Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Homemaking Tip--Goblets and Birds

top bowl upside down, plate covered with program

We attended a formal banquet this week at West Point in Washington Hall. Washington Hall is a magnificent building that seats 4000 cadets and the staff can have them all fed and back outside in less than 25 minutes. When the table is set, the plates are turned over to protect them from birds that have errantly flown into the hall and fly around the 40 foot ceilings. Square dark wood panels stretch four feet up the walls and a central granite support is in the center of the hall with a nested alcove where famous speeches have been given (McArthur’s “Duty, Honor, Country” being one of them). A mural representing various battles throughout the ages covers the entire end of one of the wings of the hall. It could provide hours of table conversation.

The ambiance and pageantry of the event was very entertaining. Cadets in their starched uniforms and red sashes with their dates in bright dresses (or, in the case of female cadets, their dates were in military attire or suits), and the colonels and generals in full dress with a chest full of medals made a colorful display.

the most matching outfit of the evening

I watched this woman take a picture of her husband, a former WP grad, with their daughter. She seemed pleased when I asked if I could take a picture of her and happily limped over to the wall (two days walking up and down the hills on post had worn her feet out) in her gold-gilded shoes to pose.

Abe pouring Sparkling White Grape Juice for his guests

For dinner we had Caesar salad, baked chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables and cheesecake. The wine goblets used for the toasts were given as mementos. They’re etched with the West Point crest and class motto and sing when you play them. In short, they’re not something you want to break. I had forgotten the reminder to take bubble wrap to protect them, so while Calvin went to the restroom to retrieve paper towels I watched another woman stuff her goblets in tube socks! I thought it utterly brilliant, so when we packed to come home I stuffed our goblets in Calvin’s socks and tucked them in among the dirty clothes.

Homemaking Tip #1: If you have trouble with birds flying in your rafters, don’t be embarrassed. It happens at the important places too; just turn your plates upside down until it’s time to eat.

Homemaking Tip #2: Pack your breakables in tube socks when you travel and hide them among the dirty clothes.


deidra said...

So fun! I love all the pageantry. That's quite the outfit she has going on. Did you wear as many sequins/sparkles yourself? ;-)

HeatherM said...

I absolutely love that you learn wherever you go. You are a life-long learner, Jane - I don't care what your Physical Science class might try to indicate. Thanks for describing the pageantry of your fun evening. Great post.

Barb said...

You must be very proud! What a terrific evening, you've all earned it.

melanie said...

Maybe I could look a little better with some gold in my hair. I'll let you know when I try it out.

I'm glad you had a good time. I bet the time flew. Can't wait to hear more about it. We're going to, right?

Donna Chapin said...

I think I really should have invited myself to see first hand all the fun experiences you had this weekend. :) Are we going to hear about the football game?
Glad to hear that you had a memorable weekend.

Ande Payne said...

I wish I was there! The trip sounds so fun! I want a goblet with a name tag that says "Miss Payne." I'm so glad you guys got to go! I love you!

Carolyn said...

So, did your goblets make it home un-broken? I'm guessing so since you gave us a handy tip. :)

It sure looks like you had a lot of fun. I almost feel like I am at these places when you describe them.

Julie said...

I love military pagentry! I never tire of all the traditions and the military pride. Abe looks stunning in his dress whites, although I love Steve and Ty in their dress blues! Just a little Air Force pride and prejudice there I guess. I love that you shared all that with us. Thanks!