Monday, December 31, 2012

A Few Of Our Favorite Things!

Sort of a "year-end review" today here on "Mick's" dear Readers, I asked some our friends what "There  favorite thing about the Casablanca is..." and here's what some of our friends had to say!

Savannah G.- "The ever-present inner need to sing as you walk in."

Alex S.- "I love that it's like home. The friendship and love that is shared through out the year is even more than any family I know."

Cheryl J.-  "You have an atmosphere of fun without all of the garbage of most parties. Clean good fun!"

Michael M.- " My favorite thing is when you step through the door you walk into the past. As you know I am a fan of the 40's and 50's and I feel like I'm there when I'm at the Casablanca. You have a such a good eye for detail right down to the dishes. Thanks for letting myself and others step back in time with you. :)"

Margaret D.-  "People are free to be themselves, who ever that may be, without fear of judgement or being put down. (Well except Andrew. We all make fun of him ;) ) I also love that you are not afraid to tell someone they aren't invited back so guests know they best behave."

Kelcie B.-  "Its our own slice of American paradise! Love it, feels like home."

Tobi M.- "You Mickey!!!!!!!! Your the main reason most of us go up there in the first place. :)"

Russ M.-  "I agree with Tobi. Your love for a simpler time is inspiring. The Casablanca is a magical place where you feel unconditional love and friendship. And Of course this wonderful recipe is not complete without Patricia."

Jordan C.- "It feels like a different time, especially since there isn't cell phone service. You really go back in time."

Matt P.- "The people who come to visit."

Chris P. (Vintage Christine)- "Some of MY favorite things: The looooong drive out there, the dirt road, Lake Diversion, the beautiful sunset, all the funky camps, the cow pies all over the place, the Pyrex, the addition, the drive-in, the ingenious tv, all your wonderful friends, and the fabulous Host With The Most. Least favorite: the loooong drive home in the pitch blackness. Thank God I had a guide or I'd STILL be wandering around out there!"

Amber V.F. (I Heart Everything)- "I think its you Mick, the curator and visionary of the Casablanca!"

Michael B. (Cul-de-sack Shack)- "I like that I feel like I have stepped into my grandma's house
the grandma that lived on the farm."

Jarrod A.- "My favorite thing about the Casablanca is the memories created there. They've brought me to great friendships and fun time from traveling back to the 50's and trekking to far away parts of the country. The friendships I have found here are ones that I shall never forget and shall never regret. There shall always be a place in my heart for the Casablanca."

Jennifer V.- "Friends."

Donnetta S.- "The Flamingo Drive-In Movie Theater!"

Terrace A.- "My favorite thing is the atmosphere. It always feels like I stepped into another time."

Deanna Y.- "The Beauty Contest, because it's fun!"

Cindy J.- "Good old fashioned clean fun."

Christy E.- "My favorite thing is your TV set."

Mary W.- "The fact that everyone can put aside their differences and problems and be a family for a little bit, my cellphone doesn't work out there and for the first time I am completely ok with not talking to anyone else but my Casablanca familia!"

Sheldon C.- "Way to many things to mention my friend hmmm, good food! Fun times with friends, no distractions from the outside world."

Patricia B.- "My favorite thing? Hmmm... You. And the stove, and to a lesser extent the refrigerator."

Mick J.- "The people, the pictures, the memories we make- I'm also terribly fond of the tile on the counter tops."

Wishing you all the Happiest of New Years! May good fortune smile upon you this year.


Friday, December 28, 2012

I Wept Over Blue Willow, And Im Still Manly.

My Dearest Readers, earlier this week I received the most amazing gift for Christmas. Which prompted me to post the following status on Facebook.

"This is dumb because I'm a guy, and guys aren't supposed to like things like dishes. However these are my Great Grandmother Avery's "Currier &Ives" dinner ware. She died in 1999, and these were lost. My aunt who lives in Houston found them a box, and brought them back to me unexpectedly today. Fighting back tears of joy and sorrow.So much love, and so many meals were served on these dishes. Receiving these today, is like being with grandma again. God bless you Aunt Brenda, and Merry Christmas everyone!"

That in a nut shell is the story of these dishes, My Great Grandmother passes away in 1999. You've heard me mention many a time longing for her Starburst clock, and Aluminum Christmas tree, and very secretly for these dishes. I remember her Grandma Avery's kitchen so vividly.  It was a tiny galley style kitchen at the front of the house. There was a window over the sink that looked out on the street, with a pair of  china "George and Martha Washington" figurines that sat on the window sill. Wood cabinets painted pastel blue with round white porcelain pulls, crinkly linoleum on the floor and these dishes that made everything go together. (I wouldn't learn until much, much later that is called "color coordination".) In-fact the memory of  blue on blue is the reason my kitchen at the Casablanca became green on green!
 (The Old Farm Gate- Bowl)
When I was younger, I had no idea that these were "Currier & Ives" plates, to me they were just "Grandma's pretty blue plates" My favorite piece still continues to be the bowls with children swinging on a gate. Not sure as to why, but its the piece I remember most. Provably because Grandma spooned up her famous Goulash in these.  I honestly never thought I'd see these plates again in a million years, and now here they are mine. 

I cannot thank my Aunt Brenda enough,  it is one of the most wonderful, thoughtful Christmas gifts I have ever received. As I said, having these dishes is like being with Grandma Avery again. You can be sure I will treasure these forever at the Casablanca. 

 I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
(It's A Wonderful Life on my 1953 TV set!)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Casablanca Christmas Party

Now Readers, did you really think with this freakishly warm winter weather (It snowed Monday and then was 78 on Saturday) that we would be closing the Casablanca so soon?!

This Seasonal soiree was hosted last Sunday for all of our Casablanca members, of the 40 of our friends turned out for a packed house!  Verses the formal setting of Thanksmass the newly founded "Christmas Party" was super casual and lots of fun!
Scores, and scores of hors d'oeuvres and tasty treats overflowed the Casablanca kitchen, along with plenty of good friends and fun!
(Conrady in his homemade "Tacky Christmas Sweater")
(Friends Nic, Meg, Austin, Matt, Peter, & Seigen!)
(Jacob, Lizzy, Patricia, Alex, Kelcie,Wes, Cindy, & Andrew!)
I'm telling you the house was PACKED! But thanks to the ongoing addition Pontipee Hall 40 people in Casablanca feels like house 20 did in the old days!
After we had nibbled at everything but the dinner plates and electric wiring, the party gathered in the living room to listen as friend Kelcie gave an interpretative reading of "The Night Before Christmas."
(It is worth listening to all of the Seven minuets it takes to tell!)
Soon after the story ended, thus began what i'm sure is the biggest present swap the Casablanca has ever seen! nearly 30 players in all.  The following pictures are brought to you courtesy of Jake and Jeanette VanDonge!
(J.T. and Peter.)
 (James, Jennifer, Russ, Meg, J.T. & Christy!)
(Round and Round we went!)
It was all great fun! Some of the most interesting presents included a bag of kitty litter, a slightly used TV set, along with some great handmade gifts too! After the the swap as being rowdy wore off, friend and (Brand new member of the Casablanca, this night was his 3rd trip) J.T, reminded us what the season is all about.
Its so easy to forget what "Christmas" really is all about. Thank you J.T. for reminding us all!
(Friend Joy helms the piano! FINALLY someone who can actually play!)
 I figure Caroling is going to become a must at these Christmas gatherings, we passed out the books and Joy merrily played along as we sang the evening away.
(Wes, Kelcie, Emily, Matt, Cindy. Seigen, and Austin.)
(Alex and Lynn belting it out!)
(Mid-caroling, recently moved friend Joe called, so we sang to him!)
Readers is was all so wonderful, and so much love was in the room I very nearly cried tears of joy. Patricia and I are so blessed to have the wonderful friends we do, that go along with the crazy stunts we pull, and most of all are there to love and support us. Thanks guys, we love and cherish all of you, as well as all of you fabulous blog readers!
Well, you know 'us' theatre people... once we get started its hard to stop!
 So Joy, Austin, J.T., Seigen, Patricia and myself performed a few numbers from our current holiday show at the Wichita Theatre "Here's Love" or"Miricale on 34th Street"!
Encore! Encore!
And finally Here's Love!
This party was undoubtedly the star on the Casablanca holiday tree and a wonderful closing to the 1958/2012! It has been a memorable Social Season, with each party out doing the last. Our club is growing, and we have welcomed so many new members, council members and lifetime members this season. Our little club is gaining notoriety and we are loving every second of it! We are so glad we can share all of our fun times and stories with you here, and think all of your comments are swell. I hope you will keep tuning in for all of our upcoming 1959 fun and a whole new Social Season in March!

Wishing you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of Holidays!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Thanksmass 1958!

It's the most wonderful time of the year Readers! Thanksmass is my FAVORITE Casablanca Holiday and this years was no exception. With 34 friends in attendance and people coming in from five states it made me feel quite special!
Vintage Christine drove in from Mississippi, Missouri Michael came in from Missouri, Melissa blew in from New Mexico, Savannah drove down from Oklahoma, and friends Barbara and Cole hopped over from Arkansas, along with all our Casablanca regulars in North Texas!
Pontipee Hall was put into good use shortly after a ribbon cutting ceremony by our very own Miss Casablanca.

While we waited on a few more guests to arrive, friends gathered int he lounge to decorate the Christmas tree.


(Friend Jennifer I.)

 While trimming the tree friends Jennifer and Joe (Chairman of the "Eats" committee) took command of the kitchen, warming/cooking/preparing all kinds of tasty confections. It's the only time of year I wish I had a double oven! 
(Friend Barbara slices up the Thanksmass Ham.)
 Center pieces placed, places set, and Grace said- Thanksmass Dinner was on its way.
 (Joe, Ben, Spencer, Lara, Chloe, Jordan & Melissa)

(Jarrod, John, Dillon, Brianna, Kelcie, Emily, Savannah, Missouri Michael & Vintage Christine!)
After dinner the table(s) were cleared and folded away so the evenings entertainments could begin.
To keep the spirit of the season, friend Jarrod started us off with a reading of the story of Christ.

The reading was followed by a white elephant present swap, round and round we went every one unwrapping and stealing.
Next came the "live performances" portion of the evening coordinated by friend Melissa and myself, a few of the Casablanca's members had prepared things for us.
(Brianna & Myself)
 Friend Brianna, Miss Casablanca 1958 sang for us "Have yourself a merry little Christmas" as is Miss Casablanca tradition!

Friend Emily strummed on her guitar for us!

Next Joe and Myself got in on the act!

Finally in a return engagement Melissa and Terrace took to the floor with a special song that Terrace penned just for the occasion!

We have so much talent around here it hurts! There was still a little bit of time before we would all move out into the backyard to watch 'the ball drop' and ring in the new Casablanca year 1959. So I passed out the caroling books and Joe lead us in song and what happened next was magical...

Just LISTEN TO THOSE HARMONIES!  Readers I dare not put you on, that beautiful sound happened on its own, with no practice at all. Christine swears its because we're all theatre people, but that was just Thanksmass Magic at its finest. Please pardon me in this next video, I am the one singing horribly off key (I was sick with a cold) but hands down the caroling was my favorite part of the evening!

Carols sung and stomachs stuffed we enjoyed each others friendship and company as we waited for 11:00P.M. to draw near so we could ring in the new year!

(Chloe, Jennifer, Melissa, Michael, Me mid-air, Brandon, & Russ!)
A Special Thank You to friend Russ, who restored wired and hung the Sputnik chandelier just in time for Thanksmass he did a wonderful job and was the hero of the holiday! 
Blogger friends, Missouri Michael, Mick, Vintage Christine & Holly Dog. I'm so glad they came to Thanksmass, we exchanged wonderful gifts that I'll have to take pictures of and show later. It means quite a lot to me that they made the pilgrimage.
As always it was a wonderful evening fitting of a Walton's Marathon and Hallmark Movie and it went to all hours of the morning. The last guests said good bye at 4:30A.M. on Sunday morning! I'd like to thank everyone that came, for all the food and fun that they brought, Thanksmass was practically perfect, and now I find myself dreaming of next years already...