From Pumpkins to Puppies

You don’t have to ask me twice to attend a party. Well, maybe
you do. Last year, I missed the Charter School of Morgan Hill’s
annual fundraising dinner at Clos LaChance Winery and lived to
regret it.
You don’t have to ask me twice to attend a party. Well, maybe you do. Last year, I missed the Charter School of Morgan Hill’s annual fundraising dinner at Clos LaChance Winery and lived to regret it. Friends, neighbors and people I met on the street raved about the wonderful dinner prepared by Chef Lewis-Jordan and the elegant setting at the winery. This year I was seated up front.

With canteen-colored tablecloths and copper-colored napkins, the orange pumpkins on loan from LJB Farms put the finishing touch on the harvest theme. The planning committee took the bull by the horns and ran with the evening. It’s rumored the registration committee went to training sessions in advance of the program, so they’d be fully ready to tackle the demands of event-goers hungry for a good time. Arriving late, I missed the well-trained registrars in action.

Regardless, the school raised $81,000 this year, the most they’ve ever raised at the dinner. Congratulations!

Will the real Dave Payne please stand up? I’ve known Dave Payne for 10 years now. I’ve known Dave Payne for fours days. The newer acquaintance plays the part of the auctioneer at the charter school’s dinner, and he’s famous for his running commentary. Gossip columnists love quoting running commentary.

“Yeah, Dave and I are lovers. We didn’t want to have to change our name,” and, “Mary got drunk and woke up with the wrong Dave.” These are verbatim from the new Dave Payne. The old Dave Payne just shook his head and wondered how his P.R. firm was going to handle this. I could have filled a notebook with “Dave-isms” but Dave Payne was called to run the live auction.

Wandering around the tables in search of new faces and people with names different than Dave, I heard the sound of a beautiful Southern accent. Annette Baker, a new California resident originally from Atlanta, filled me in on all things Southern.

Coming from an Atlanta family dating back 300 years, it was not surprising to find out Annette is a proud member of the Daughters of the Revolution (in Southern speak, the D.A.R.), and she makes a mean mint julep. As Annette assured me, “It’s not a wimpy ladies drink.”

Annette’s husband Bill played the Southern gentleman, well-providing “yes, dear” at the appropriate times. The Bakers have graciously invited me to their Morgan Hill home for a visit. I’ll bring the bourbon!

For other entertainment, Chef Lewis-Jordan finished in the kitchen then moved about the table, schmoozing and raising the paddles of unsuspecting guests talking on cell phones. Becky Obbema fell victim to this technique, but she laughed it off and told her husband on the phone, “Oh well, it’s for the kids.”

Laughing and crying, Mark and Cindy Gilm were the winners of the bid for the cute, but soon-to-be gigantic golden retriever/laborador-mix puppy. The story of their son foregoing his Christmas presents in exchange for the puppy was too much for any dad to resist.

When Mark was asked what they were going to name the dog, he replied, wiping his brow, “Thirty-four hundred.” Odd name for a dog.

Ciao for now.

Have an event coming up or a hot tip for Mary Anne? E-mail it to [email protected]

Annette Baker’s Mint Julep Recipe

10 to 12 fresh mint leaves

1 to 1 1/2 ounces sugar-water

2 to 3 ounces Bourbon

Crushed ice

Step 1: Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the mint leaves. Put leaves in a high-ball glass and add crushed ice, sugar water and bourbon.

Step 2: This is where it gets tricky. Jingle, don’t stir, the concoction.

Step 3: Serve with style and elegance, preferably while watching horses race. We all agreed this should be the new drink for the new James Bond. The slogan could be, “Jingled, not stirred.”

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