it. This Christmas they all had their own toys thanks to the generosity of Community Partners of Dallas.”

What’s that? Do you have to be a Fortune 500 to help? Heck, no! Whether you’re a mega-buck corporation or an individual on a limited budget, you can help by providing anything — “bikes, African American dolls, items from Disney’s FROZEN, Barbies, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, learning toys for toddlers, like a Vtech Learning Laptop, Dora dolls, MP3 players, LEGO sets, Tonka trucks and Bath and Body Works sets — at Peacock Alley Warehouse (2050 Postal Way) by 1 p.m. on Friday, December 12.”

Or better yet, just send mooh-la!

Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award Patrons Party At “The Dump Top” With Honoree Bobby Lyle

The Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award patron party was going to draw a crowd. After all, it was honoring Bobby Lyle.

But then the invitation arrived in mailboxes and that guaranteed a bona fide turn out. The party was to be at Mary McDermott Cook’s new, not-moved-into home, “The Dump Top.”

The view from "The Dump Top"

The view from “The Dump Top”

Mary explained the naming of the Bill Booziotis-design home was due to its being built on a former dumping site. The home has multiple balconies with flawless views of the Dallas skyline and with such perks as a master bedroom’s indoor and outdoor showers, two-sided elevator, a dramatic two-story cylindrical entry hall with a curved wall window and winding staircase and a culinary center that a professional chef would envy.

Winding staircase

Winding staircase

Still, not a chair was seen. According to Mary, the furniture was to be in place by Thanksgiving. Couldn’t tell if her fingers were crossed.

Ray Hunt and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal

Ray Hunt and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal

But the guests like Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Dr. Steve Mansfield, Gail Thomas, Gay and Bill Solomon, Nita and John Ford, Carolyn Miller, Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly, Pete Schenkel and John Scovell, didn’t care if the furniture was MIA. Even when they gathered in the living room for the program, some sat on the window seat along the wall and others just stood.

Mary McDermott Cook

Mary McDermott Cook

Mary also admonished guests to look in closets and anywhere they wanted to because this was the last time the house would be up for total exploration.

Still, this occasion was not the house’s first party. Nope. That took place the night before when Mary hosted a party for the people who built the contemporary mansion.

April Box Chamberlain

April Box Chamberlain

Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain admitted that she hadn’t really known Bobby until he was selected as the 2014 awardee. But she added that she had become a quick expert and liked what she discovered.

She then revealed that already more than $1.4M had been raised for the Wednesday, November 19th dinner at the Hilton Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom. In keeping with the award’s tradition, in which the honoree gets to select how the funds will be designated, Bobby had selected medical education.

Barbara Rabin, Nancy Ann Hunt and Lotte Brodsky

Barbara Rabin, Nancy Ann Hunt and Lotte Brodsky

Bobby next eloquently thanked Mary for hosting the party as well as recognizing old friends Nancy and Ray Hunt, Linda and Mitch Hart and Lottye Brodsky.

Bobby Lyle

Bobby Lyle

As one point Bobby focused on Methodist Health System Foundation Board Chair Steve Folsom and told how Steve’s dad, former Mayor Robert Folsom (after whom the award was named), had been a dear friend and would have been so impressed by Steve’s leadership at Methodist. He recalled how Bob had been an investor in Bobby’s company.

Bobby admitted that he had been a bit apprehensive about the dinner — “One of the things I dislike most is big surprises.” Eyeing certain party guests, he suggested that Foundation staffers like April and Joy Duncan had tapped sources for insider info.

Then addressing Mary, he said, “Mary, this is the greatest dump site I’ve ever seen. And we’ll be back next week when you get some furniture.”