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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

September 6, 2019

I am allowing myself to wallow in memories of this time last year when my life was so very different from this one. Last year I was not only in a beautiful and special place, but I actually had other humans with whom I could interact socially, and not socially distanced. A year ago tonight was the special dinner that is usually a high point of any group’s time at the Chateau. The group last year was especially special because they were the first Chateau Experience group to come when it was opened for visitors. They were back for a reunion. It was so much fun to see them all interact once again. Until their initial time together at the Chateau, most had never met each other. But their time together in 2017 had forever changed them and made them not only friends, but also Chateau family. Their return was just what you would expect when family returns home. Earlier in my stay last year at the Chateau we had had a first timers group. It is always amazing and fun to see them relate to a new and quite different life experience than they are used to. But a reunion group is so different. They settle in naturally and feel comfortable in the space immediately. They don’t expect or want to be entertained. They know what they want to do and where they might want to go. One member of the group brought her water color paints and plenty of art paper so she could paint every day. Others loved to just sit around and talk about what had happened in their lives since they were last together. Some wanted to do more restoration work. Many would gravitate toward the kitchen, always the heart of any home, to chat, to help prepare for the next meal, and learn some cooking tips not just from the resident chef, but from each other as well. For the highpoint dinner last year, the reunion group decided they wanted to do the decorations for the formal dinner. It was all hush, hush, and we staff people were definitely not asked to participate. The unveiling of this dinner began when it was time for aperitifs. This was staged in the ample entry hall of the Chateau and was amazing in its own rite. But when it was time for dinner, the double doors to the Salon de Printemps were opened to a feast for the eyes as well as for the body. The reunion group girls had scoured the area for everything that could make the room look magical. The image for this post is only part of the magic. This is the original Chateau wine cooler, a marble container that is filled with Iceland wine (and decor here). Lighting in the Chateau is limited. So everything is candlelit. That makes magic, too. Candlelight is very relaxing, and, along with good food, good conversations, and great company is the epitome of, at least to me, the best that life can offer. Oh, to be able to be there again for such a night!

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