Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 84

Sparkles and Spurs: An evening in the stacks

I write this now, feeling a little jaded, and it’s all because of margheritas. They are really rather nice, aren’t they?!

So what on earth was this Sparkles and Spurs event? Well, let me tell you, dear readers, that I really did not know what to expect, but I saw it as an opportunity to do two things: buy a new frock and get all glammed up, and meet people.

So off my Brit friend, Ali, and I tottered in our heels, feeling all grown up and without the kids, though this picture highlights the non-glamourous side of getting ready to go out when there are kids around….sigh.


This sort of event, I hear, is pretty unique to Howard County and is a get together by the great and good and glamourous to raise funds and have a fun time, whilst wearing….well, either either sparkles or spurs. This fundraiser has been going for about 15 years. Please forgive me, fellow Sparkle and Spurs attendees, if I get any of my facts wrong, but I kept forgetting to write stuff down and now it’s all a bit hazy…..

As we know, I like lists, so I shall list my observations about the event and the good people of Howard County who we met, sprang ourselves upon, or chatted up πŸ™‚

1. Location….
The event was held in a library in Ellicott City. I was a little unsure about the prospect of being surrounded by books whilst being encouraged to have a good old knees up, because I kind of feel obliged to sit down and dedicate at least half an hour to Emily Bronte if she’s in the vicinity, but I am pleased to say it did not feel like a library in the slightest, since as soon as we arrived we were greeted by cowboys twirling their lassoos and saying ‘howdy ma’am’. Super dooper!


I knew from that moment it would be a most excellent evening, as well as the fact that someone checked off my name on an iPad. Top notch πŸ™‚

And there was a large horse in the lobby. Brilliant.


2. Bar tenders / bars
Okay, so there is a bar and it’s big and there is a lot of booze and there are bartenders vying for your attention so that you go and get a drink from them and make a donation to see if they can win the most money for charity. So it’s drinking for a cause, which always helps πŸ™‚


3. Mini blog celebrity status
Now, let me explain about writing a blog before I explain this title. It is a lonely existence, sitting and writing, and you have to be very disciplined and you also have to make sure you meet people and have interesting experiences like this one (and not just write stuff like ‘oh I put the washing on and had lunch’ because, let’s face it, that is bloody boring). Or you blog about your views and opinions that you consider people will want to read. So, there is a blog community in Howard County, who, like me, sit behind their computers and write stuff, and we read each other’s blogs. I will meet many of these people at a blog event on Tuesday that I am hosting: πŸ™‚

Anyway, so……..I go up to one of the bartenders and ask for a drink and his first words to me are ‘Hey, I read your blog’ and I am soooo chuffed and happy and feel like all that sitting and writing and getting out and about in America and meeting Americans is worth it. So, thank you for that Tom! (Who writes Afterwards, I think it was probably my British accent which gave away who I was, but nonetheless, I have awarded myself mini-blog-celebrity-status πŸ™‚

3. Silent auction
Some of the bids on the silent auction were crrrrazy amounts of $$$$$! More than a trip back home!

Anyway, I’ve just remembered that I did put my name down on something (I think it was a Dallas Cowboys pack of signed photos and gin and something else exciting all in a basket) and I meant to put it in the $84 line, but messed up and put it in the $96 line on the sheet of paper and did all those sorts of arrows and scribbles saying ‘I meant this amount’, like you would when you’ve messed up an answer on an exam sheet, but they finalised the auction with it at $96, so pay that I must! That’s the rules!


4. Dressed up / fancy dress?
So, me and Ali, we dressed up, but I have to give it to the Americans, they sure dressed up for Sparkles and Spurs, almost to the extent that it was fancy dress. And in order to chat to people (and give out my blog business card) I spent much of the time commenting on their outfits.

Here are some of the genius outfits of the evening for your enjoyment.







Just splendid!

5. Books
At one point we did get lost in the book aisles, and were most confused (something to do with the margheritas, I think) by this winning combination of literature…..


Feel free to mull this over at your leisure.

6. Schmoozing
Schmoozing is a delight, I have found, because you simply meet the most delightful people. Like Kirsten Coombs and her husband, who regaled us with stories and asked us to swear for them because they liked the British accent and swear words. Kirsten also delighted in sharing her British accent and penchant for proper British swear words, which in turn delighted us!

7. Getting a cab.
Okay, so here’s the deal. We Brit ladies were the only ones to get a cab. In the UK the scene would be taxis queuing up to take all the wobbly people back home. Weird, as it’s not so in the USA. We were wished ‘safe cabbing’. I wish all my American friends ‘safe driving’…..

The event, all in all, was a wonderful array of US folk, having some good old country fun, getting their sparkles or spurs on, jigging out to some line dancing and Texas two-stepping (I overheard someone say that – I actually have no idea what that is) and raising some money. Yeehah!


I, for one, cannot wait to the next hoe-down!

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5 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 84

  1. Ali T says:

    What a fabulous evening. Yee- Hah to the good folk of Howard County!

  2. Christie Lassen says:

    I’m so glad you and Ali were able to join us! Evening in the Stacks has a different theme every year, so if you have any ideas, send them my way.

  3. SwimWriteRun says:

    Looks like a fantastic time! Thank you for the picture of the margarita on the bookshelf/with those books. Very thought-provoking placement. πŸ™‚

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