Rib bones and Jello shots

O.K., so we had our annual fundraiser, Oyster Easter, last Saturday and I’m still getting over it. More than 500 people descend on Travellers Rest, a restored plantation in Nashville, and eat and drink all afternoon while eight prominent but crazy Nashvillians run around collecting oyster shells so they can be named Oyster King and Oyster Queen. I am a former Oyster Queen and damn proud of it. You are allowed to lie, cheat and steal to win the crown and I did every one of them a few years ago when I ascended to royalty. But now, in a weird twist of fate, I am the executive director of the very charity that Oyster Easter benefits and now my role is not to drink a gallon of chardonnay while downing a dozen oysters and making polite small talk but to actually run the event.


This year we were extremely worried that we wouldn’t do very well because of the economy, but the good Lord was looking down on us and we had record attendance. The one thing we didn’t consider, unfortunately, is that record attendance would produce record garbage. My goodness, the garbage. We had arranged for volunteers who were supposed to make sure the trash cans were emptied in an expeditious manner, but they, of course, just started drinking and forgot all about it.

The event chair came unglued. Garbage! Well, I know garbage. I have a teenage son. So in my expensive hand-knit sweater and linen pants, I get some trash bags and start shoveling out the garbage cans where our guests had thoughtfully piled dirty paper plates full of cocktail sauce and oyster shells about three feet above the rim of the can. One of the guests even felt sorry for me and pitched in to hold the garbage bag.

After that, I needed a couple of oyster shooters to steady myself before thinking of the clean-up after the event. It’s funny how people don’t think about the fact that someone is going to have to pick up the gnawed rib bones and oozing Jello shots off the ground with their bare hands. Why is that?

It’s O.K. It was a fun party. We raised a lot of money for the Community Resource Center and four days later, I’m still completely exhausted. So here’s what will cure whatever ails you.

Oyster Shooters: In a small cup, place a raw oyster with a little of its liquor. Top with a dollop of cocktail sauce and pour a thimble sized portion of good vodka over the top. Down it in one gulp.

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