Monday, February 23, 2015

Grandma and Patricia Neal

Grandma and Patricia Neal at the Troutdale Dining Room.  Either this was taken before dinner or Patricia is an amazing actress.  Hmmmm..

It is Queen of Hearts time here in Bristol.  For those of you not blessed to live in the "Good Place to Live" Queen of Hearts is a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.  Each year girls from each local high school compete to raise the most money for the AHA.   The girls have campaign managers and teams of friends that help them.  For the months during the competition I am sure these girls do nothing else but run fundraisers.  We aren't talking about bake sales.  They have pageants, concerts, 5K's and just about anything else you can think of to raise money.  They have raised millions of dollars over the years for this good cause.  I am pretty sure this is the 50th anniversary of the fundraiser.  These girls really need to be applauded for all of their hard work.  At the end of the campaigns they have a big gala and the girl that raised the most money is crowned the Queen of Hearts. If there is anything that we love here in Bristol it is Galas.

My mom got involved with the event because her friend Deborah was in charge of it for many years. Deborah is a bulldog.  Deborah can get things done and when you put Kate on her team the sky's the limit.  When my mom was involved the AHA would contract with celebrities to come and be the honored guests at the gala.  The celebrities usually had some connection to someone affected by heart disease.  I forget the year (Deborah help me out), but the guest of honor was to be Academy and Tony Award Winning Actress Patricia Neal.  How cool is that.  The woman was married to Roald Dahl, had an affair with Gary Cooper and was the epitome of classic Hollywood and she was coming to Bristol.  Even more exciting was the fact that she was coming to town a day early and was going to have an intimate dinner with a select few at the Troutdale.  My parents were invited and because my grandmother was "wintering" with them she was invited as well.  The Troutdale is a local favorite.  It is in an old house that has private and semi private dining areas. Perfect place for dinner with a screen legend.  Everyone was enjoying their dinner and enthralled by Ms. Neal.  She was telling her stories of Hollywood.  She was an advocate of the American Heart Association, not just because they were picking up her bill, but because she understood first hand how difficult recovering from a stroke could be.  She understood that the AHA dedicates it's funds to research and education.  I am sure dinner was delightful and everyone was having an evening they would never forget.

I am sure my parents wish the story ended here, but alas Grandma had to make it even more memorable.  Grandma may not have been the Queen of Hearts, but she was the Queen of Stage Whispering.  I can picture it.  Patricia takes a bite of her delightful dessert.  Grandma leans in and says "you know" (this is your first clue that things are about to get bad by the way).  "When I had MY stroke, the American Heart Association didn't give me a GD bit of help.  The only people that helped me were the Easter Seals so I quit giving my money to those bastards and now all my money goes to the Easter Seals".   Everyone at table looks uncomfortably at their plates. Dad takes deep breath in, hold, hold, hold, deep breath out. He then states, you'll have to excuse my mother she isn't quite the same since her stroke.  But we all know that the stroke had nothing to do with it.

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