As it happened though, the weather wasn't quite the horror show that was predicted...it was dicey enough, plenty of accidents...but it didn't stop the celebrations. I was around for the beginning of the Elms NYE event. White feathers adorned the Grand Ballroom and the stage was literally set in the Regent Ballroom for another wild performance from popular local band Four Fried Chickens and a Coke. As the weary travelers arrived, fresh from their snowy drive in, they were handed flutes of Champagne and the Grotto, our long-awaited spa centerpiece, was finally in full use. Soon, I was off to help Keith across town at Paradise Playhouse, where he was hosting a fundraising silent auction during their big night. When we weren't helping out with the auction or with the keepsake photos of the evening, we dined on some of my favorite Golden Ox -catered specialties like southwestern pasta salad and chicken piccata. Paradise Playhouse was featuring Buble-like lounge crooner Mike Riley, comedian Cosmo, and well-known local band Shooting Star with lead Janet Jameson for its entertainment line-up for the evening. The manic energy and super-talent of Janet and the band truly rocked the house at the end of the evening. Of course, it's always a night of rousing ribaldry when we get together with our dear friends Cress and TJ and we also relished some long overdue quality time with two of our favorite peeps, Denise and Will. Throw in a pack of the Posse gang and we had a party!
As it were, the absolute highlight of the evening did occur on stage but wasn't provided by the evening's entertainment, though. The Playhouse's business owner Jim introduced many of the associates who help make Paradise Playhouse the success it is, including Cress the Creative Director himself and Cress's daughter Caitlin and her boyfriend Mick who both have acted in several productions. As the intros concluded, Mick turned to Caitlin, dropped to one knee and popped that all-important question and after Caitlin's breathless yes, the crowd, of course, went wild. The proposal was a surprise to Caitlin and her father Cress but the rest of the Playhouse crew as well as the various other family members and K and I were in on the big secret. Not that maintaining that secret didn't get a bit nail-biting with the suspense: we had Caitlin's Mom and aunt stashed in a closet in the auction room and both were close to being discovered. In fact, Mick created quite the operation (Operation Yes, to be exact) and it involved what was clearly some seriously creative planning that involved family and friends on both ends. The ring is stunning and if I had any doubts about that, it was approved by our friend Denise who by day is a partner in a law firm but apparently moonlights at Tiffany's as she thoroughly examined the ring and used language in its description that might as well been in Swahili for all I knew.
pretty much perfect in the end and there was barely a proverbial dry eye in the house when it happened. It was one of those crystalline moments that puts things into much-needed perspective. In fact, the snow we all kvetched about created a fairly crystalline moment itself for Mick and Caitlin that was captured by Jim's uber-talented photographer wife Sarah (at right). These moments and that perspective is what I hope my takeaway is from these increasingly busy holidays...
The moments are scattered throughout the season...Seeing the niece and nephew joyously tear through the wrapping on their gifts. A toast around the table with family. Getting together with the Posse for holiday dinner and putting up Carolyn's Christmas tree. Being with the love of my life when watching that heartwarming New Year's Eve proposal. These are my holiday takeaway moments and damn, am I grateful for wach and every one.
Happy New Year, everybody.