Sunday, December 20, 2015

There are Parties … and then there are PARTIES!

The other evening in spite of the beginning of a snow storm we went to a mountain top the likes of which I have rarely seen.  Starting with the view from the doorway and it’s outdoor fireplace aglow and the spectacular panorama of town below.  Happily there were valets to take our cars after we arrived up the single lane curvy road, but where they parked the cars I have no idea!

It was both a Christmas Party and a benefit for the Spanish Colonial Arts Society & Museum. Jolonda & Henry Field teamed up with Thomas Getgood & Blake Franklin who used to own an Inn in town.   When they retired and sold the inn they moved into this amazing house of about 7,400 square feet on 5 acres of land. It was the ultimate party palace.   The guest were invited to see all the rooms and I took a photo of the bath and dressing room to give an idea of the grandeur of the place.

The kitchen, which was relatively small, had an open plan, which split the area into two additional spaces that could be used for entertainment.

In a nook from there you could go down a staircase to what was labeled for that evening as the “Rum Room” where you could taste rum from 10 to 21 years old… or just drink some fruit punch.  It made for a cozy place to congregate or put the naughty children when there were no guests in the house.  There were also several bars around the house so you need not go thirsty for a minute just taking your glass from one room to another.

Our hostess, Jolanda Field, who is on the Board of the Spanish Colonial Museum, is originally from Guyana, (she pronounced it “Guy Anna”), wanted to be sure that her guests learned something about her homeland.  I must admit that I was rather ignorant about it, myself.  Guyana is in South America bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname and the Atlantic Ocean.  Her pronunciation of the country’s name also baffled me since I had been taught “Gee Anna” and can also be spelled Guiana.   Guyana was initially inhabited by several indigenous  groups and originally settled by the Dutch.  It came under British control at the end of the 18th century so the official language is English. The majority of the people speak Guyanese Creole, however, which is based on English.  After Guyana achieved independence in 1966 the pronunciation of the name changed.  Our hostess is here in her striking red dress.

As at all fundraisers, there needed to be a pitch and thank yous to the multitude of people who went to great efforts to make the evening a success.   One of the surprises in the list was Jolanda’s mother who was given full credit for the delicious meal.  Somehow I imagined this slender woman slaving away in the kitchen for days over the hot stoves.  I am hoping she had some help, however, from the large and energetic staff.  Here the director of the museum, David Setford is making his pitch.

Our hostess wanted us to understand the polyglot nature of her country so she offered us a sampling of the cuisine of each segment of the population.  The staff was plentiful. They seemed to be everywhere and served finger foods as appetizers from China, East Indian, Portuguese British and European.  The main coarse added to the above Amerindian and African, and featured a Caribbean “pepper pot” of a variety of meats slow-cooked with spices.

Entertainment included a brief performance of an operatic aria, a singer of lighter fare, and the piece de resistance was a Marimba band which played most of the evening.

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