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Despite ice, warmth abounds at dinner


The awful icy weather has played havoc with my social life, which in turn plays havoc with my work life. Not only could I not get to parties last weekend, but when I finally managed to get out Monday, I fell on the ice and am now a member of the hobble set.

For instance, last Friday night, I was so sorry to miss a dinner party for Mrs. Helmut (Danna) Swarovski at the home of Stiles Colwill, one of the owners of Colwill-McGehee Antique Decorative and Fine Arts who is best known to me as the former curator of the Maryland Historical Society. Stiles helped Pat Hughes decorate the Governor's Mansion while her husband was governor. The guest of honor, representing the Swarovski family (known for its crystal creations), was in town for the opening of a delightful exhibit, "Jewels of Fantasy: Costume Jewelry of the 20th Century," which they are sponsoring. (The exhibit can be seen at the Baltimore Museum of Art through April 24.)

Thanks to the weather, the party at Stiles' home was canceled, then rescheduled for the Brass Elephant, thinking city streets might be more maneuverable. Conditions worsened, but a group of hearty souls, led by museum director Arnold Lehman and his wife, Pam, were determined to show Mrs. Swarovski and her friend, Helen von Damm, a little Southern hospitality. They decided to move the dinner party to the Polo Grill at the Colonnade, where the ladies were staying.

As you can imagine, with every change, they lost a few guests. By 6 p.m., Stiles had been able to have his driveway plowed, no more ice was falling, so he called the caterer and the party was on. Among those who braved the elements were Greg and Lisa Barnhill, Perry and Aurelia Bolton, Connie Caplan, Pamela and Fred Meier, Gretchen and Roger Redden, and of course Ms. von Damm and Mrs. Swarovski, who brought Stiles a lovely cut and etched crystal vase as a gift.

* On Monday, Shirley Bigley, the fiancee of Baltimore Country Delegate Larry LaMotte, celebrated her 40th birthday. Much to her surprise, Larry threw a birthday party at their favorite Annapolis hang-out, Fran O'Brien's. Speaker of the House Cas Taylor stopped by, as did Tom Koch, treasurer of the state Democratic Party; Baltimore County Delegate (again) John Arnick; Frances Reaves, Baltimore City attorney; and Delegates John Donoghue, Mary Louise Preis and Leslie Hutchinson.

The Baltimore County Delegate who is seeking Helen Delich Bentley's seat in Congress, Bob Ehrlich, and his new wife, Kendel, were there along with Maryland Chamber of Commerce hi-ho Champ McCullough, and his wife, Mary Jo; lobbyist extraordinaire Bruce Bereano; and Bigley's old friends Joe Adler, Vivian Trevor and Anne Taylor Guenon. Champagne and dessert were the order of the evening, and all had a "mah-velous" time and agreed, after a couple of glasses of bubbly, that Shirley does not look 40!

* Sister Marguerite of Villa Julie College would be nominated for sainthood if members of the Bray family had anything to say about it. Thanks to her, the wedding of Linda Bray and Steve Beshara took place on time.

Here's what happened. On Thursday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m., two days before the scheduled wedding, Ellen and Ronald Bray, the Brays of French Bray Inc., received a call from the Cloisters Children's Museum, saying Linda could not have her wedding reception there on the 12th. Not only was the driveway impassable, but the museum had frozen pipes, hence no heat.

After a lot of tears and dozens of phone calls, Sister Marguerite heard about their plight and called to offer the use of that lovely house at Villa Julie, which is a decorator show house. What a nice gesture!!!!!

* Special congratulations to my friend at WBAL radio, Alan "We have a lot to talk about" Walden, who celebrated his 40th anniversary of radio work on Valentine's Day.

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