Following Oklahoma’s football win over Texas at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, October 9, some Longhorn fans found a way to recover from the heartbreaking loss by attending a late-afternoon Garden Concert at Dan Patterson’s bucolic home in East Dallas. Along with co-hosts Mary McDermott Cook, Diane and Hal Brierley and Marena and Roger Gault, Dan commiserated with guests as they arrived for the outdoor benefit for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra that had originally been planned for a couple of months earlier.
No sooner—sorry, no pun intended—had the leafy grounds started looking like a luxury car lot filled with Porsches, Corvettes and Mercedeses (plus one Audi boasting the license plate, “I Am G8”) than the sting of the UT loss began fading away as old friends caught up and renewed their camaraderie.
When Janie and Cappy McGarr arrived, Cappy said the game earlier that day was the first Red River Showdown he’d missed since he was 11. Why hadn’t he attended? someone asked. “Janie wouldn’t let me,” he replied.
Cappy, by the way, was fresh from a book-signing for his memoir, “The Man Who Made Mark Twain Famous,” at Interabang Books the day before. The tome is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which Cappy co-created and has shepherded since its creation.
A little later, Jeremy Strick dropped off wife Wendy Strick in Dan’s circular drive and looked to be leaving the party. When asked whether Jeremy was doing Uber service these days, Wendy laughed. No, it seemed that because Jeremy had left his Tesla valet card at home, he had to park the car himself. Overhearing the exchange, one valet told Wendy that if it ever happened again, they could simply hand the vehicle over to the valet service and, once parked, Jeremy could use his cellphone to turn the engine off or on. When asked about the electric car’s range, Jeremy reported that he was getting about 300 miles. As an example, he said he could drive to Houston and recharge overnight before returning to Dallas.
Marnie and Kern Wildenthal had just come back from the United Kingdom, where they’d visited Norwich University, where their granddaughter is studying English literature. The pair reported that while France and Germany were well-organized against the coronavirus, England was not. … Diane and Hal Brierley had returned not too long ago from South Africa. Instead of getting a T-shirt from this jaunt, as the sun fell in the west Hal topped his head with a baseball cap branded with “Dian Fossey.” … Sheila and Jody Grant were also recently returned from a jaunt, but to destinations a little closer to home: New York City and Palm Beach. The NYC visit was to check on Sheila’s eye-health progress, while the Palm Beach sojourn was to attend a meeting of the Horatio Alger Association (Jody won the prestigious Horatio Alger Award in 2010). The Grants were vowing to stay put until the following Wednesday for Klyde Warren Park’s Party in the Park, which Sheila said would be moved to the Meyerson Symphony Center in case the weather turned bad.
Speaking of traveling, Mary and Dan and the Gaults were slated to catch a before-the-sun-rises flight to the Caribbean the following morning. In addition to having her bags already packed, Marena had spiffed up her nails with Caribbean teal-colored polish.
Asked whether the Caribbean getaway would prevent Mary from attending and serving as honorary chair of the Trinity River Audubon Center’s upcoming Songbird Supper fundraiser, the answer was a firm, “No.” In fact, Mary had her Songbird outfit all packed and ready to go for a quick change and makeup job at the Miami airport en route back to Dallas the following Saturday. As for her date for the Supper, Mary had arranged for her landscape designer, Barbara Fitzgerald, to pick her up at DFW International for speedy delivery to the Audubon Center.
Right on schedule, the gathering of guests including Hector Garcia and Craig Holcomb, Cece Smith and Ford Lacy and Barbara and Bob Sypult began making their way to the white folding chairs on the nearby hillside, where a string quartet was tuning up for the concert. As Cookie Owen headed in that direction, husband Dan Owen had a good laugh when someone claimed his healthy look must be due to a COVID facelift. ‘Twas not the case. Actually, Dan said, he had undergone very successful open-heart surgery at Baylor North in Plano.