As some of you may know, my Mom recently retired from the Missouri Senate. After serving five years in the Missouri House of Representatives, she was elected to the Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. She served her district well, but decided late last year to step away from her career to spend more time with my Dad – her husband of 59 years – and our family.
Mom’s retirement was marked with a number of special events and honors, not to mention extensive media coverage. One “big ta-do” in her honor was held on March 25 at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center & State Museum in Kansas City, Mo. I was delighted to add the decorative flourishes to the event in celebration of her long and distinguished service to the Kansas City community and her birthday as she turned a tender 82. (She’s still so young…I don’t think this whole “retirement” thing will last but a hot second! 🙂 )
So, my dear blogger friends, if you will indulge me…as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I’d like to share with you a few photos from Mom’s retirement party.
Congratulations, Senator Mom!
I wanted to have a single focal point in the room that would be visible from the entryway. Two of my cousins helped me get up on the buffet table to build this 8-ft. tall floral arrangement before the caterer arrived to add this fabulous food display. As the room grew darker, the hanging votives (LEDs for safety!) throughout the arrangement made a stunning statement.
I created arrangements in faux silver julep cups for the guest tables, surrounded by a trio of votives. (We went with faux silver cups so the volunteer hostesses could take them home later as a token of appreciation.) Smaller similar arrangements were created for the two guest book tables. I love these vintage-looking pink roses with the curly green edges!!! Sprigs of seeded eucalyptus and hypericum berries complete the look.
Our sweet friend, Patrick Snuffer, created the beautiful cakes for the event. Not only does he make deliciously moist cakes, but he is also an accomplished floral designer. The fresh rose and orchid arrangements on the five cakes are his designs.
Almost showtime! The Three Amigas check the list one last time. L to R: My cousin Virginia Dee Evans who worked patiently and tirelessly to coordinate the event, friend Karen Boyd who selflessly pitched in to help in any and every area possible, and me.
Local celebrity, “Tall” Paul Alexander surprised my Mom when he showed up to greet arriving guests. Tall Paul – a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters – is a doorman who has greeted everyone from presidents to movie stars to rock legends, has been a fixture at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City for 37 years. In the background is famed jazz musician Luqman Hamza (jazz enthusiasts may remember his 1950s hit “When You Surrender”) who wowed guests with his musical stylings throughout the evening. That handsome young fellow on the other side of my Mom is my Daddy, Jim.
Family photo time! L to R: Nicole Wankel (nephew’s longtime girlfriend), nephew Justin Chamberlain-Dupree, Daddy Jim Wilson, Mom, niece Yvonne Chamberlain, Mom’s senatorial successor Kiki Curls, sister Berishia Wilson-Chamberlain, and me.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!!!
All photos by Sheri L. Grant