So a couple months ago, Kirk calls me and mentions this “Gala” that’s coming up. He’s wondering if I’d like to go. Huh. Let me think about this for a millisecond. YES!!!!! Oh, it’s only been about 6 years since I’ve been to a formal military event and there are dresses in my closet crying out in despair from non-use.
Earlier in the week the National Weather Service and local news agencies predicted that the weather tonight would be worse than Wednesday. Tornadoes, destruction, severe storms with monster-sized hail. It was going to be ugly. Kirk and I discussed options. We both would stay home if it was bad enough, or he would go without me if it was milder yet still potentially tornadic. Only if the weather was completely clear would we go together, so we waited. We’d make the call at 4. At 4 the sun came out.
If you don’t already know, Oklahoma is an oil rich state. Oil derricks bedeck this state like slugs adorn Oregon, but larger and not as easy to step on. It’s part of the culture. The Barons hockey team has “Derrick” as a mascot. Our venue tonight residing in the top two floors of the Chase bank building, is aptly named The Petroleum Club. See, it’s a thing.
This gala commemorated the 60th Anniversary of “America’s Wing,” the 552nd Air Control Wing and the venue reflected the significance of the momentous occasion. Chandeliers hung above us on the 35th floor where we enjoyed a long cocktail hour to mingle. I ran into people that I hadn’t seen in ten years and met new ones. We enjoyed both the view and the company before heading down one floor for dinner and the formal portion of the night.
I love that these events always open in prayer. I love that there is always an empty seat at the head table to honor those that cannot attend because of the sacrifice they’ve made to their country – my country. I love the singing of our national anthem, military members standing rigidly at attention, the rest of us with our hands on our hearts. I love the honor, respect, and traditions that still reign over military events. (I don’t love that I don’t know more than two lines of the Air Force song – that’s embarrassing. Must rectify.)
Dinner was delicious – I’ve heard that the Petroleum Club creates one of the citie’s nicer New Year’s Eve parties and I can believe it. The decor, food, and service fell in line with what I’d expect from an upscale restaurant and you can’t beat the view (well, except from Vast next door on the 49th floor). Three elegant desserts were served, but not this cake that sat untouched purely for decoration (I do have it on good authority that the frosting is delicious – go figure, someone would be tempted to sneak a taste).
After speeches and toasts, our MC officially ended the formal portion handing control to the DJ who cranked out tunes that all the ladies knew – from young girls to “older” Colonels wives, they were all on the floor dancing while I stood back with Kirk, people watched, and Shazammed songs that I’d never heard before. It’s now apparent that in addition to learning the Air Force song, I also need to learn the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble. Nothing like leaving a party with homework. You know what I’ll be doing this summer. Dance party at the Stahlbaums!
Kirk and I enjoy dressing up and finding ourselves in formal surroundings. The views make a venue like this even more fantastic. People were wonderful and the night was a success, but at the end of it all, those quiet moments driving home in his truck tonight were some of the best. It’s a treat for us to have quiet time together and as for me, I enjoyed that most of all.