Paris On Ice
The 96/97 Holiday Season found the Donovan's back in the Old Country. Convinced that Catherine's father was dying from his cancer and this would surely be his last Christmas on earth, the family altered their plans to visit France in the summer, canceled Melody's lead as Scrooge in the School's presentation of "A Christmas Carol", got emergency passports, took emergency vacation time from work, and spent Christmas and the 1997 New Year in Europe's worst cold spell since 1917. Christmas is a special time in France, although it's hard to tell when you're bundled up so tightly that you can only see through a small slit in the scarf wrapped around your head (yes, this does require that you turn sideways in order to see the Eiffel Tower). But the Food and the fun were beyond compare (except for that unfortunate incident with the frozen oysters) and everyone enjoyed the time visiting with family and friends. Catherine finally took Keith to see Paris for a few hours the day before they went home. Paris is still beautiful no matter what the weather, but luckily they spent most of the time in The Louvre looking at masterpieces such as "Venus DeMilo", "Winged Victory" and "The Mona Lisa". Some of the other exciting adventures encountered were a trip to McDonald's, a minor accident sideswiping a guy in the middle of Paris, Catherine getting yelled at for trying to climb on "Winged Victory", and a near miss between the family car and a "Huge Raging Sanglier" (Wild Boar) on a back country road. By the way Catherine's father was only sick because he won't properly manage his diabetes. Although this summer he had a hemorrhage of the esophagus, pneumonia, and a worsening of his diabetes, he's still the same grumpy old man we know and love. [Story update... Although he made it through one more Christmas, Catherine's father passed away 07 Feb 1998. He was tired and waiting for death to come by this time. He passed away quietly watching television as we believed he had always hoped he would.]
Valentine's Day '97 a new restaurant opened at the Frederick Ward House. Catherine, the Proprietor, Young Woman's Leader, MaitreD' and Head Chef, prepared a wonderful meal of Escargot, Soupe á l'Oignon, Poulet a la Crème, and Bœuf en Daube. Her "Achievement Days" girls (ages 8-12) were the Hostesses, Waitresses, and Nursery Attendants. The meal was a great success, serving over 80 people and raising about $300. The success was even more surprising because some unexpected renovations had just begun at the restaurant (Ward building), including the kitchen, and the whole meal had to be put together with only a hot plate and toaster oven. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed the same evening because according to the Chef, "Ça c'etait vraiment du travaille!".
Here She Comes Just A 'Walkin Down the Street...
The winner of the Frederick Maryland 1997 Sunburst Beauty Pageant is Melody Donovan. Melody wowed the crowd with her bright smile, vivacious charm, and her beauty. She was sponsored by "Outlooks for Hair", where she had her hair braided in a lattice work net with small white flowers at each diamond point. This design also earned her the "Best Hair" trophy. Melody has always enjoyed modeling and acting. This year she has had the lead role in several school plays including the part of the Prince in "The Prince and the Pauper". She has been taking acting lessons all year, and delivered a marvelous performance at her "Jazz, Tap and Ballet" Dance Recital. This summer she also had the opportunity to practice her French Language Skills for two months when she went to visit her relatives in France. She spent 5 weeks in the city of Nice, just a stones throw from the beach, which she visited every day (along with the "Patisserie", or Pasty Shop, across the street) The one day she decided to go in the water without her shoes, she jumped right on top of a sea Urchin. It only took a week to get all the needles out of her foot, which seriously curtailed her roller skating time. "Sometimes at the beach", our little world traveler says with a giggle, "the girls don't wear any tops and the children run around in their underwear". The rest of the time she spent in Reims (in Champagne County) and Rouen (in Normandy).