The Valley Line: Refreshingly cool 'Arabian Nights'

According to the weather people on the various TV stations, we are headed for one of the coolest Julys in recent recorded history. Guess Mother Nature just knew some of us were loving that "June gloom" and just kept giving us extra servings.

It was cool enough early Monday morning for me to dig out my fuzzy slippers because my feet were cold — who ever heard of that in July?

So, for now I'm quite happy with our overcast mornings.


Even though we have been in the glooms in the a.m., by the time we reach the p.m. the day has warmed up sufficiently to give us balmy nights. It was exactly that way when the Oakmont League held a really fun party.

The party was intriguingly themed "Arabian Nights." Fran and Terry Buchanan graciously opened up their hilltop home for the festivities. More than 80 people gathered in the patio overlooking the pool where the reflection of nearly a full moon added to the atmosphere. Tall palm trees, fronds waving in the slight breeze, enhanced the oasis like feeling.

Patsy Dewey and Carolyn Beaton chaired the successful event. They greeted party-goers dressed in traditional long gowns enhanced with baubles, bangles and beads — some of them purchased on trips to Dubai. Many of the guests also got into the exotic theme by wearing Arabian-like garb.

Also meeting and greeting the guests was LCF resident and president of the league, Nina Ratliff and her husband Larry.

It was fun to see June (Peterson) and Doug Alexander who are summering here in SoCal from their home in St. Simon Island, Georgia. June, a former English teacher at Crescenta Valley High School, taught both of my kids. She was their favorite teacher so she, of course, was interested in hearing all about them. June was looking stunning in her flowing cobalt blue gown accessorized with gold jewelry.

There was plenty of time for guests to sip cooling beverages, talk about summer activities, and to bid on several silent-auction items before being seated for dinner.

Many tastes of the Middle East were served by Carousel Restaurant catering, including hummus, tabbuleh, stuffed grape leaves, several meat dishes and falafel. Dessert choices were varied including strawberries covered with either white or dark chocolate and baklava that was dripping with sweet honey.

It was LCF resident Roberta Raffaelli's birthday, so she was queen for the night with everyone singing the "Happy Birthday" song to her.

The party committee included Linda Malmquist, Barbara McCullough, Donna Sauer, Amparo Henspetter, Gail Gilhooley, Marcy Kalish, Marian Graydon-Greene, Anne Chadney, Pam Spiszman, Joyce Baer, Yolanda Lopez, Monica Sierra and Mercy Velazquez. They did an outstanding job.

The entertainment highlight for the evening was three superb belly dancers wearing their traditional costumes. They were exceptional in their presentation, and especially different was a complex sword dance that I've never seen women do before.

After the belly dancing performance, a disc jockey spun hit American tunes for those who like to dance and others who just liked to watch the action, chat and tap their toes in time to the music.

It appeared that everyone was enjoying the ambience of an "Arabian Night." I certainly did.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. E-mail her at

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