Last Thursday almost felt like North Texas was taking a collective deep sigh of relief. After days of rain and the drumbeat of pandemic restrictions for more than a year, the evening had restaurants and bars overflowing. In addition to the perfect weather, the CDC had just announced that anyone who had completed the vaccination protocol could stop wearing a mask, with a handful of exceptions.
All of that made The Family Place’s ReuNight at the Nasher Sculpture Center even more of a celebration.
After all, Mother Nature owed TFP President Paige Flink and Development VP Melissa Sherrill after months of cancellations and postponements of fundraising activities due to the pandemic plus February’s winter storm that thrashed TFP facilities.
And, boy, did Ma Nature come through. Of course, the Nasher Sculpture Center garden was just this side of spectacular, with lounging areas set up among the sculpted artwork in the lush grounds for guests like Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Kim and Greg Hext, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Jennifer and Richard Dix, Dianne and Mark LaRoe, Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb, Joyce Goss and sister Diana Dobson, Lynn McBee with Nick Even and Martin Singleton, Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Gonzalo Bueno with Michael McCray, Stephanie Seay, Bobby Mahurin with mom Lynn Fisher, Betty Regard, Ladd Sanger, Kelly Perkins and fresh-from-work Kris Johnson with Julia Simon. Down toward the water feature were dining tables for the seated supper and the live auction of trips and arts.
But before that took place, guests played catch-up after months of being extremely socially distanced.
Laurie Sands Harrison was being congratulated for daughter Hassie Harrison’s acting career. In addition to have the role of Laramie in the hit show “Yellowstone,” she’s also appearing in “Tacoma” as Lucy McConky. Laurie chuckled that she saw a similarity between “Yellowstone” and the legendary “Dallas.” As Laurie explained, “Yellowstone’s” John Dutton played by Kevin Costner is like “Dallas’” J.R. Ewing. Both would go to any end to keep the family legacy afloat.
North Texas trivia: Still another North Texas connection to the “Yellowstone” series is writer/director/creator Taylor Sheridan, who has a small spread in Weatherford.
Laurie’s brother, Patrick Sands, who was honorary co-chairing ReuNight with his bride of five year Kristy Sands, added that Hassie isn’t the only member of the family rising in the entertainment business. Stark Sands has ranged from screen performances to the Broadway stages, where he has garnered a couple of Tony nominations.
But back to ReuNiting. While the Wolfgang Puck Catering team was putting the finishing touches on the evening’s delicious supper, the topic of fried fish arose in a conversation among Daniella Giglio, Robby Sturgeon and Forrest Gregg. It was Robby who reported that the legendary McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish had a backstory that McD’s founder Ray Kroc initially thought was a loser. Seems that back in 1962, Cincinnati McD franchise owner Lou Groen had a store in a “predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood” and noticed that hamburger sales dove on Fridays due to the Catholics’ abstaining from meat on that day. He came up with the idea of a fried fish in a bun and proposed it to Kroc, who had his own dish — a Hula Burger, a piece of grilled pineapple and cheese on a bun. On Good Friday a competition was held between the two alternatives at selected locations. The results: Hula Burger: 6; Filet-O-Fish: 350.
Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb were still amazed how a little hole would result in a life-changing experience for their operation. It seems when North Texas went into a deep freeze thanks to February’s Winter Storm Uri, the store’s sprinkler couldn’t take it and a small break flooded the multi-story fashion store with thousands of gallons of water. Gee, wonder what Tootsies’ February water bill was. Luckily, The Plaza at Preston Center management was able to relocate the staff and merchandise to the former Bag and Baggage space next door to Bachendorf’s.
Following the supper, the live auction proved that folks were eager to get back into the friendly skies after a year of being homebound. The stay at Casa Stella in Cabos hauled in the top bid after a showdown between two guests, “one of whom had just returned from the property earlier that week.” Guess s/he really liked it and The Family Place.
And the Patagonia fishing trip’s bid battling ended in a tie, with the trip being sold to both bidders.
Event Co-Chairs Kristen Sanger and Lisa Singleton were just downright giddy all night long. Not only was the evening a sell-out, but they had just learned that an anonymous donor had issued a $100,000 match for the paddle raise. As the night went on, the number inched up to the six-figure mark. At the end of the evening, they were within a hair’s breadth of making the match when “another generous and longtime Family Place supporter pledged the final $15,000 to get us the full match.”
For more photos of the night, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.