Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Working the Red Carpet

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a rather lavish luncheon laid on by the Redondo Beach Parks and Recreation department to thank the volunteers at their social centers.

Technically speaking, I don't think I should have been there at all.  The South Bay Writers Workshop (aka Thurs. Writers) meets in the Veteran's Park Senior Center where we've generously been given a room from noon to 2 p.m.  In January we all pay the center the $6 annual fee.

Because the center personnel have most often dealt with me, they believe that I am the group's "leader."  I have explained that no one can "lead" a group of writers; that we are a democratic society and debate and then vote on such weighty matters as where to have the annual Christmas party.  Any one of us could be considered the "leader" for those reasons.  They insisted that I attend their "Volunteers Are the Stars" luncheon. 

So I went.  It started at 11:30 at the Center for Performing Arts, Redondo.  It was an elaborate set-up.  We were directed to a sign-in table for name badges (very fancy with gllitter and hand-applied stars) and then, on an escort's arm, ushered down a bright red carpet that led into the room. 

As this wasn't enough to boggle the mind, a woman inside with a microphone then welcomed each of us by name and the audience clapped lustily!

They were doing a good business and the only seats left were at an empty table in the rear of the room.  After I'd been brusquely refused a seat at another table by a woman who most closely resembled and sounded like a constipated bear -- "You can't sit there!  That's Amy's seat!" I slithered over to this empty table and sat down.

I wasn't lonely for long.  Almost immediately Gabriele sat down, followed rather quickly by a man who asked if he could join us.  He turned out to be the newly-elected District 4 city councilman Steve Sammarco.  He had replaced Steve Diels (whom Richie and I  know)  when Diels was termed out.   Sammarco is clearly a good friend of Diels so that was a conversational springboard though certainly none seemed to be needed. 

I should mention the setting - round tables with black tablecloths which had been strewn with rose petals and glitter stars of varying sizes.  Each setting had a gold, plastic charger plate, a square white dish and silverware wrapped in a snowy white napkin. 

I had gotten a pina colada from the "mocktail" bar (other choice was a strawberry margarita.)  First to appear was a squarish platter with very nice slices of roast beef on a plain white triangle of bread; a chunk of pineapple on a skewer and another skewer of mozarella cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar atop a piece of lettuce with a cherry tomato finishing off the skewer. 

Salad came next - a veritable blizzard of disco lettuce with balsamic  vinegar dipped strawberries and chunks of walnut. 

The main course was grilled skinny green beans with diced Roma tomatoes, a small serving of grilled chicken breast with a goat cheese sauce and a big manicotti stuffed with ricotta cheese and sauted spinach topped with pinon nuts.   When dessert appeared, I disappeared as I had another appointment.  Dessert looked to be vanilla ice cream, scattered with chocolate chip cookie crumbs served in a martini glass. 

It turned out to be an interesting and enjoyable luncheon.  Gabriele is now a volunteer at my old volunteer spot - Driftwood - and we compared notes and stories.  Steve was affable as politicians are wont to be and a good time seemed to be had by all.

This time next year, the writers can vote for a delegate to attend and he or she can go down the red carpet.  I've had my turn.  Democracy Rules!

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