News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Cathy D. Wahl

Decatur Assembly going retro for March 12 PACT Ball

If you've dawdled about sending your reservation for Decatur Assembly's March 12 "Retro Ball," consider this your last warning.

Do it now.

Reservations were due yesterday for Assembly's annual black-tie ball to benefit Parents and Children Together. But chairwomen Carol Bolding and Nicole Shelton will cut you some slack if you send in your $250-per-couple check Monday morning to P.O. Box 2444, Decatur, AL 35602-2444.

Seating arrangements chairwoman Melinda Woller may still make room for you at the ball at Decatur Country Club. Cocktails will be served at 7 p.m., with dinner at 8 and dancing to music by the Respectables starting at 9.

Menu chairwomen Betsy Rocha-Weaver and Penny Haddock and tasters Pat Patterson, Tina Wofford, Jo Alfano, Tiki Hubbard and Lynn Thrasher slaved over hot plates, tasting this and that to determine the menu. And here it is. Peach Bellinis (champagne, peach nectar and a peach slice) will greet guests, who also can nibble on Smoked Salmon Gallette (smoked salmon on hash browned potatoes with dill aioli) while they schmooze in the club foyer.

Dinner begins with a salad of mixed greens moistened with basil vinaigrette and topped with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and a fig rumaki from a recipe developed by Haddock ("I call them 'Penny Figs,' Carol giggled). The main event is filet mignon with a Cabernet reduction sauce, potato-crusted halibut (chef Ron Casey's creation) with a lemon buerre blanc sauce, haricots verte (green beans) with plum tomato salsa, smoked gouda grits and assorted breads with herb butter. Wines include a white wine incredibly named Goats Do Roam from South Africa, and a red Spanish Rioja entitled Marques de Caceres.

Chocolate Decadence with creme fraiche creates the grand finale.

Dress properly. "This is the Retro Ball," Carol declares, "in the sense that anything goes. It's still a formal event, but we want it to be campy, fun, splashy and colorful. Wear something you wore in the 1960s. Or the '80s. I even know people who've bought things off eBay for their outfits."

Decorations chairwomen Tina Wofford and Vicki Stephenson are using '80s (or is it '60s?) pink and green to inspire table and room decorations.

Spring tea

In Hartselle, people are beginning to talk about the Current Review Club's upcoming afternoon tea on May 1 to benefit the Hartselle Public Library.

Susan S. Hines tells us that the tea will take place at Bill and Wendy Swann's new home on Roan Road. You may remember the club's annual Spode Christmas china raffles. "That just sort of ran its course," said former president Linda Watson. "We were ready for something different, and I think everyone else was, too."

Organized in 1926, Hartselle's Current Review Club is one of Morgan County's oldest organizations. Its motto is "To cease to learn is to cease to live."

Tasty paradise

Taste a bit of paradise Monday night at the 18th annual "Taste of the Valley" from 6 to 8 at the Holiday Inn of Decatur.

At least 500 people will attest that "Taste" is one of the most popular fund-raisers in our area. That's how many hungry people attended last year's sampling of foods from area restaurants and caterers.

More than 20 food firms will offer their best Monday night to benefit the Volunteer Center of Morgan County's youth programs.

Buy a ticket in advance for $20 at the Volunteer Center, THE DECATUR DAILY, Café 113, Holiday Inn, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce and Colonial Mall. Purchase a ticket at the event for $25. Children 3 and under are admitted free.

Proceeds help fund Volunteer Center's youth programs including the summer youth program, mentoring and Reading is Fundamental.

If you need a reason to stay away from the food, you'll want to spend time at the silent auction organized by Carroll Lane Parsons and Kathy Hammond.

Gloria Oliver of Gloria's Good Health donated a basket which includes a thermal body wrap, gift certificate and healthy snacks. Everyone clamors for 3M's Innovation boxes filled with helpful 3M products. Jay Davis of Java Jaay added a coffee basket. Angela Wilson and Donyale Wooten, who are opening "La T Da," a bridal and Gourmet Shop in Hartselle, donated a basket of gourmet items from the shop.

Norma Williams at French Connection created a basket of bath and body products and a Decatur afghan. Pam French of The French Door and Mel Taylor Salon put together choice products from their firms. The Light House and Colonial Mall are donating gift certificates.

Bidding is sure to go high for Mary Morgan's basket from her Morgan Price Candy Co. and cookbooks personally signed by author Betty Sims. Jennifer Chandler from Bank Street Uniques and Candy Bouquet is donating a candy bouquet and Pat Arrington at Silk Road Salon is adding a spa basket.

Tasters also will be able to bid on gift certificates from local restaurants, including Simp McGhee's, Apple Lane Farms, Logan's Roadhouse, Applebee's, Cracker Barrel, Westside Coffee and Café and Mel's Sweet Treats.

Guests are sure to eat up the clever tropical decorations by Anne Marshall, Harriett Holland, Carrie Spurling, Rita Baker and Sallye Coggin. Dee Keller heads up ticket and poster distribution along with board members Betty Gottler, Matt Stiles, Kermit Carter, Melissa Hambrick and David Carter.

Brenda Looney chairs the judging committee, which includes volunteer Gail Covington and board members John Godbey, Carl Monin, John Vaughan and Anne Crane. Judges are Linda Peek, Diana Gee, Cathy D. Wahl, Murphy Brown, Arthur Orr, Susan Hines, Clif Knight, Nicole Shelton, Carol Bradford, Jim Fincher, John Glasscock and Bill Dukes.

Angela Henderson will assist restaurants during set-up. Shirley Reid and Mike Hellebrand have persuaded guitarist Tim Tucker to perform, along with groups from Kim's School of Dance.

Boy Scout Troop 336 led by Scott Owen will assist that evening as well.

'Lilies of the Field'

Theatre Huntsville is drawing from outside the city for its March 11-19 production of "The Lilies of the Field."

Director Jeannette Chaney hails from Decatur. Athens' Frank Travis, who plays the lead role of the drifter Homer Smith, fills roles all over the area and is probably best known for ably portraying Hoke in "Driving Miss Daisy." Ann Sowby of Athens is a fairly recent newcomer and has appeared in Theatre Huntsville's "Moon Over Buffalo."

"The Lilies of the Field" takes place in a town in west Texas. Here a group of German nuns (played by Lorrie Thorstad, Nicole Shelton, Bobbie Chaney and Adrian Shrider), who fled their country from World War II, minister to the spiritual needs of the Hispanic community. Smith becomes part of their lives. The big challenge comes when Mother Marthe (Sowby) asks Homer to build a chapel.

Julian Rojas and Tom Newton complete the cast as the young priest and the local "good ol' boy" businessman who owns the building supply store.

Theatre Huntsville will perform "The Lilies of the Field" on March 11-12 and 17-19 at 7:30 p.m., and March 13 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $14 for adults and $12 for students, senior citizens and active military. Group rates are available. Call (256) 536-0807 for complete information.

Theatre Huntsville will conduct auditions for "The Merchant of Venice" at the Von Braun Center on March 13-14 at 7 p.m. Director Josh Olive will be casting 21 roles.

Crash course

Joanne Hollman of Huntsville will present a crash course in effective communication at Monday's meeting of Decatur's Speaking Easy Toastmasters Club. The 5:30 p.m. meeting takes place at Java Jaay's on Sixth Avenue Southeast, and the meeting is free.

Joanne recently won Toastmasters Southeast Division Evaluation Contest.

Toastmasters is an international organization dedicated to helping people develop communication and leadership skills. For information, contact Marilyn Volonino at 353-8849, or Brandon Oliver at (256) 734-8602

Green or black thumb

Do it live or do it fake, but do make it to Friday's meeting of Decatur Christian Women's Club.

Meeting at 11 a.m. for lunch at Decatur Country Club, members will enjoy "live" plants from Lee Vought of Vought Landscape and Design. He is getting a national reputation for his innovative water garden designs, which have been featured on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and at Disney World's Epcot Center flower festival.

If "live" is beyond your skills, Gardot Silk Design will show how to bring nature indoors — permanently.

For inspiration in living a real life, Susan Hines of Pelham will talk about "A Designer Plan for Life."

Anybody who enjoys good company and good food for body and soul will enjoy a couple of hours with Christian Women's Club. Reservations are due by Wednesday by calling Sue Johnson at 353-5180 or Clarice Kessinger at 301-9196, or e-mail Sue at

Free child care is available by reservation. Just call Clarice to make a nursery reservation.

Call your "Chatterbox" news to Cathy D. Wahl at 350-6983 or mail to 1225 Regency Blvd. S.E., Decatur, AL 35601. Fax to 350-6983 or e-mail to

Cathy D. Wahl Cathy D. Wahl
DAILY Staff Writer

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