Well, yahoo! The fall fundraising season of 2017 kicked off with a surprise refresh for an annual event! Once again the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show Platinum Dinner took place at the Dallas Country Club. But it had all types of adjustments and they were rewarded with a manicured thumbs-up.
Sure, the evening of Tuesday, September 5, had a hint of a cool front. But it also was the day after Labor Day weekend, which is considered a tricky situation for most event planners since folks are just settling back into their post-summer routines.
But as the crowd gathered in the reception lobby, it became apparent that the fears were unwarranted. While the 10 Best Dressed proved their stuff, the rest of the 270 guests held their own fashionably, too. One of the first on the scene was Dallas Cowboy head man Jerry Jones, who was immediately surrounded by Comerica’s first couple Barbara and Ralph Babb and emcee Shelley Slater and husband Clay Huffstutter. About 15 minutes later Gene Jones arrived, all in black, and asked someone if she was the first Jones on the scene. When she learned Jerry was already in the ballroom, she registered surprise: “I told him to be here at 7:15, and he listened to me.”
Lee Bailey told Mike Wyatt and Niven Morgan that after waiting months—or was it years?—she had a brand new steering wheel for her Rolls… Shelby Wagner was back from the family country place with Niven and Claire and Dwight Emanuelson. Claire claimed it was a great getaway, thanks to the property’s six dogs that kept things lively… Ola Fojtasek came with her mom Jacqueline Fojtasek and jeweler Ross Ameringer… Also returning back to north Texas were Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse. According to Jerry, “We were getting cabin fever in Carmel.” When asked if they were still in newlywed status, Jerry didn’t hesitate, “No longer. We’ve been married 16 months,”… Others who had just returned to North Texas were Ann and Matt Schooler, from Utah, and Lee Ann and Alan White, from Aspen. Said Alan of the Colorado town: “When I hang it up, we might go there to live.”
Chatting it up, this crowd would have been happy as ducks in Exall Lake with just the cocktail party, but the chimes called them to the ballroom, which had never looked better. CCB Chair Pam Perella, Event Chair Christi Urschel and event planner Tom Addis had set up the floor plan with the entire wall at the far end of the room draped in sheer white curtains, along with bigger-than-life individual photos of the 10 Best Dressed (Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven, Pat Harloe, Julie Hawes, Amy Hegi, Piper Wyatt) and Hall of Famer Charlotte JA.
One 10 Best Dressed husband, upon spying the photos, chuckled that the photos of the husbands should be on the opposite wall.
When it came to sitting down, that exercise went into slo-mo until Shelly went on the PA advising all to settle down. Originally, WFAA’s Ron Corning had been slated to emcee the dinner. But just weeks before he had fallen in Santa Fe, resulting in a broken knee cap, surgery, cast/brace, crutches and rehab for weeks to come.
But Shelly’s call to chairs worked, and the show got underway, with Pam welcoming all and Ralph showing his and Comerica’s appreciation for the work of CCB.
Then Shelly introduced the 10 Best Dressed. As each woman stood, she was presented with a token of appreciation.
When it came time for the announcement of the Hall of Famer, Shelly first introduced past HoFers (Annette Simmons, Lee Ann White and Gene Jones). First announced was Lee Ann, who looked a bit startled upon hearing her name. She thought she was being called out, due to her talking with Gene during the introduction.
In a break from the program, Shelly told how she’d first met Charlotte. Looking at the Jones’ table on the front row, she then revealed that Jerry would be introducing his daughter.
Taking the podium, the Jones patriarch recalled having watched Charlotte caring tenderly for her babies year before, adding that, in order to gain the same empathetic feeling, “Every husband should have to be a father first.”
Next Jerry looked at Charlotte and said, “You’ve been a part of the Dallas Cowboys since I fired Tom Landry!” (Then he murmured, jokingly, “I still can’t get a joke out of that.”) With that, though, he turned serious, remembering Charlotte’s important role in persuading NBC to televise the halftime, “Red Kettle” Salvation Army show during the Cowboys’ traditional Thanksgiving Day game broadcast. “That was probably the most important thing we’ve done as the Cowboys,” he added, “and we wouldn’t have gotten it done if not for you, Charlotte.” (Ever the businessman, he said that the TV time was probably worth $2 billion over the years.) Tearing up, Jerry said, looking at Charlotte: “We’re here tonight to honor you.”
With that, Charlotte, with husband Shy Anderson next to her, smiled and hugged her dad and received a standing ovation.
After that, the crowd settled down to a dinner of baby greens, shoestring cucumber, baby tomatoes, red onion, shaved Romano cheese and lemon thyme vinaigrette; grilled filet and herbed sea bass, roasted fingerling potatoes, cauliflower puree and heirloom carrots and wild mushroom ragout; and a dessert of chocolate caramel hazelnut gateaux.