A small but enthusiastic group of members and guests gathered at the club last night to celebrate Mardi Gras Night. Joker hats lined the doorways and New Orleans street signs pointed the way toward the buffet table inside the first floor.

"Mardi Gras is a night of fun and festivity for all," Diana Craft, one of the three co-chairs smiled. "We also wanted members to share their special Cajun recipes with us. It certainly is a night of celebration."

This is the third year that the trio of Diana, Sue Kramers and Leslie Ainsworth have co-chaired this annual event. All the decorations including the large feathered banner hanging over the entrance were handmade by Diana, a very talented artist. Sue and Leslie placed colored beads, feathers and masks on each of the picnic tables. Champagne glasses with tinsel and gold ribbon streamers were on the buffet tables.

The selection of food on the buffet table would rival any New Orleans restaurant. Red beans and rice, Jambalaya and Gumbo were the most sought out entrees from the guests who formed double lines along the tables. Shrimp salad, salmon salad and garlic grits and bacon were located on the table that held three wooden bowls of freshly made garden salad.

Jeff Caron made the seafood lovers happy by shucking five dozen little necks.

For the first hour of tonight's event, guests listened to New Orleans' Jazz. Trumpets and trombones filled the air with rousing Ragtime sounds. Then, the music transitioned to a musical tribute to Aretha Franklin who died today, Diana noted.

"A beautiful singer," Diana continued.

I added that I was very fortunate to have seen her in person at the original Newport Jazz festivals in the late 1950's and early '60's.

"I also saw Mahalia Jackson in Newport," I said.

It was not our usual Thursday night social as the Pool was closed! A noon email announced that due to a mechanical malfunction (at least it wasn't a wardrobe malfunction) the Pool will be closed for a few days.

So, Callie and I had a quiet night. We only had four youngsters play golf and two play the bean bag throw game. The youngsters smilingly raided our treasure chest of prizes although one dad told her beautiful daughter to take only two prizes and leave the rest for next week.

Callie interviewed Diana and listed all the buffet food items before going upstairs and watching the beginning of the Patriot's game. Pat Latucca was also there!

Toward the end of the evening I welcomed two visitors to the club. It was Karen Plichta and her friend, Jose, who is visiting from Florida. Karen, my neighbor, and good friend of my late wife, Dee, donated $3,000 for the garden in memory of my wife. A retired 30-year Air Force Officer, Karen met Jose while they were stationed in Germany and remained friends. I then gave them the fifty-cent tour not the usual quarter tour of the club!

Sunset is getting so early these days. Ralph Padilla did Colors with the sounding of the cannon at approximately 7:42 pm. He was ably assisted by thirteen-year-old, Bazar Shah.

The sun may be setting earlier but has not set on the TYC activities. There are two more Thursday Night Pot Luck Suppers plus a really big day planned for Labor Day.

Next Thursday the theme is California Cuisine. While fresh green veggies will be on the menu, I still think of this as being a scene from a Beach boys movie, complete with young waitresses bringing food out to 1950's cars!

The tradition of Labor Day activities goes back over fifty years. For many years, Faith Peckam provided activities for all including a cross river swim. I've tried to maintain that tradition. I will forward a list of activities including the revival of an old tradition. That will be the greased watermelon contest where small greased melons will be tossed from the dock and participants will try to swim them to shore using only one arm. Teresa O'Connor is chair of that event.

On Labor Day, the Charlie LaRoue Memorial Sail boat race will also be held.

Thanks for making this a great Mardi Gras Night!


Jim Rogers

ps Sunsets are really beautiful at this season. Come down and enjoy one at the club any night of the week!