The Pierian Study Club held their annual Guest Christmas Party December 9, 2010 at the beautiful home of Ann McElroy that overlooks the Colorado River from every venue throughout the home. It was a glorious sight for the guests. The home was built by Ed Garner and later purchased by a wealthy Spanish gentleman from San Antonio, Texas and he redesigned it with a Spanish western flair for a second retreat home for his wife, but she didn’t care for the rustic country, that most of us love, and it was the good fortune for the McElroys’ as they bought it in this mint condition with much of the furniture intact. The gentleman had named the ranch home Valle Hermoso which means in English, Beautiful Valley, which certainly depicts this majestic site. Above every door frame he placed a tile with the initials "VH" emblazed upon it to commemorate this idea of a beautiful valley and Ann has enhanced the home with her own classic touch of elegance.
As the Pierians and their guests arrived at the Christmas Party they were greeted by the angelic and powerful voice of Susan Boyle (of Britain’s Got Talent fame) as she sang the beautiful carol "Hallelujah" from her 2010 Christmas album.
Hallelujah, which literally means "a shout or song of praise for God," completely captured the spirit of this stunning Christmas event.
Hallelujah, the women whispered, as they gazed at the Colorado River Valley which cascades below the McElroy’s hilltop home. Hallelujah, they said, as they marveled at the incredible talents of the hostesses who presented a fabulous brunch and served it with the impeccable grace of a five-star restaurant staff. Hallelujah, they agreed, that the teamwork and collaborative spirit of these women allowed them to accomplish more than any of them could ever do alone. Hallelujah that they have the opportunity to call each other friends and what a blessing it has been to have the new ladies that have chosen San Saba as their home and have become a vital part of the community and our study club and have contributed so much with their enthusiasm and charm.
The Pierian Christmas Party is always special. The hostesses spared no effort to create a memorable and enjoyable event. This year’s hostesses were Loy Nell Behrens (Chair), Donna Baker, Sharon Clawson, Jane Randolph, Debbie Shahan, Patty Shaw and Anna Wilson. Sherry Ruddick was a guest of Patty Shaw, but she became a hostess as she so graciously helped the ladies in every way. The group was ably assisted by Gail Bruner and Trish Warren who worked with Anna and Jane to transform Ann’s home into a fairyland of delightful Christmas décor. Each table included a spectacular centerpiece which provided the inspiration for the color-coordinated placemats, napkins and napkin rings. Jane generously provided dinnerware from her collection of service items gathered during her long career as one of San Saba’s premier caterers.
The ladies were served sparkling cranberry punch, water with lime slices, or coffee upon their arrival, as they spent this time visiting and viewing the magnificent home. The President, Kathleen Hawkins, then called on Kay Nettleship for the blessing, but to her surprise it was announced that it was her birthday and the club burst into the traditional "Happy Birthday" song just for Kathleen, as she is a very special lady and inspiration to all the members. Kathleen had her sister Judy Dunnigan as her guest.
And the food! The hostesses chose a menu of chicken puffs, mixed fruit tarts, bacon-cheddar scones with peach butter and chive, tomato-basil quiche and a tasty selection of decadent Christmas chocolate dipped sugar cookies, cranberry mini muffins, sand tarts, and banana-pineapple cream cheese bites. As the hostesses were assembling the plates, they decided that something (je ne sais quoi) was missing. So, Loy Nell and Patty attired in their Christmas finery braved Ann’s somewhat overgrown and partially frozen herb garden to gather marvelous remnants of rosemary, oregano and thyme to compliment the appearance of their holiday festive presentation.
As the Pierians were leaving and the hostesses were happily cleaning up, Susan Boyle’s CD started over and the words from the first song on her album "Perfect Day" wafted through the home and outside to the departing guests. Hallelujah!
Other members present were: Connie Adams and her guest, Cynthia Weatherby, Bebe Bagley, Paula Barrier and her guest, Jo Anne Hardy, Millie Burnham, Barbara Gilger, Jeri Jones, Zolly Jones, Joycelyn McRorey, Anita Miles and her guest, Carol Martin, Dorothy Miller, Martine Miller, Clione Rochat, Sandy Smith, Susie Nettleship, Linda Sloan, Vickie Stephenson, Geanne Taylor, Becky Whitley, Louise Williams, Elsie Millican and her guest, her daughter Kay Thompson, Martha Roe Terry, and Betty Jo Miller.
The January meeting will be January 13, 2010 at the home of Kay Nettleship with a piano presentation by Dean Kiesling of Brownwood, Texas. This will be another fabulous entertaining event for the Pierian Study Club.