Eddie Bass, Julie and George Stadler, Ann and Bob Coleman, Madge and Warner Bass, Patricia Colton, Margie and Bert Dale, Kitty and Matt Murfree, Irene and Ridley Wills, Lisa and John Campbell, Hilda and Jim McGregor, Theresa Payne (the loveliest rose in the garden!), Dudley White, Jean Ann and Barry Banker, Emme and Butch Baxter, Carol and Ed Nelson, Alice Hooker, Peggy and John Warner, Fran Hardcastle, Patsy and Bob Weigel, Agneta and Brownlee Currey, Peggy Joyce, Ann Wells, Cathy and Martin Brown, Argie and Jack Oman, Anne Parsons, Peggy Joyce, Kate Grayken, Joyce and David Hitt, Kathy Follin, Bette Sue and Robert McNeilly, Lee Ann and Orrin Ingram, Emily and Jeffrey Ezell, Jane Offenbach, Jane and Billy Coble . . . now are we talking Super A Plus crowd or what? Heloise Kuhn summed it all up by saying “only the best.” These A Plus socials were celebrating the unveiling of the Howe Garden at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens a few weeks back. This garden, not to be missed, is named for Harry and Cora Howe, an East Nashville couple who welcomed guests to their “Wildings” woodland wildflower garden from 1929 into the 1960s. After the Howes’ deaths, the Garden Club of Nashville in 1960 transplanted the garden to Cheekwood, home of the newly renovated garden of today.

The evening was dedicated to Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor for her lifelong dedication to the Garden Club of Nashville. Joining Mrs. Proctor in greeting her guests were family members Margaret Ann Robinson, Nicki Weaver, Becky and Raleigh Lane, Elizabeth and Sidney McAlister, Emmy and Steve Rick, Libby and Ben Page (Ben is responsible for the garden design), Ann and Owen Kelly, and the family goes on and on. Lise Bohannon was seen walking across the manicured grass garden in high heels, and Cathy Jackson could not keep herself from telling Lise, “What a wonderful way to aerate the ground.” Alice Mathews was host to Marion Hill, president of the Garden Club of America, from Atlanta and totally enjoying this magic garden, as Nashvillians will for years to come.

Right stage, left stage, center stage, dancing all over the stage . . . Dancing for Safe Haven at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel was a great evening of dinner, dance competition, and just downright fun as John Steele, Deb Varallo, Bob Tuke, Chet Parlavecchio, Bill Vandiver, and Gerald McRath displayed their two-step dancing techniques. Judging this competition was quite a task being that fellow judges Jana Davis, Ellen Nelson, Heather Byrd, and I had to make the final decision. The Judges Award went to Chet Parlavecchio, special team coach for the Titans, and the Peoples Choice Award went to Titans linebacker Gerald McRath with partner Anne Marie Fournier.

Patrons could not wait to join Chairs Sharon and Mike Pigott on the dance floor—a sure sign of a great party! Marci and Mike Munchak, Michelle and Jimmy Evans, Deborah and Jerry Tannenbaum, Joni Werthan and Larry Jessen, Diane Neal, Patsy Currey, Beth and Richard Courtney, Gail and Steven Greil, Francis Guess with lovely daughter Maria, Annette Eskind, Brenda and Joe Steakley, Kathy and Tommy Tompkins, and Superwoman for Safe Haven Trey Lipman were all seen kicking up their heels. It was a fun evening for a great cause, to provide shelter and transitional services to homeless families with children.

Two of my favorite annual events in one evening: the Temple Arts Festival and the Tennessee Waltz. National and international artists gathered at the Temple for what I think is one of the best art shows in Nashville. That cute Ann Bernard with son Tommy was purchasing one of Sylvia Hyman’s creations. Ann told me that she had purchased one of Sylvia’s pieces years back and it was broken by house painters. Upon hearing of this disaster, Ann’s daughter came from California to help put the creation back together. That she did, and Ann was sending her daughter a new piece of Hyman’s work as a thank-you gift. I sure want Ann to have my phone number and know I am on call with my Elmer’s glue in the future!

Among those there with checkbooks in hand were Julie and Frank Boehm, Heloise Kuhn, Judy Nebhut (Judy won first place in two-dimensional art), and Donna and Jeff Eskind.

From the art show I ventured to the State Capitol for what I think is the most elegant dinner party of the year, A Tennessee Waltz. Hosted by Governor and Mrs. Haslam and chaired by Pam and Mike Koban along with daughter Katie, it was, as always, a sold-out delightful evening. There is just that special and grand feeling one has ascending the steps of the Capitol to the orchestra playing “Tennessee Waltz.” On the grand first floor were candlelit tables set for dinner. Upstairs in the gallery between the House and Senate Chambers was the cocktail setting, and photographs were being taken in the amazing State Library.

Patrons descending the massive marble and granite staircase for dinner were Marianne and Andrew Byrd, Rachel and Gary Odom (Rachel, as always, so gorgeous in a new Muna design), Eleanor and Gary Parkes, Marion and Kem Hinton (Kem had great black-tie socks he just had to show me), Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Committees Co-Chairs and Patrons Party hosts Shirley and David Horowitz, Joe Burchfield, Linda and Jere Ervin, Suzanne and Grant Smothers, Anne and George McGugin, Emily and Lee Noel, Jane and Jack Jacques, Melissa and Leighton Liles, Grace Clayton, Gloria Houghland and Chuck Welch, Joan and Will Cheek, Sylvia and Al Ganier with house guests Martha and Governor Don Sundquist, Anne Davis and Mayor Karl Dean, Debbie and Bill Tate with guests Sarra and Thierry Ygouf of Caen, France, Nashville’s sister city, Rich Roberts, Nancy Russell with Jim Marvin, Robbie and Maggie Barnhart, and Joanne and Joe Sowell. This annual affair is under the direction of Lois Riggins-Ezzell, director of the State Museum, and the dynamic Leigh Hendry.

What a glorious evening to stroll lakeside at the annual fundraiser
benefiting Watkins College of Art, Design and Film. The pARTy: Watkins
on the Water was truly a most enjoyed event. Some two hundred guests cocktailed on the veranda overlooking the lake while bidding on the silent auction items. Dinner was seated under a large tent in the college parking lot.
This evening brought back fond and joyful memories of past tent parties where the main focus was on raising money without a lot of extravagant expense.

Art Auction Honorary Chair was the one and only Walter Knestrick, who, by the way, is a great artist and had one of his watercolors up for auction. The party buzz was all about the new hall being named in honor of Albert Hadley.

I cannot think of a better couple to be the recipients of the 2012 Guilford and Jane Dudley Award for Excellence in Philanthropy than my good friends Barbara and Jack Bovender. A lovely cocktail supper was held recently at Cheekwood on the loggia.

Jane Offenbach, President and CEO, welcomed the Cheekwood Society members, and George Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, presented the Bovenders with the well-deserved award. On hand congratulating the Bovenders were Kristen and Don Taylor, Katherine and Pete Delay, Sylvia and Doug Bradbury, Katie and Tom Steel, Jim Redd IV, Kate and Steven Ezell, Dee and Doug Altenbern, Linda and Steve Harlan, Jean and Denny Bottorff, Julie and Breck Walker, Shannon and J.B. Barton, Jennie Smith and James Gooch, Gigi and Ted Lazenby, Cathy and Clay Jackson, and Sarah and Richard Bovender. I truly admire the Bovenders and especially my girlfriend Barbara who always looks so snappy in her perfect attire.

The beautiful Childe Hassam painting Washington Arch, Spring (1890) came to life as the theme of the 2012 Frist Gala. Hassam’s painting was part of the American art from the Phillips Collection recently exhibited at the Frist. Upon entering the oh-so-elegant tent at this gala, one could feel, touch, smell, and hear the activity as Hassam painted it over a century ago. Gala Co-Chairs Julie Gordon and Perian Strang orchestrated the evening with close attention to every minute detail, as in the table centerpieces—glass terrariums with battery-operated monarch butterflies fluttering about, surrounded by lush spring flowers from Branches. The dinner tent was lit in a soft blue wash, and the tables were covered in soft, soothing pastel colors, providing a welcoming feel on this warm Nashville evening. Even the dinner menu was in keeping with the theme, with chilled English pea soup followed by Black Angus filet and the most delicious seared quail, and ending with a spring berry trifle. One can always tell when the dinner is exceptionally grand—all those at the table fall silent, which was the case with my dinner partners Joanne and Tom Cato, Luann and Gary Waltemath, Elaine and Bruce Sullivan, Janet and Earl Bentz, and my new friends Lorelle and John Gawaluck.

Leaving the gala and waiting for my car on Broadway I was greeted by the wonderful smell of donuts being baked—as could happen in Central Park. Awaiting their horse-drawn carriages (as seen in Hassam’s painting) were the Chairs’ proud and handsome husbands Bob Gordon and Sam Strang, Deborah and Fred Cassetty, Alberta and Bob Doochin, Sylvia and Doug Bradbury, JoAnne and Gary Haynes, Jana and Ansel Davis with Kate Grayken, Nancy and Keith Gregg, Linda and Steve Harlan, Alida Pinson and Treg Warner, Minnette Boesel and Clay Jackson, Barbara and Jack Bovender with Sarah and Richard Bovender, Christie and Jay Turner, Carolyn Nash and Randy Camp, Liz Donner and Mark Levine, Jason Bradshaw and Bob Deal, Joyce and David Hitt, Cathy and Martin Brown, Dallas and Fleming Wilt, Alyne Massey, Clare Armistead and Dianne Neal, and, of course, all the Frist family.

It will be with great pleasure that I look forward to your company at the upcoming Swan Ball.

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