Monday, August 15, 2011

Excelsior Proud

I find myself in a troubling mindset; adrift in one of those mental maladies that require constant measure, else I find myself in that familiar void that many members of my own family have found themselves in. Depression is like a twisted security blanket that "comforts" you by convincing you that shutting down will protect you from all of your personal ills. That same blanket can surround and eventually suffocate you as it did my sister Mona. I've lost some skirmishes with depression in the past but I always eventually rallied and was never in relentless, bloody battle with it as Mona was. Still, I can feel its wicked tendrils attempt to embrace me as it did during the worst days of caring for my parents as well as the past few weeks as bits and pieces of bad juju kept denting my armor. If I could find a visual for the darkness approaching my brain; it was not unlike the pic of an approaching storm that Keith took. That storm, as dark and foreboding and powerful as it was; rolled on. This too shall pass.

I find solace in the positive and last week, as challenging and exhausting as it was, did indeed have many reasons to celebrate. The Missouri Main Street Connection (a statewide support system of downtown business districts in Missouri) was holding their annual conference in Kansas City this year and the Downtown Excelsior Partnership (0f which Keith is the director) and the City of Excelsior Springs were among ths sponsors. Wednesday night, DEP hosted the dinner at the spankin' new event space in Excelsior Springs called Blue Moon. Owned by Brent McElwee, its a striking space, with exposed brick and dark wood and beautiful lighting. Lisa McElwee created some fabulous centerpieces utilizing some pieces from Redmond's and her own vintage sheet music. What an awesome idea! I volunteered with several other folks to help out for the evening and we set up, cleaned up and tore down. The dinner was catered by area restaurants. Ryan's Pizzeria provided salad with fresh mozzarella and breadsticks, The Elms delivered Stuffed Chicken Florentine, Ventana Gourmet Grill offered creamy fettuccine and some lovely bruschetta and Daphne and the Merc provided fresh summer veggies and amazing tomato-watermelon-feta salad. After Keith's rousing presentation, the group were set loose to explore the many shops and amenities of downtown Excelsior. Among those treats were delectable desserts provided by Oooey Gooey Chocolates, including some wonderful truffles and dangerously delectable chocolate cookies with white icing. Downtown Excelsior put on the dog Wednesday night and the conference attendees left duly impressed.

Thursday night was the conference awards dinner held at the host hotel for the conference, the Marriott on the Country Club Plaza. We shared a table with award nominees Ginger and Jim Nelson and Brent McElwee. After a delicious dinner...

Frisee Salad with Mandarin Orange Segments, Topped With Toasted Hazelnuts (love!) and Tarragon Dressing with Ciabatta Croutons, Crushed Parmesan Tuille and Bruniose Tomato Garlic Prawns Sliced Kansas City Strip Loin with Sauteed Mushrooms Garlic Whipped Potatoes Chocolate Tulip Cup filled with Fresh Berries and Chantilly Cream

....and a long trivia contest, the awards were presented and we were thrilled that the Nelsons AND Brent won. Keith was like a proud papa regarding his Excelsior folks and it did my heart good to see him so happy.

In fact, Excelsior had such a good week that Keith had much to be proud of. Every one of these victories is a tad bittersweet, as Carolyn has been one of those who has worked so hard for the betterment of this community and its tough that she's not here experiencing the accolades. It is gratifying, however, to see Keith and Excelsior Springs get praise for the fruits of his and so many other folk's labors and that's a beautiful thing.

Excelsior Springs has much to be proud of these days.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man.... you are such an excellent writer. Your words... and the way you weave them together are just amazing. If there is one thing that you should NOT be depressed about, it is your incredible talents and the fact that you possess so many of them. Do not succumb to the storm... you are far too great to be overshadowed by clouds and rainfall. You can reach far and wide with your warm spirit and your reflections.... Love you bunches.... M

Lydia said...

Love your posts! Love the sheet music idea! LOVE YOU!!! :)

Anonymous said...

This too shall pass. Good advice. I had to put on my mask and go teach. Then I loved all my classes. Thank God for teaching. - Ronnie

Anonymous said...

Greg,

Although you do not know me, I knew your sister Mona. She was in my high school class. I agree with the first writer anonymous. You do have wonderful writing talents as I have read many things that you have posted, not only here but also on facebook.
Seek solace in the Lord and continue on in your life path as Mona would be very proud of you her brother.
Take care, keep busy and enjoy your life and friends!

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