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Lassiter: NMC hosts annual Spring Gala
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The Gala Committee, consisting of members of the Newton Medical Center Auxiliary along with support from members of the Covington Garden Club, planned a spectacular Annual Spring Gala Saturday, April 28.

The home of Drs. Caralyn and Leon Leonard was the perfect setting for this Asian-flair theme affair. The guests were greeted by the hosts along with some of the Gala Committee members. Professional photos were offered before entering the Leonard's estate and allowing guests to view the personal effects of the owners.

The Leonards' choice of décor includes fanciful art, some of which is impressionistic-style oil paintings and watercolors. At one glance, you enjoyed antique glass cabinets filled with their collections of crystal, china and antique glassware. As you turned your head to view another angle of the room, you smiled at mosaic cabinets. It all blended impeccably well.

We walked through the massive kitchen and out onto one of multiple levels of decking towards the cocktail bar on ground level.

The guests sipped their cocktails and savored hors d'oeuvres consisting of mini vegetable spring rolls, panko fried shrimp with sweet chili dipping sauce, and bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates while conversing around the salt-water pool and on the decks. The Leonards' landscaping is picture-perfect every way you look at it. Their setting is definitely one of calm and rejuvenation of mind, soul and heart. What a wonderful gift to be a guest at this peaceful estate.

The guests bid on beautiful artwork and "finely processed grapes" in the Silent Auction including golf pictures, a GA Tech picture, jewelry and wine. As usual, the bidding got quite lively towards the last minutes of the allotted time. I had my eye on the jewelry as well as the guest who won the final bid.

Betty McIntosh, Betty Rawlins and Ester Williams greeted us as we entered the dining area.

The dining area was protected by a huge canopy of which massive red round lanterns with fringe hanging from them were suspended. The tables were adorned with red tablecloths and decorated with a pot of white silk orchids. Gold chargers topped with black napkins and chop sticks completed the settings. The buffet tables were alongside the canopy with arrangements of white calla lilies, bamboo, etc. (contributed by the Covington Garden Club) and white hanging lanterns.

Our dinner buffet consisted of ginger orange chicken served with julienne vegetables, roasted beef and onions served in an Asian brown sauce and broccoli, along with vegetable lo mein which was lo mein noodles tossed with heirloom carrots, snow peas and greens. Dessert truly tantalized our pallets being a praline station and almond shortbread cookies. Caricatures were offered as well.

Live auctioneers Tarryn and Jason Troutman of Auction Horizon, kept the Live Auction alive, alright. They were fast talking, quick thinking and as animated as a pinball machine. They kept the attention of the audience whether people were actually bidding or enjoying the action. Both Tarryn and Jason had the ability to draw out the bids from coy bidders and I am sure the final amount planned on being raised for this fundraiser was respectable. Tarryn's final words closing each bid were catchy with "All in, all out...sold!" The "all" was said with her mouth in the form of an "O." Her accent was absolutely respectably precious. There were 19 offers to bid on. Items up for auction were: Braves tickets, Lanier Islands Resort golf package, Cocktail party for 20, Florida Beach House, Flowers/Wine of the month, giant gift basket, case of fine wines, oil painting, Zumba Party by the Pool with Latin American Food and Drink, Ocean View condo on Amelia Island Plantation, golf weekend in Helen, cooking class and dinner for eight, priceless portrait, quail hunt for two, signed Lithograph, filet mignon steak dinner and trimmings for 16, Victorian Walnut Davenport Desk, Rocky Mountain High-Colorado Cabin, Champagne Brunch for eight at Windy Hill.

Please take a look at the program for the donors or better yet, plan on joining the Newton Medical Center Auxiliary for the 2013 Gala. The Gala profits will benefit the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center.

Christy A. Lassiter writes a weekly society column for The Covington News. If you are planning on hosting an event that would be interesting to have in The News, she can be reached at (770) 786-2470.