Once a year, a nice evening for Shirley and John Walley usually starts with a glass of plum wine.
Then they spend the next three hours feeding eight dinner guests a sumptuous gourmet Chinese meal the diners bought at auction, usually for about $600, which is donated to the Depot Theater of La Habra and the Children's Museum of La Habra. The exotic food for the dinner costs the Walleys about $200. "That's our donation," he said.
And what a meal it is.
The menu includes eight appetizers with such delicacies as marble tea eggs, Chinese roast pork, abalone, raw fish strips, spiced chicken livers, beef shank, ancient eggs and drunken chicken.
Five people, including one of their sons, serve the meal, which took two weeks of planning and shopping for the exotica they prepare.
Last year's meal, which cost the winning bidder $650, included crab soup, noodle salad with peanut and pepper dressing, Peking duck, steak Kew, fish in wine sauce, red cooked pork with chestnuts, litchi chicken, lobster with snow peas, nappa cabbage with pork, ma pwo bean curd, rice and bamboo shoots with quail eggs.
For dessert there was mandarin snow and steamed five spice cake, along with plum wine, tea and a chrysanthemum beverage.
And after eating, the group repairs to the living room for after-dinner conversation, no doubt to extol the Walleys for their culinary effort. "People tend to rave about it," John admitted.
Both he and Shirley dress in Chinese garb and play recorded Chinese music during dinner.
"It's fun to entertain like this and meet people who want to discuss different types of food," added the engineer and tax preparer who first found happiness in Chinese food while living in San Francisco. "That's where it all started for me."
Since then he has accumulated an impressive library of Chinese cookbooks and guards his recipes. Shirley, program director for the La Habra community services department, dabbles in collecting Chinese artifacts along with sharing the Chinese cooking.
Anyone fortunate enough to get an invitation to the Walley home in La Habra gets more than a dining experience.
For instance, during the holiday season, they display a fully decorated seven-foot Christmas tree hung upside down in their living room.
"I'm an engineer and I thought it would be an interesting challenge," he said.
For their New Year's Eve party, the Walleys, parents of six children, serve homemade soups and breads.
A year ago, the Walleys cooked a family Thanksgiving dinner with Chinese food in Cheyenne, Wyo., where John was born. "It's difficult finding food for Chinese cooking there," he said.
Aside from holidays, they chaired a Chinese square dance early this year "just for the fun of it," Shirley said.
Despite their fondness for most things Chinese, neither has been to China.
In fact, Shirley said, "When I married John I didn't even like Chinese food. But we do like to hold the dinners. It gives us a wonderful feeling to provide people with a special evening of dining in our home."
For almost 15 years, Westminster fifth-grade teacher John Gardner has been traveling hither and yon trying to get beautiful women to sit on his lap.
So far, 8,872 women have plopped on "Iron Lap," as Gardner calls himself.
Gardner has teamed up with everyone from an 89-year-old grandmother to babies. His one-minute "lap sitters" come from 62 foreign countries and all the states in America.
The Anaheim resident boasts, "I'm the guy who's had the good fortune of being sat on by the most females."
He tried for a Guiness Book of World Records title but was turned down for lack of competition.
A magazine in Hong Kong dubbed him the "King of Lapland."
Acknowledgments--Fullerton resident Jack Heninger, who takes twice-weekly three-mile walks and picks up litter along the way, was named winner of the Carl and Kathy Fine Anti-Litter Award at the annual meeting of Fullerton Beautiful.