So often when a gala is held, the ladies take over the helm and the gents’ main responsibility is hand holding and check writing. Ah, but last Saturday’s Billiard Ball not only broke that traditional relationship, it also had a mix of guests that resulted in a great time at the Ritz-Carlton and raised funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas.
First, let’s start with the chairs. It was solo-gal JB Hayes and couple Rachel and Chris Trowbridge. From the start, Chris took the lead. . . well, sorta. He included the gals on all decisions and attention, but he was definitely the front man. Were the girls upset with this man-o-man? Heck, no. The threesome were always on the same page.
According to JB, “He is awesome. He is the only reason I was there in my role last night. He convinced me I needed to co chair with them when I kept saying – no! I told Chris and Rachel I’d chair anything with them – any time. He is the hardest working co-chair I’ve met. Most guys let their wives do the work. I think I mentioned – he wrote all our letters – even the one in the program. He rocked it.”
(If you’re wondering whose fingers are behind Chris and Colin, it’s JB.)
Now, as for the mix of guests, someone once said that in Dallas society there are pods and the pods don’t cross over or mix. Well, the pod rule was dropped for the Billiard Ball. What’s more even Dallas’ best dressed types put aside their cutting-edge couture and flapped. Excuse me? Well, it was a jazz theme and 21st century Dallas jazz babies interpreted the style with long strings of pearls, headbands with feathers, wing-tipped collars and white dinner jackets. Mayor “Big” Mike Rawlings, looking like a Texas version of Casablanca’s Rick, explained, “I thought I’d do the Gatsby look. and if they need a [musical] conductor, I thought I could do that, too!”
Of course, a best dressed type still must have a touch of elegance even in costume. Rachael Dedman‘s Valentino’s stilettos felt right at home with all the pearls in the room. Myrna Schlegel kept her full-length white fur coat on during the reception. Unfortunately, every time a new guest arrived via the adjacent circular driveway, the wind blew a chill through the lobby. Perhaps that’s why the one-third of the room was rather vacant and the ladies checking folks in wore pashminas.
But once the ballroom doors opened, the guests easily found their way into a marvelous room and a fabulous dinner (mixed greens with marinated tomatoes, hearts of palm and picked red onions, shallot thyme vinaigrette; smoked almond and chile crusted airline chicken with creamy collard greens, roasted fingerling potatoes, tangerine cinnamon sauce; and classic crème brulee madeleine and fresh seasonal berries).
Then Chris told the sold-out gathering that this was the largest crowd in BB history because of the sponsors and the Nancy and Robert Dedman family (” a lot of them are in headbands and feathers tonight!”). This gala was the ninth year that the multi-generational Dedman clan has “been there for us.” BTW, this year there was a new addition to the “clan” with the recent wedding of Jonathan Dietz and Saryn Hoover in January.
The he added, “If you want to sell out an event, invites the Durhams!”
Speaking of the Durhams, Barbara and Steve were at what someone described as a “wedding-styled” table front row center with Linda and Steve Ivy, Myrna and Bob Schlegel and a host of others.
After a video presentation in which Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas’ President Charles Englishdescribed the clubs as “learning centers,” Scott Murray took over the emcee duties saying, “This is no longer your father’s Boys & Girls Club.” This lead
into the introduction of Chadae Catherine Sauls, who gave a stirring description of her life and how the B&GCGD had impacted her. Chadae had trouble at home. Parents argued about money. Dad drank and partied. Mother lost her job and they became homeless. She said during those days she dreamed of “a magical place where everything was perfect, and nothing could go wrong.” The Oak Cliff B&GC became her magical place.
In closing, she said, “I’m a leader. I’m a winner. I’m strong and talented.. . The sky’s the limit.”
It was such a strong, impassioned speech, that Scott looked in the direction of the Rawlings’ tables and said, “Mayor Rawlings, you better watch out!”
It was then time to present the Robert H. Dedman Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy and another brief video was shown with tribute from Sheila and Jody Grant, the Schlegels, Toni Brinker, the Ivys and Durham kids Bill Durham and Julie Rado.
Patty Dedman Nail officially did the presentation adding, “This is dad’s (the late Robert Dedman Sr.) birthday week.”
In accepting the award, Barbara and Steve kept their remarks very brief and appreciative, but in closing Steve said that as a matter of fact there were several Pisces in the audience, but only one with a 1911 birthday (specifically March 9, 1911) — Ebby Halliday. With that everyone stood and sang “Happy Birthday” to the soon-to-be 101-year-old, who looked rather surprised by the recognition.
As the Durham were invited to lead off the dancing, the first one to congratulate Ebby was Mayor Mike, as he hustled across the room.
While the dance floor filled, others kept up the conversation end of the evening. Diane and Hal Brierley reported that they had asked their names be taken off the Brinkers series for the March 2 lecture becuase of the conflict between Alex Baldwin‘s appearance and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge gala. . . Susan and Tom Stanzel (aka Rachel’s parents) were beaming over the incredible success of the evening. . . Lynn McBee reported that it was all-systems-go for the MHHB gala and she should know since she’s chairing the three-day opening. But she hasn’t got much time to rest before she oversees the Dallas Film Society’s Dallas International Film Festival in April. . . Chadae and hip-hopper Xaiver, who headlined the BB patron party walked through the crowd arm-in-arm, until they got caught in to different conversations. Xaiver found himself getting advice from Jeff Rich, who advised young hip-hopper to smile real big when they take your picture and it will end up in the paper.
What was most interesting in looking out on the room of flappers and dignitaries was it almost seemed like a multi-family affair with Dedmans, Durhams and Stanzels. Perhaps it was because these families truly appreciate how the Boys & Girls Club provides “a magical place” when it’s lacking at home.