Sunday, October 20, 2013

the gala Manor ball

She smiled when asked if all her zippers were zipped. And she winked when I asked did she feel pretty, oh so pretty, witty and bright. 'Yes', she replied, 'but do you imagine I will be getting the key to the city?' I love when girls play along. Alas, there were no zippers present on her stunning white chiffon dress.

I skipped the tux, and went with the serious Autumn-chill John Barrymore motif:

The advantage was her small delicate hands constantly straightened the knot through the whole affair, and it meant no escape for her when I slouched to kiss her lips.

We agreed it would be marvelous if we stopped by to see if the Man With The Trumpet wanted to go to the gala. He did. He bathed quick, skipped the razor, seeing how he claimed a clean face made his sunken temples and cheeks quite eerie, and slipped on the one jacket he possessed. His trumpet was in a chair. I picked it up. It felt warm, and when I turned to him he was smiling at me with his hand outstretched. My date knew all along. She found he'd already been invited by the Grand Hostess. It was under his solitary table lamp:

Natalie kissed his cheek.

We arrived. At the entrance a rather confused Margaret Dumont kept bellowing, 'As Chairman of the reception committee I welcome you with opened arms'! We laughed as we could still hear her echo after we reached the ballroom.

Oh, the setting - the chandeliers, the smart miniature glowing table lamps, and the finest polished sparkling a good witch could unassumingly fidget with her hair.

And the tables of food; silver trays heaped and steaming, glasses of colored mirth liberally filled and refilled. I let the dead moth sauce pass on by. Once, after helping myself in the kitchen to the delicious burnt remains lining a pan (my favorite food!), I wandered off alone and found a small narrow cobwebbed door and forced it open. Uneven stairs lead to a cellar smelling of mowed grass. It was freezing cold, and shuddering to retreat I thought I heard movement like a scooting wood chair. I turned back and saw a white mist outline of a face. It whispered irritably, 'This is my place!' Although annoyed, there was a tone of relief in the voice as it could finally tell someone. I think I understood before I fainted.

I awakened in the smoke-filled library some unknown time later looking at a ceiling pattern with a small jelly glass of brandy to my lips. People were singing happy birthday off-key. I thought: how could anyone mess that song up? I sat up and it was a chuckling Vincent Price straightening my tie, looking mighty unconcerned about my well-being. I assured Natalie it was nothing after she tore him away from my throat. I told no one what I encountered. Did you see or hear anything unusual?

Well, Chet played wonderfully when the Gracious Host presented him with an introduction that made people weep with joy. After a few nodding whispers with the rotund piano man and a quick wave to the man with drumsticks tucked under his arm, he played and sang effortlessly, causing young barefoot dancer's hearts to ease, and yes, could've made the ghost in the cellar sigh...


The girl clutched close, and accompanied Chet and a milky-white full moon with a soft humming duet. It was a beautiful evening, I had a wonderful time at Willow Manor, and the girl was laughing.

Willow Manor Balls past:
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012


Blogger Helen said...

Sigh ... And all the while I pictured me in the white chiffon gown .. Alas I am not brunette!

10/20/2013 12:57 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Oh this is a delicious account of the party, Phil. I am thrilled you thought to invite the man with the trumpet. There is nothing like a little jazz to smooth the edges of a dance. I would enjoy helping you scrape the burnt edges in the kitchen.... right after I foxtrot with Vincent Price!

10/20/2013 1:04 PM  
Blogger Tess Kincaid said...

This was beautiful, Phil! The John Barrymore motif suits you look quite dashing, my friend...

10/20/2013 2:06 PM  
Blogger Jinksy said...

I think my white chiffon days are well and truly over! LOL :)

10/20/2013 2:11 PM  
Blogger Catfish Tales said...

Oh, but I recognised you instantly with that GQ autumn chill, so dashingly understated while making that statement, nonetheless. And didn't we laugh at silly Margaret Dumont, knowing full well that she must and did make her statement too..for whatever it was worth.

Was it unusual for Vinnie to be tearing at your throat? Why, yes, of course, now that you ask! Still, he is getting on in his vintage years, and I think he mistook you for someone else, as Vinnie quite often does these days.

I had a wonderful time too just flitting about alone without Bertie at the Willow Manor Ball this year. Glad you asked. And wasn't Chet Baker dreamy? I also heard the ghost in the cellar sigh. Or was that Vinnie?
Regardless, it was great seeing you this year again. And till the next, shall we say? Ta darlin'!

10/21/2013 5:50 AM  
Blogger Karen S. said...

Tell me, was that you or Chet whispering in my ear?

10/21/2013 11:10 AM  

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