Was Pam Ray Surprised?

Not completely. She knew she was going to River House for a party to celebrate her 70th birthday, which will be on January 28. And she knew that some of her family was going to be there. But she didn’t know exactly who it was going to be.

It turned out to be 23 members of her family from all over the country and many, many friends including locals Gerry and Steve Evans.

Pam was sporting her birthday gift from David. It was a fascinating clustered gold charm bracelet with lots of tiny charms recording her life and family history, interspersed with pearls and small gold beads. It was not the usual big clunky charm bracelet. It was perfect for Pam and made by jewelry designer Summer Eliason.


After a six-week long season of exciting, put on your best girdle, rush from one party to another, there is nothing more pleasant and relaxing than Cathy and John Yarmuth’s annual holiday party held on Christmas night. Now that is not to say there aren’t still a lot of people catching up with each other’s activities and lifting a glass or two in celebration.

The food, even though the sight of more food may be a little overpowering at this point in the calendar, is different, delicious and wonderfully presented by The Silver Spoon. Chef and owner Philip Koenig and his partner Kathy Hensley were there to oversee the kitchen, the party hub of the house. And the hosts are always their charming, gracious selves. (I don’t have to say that even if their son, Aaron, whom I have known since he was 3, is my boss.) It is true.

Their home is modern contemporary with rooms that easily flow into one another and have wonderful and interesting art all around. You can’t really tell if it is more reflective of Cathy or John’s taste.

All of this said, the hit of the party were the two Himalayan kittens, 2- and 5-months-old, that escaped from the master bedroom. The youngest, named Sasha, skittered around the kitchen/family room/living room area like a furry mouse, while Cathy grabbed up the older, larger 5-month-old to go back to solitary confinement.

The Silver Spoon laid out a wonderful gourmet spread headlined by the biggest jambalaya I have ever seen. The pan must be nearly three feet across and was filled with crab legs, shrimp, scallops, chorizo, lobster and lots of onions, garlic and tomatoes. Wow. Also served was traditional rare beef tenderloin, Caesar salad, asparagus, and a mashed potato bar with bacon, green onions, sour cream and cheddar cheese with which to garnish the sinfully rich cream cheese potato mash. Desserts were finger-food sweet sins of all kinds.

Enjoying it all was a large coming and going crowd that included John’s mother, Edna; the Woo Woos (Shaio Woo and John Shaw Woo); Sarah and Jim Haynes; Sara and Ted Steinbock; Kenny Sales; Mimi and Keith Runyon; Alex Gerasamides and her husband, his honor the Mayor Greg Fischer; Christy Brown, Sarah Tate; Claudia and Fred Pierman; Jack Conway; Susan and William Yarmuth; Jenifer and Scott Chandler; Fran Yarmuth; and lots of other old friends and good folks. VT

Photos courtesy of Carla Sue Broecker.