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07.05.2005
"Bling Bling" The Derby Part 4
Posted by: Ann Wilson

The mansion house where the gala is being held is in the middle of a neighborhood, sitting way up in a hill in the midst. As our car pulls carefully through the streets toward the mansion driveway, the car is surrounded by curious folks...Moms, Dads and kids all peering in the car windows at the hoi-foloi. When we get to the drop off point it is only a rope that is opened for you and you are steered toward the press tent immediately. The whole environment is torch lit, giving everything a strange unreal cast. Nothing strange about the press though. The want to know why I am here, where is Nancy, what have we been doing, what are we going to do in the future, who designed the dress, what does the Derby Hat for tomorrow look like...and most importantly who I think gave the sexiest onscreen kiss in any movie of all time. Wow that's a hard one. I said Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin in the 'Big Easy' Muy Caliente!

When that is done we begin our walk up the long torch lit drive to the mansion house. As you look up at the big house, you go back in time. It seems every light in the house is lit and there are good smells and much music pouring down the drive beckoning. We notice as we walk (being careful to keep our hems off the ground) that both sides of the drive are lined with little stages. On these stages performances are going on. The performers are children. In groups of 2 or 3 they go out to the middle of the little stage dressed as Dolly Parton, or Willy Nelson or Loretta Lynn and do a short song, then when the mothers who are standing in the shadows give the signal, they sit down and the next group dressed as say, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Ashley Simpson will do their little performance and so on. All these young performers are no more than 5 years old and there is a creepy sort of Jon Benet Ramsay vibe to all of this. Especially in the torchlight.

Well, we make our way through the singing, dancing Munchkins and finally reach the front door. We are welcomed in and work our way through the crush of beautifully dressed people to our table. I am finally glad to be at a place where I can people watch...because the surely is a lot to see!

In the first five minutes I spot Kid Rock, who is very much in a party mood and comes over to hang a bit, Tammy Faye Baker passes by (yes on the make-up) Usher comes causing many many young women' s hearts to spin, Cuba Gooding comes by, Michael McDonald, Meatloaf, Tara Reid. Many of the women wear extreme formals and mighty jewelry. Their manicured nails, piled up hair and cosmetically perfected faces are a really strange vision for ths Seattle girl. All the members of ZZ Top are there with their blonde wives and on and on. When Michael Jordan arrives though ,the atmosphere changes. Suddenly there is a crushing panic to see him. It seems the room is suddenly twice as full and no longer comfortable to be in. We look around wildly for Marianne who has been watching us the whole time. She makes her way into the surging crowd, grabs a-hold of me, I grab a-hold of Tracy and we begin to pull ourselves out. Inside the surging, twisting mass of people it feels like it feels to be inside a riptide being pulled this way and that. Finally we do make it back out onto the torch lit porch, and I take some deep breaths.

This time the dancing gnomes going back down the hill seem stranger than ever, 5 year old girls being the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, a 4 year old Elvis, a bunch of really really young ones doing the Mexican hat dance, a 4 year old Patsy Cline in tight gold lame, Madonna (5 years old) singing 20 seconds of 'Like a Virgin'. Uh huh.

Marriane has us back in the car pronto. " We'd like to go back to the hotel, Marriane"

"Yes ma'am."

When we're back in our room she asks if there's anything else we need tonight or for tomorrow on the big race day.

"Just some gaffer tape. My hatbox sorta got trashed on the plane"

" yes ma'am. Just let me take the box tonight and I'll do some repair on it for you."

"Thanks very much Marianne, I guess that's all for tonight."

"Yes ma'am. Please lock up after I leave."

"Yes ma'am"

To be continued...

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