The valet parkers along Preston Road were pretty darn busy Wednesday. In addition to the Dallas Country Club’s official opening of its new digs with fireworks that lit up half of North Texas, Harlan Crow was hosting another event at his library. In between Harlan’s and the DCC, Jimmy and Carl Westcott held a very small, private dinner for Platinum-level patrons (Linda and Steve Ivy, Lee Bailey, Pat and Pete Schenkel to mention a few) for New Friends New Life‘s 2012 Wings Luncheon the next day, for which Jimmy and daughter-in-law Kameron were honorary co-chairs.
And as if the house that Jimmy decorated with fabulous antiques and collectibles wasn’t enough to attract a stellar crowd, luncheon speaker/author Nicholas Sparks was the guest of honor. Boy, was he ever! The moment he entered the mansion, the ladies seemed to glow with a dreamy radiance. Well, after all he wrote “The Notebook,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Nights in Rodanthe” and other best sellers.
But the ladies waited their turns to be introduced to the charming and very outgoing Nicholas. It was rather cute hearing the chorus of “He’s my favorite author” that echoed through the entry hall. That’s about as far as he got until it was time for dinner in the living room that had been beautifully drafted into the dining room for the occasion.
While the ladies fluttered and Nicholas was flattered, the gents knew their place. As wife Nancy Ann and daughter Ashlee Kleinert were being introduced to Nicholas, Ray Hunt told how he had originally heard of NFNL via Gail and Gerald Turner. Ray maintained that human trafficking today is where breast cancer and HIV Aids were 15 years ago. They were huge problems back then that nobody talked about. Nowadays, they’re in the mainstream.
After taking their places at the dinner tables and before the Stephan Pyles dinner (Almond gazpacho with lobster, vanilla-roasted fennel and frozen champagne grapes; rack of lamb with spring peas, blood orange, baby carrots and carrot sponge; and Meyer lemon panna cotta with port-macerated blackberries, blackberry-serrano sorbet and white chocolate foam) was presented, Luncheon Chair Katherine LaLonde thanked all for their extreme generosity. “It makes me speechless. Another person who makes me speechless is one of my dearest friends, Jimmy. Helping these victims and the vulnerable ones has been Jimmy’s passion for a longtime.”
It was then Jimmy’s turn at bat and she minced no words. After describing Katherine as “her bestest friend in the world” and saying it was a honor to help, she told the assembled guests, “I don’t think there’s a six-year-old girl playing with dolls who says, ‘Mommy, I want to grow up to be a prostitute.'” Well, that certainly got everyone’s attention. Then she addressed the issues of strippers, saying, “People say they’re just wild, they want to do that! That’s not true. These women are true victims.” She then brought up the recent plot against Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck by a strip-club owner, adding, “This is the kind of lovely, lovely people that are involved [in the sex trade]. If we don’t stop this kind of stuff. . .”
Then looking at nearby Nicholas, she tied him to the problem of the sex industry. Must admit that Nicholas looked a little startled and a couple of guests wondered how Jimmy was going to work through this connection. Ah, but she did. Jimmy told them how Nicholas was a hopeless romantic, who writes about beautiful love. . . romantic beautiful love as it should be in our society.
Just before dinner was served, NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo told the group that there were 80 women and 40 children in a support group “right now, up the road. . . They have new life, because of you.”