FIRST EVENT DIARY – 2018
DAY 6, Saturday, 02/03/18
Emily Jo Donatello
(call me “Em”)
Please open the audio below in another window and listen while reading this entry:
At First Event Friday evening is always the occasion for a grand dinner and Fashion Show. Those who present at the Fashion Show are always so excited, their moment on the runway; for so many a moment dreamed of all their lives.
I’ve attended this occasion twice and enjoyed it both times. However, I’ve also noticed its length growing each year. This I understand, as, I’m sure, the organizers do not wish to deny anyone this opportunity of a lifetime. Still, I felt, last year the show went on much too long. It was hard to be as enthusiastic for the 20th and the 25th entrant as for the 4th and the 8th. Members of the audience began leaving after an hour or so. It was such a dilemma: stay or go?
This Friday evening my friend Jennie White organized a dinner for several of us, a dinner off campus. When Jennie, wittingly or not, offered to relieve me, and her other close friends, of the necessity to choose how long to stay at the Fashion Show, I must confess, I leapt to the certainty of another’s choice. Besides, Jennie is so enthusiastic in her entreaties, one simply cannot decline. And she was providing a bus! (Well, OK, the hotel was providing it, but she did book it!)
So while hundreds of others were moving from cocktails to the dinner and Fashion Show, we five marched out the door to the waiting hotel vehicle. For our dinner Jennie had chosen a nearby Italian restaurant, Allora, which she’d visited last year. She promised they’d be fine with us.
Jennie was wrong! The staff at Allora was fabulous with us! We had a table towards the back of the room but not in a corner. We had hors d’oeuvres on the house: mussels in a sweet tomato sauce and herbed foccacia bread. Two of us had fish; one pasta; one Osso Bucco. I had the braised short rib, a favorite I’ve tried in many places. Allora’s was excellent.
During our evening the owner’s wife visited our table and said her best server was taking care of us. She assured us we’d have wonderful memories. Donna was our server. Throughout the dinner she attended to our food and drink needs, of course, but she also shared stories, befriended us. She offered to become our posse’s photographer too. She understood we’d want images to refresh our memories later. I said to her, “if you’re taking pictures of us, it’s only fair I take one of you.” She agreed.
So, thanks to Laura, the owner’s wife, who also sent us a round of Sambucco to conclude our special dinner. And thanks to Donna, who said, as we were leaving, and I’m sure meant it: she hoped to see us again. Even the guys at the bar were gentlemanly as we waited for our van to return. Not a sour note in any of our evening’s choruses.
At one point Jennie said to me, “this was a lifelong dream.” I know she’ll long recall her dream came true on a crisp, cold night in Marlboro, MA!
Back at the hotel the Fashion Show had ended. I’d never wanted that particular runway dream for myself; anyway the runway had been rolled up. Maybe my time will come some other time.
From “The Mock Turtle’s Song” by Lewis Carroll:
“…will you come and join the dance?
will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?
“You can really have no notion how
delightful it will be,
When they take us up and throw us,
with the lobsters, out to sea!…”
“What matters is how far we go?”
his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know,
upon the other side.
The further off from England
the nearer is to France—
Then turn not pale, beloved snail,
but come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you,
won’t you, won’t you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you,
won’t you, won’t you join the dance?”
email: email@example.com (mind the underscores, or you’ll — like me — trip in writing)