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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Formal 2007

I had requested a half-day off from work on Friday, so I only planned on working until about noon. With this in mind, I got up at 5:00 AM with the intention of going to the gym early, but, when I saw how clear the tollway was, I headed to work instead. I was there by 6:00 AM, and planned to leave at 10. However, two minutes before I planned to head out, I got a project, and I had to work later than I intended, and thus, I didn't get to go to the gym. I went back to the apartment, showered, worked again, packed up, and headed to Front Royal.

To backtrack just a bit, I asked Emma to formal on Monday and, after she accepted (obviously not before -- that would have been very egotistical of me), I began the process of renting a car from JD. I got her a corsage on Wednesday, but I asked them to modify it a little so that it matched her dress.

As regards the car, I was looking for a Chrysler 300, then a Ford Mustang. JD suggested a Dodge Charger or Dodge Magnum. Any of those options sounded good to me, so he did what he could.

Anyway, so, on Friday, I headed out of the apartment and over to Front Royal to pick up the car. JD had managed to get a silver 2007 Dodge Charger SXT. I picked it up at Shenandoah Ford, and, even after promising to not abuse it, I couldn't resist testing it out. The car looked and handled beautifully. It accelerated quite nicely, and took corners very well. I definitely didn't abuse it, but I put a bit more stress on it then I would normally have done so, had it been my own car.

So I drove over to Dane and JD's, and outside the apartment, I ran into Tambi. She and Dr. P were going to formal together, and she asked for some help with a pocket square. I gave her the red one that I had brought down for Dr. P just in case, and showed her a couple ways of folding it. Since I was running late, though, I excused myself, left her in the capable hands of Ed B., put on my tux (black tux, black shirt, cream vest, white tie), and headed out to pick up Emma. As luck would have it, I wasn't all that late. I was going with Sarah and Dan, Ashley and Dominick, Andy, Maggie, and Iona. It was set to be a fun group. :) Emma came out looking wonderful in her blue dress, and Nikole H. took a picture of us. If I get to see them before this post goes up, I'll post one here -- with permission, of course...

We went out to a little French chalet up in the mountains, somewhere between Front Royal and Harper's Ferry. (We actually got lost on the way up there, but I took it as more of a discovery of what the Charger is capable, and I also continue to be impressed by it's ability.) There were about thirty people at the dinner in all, most of whom were seniors, but there were a few alumni -- at least then, I didn't feel quite so out of place.

Peter K., Pate Q., and Bob T. seemed to be the student masterminds of the event. Peter was the announcer for most of the night, so when we got there, we greeted us, and when it was time to eat, he asked us to please be seated. Mr. Brown was the culinary genius of the evening. If you want to take a look at his menu, here it is:
  • Caramelized Bacon, Almond and Brie Crostini
  • Shrimp Spring Roll with and Apricot Chile Dipping Sauce
  • Grilled Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce
  • Cream of Cauliflower Potato Soup
  • Tartlet Duo: Onion, Prosciutto
  • Orange Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
  • Seafood Risotto with Seared Scallop and Parmesan Crisp
  • Watermelon Intermezzo
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle Chile Rum Sauce, Fresh Corn Fritters, and Shoestring Sweet Potatoes
  • Chilled White Chocolate Lemon Souffle
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake
It was a lot of food, even in the small portions that he served us. It was a good thing that the portions were so small, because my stomach has shrunk significantly since Christendom, so I can't pack away food like I could in college...

After the dinner, Pate wanted to get a group picture, so we all gathered at the stairs to get a picture. (Thanks to Dampi for letting me use her picture. YOU ROCK, DAMPI!!!) After that, Emma and I headed out, following our original group to formal. Emma and I got onto 81 and headed north. At first, I was really confused by the fact that we were supposed to go to exit 5. It took a few miles, but then it suddenly clicked that exit 5 was in West Virginia. I felt really silly when I realized that, because I was going fairly slowly, looking for telltale signs of an exit 5. To those of you who don't know, once you get on 81N from 66, the first exit number is over 300. I knew that exit 5 was all the way south on 81 in VA, and that it would take us several hours to get there -- and then it dawned on me that the dance was in WV. I'm a little bit slow...

Anyway, the formal dance was being held in the large hall of St. Leo's Catholic Church. It was a very large hall. We arrived just about 11:00 PM, with about two hours left of the dance. As usual, I saw someone I knew outside, and I had to stop and chat with them. Emma was very nice and sweet in letting me continue postponing dancing (although kind of unintentionally postponing it), but after the third person with whom I chatted, I began to catch on to the fact that she wanted to get inside to the dance. Like I said: not all the lights are on upstairs. :)

We danced a few slow dances, a couple swings, and a waltz. I'm definitely out of practice -- however, it's a good thing that I had TJ's help earlier on (as I related in a couple previous posts), because the moves were coming to me, although embarrassingly slowly. There was one dance that I missed with Emma though: Laurel put on a tango (I love tango), so I quickly searched the room, but couldn't find Emma. However, feeling the need to dance the tango, I danced with Sylvia S., and proved that I was even out of practice with the tango.

Over the course of the night, I danced with a few other girls as well: Bridget R., Jenne L. (who had dislocated her hip -- that was an interesting dance), Emily G., and Sarah M. (formerly S.). That is not all of them -- I am just getting old and can't remember all of them. My first "dance" after I danced with Emma was a disco train, though. That was fun. I yelled at several people to get in it. Lizzie chickened out, but Dr. P, Tambi, and Krebsie joined. There was even an alternate train forming on a separate track, and we both merged into one giant one. Later on in the evening, I also heard the Electric Slide. This is by far my favorite line dance. It's easy enough to do, even though it's also easy to mess up -- which I do quite often. Usually though, recovery is quick and practically painless...

Emma, Josepha and I got together and walked around for a bit. We were going to go into the chapel to check it out, but this turned into an "acoustics test", so we grabbed a few other choir members that we could find fairly quickly and went to go sing a couple motets. I have to admit that I rather enjoyed the acoustics of the church, even though it seemed oddly dead. It was harder to fill the church with sound, meaning that we all had to sing louder. :)

About then, the dance was wrapping up. I danced the last three dances with Emma, and then there was the concluding prayer. As people made their exits, I noticed Peachy -- I hadn't seen him in a few months, so we exchanged e-mail addresses so that we could keep in touch more frequently.

After that, Emma and I joined Lizzie, JD, Sylvia, Michael, Kathleen and Andy for discussions on what to do next. It was 1:00 AM, but we still had some energy left. Someone suggested ice cream, and after discussing this for a little while, we all headed out the door. Since Emma and I were the first to head out, we stopped by Martin's and picked some up. Then we went to JD's, where the rest of the folks were waiting, and socialized for a while. I drove Emma back to her dorm sometime between 3:30-4:00 AM.
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