Kentucky Derby Benefit Party. It's true. I confess. Michael and I attended one on Saturday. No I didn't wear a hat! (Everyone asks that first.) Some of the other women did, though.
The party benefited a local charity and we were the guests of some friends of ours. (They had to be there because their company was the host site. We were invited to come hang out with their spouses, as they wouldn't know anyone.) It was cold and rainy when we arrived at about 5:15. We parked and walked toward the site, attempting to keep the umbrella over both our heads - an impossible task. We headed downhill over muddy gravel to a plywood bridge, where we crossed more muddy gravel and began the short, uphill climb to the party. The festivities were being held in an old building shell. It had a concrete floor and walls about three feet high. The rest was open to the roof. The roof was made of slats, so yes, the rain was coming in.
As we entered the old warehouse, my eyes took in the pastel covered tables, the two bar stations, the large screen at the far end, and all. the. people. There were definitely more people than there were tables and chairs. Then my anxiety level started to rise. I knew four people in the entire room. Five if you count Michael. I immediately began hammering out a strategy to claim six chairs and a table.
Quickly we located our friends and got a drink. Did I mention it was cold and rainy? Over the next 45 minutes we made small talk with our friends, checked out the view of the river, refilled our drinks, looked to see where our friends were, poked fun at the items up for silent auction (all of which were way, way out of our price range), tried a cracker with crab meat, went to talk with our friends again, and almost got stuck in a pool that would've cost us $40 or more!!! (My friend's boss handed me a cup and said to pull out a number, so I did. Everyone was picking horses in turn, and I picked one too. But then I started seeing money going down in the middle of the table..... maybe I should've known better, but I was way out of my league...)
Finally, it was time for the race. I've never watched the Kentucky Derby before. I'm not sure I ever will again. It was over in less than five minutes.
By this point, we were starting to notice how...shall we say, uniquely?...the other people were dressed. Many of the women were in summer dresses and it was cold! But more interesting, were the men. One guy had on plaid pants. The plaid colors were pink, gray, yellow, and light green. Yeah. Another guy came in a bright white suit. Seriously! But my personal favorite was the guy who wore grass green corduroy pants with ballerinas embroidered all over them. I am not making that up!
Sometime around 6:45 they opened up the silver food covers and dinner began. By this time, I was so cold that my hands were barely responding. It was very difficult to hold my plate and scoop the food onto it. The knuckles on my fingers were going stiff. Dinner was good, though, and well... it was free. We did leave right afterwards, though. We love our friends...but we do have limits!