Sunday, May 1, 2011

Incremental Celebrations

I've spent the last twelve hours celebrating 25's and 50's. Last night Scott and I ventured to Forth Worth leaving the severe weather in our rear-view mirror (usually we get our weather from Fort Worth). We found clear skies over a network of tents at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Cocktails on the plaza greeted us as did an intoxicating view of the downtown Fort Worth skyline. Initially we chuckled as we knew not a sould in sight--and enjoyed a few moments of total solitude in a bustling party. It didn't last long (and that was fun, too) as we saw Mary Burke (Marcus Fellows I fame) and Lori Eklund (Carter Director of Education). I love Fort Worth and a party among it's most committed art collectors was just was we needed. There was much to celebrate.

In 1961 Ruth Carter Stevenson opened the museum after her father gave the collection with a wish it would be housed in a museum free to the public. She has been an active force and leader on the board for the last fifty years--president since 1982. Unfamiliar with all things museum (but emboldened with a keen eye for art) she enlisted the help of the de Menils of Houston and legendary architect Philip Johnson. He designed the original building on museum hill in Fort Worth, 2 additions and the 2001 expansion. Ruth and her gaggle of children and grandchildren stood proudly on the stage as we happily toasted five decades. Former and long-time director Ron Tyler (one of my professors at UT) was in the room as well as the new director, Andrew J. Walker (newly arrived former curator of American Art at the St. Louis Museum of Art). Rick Brettell and his wife Carol also made the trip from Dallas.

The table cards (#10) and the place cards were written by hand in the most beautiful script. Our table of eight was appropriately seated with spouses separated and careful thought given to who would meet whom. Wine service and the courses were elegantly timed and delicious. And hot. "Anniversary Cake" a beautiful mini-cake in white fondant with gold beads (in icing) matched the gold beads on the glass plates. The speeches were both spirited and poignant--Scott and I were so pleased to be included. As we stood up and walked back out onto the plaza we were showered with a sky full of fireworks--one of Ruth's favorite things. I've written before about Texans and their audacity--something I believe forged the great art collections of our state. The night sky--over the cranes building the new addition to the Kimbell Art Museum--was expoding with color--a splendor in red, white and blue: a perfect metaphor to a family creating a visual legacy with a collection and a museum that is nothing less than world-class.

We were happy all the way home. And today--we joined my parents at the twenty-fifth anniversary of Trinity Episcopal Church in Dallas. It was a warm and welcoming luncheon--sitting among friends I've known from high school, my seven years at the Church of the Incarnation and more recently the Crow. The boys behaved (key to future invitations from my father possibly taking us to lunch) and the food was delicious. One of the choirmasters returned, the architect, former families and new ones. It was a gathering of people from moments in time since the church was formed in 1986.

So...two anniversaries, twenty-five years apart made up the celebrations of our weekend--preceeded by my father's seventieth birthday last Wednesday. It was also a sweet and nostalgic affair--with Scott, the boys and my parents enjoying A & J Bakery's Red Velvet Cake. He wanted little pomp and circumstance (we saved that for the Royal Wedding on Friday)--and so we obliged the patriarch of our family with understated joy. I let the boys plan the party (he wouldn't dare argue with them!) And a very happy 70th birthday party was had by all.

Something tells me this week might be boring in comparison...