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British Garden Party a huge $4K success

“This garden party,” asked the lady at the other end of the telephone, “Is it rain or shine?” It was quite a sensible question, really. It had been raining for much of the day and the forecast for the next days—including, Saturday, May 5th—seemed just as grim. “Oh yes,” I told her, “It is most definitely rain or shine. It’s a genuinely British garden party.”

As things turned out, May 5th dawned in a flood of sunshine and the weather stayed that way all day. And, maybe because the heavens smiled upon us, we enjoyed one of the most successful British Garden Parties and Fetes ever.

By the end of the day, everyone—workers and guests—had enjoyed a thoroughly jolly time, the evidence of which was manifest in the funds raised. At the end of the day, Parish Life Committee treasurer Cynthia Baker reported the “take” totaled $4,265.

There are still some modest expenses to be deducted from the total, as well as a little more cash to come in. However, the event promises to yield the parish a very handy profit—not bad for an event which has normally been regarded more as a community outreach than a fund raiser.

“Huzzah!” as our ever affable Henry VIII (alias Father Jon Filkins) would say. (“Huzzah” is the much–to–be–desired precursor of the modern British howl “Hooray! “Hooray!”)

Events as successful as this one are a little like icebergs. The vast bulk of the work that ensures success lies unseen and, all too often, unapplauded. So many people were involved in staging the event, it is hard to compile an exhaustive list of those who deserve congratulations.

Suffice it to say that a particular vote of thanks should go to Garden Party chairman, the redoubtable Donna Szper. She is the lady who obtained the permits, engaged the bag pipers, allocated the booths, press–ganged helpers, and generally kept everybody in line. The legion of helpers included Martha & Sev Miller, Stephanie Verhage, Don & Karen Ruthig, Rosa Halbert, Cyndie & Dan Baker, Kirby von Kessler, Gordon & Mavis Turner, Colby Hawks, Priscilla & Dick Huffman, Judy Elliott, Paul & Sara Douglas, Bill Young, Suzie Henneman, Shirley Steinberg, Happy & Whitney Riley, Alison Hendricks, Jane & John Woodall, Diane Novicki, Tracy Gushue, Tracey Collins, Bea & Dan Bursi, Jean Young, Jacqueline Green, Kim & Bob Reynolds, Bill Clark, June Pearce, Mark Matherson, Anne & Bill Hawkins, Brock Johnson, Joyce Perlberg, Phyllis Rice, Birdie Krauss, Barbara Parker, Bill Spicer, Reta Richardson, Judy & Steve Kight, and Charlotte Hawtin. My apologies to those I have inadvertently omitted.

One of the hardest workers of all was King Henry VIII. The monarch graciously opened the affair and kept things going with gusto and, mercifully, great good humor. Nobody was beheaded or burned at the stake, although this might have been a decided possibility. Correspondence preceding the event suggests the long dead king has actually possessed poor Fr. Jon. But judge for yourselves. GPH✠

Most Beloved Subjects Sir R.B. Wiley and Lady R.B.W. Colby,

Forsooth! It grieves me to be so long away [from St. Stephen’s Shire], for fast have the days passed since our last revels. Nay, in truth, ’tis only the briefest of moments, as our memories of yore are as fresh as the rememberings of the dispatch of a certain Queen, who lacked a good head. Your Lordly Regent, Exalted King, Imperial Emperor, Defender of the Faith, et cetera, ad nauseum, doth again desireth to proclaim his satisfaction for that which thou hath provided us in these ages past.

Oh woe! Alas and alack, thy King doth continueth to search for a new bride. Having spent these many days sitting on the splendid, but splintery, Throne of St. Gumbozo the Truly Mediocre at our splendid, but moldered, Swampsey Palace, in our splendid, but vermin–infested Castle of Picayune, we hath commanded our many lowly lackeys to search high and low for a bride in these fair lands. Finding no success in love and now, with fewer lowly lackeys, we prithee God have mercy upon us in our quest … We perceiveth thy shire has many eligible women of fine quality for Royal consideration at our return, the 5th of May, to St Stephen’s Shire.

Zoot and Alors! Regally,


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