North Texas has rightly earned a reputation for simply remarkable homes. From incredible estates fronting pristine lakes to Dilbeck cottages oozing with charms, it’s well deserved. But on Sunday, October 17, Mother Nature — pardon the expression — trumped them all. With a three-quarter moon on a clear night, she opened her arms for a dinner table that seemed to go on for an acre of her God-given natural surroundings at the Trinity River Audubon Center in southeast Dallas.
TRAC Director Shelly White admitted that she was smiling beneath her mask. That’s because she had a slight problem — more people had arrived for the Songbird Supper fundraiser than the organizers had planned on. Looking at the long, single white table-clothed table that stretched up and over the hill, Shelly was just hoping there would be enough chairs for all 180 guests.
But, let’s not get ahead of the supper. The evening had started with a cocktail reception in the Antoine Predock-designed center for a cross-section of Dallas’ political, community and arts leaders. Former Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher (and TRAC advisory board chair) was asked about the current political world. She answered with a question: Who would want to be in politics nowadays? Margaret and her silver-fox husband Lester Keliher had spent much of the pandemic at her family’s farm in southeast Oklahoma, where they took turns working the tractor. Margaret added, “But Lester is in charge of the chainsaw.”
Across the room, someone asked who was the cute gal with Walter Elcock? She turned out to be Walter’s favorite lady/wife/former brunette Laura Elcock, who thanks to the pandemic had let her hair go natural silver. … Tony Moore, the relatively new president and CEO of the Trinity Park Conservancy, was promising that some more good news would be coming soon about the $200 million campaign to build the Harold Simmons Park.
Songbird Supper Chair Grace Cook — her mother is Mary Cook McDermott, one of the TRAC founding members — was saying she’d just joined the organization’s board a few months ago. Grace, who said she enjoys spending time on the family farm near Forestburg, Texas (“in the middle of nowhere”), added that she was attracted to Trinity River because “I didn’t think you really could be in the middle of nowhere in Dallas!” One of her goals: attracting new blood to the Center’s board.
One of those new members is Michelle Wong, an old friend of Grace’s from The Hockaday School. Said Michelle: “Grace is such a connector.” … In addition to the likes of Lisa Gonzales, the Audubon Society’s Texas executive director, other VIP types in attendance included Dr. Dan Podolsky, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Terry Loftis, Veletta Lill, Melinda and A.C. Gonzalez and Lois Finkelman.
As the cocktail party was winding down, sunglasses were put into action due to the blinding sunset showing through the wall of glass overlooking the Center’s grounds and pond. But first, before everyone moved outside for the meal, it was time for a few words of welcome. After Shelly disclosed that “this is my first Songbird Supper,” Grace took the mic and said, “Hi guys! This is just an insane amount of people!”
Grace then gave way to her mom/Honorary Chair Mary, who had just flown in from a Caribbean getaway for the dinner. Mary reminded the crowd that the Center is just 12 minutes from downtown Dallas. She also recalled how Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, “one of our great congress-members,” has been a big fan of the Center. According to Mary, the congresswoman once said, ‘One of these days, I’m going to retire — I’m afraid it’s going to be sooner rather than later. And when I do, I want to have a rocking chair out there’ ” at the Trinity River Audubon Center.
For more looks of the evening, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.