Tuesday, November 20, 2007

dressed up with someplace to go

When someone goes to the trouble to give me free tickets to a nice event, I like to be able to use them. Tonight my wife Jere and I felt lucky to attend the Fantasy of Trees Gala Preview Party even though it meant I would have to be a little late for my Einstein Simplified performance. The Fantasy of Trees opens tomorrow and benefits East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

The menu at the gala featured "holiday fare with a Southern flair." The jumbo shrimp was served with a delicious sweet hickory chili sauce that had a good kick to it. The New Orleans bread pudding was a fine dessert but it was a side dish that stole the show. I recently heard about the trend to have a mashed potato bar at catered events. Tonight we enjoyed the fixin's at a sweet potato bar instead. The servers used an ice cream scoop to put some mashed sweet potatoes in a plastic cup. We could then choose from candied pecans, cream cheese glaze, dried cranberry and ginger relish, cinnamon streusel, whipped honey butter, maple syrup and skewered marshmallows that had been lightly toasted with a torch. The potatoes were fine but I was tempted to fill my cup with nothing but toppings.

We spotted several familiar faces from WBIR throughout the crowd. Todd Howell and his wife were walking in to the Convention Center at the same time as Jere and me. As we waited in line for a drink, I asked the pretty woman standing behind us if she was Emily Stroud. She was. A few minutes later we briefly saw Michele Silva and Steve Phillips. We talked with Beth Haynes about one of her relatives who had great success on the same weight loss program as us. John Becker had some helpful advice for my wife's allergy problem.

Our longest conversation was with Ben Senger and his wife Alisha. They were sure they had seen my wife someplace before. Jere cracked us up by saying that she had a very common face. I kept questioning the Sengers until we determined that they had attended Fr. Chris Michelson's farewell Mass at All Saints Church. Jere was the cantor at that Mass.

All night long, I was introducing my wife to the people I knew from WBIR. When it was time for us to leave, she introduced me to some people she knew. A lovely woman named Joni had seen Jere first. They had already started talking as I caught up. Jere introduced me to Joni Punch, who then started to introduce her husband. I somehow already knew she was going to say his name was Jerry. She did the whole, "Jerry, meet Jere" thing that happens every time two people with the same name meet. Then I asked if he was a doctor. Remember, we were at a Children's Hospital function so I could pass it off as a reasonable question. As I suspected he was Dr. Jerry Punch but I still couldn't figure out how I knew that name. I asked my wife if she had mentioned Jerry's name to me recently. She was quite sure she hadn't. It wasn't until I got home and Googled the name that I realized he is a sportscaster and medical expert for ESPN. I don't remember seeing him on ESPN but I do recall seeing him interviewed recently on the local news. Sorry about that, Doc.

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Anonymous Chris and Bethany said...

i was wondering if you saw stacey mccloud from wvlt there at the event? you didn't list that you saw her but i saw her on tv in the evening news saying she was there? they also talked about being there on the morning news today. i didnt have a ticket to go but i wish i did because she looked very very pretty.
have a happy thanksgiving. i look forward to listening to your program this morning as I always do.

Blogger Shuttergal said...

It was great to see you the other night and meet your wife. She's great.
Isn't it nice to get all dressed up and go out? I am sorry I missed the sweet potato bar. We did not see you guys out dancing..maybe you had left by then to trip the lights at Sullivans!

Blogger Brian said...

Dr. Jerry Punch was a sideline reporter for many years on ESPN's College Football Primetime telecasts.

He is most well known now as the primary voice on ESPN's coverage of NASCAR.


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