As I read accounts of weddings and receptions, of parties and plays, of who attended what and what was done, I came to admire the society page writer, who can pack so much about people and places into so few words.
My buddy Ed collected some of the best, and recently he sent me one that seemed to capture the essence of small-town activities and interests.
The society writer wrote, “Last week Mr. and Mrs. Fred Capote, along with Mr. and Mrs. Paul Golightly, motored to Birmingham for an overnight stay at the Winfrey Hotel. The occasion was the celebration of the Golightlys’ 20th wedding anniversary. While the Capotes and Mrs. Golightly shopped at the Galleria, Mr. Golightly got a vasectomy. Both events were celebrated with lunch at Applebee’s. A wonderful time was had by all.”
Now, I would never be so bold as to suggest that I could encapsulate so much so well; however, a few weeks ago I was invited to a celebration of considerable social significance down in Seagrove Beach, Fla. I feel it is right and proper that I report it to you as if I were the society editor of the Seagrove Sand Blast. My headline would be:
Local fixture feted
Then, I would write:
During the dull days between the festivities of New Year’s Eve and the arrival of Mardi Gras, winter residents of Seagrove and surrounding communities wait anxiously await Jan. 25, for that is when the fortunate among them are invited to celebrate the birthday of Didon Comer.
Didon is a fixture on the coast. Her family built one of the early houses in Seagrove, and she has been a year-round resident most of her life. She is an artist and a work of art, a social arbiter of both the tasteful and the tacky, and above all else a person who enjoys life to the fullest and insists that those around her do the same or go home.
Always ready to do something for the general welfare of the community, Didon was the leading figure in creating the best-selling raise-money-for-charity calendar that was graced with monthly pictures of local lovelies tastefully posed in various stages of undress.
The picture of her clad in a full-length fur coat and (obviously) nothing else set the hearts of many a middle-age male aflutter.
Knowing that women have loved to play dress-up ever since they were little girls, the invited guests were told to come dressed as something or someone starting with the letter “D,” as in Didon. The men were told to dress up as well.
Everyone was told to bring food to share and a bottle of wine — think of it as a covered-dish supper with alcohol.
The ladies were told to arrive at 3:30 in the afternoon on The Day so they could admire each other’s costume creativity and sample each other’s dishes. The men were told to appear two hours later.
At the appointed hour the attired ladies appeared, carrying bottles and trays. There was a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, a diva, a deck of cards, a couple of dancing girls and Dolly Parton. There were also two damsels — one looking like a Swiss Miss and the other with a faux railroad track strapped to her back who was obviously in distress.
Then came the men, who were equally creative in their costumes — thanks, no doubt, to their wives. This was confirmed when the two Draculas were greeted by the two Draculas’ brides and the tweed-clad lady detective greeted her Sherlock Holmes-attired husband, deer-stalker hat and all.
The table was lavishly spread with all the creative dishes from the creative kitchens of creative ladies. The wines were also appropriate for the occasion — corked. No twist offs for this classy bunch.
The hostess/birthday girl was stunning in evening wear and looking every bit the “delight” I took her to be. When asked which “D” character she portrayed, the honoree replied “Why, Didon.” Then she went on to explain how all the fashion finery she wore had been collected through years of playing dress-up, and this was her opportunity to bring it out again.
It was a stunning display of coastal chic with just the right touch of lighthearted lunacy to underscore the significance of the occasion.
The party went on until the revelers, tired from their excesses, toddled home to recover and look forward to next year and an equally successful celebration.
Meanwhile, I await a call from a major metropolitan newspaper to offer me the society page. Ya think?
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist and editorial writer for The Star. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.