Planning for a luau a year ahead of time was a great notion. COVID-19 turned the event into a very modified version. The original hope for this meeting theme for the Earth, Wind and Flowers Garden Club carried with it a roasted hog with an apple in its mouth. That did not happen. We ended up with boxed meals, which were yummy, and closed with pineapple upside down cake. We would normally have had our own homemade dishes served as a buffet.
Joy Lauther’s garage allowed for open air and social distancing. Just outside the entrance was a cluster of fern, croton, a tall red grassy version of cordyline, and her healthy potted impatiens accented by two Tiki torch lights. We tried. A stretch of grass skirt edged the serving counter. Above that was a huge, long narrow basket arrangement with a pineapple that radiated its magnificent scent, which united with real lemons, grapes, caladium leaves, dahlias, yellow marguerites and crepe myrtle. Fabrics on the tables ranged through lime green to chartreuse and into yellow and palm prints.
Pleas were made for Hawaiian music. None surfaced. One tape with an Australian player of a didgeridoo was dismal for the evening, so the Beach Boys sang their greatest surfin’ songs instead. That brought smiles from some of our ancient members.
This final meeting night fell within our theme of blessings from a basket and was titled “Savoring the Bread Basket and More.” The bread basket referred to our cooking. However, the notion “and more” really came to life as members responded to a place setting challenge.
Each member had been asked to prepare a table setting. In our flower shows these become an artful bringing together of the components needed to dine with grace and beauty. A plate and cup, a place mat, a napkin with a ring, and a required floral design small enough not to tip over into the food are sought. Success here brought so much more color to our modified luau event.
Karen had used a crocheted circular doily made by a family member. Her china had belonged to her mother and was edged in a solid ring of small flowing florals. It was quite feminine — even the tea cup. Rose had a rectangular counted cross stitch mat edged in red with a matching linen napkin and a design with a white rose accented by lavender. Marylyn had color galore, from a floral printed mat to an “M” monogrammed drinking glass with orange and red (those colors were in the mat), and a fresh design with red helenium and a variegated sedum.
Judy and Sarah shared a card table which was novel and pleasant. A printed table cloth offered Fiestaware plates of orange and yellow upon woven charger mats. Napkins were ringed with two wired strands of natural colored beads.
June had created a color explosion. I mean that in a nice way. A colorful paper plate used the words “summer fun.” Beneath that a larger paper plate had a striped edge. The striping was in the mat design. The yellow paper cup sat quietly across from an arrangement with snug ball-type dahlias in the setting colors. This was contained on an oval white wicker tray.
Amy Frizzell accented her fine china edged in gold with shells. Shells nestled against her design of sedum and spirea. Deb used a dark green mat with a chartreuse china plate and a napkin printed with foliage accents. Her design of foliages blended dusty miller, heuchera, and euonymous with tips of grasses — the only all-foliage design.
There were more. Janet showed up with a flamingo in hand and dressed like the tropics. Julie’s glowing sunshine yellow china had a potted sedum as a design, a very clean look. Amy Vaughn had the colors of chartreuse in a Fiestaware plate on a bold tropical print charger plate with a round woven mat beneath. A clear chartreuse glass and printed napkin were punctuated with a hibiscus flower — a real one. I had to look from disbelief. Leis worn on her neck repeated it all. Sarah’s hair and lei matched in rainbow colors. Her lavender sprigs were in a miniature pitcher from a tea set. Susan Monroe came in a modified lei using fresh flowers on a necklace base. Mike was all smiles but did not put the fresh flowers on his cap.
There’s more I could share like the two flamingos at the end of the drive inviting us in and two large posters with water-colored flowers and “Aloha” scrawled across. We disappeared into a somewhat cool darkness, where earlier we viewed a sun suspended in haze near the horizon. Life is good.
Mary Lee Minor is a member of the Earth, Wind and Flowers Garden Club, an accredited flower show judge for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs and a former sixth-grade teacher.
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