The Valley Line: Bonding during a 'Casino Royale' night

England has a new princess. Prince William and Kate Middleton exchanged their wedding vows at Westminster Abbey on April 29. Now Kate is officially known as Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.

Yes, I confess, I did stay up into the wee hours on Friday to watch the nuptials as they were happening. I was also emailing back and forth with my son Chris, who lives in England. He and his family didn't think they would brave the throngs in town and were watching it on the “telly.”

I've been a Kate watcher for several years, so I just couldn't miss this event — her gown was exquisite and William so princely in his red military jacket.
My Palo Alto granddaughter, Catherine, is very excited that there is a new princess with her name.

Hmm, I wonder if James — James Bond, I mean — ever showed up at the La Cañada Thursday Club's benefit, themed “Casino Royale.” It was a scene right out of the posh Monte Carlo casino as guests, some formally dressed, gathered to sip cocktails, test the wiles of Lady Luck at the gaming tables, dine and chat about community news.

To add to the Bond ambience, film clips from well-loved Bond movies played in the background. Tracks of music of the “Rat Pack” also entertained guests during the social hour.
Thursday Club members Sue Tutt and Barbara Self were co-chairs of the event. Assisting them were Mary Hennessy, Karen Poindexter, Alma Tycer, Jane Rosell, Judy Cooper, Jody Platisa and Joani Bartoli-Porto.

The Casino Royale fundraiser was the official kick-off of the Thursday Club’s Centennial Garden Campaign, a project created to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Thursday Club in 2012. The evening's perfect spring weather drew guests outside to the patio area to view the pre-construction space. The drawings of landscape designer Ralph Robinson also were on view.
Robinson’s artistic design, intended to enhance the historical significance of the 84-year-old clubhouse, includes a stuccoed Spanish wall with bougainvillea, a hand-painted-tile wall fountain, colorful drought-tolerant plantings, and a larger and more functional patio area located under the club’s historic oak tree.

As sunlight faded, tiny white lights illuminated this beautiful tree and well-placed lanterns allowed guests to dine al fresco under a full moon. Los Gringos Catering traded in their sombreros for barbecue hats and whipped up gourmet burgers with myriad toppings, sweet-potato fries with assorted dipping sauces, fresh fruit and Caesar salad. Jody Platisa topped off the “Bond Burger Bar” feast with an incredibly gorgeous, as well as delicious, array of home-made miniature cupcakes.

Joining the committee members enjoying this delightful evening were Bev and Doug Albright, Carmen Porto, Louise and Bob Beggs, Susan and Bill Boyd, Joanne and Les Bruckner, Val and Cab Burgess, Lynda and Robert Burlison, Gale and Tom Caswell, Marsha Chan, Marian and Jay Christensen, Jean Chubb, Traci and Kevin Clark, Pete Cooper, Sharon and Ray Combs, Florence Cox, Pat and Gus Crowe, Pat and Ron Diaz, Lisa and Joe Elmassian, Dee Fisher and Mark Martinez.

More having fun that evening were Gracella Gibbs and Gene Wilcott, Dotty Greenawalt, Willow Healy, Bobbie and Clyde Hemphill, Ruth and Tom Hokinson, Pat and Otis Hutchins, Jo Jardon, Diane Johnson, Rhonda Johnson, Marie Jordan and John Ford, Evelyn and Bernie Kaufman, Clay and Tom Kempson, Aline and Paul Kuhnle, Louise and Grant Leddie, Lorie MacKenzie, Denise and David Mann, Rose and Don Manning, Cyndy and Marty Mayer, Margaret and Bob McMurray, Barbara Mello, Mark Miller, Sheri and Dave Morton, Linda and Stan Pebsworth and Nancy and Glenn Pittson.

Still more attending the casino night were George Platisa, Jim and daughter Lauren Poindexter, Roberta Raffaelli, Sharon Ramage and Steve Wagner, Bette Reigelman, Marjorie and Tony Riewe, Barbara Robison, Walter Lewis, Betty Sheridan, Devin Thor, Peggy and Jim Touchstone, Jerry Tutt, Nancy and Bob Wagner, Linda Waite, Wendy and Phil Wyatt, Nancy Wyman and Jean and Ron Zink.

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