Blame it on the time difference--that or the incessant need to feel like Cinderella--I'm late to Willow Manor's Annual Ball! I dash out of the dressing room looking fabulous and grab my date--my handsome and talented husband--who has been patiently waiting by the door, checking his watch and calmly announcing "Waitin' on one, honey" every 45 seconds or so.
Always the gentleman, him.
In all the late planning trying to get to the ball, Orlando Bloom was unavailable...but who am I kidding, Kip's the only one I'd want to go with anyways! So he agrees to throw on my favorite black three-piece suit of his along with the shadow stripe white shirt and the black on black paisley tie he wore at my surprise 21st birthday Masquerade (his presence was a surprise, the Masquerade was not). How dapper. Now what to wear for me?
With the lack of designer---or really any--shops up here in Juneau, I resort to whipping up something fabulous from a pattern. I've decided on this vintage number in a light blue chiffon, thinking it will conjure up visions of glaciers and elegance...or at the least that it will be fun to twirl in as the chiffon takes flight away from my ankles.
Who needs jewelry stores when you have a newlywed husband? I wear the gorgeous diamond necklace Kip gave me for our wedding and grin all night in the knowledge that last time I wore this, I was a bride and he was my groom.
On our feet, we both wear that beacon of fashion in Southeast Alaska: the Extra Tuff.
We arrive fashionably late to the party and all my favorite bloggy friends are there! Barry and Tessa and dozens more! Everyone is looking dapper in their chosen apparel. Designer names drop like rain. The crystal of the champagne glass stems reflect the glowing candlelight while Michael Buble offers some mood music in the background. As women wince at the painful works of art on their feet, I am happy that I passed up those Louboutins for my less fashionable choice in footwear; if there is one perk to an Extra Tuff, it is that they're comfortable. And waterproof, although that doesn't seem to be an issue tonight, as the sky is speckled by every star you've never seen before. It's as if someone tossed a diamond necklace into the great blue abyss and the clouds are staying away out of the sheer beauty of it all.
Canapes are passed among the guests, and Kip and I dance the night away, occasionally taking a seat by the dance floor and people watching, making up stories about our fellow guests at the ball like we used to do when we went to Jazz at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. "That guy is planning to propose soon, but only because his girlfriend is sort of a wretch and has been pressuring him into it. His mom is one of those traditional types that doesn't like that they've been living together, and really all he wants to do is run away and join the circus. It was his childhood dream."; "That couple over there is celebrating their 34th anniversary, and loving every minute of it. The kids are out of the house and they have several grandkids. They've taken quite well to the role of grandparents, but they like to get away every once in awhile and shun the role by dressing up and having fun in a very un-grandparentish kind of way. See that red dress? She's a total rebel at heart!"
We laugh like the youngsters we are and collapse into a pillow-topped bed outfitted with 1000 thread count sheets at the end of the night, drifting into dreams of balls and stars and adventures.
The next morning, we awake to a breakfast in bed of cinnamon raisin toast and orange juice. Kip tosses on a pair of slacks and the striped shirt that I bought him, and I slip into this little Vera Wang number for brunch. We descend the marvelous staircase to see our friends--some old, some new--helping themselves to morning mimosas and eggs benedict, while fresh wildflowers sit in vases on every imaginable surface and the sun streams in the windows.
"It's a beautiful morning at Willow Manor," we all say, "I wonder how next year's ball could be any better?" although we know full well that next year will surely put this one to shame.