Whoopsie! That was the word going through the minds in the blacker-than-black tent at Brook Hollow for the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA) Fashion Show and Luncheon on Monday, May 4.
For once it wasn’t a case of Ma Nature pulling one of her thunderous blasts, nor was it a terrorist attack.
As dedicated shoppers elbowed each other to shop the treasure trove of gently experienced fashions in the ballroom and “card room,” all was going perfectly.
OK, so maybe a couple of gals weren’t thrilled that they both wanted a one-and-only item in the card room where couture outfits were displayed, but there were no cat fights. Oh, please! This was Brook Hollow and the event was benefiting the Salvation Army of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Finally the guests found their way from the clubhouse down the steps through the tunnel leading to the darker-than-dark tent for the show. Course, it took some time to take their seats, but eventually all were in place including the no-funny-business Secret Service types who escort former first lady Laura Bush. While she took her place on the front row near her friend Ruth Altshuler, posed for photos with Gene Jones and chatted with Kappa Alpha Theta sister Valerie Bell, the Secret Service took their places along the back of the tent with no smiles. In the meantime, some guests snuck out their cellphones for a quickie, fuzzy shot of Laura in her green suit.
Following a video about “Janet,” who had overcome an abusive relationship thanks to Salvation Army resources, SAWA President Betsy Chambers introduced Janet to the audience and presented her with flowers.
Luncheon Co-Chair Ginger Sager recognized the 2015 honorary mother/daughter co-chairs of Marilyn Augur and her daughters (Margaret Hancock, Anne Hardaway and “Elizabeth Taylor, who is unable to be with us today”) and Sharon McCullough and her girls (Libby Hunt, Debbie Hayhurst, Terry McCullough and Lissie McCullough). They also pointed out “special guests” Sharon’s sister, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, and Laura Bush.
It was becoming apparent that this event was a mom-daughter coming together with Tucean Webb with daughters Suzanne Webb and Tucean Franks, Nina Thornburgh and daughter Lisa Ogle, Faye Briggs still in a wheelchair and daughter Pebble MeGehee.
Then just as the luncheon committee chairs were to stand for recognition, the lights went out. Why, shoot! All the electricity including the A/C shut down. Had Brook Hollow not paid its electricity bill? Heck, no! It was some complicated snafu that was basically showstopping….literally.
But as darkness provided some laughter about holding a fashion show in the dark, it also caused the Bush team to look a tad bit antsy. As the darkness continued beyond the 30-second mark, the Secret Service wasn’t laughing. After two minutes of darkness, Ginger and her Co-Chair Dixey Arterburn persevered and tried to carry on in the dark thanking committee members and telling how the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” theme was selected because the day was the late Audrey Hepburn’s birthday. In the meantime, the Secret Service started easing toward the aisle leading to Laura just as the lights came back on at the two-and-a-half-minute mark. Whew! What guests didn’t realize was the electrical stoppage had also caused the massive A/C units to stop. Now, they were having to reboot from scratch to cool the tent.
Unruffled Dixey and Ginger continued on script. They introduced Margot Perot on stage and told how the Margot Perot Award had been named after her for playing “a vital part in organizing the Women’s Auxiliary of Dallas over 23 years ago.” It was then that Gene Jones and her daughter Charlotte Anderson Jones joined Margot, Dixey and Ginger on stage as the recipients of the Margot Perot Award for their “work tirelessly to promote good in all they come in contact.”
As the five ladies exited the stage, Shelly returned saying “Where else but the Salvation Army can we talk about Audrey Hepburn, the Dallas Cowboys, Margot Perot and domestic violence in the same conversation?” She then introduced the show, leaving guests to figure out which one of the outfits on the runway had originally retailed for $19,000. (FYI: It was the black gown that was the show’s closer.)
Once the show finished, Major Michele Matthews was on stage. With her voice breaking, she thanked the SAWA, extolled the greatness of the recycled fashion show project and more or less made a farewell speech. While some might have felt Michele was a bit dramatic, they didn’t realize that this would be Michele’s last SAWA’s fashion show. She and her husband Ward Matthews were being reassigned to Atlanta.