Troy’s Take: Friends Of The Foundation—Friends Of Falmouth

Troy ClarksonAmy Rader Photographer - Troy Clarkson

The success of the evening was indicated by the multiple drippings of short rib gravy on my notepad. I’ll readily admit that I dipped into dinner before, during, and after it was served, occasionally dropping a splash on my notes for the evening. It’s not easy to cook, write, and sneak a taste of your handiwork all at once, but I couldn’t resist and I’m sure my gracious and gregarious hosts wouldn’t have minded even if they caught me stealing a forkful (or handful). It was a night of laughs, liveliness, libations and...food. Lots of food.

The setting was the lovely and comfortable West Falmouth home of Bob and Melissa Hamilton. The occasion was dinner cooked by me and music provided by local a cappella group Notescape. The beneficiary of this wonderful event, other than all who attended, was the Falmouth Education Foundation. Bob and Melissa purchased the dinner and music at the FEF’s annual auction along with their friends Laura and Dave Peterson, and Tracy and Chris Quidley.

For several hours, we cooked, laughed, and shared stories. Expertly aided by my parents, Phil and Donna Stone, and my permanent sidekick, Donna Buckley, we prepared a feast befitting a foundation. That’s what this evening was really about. Although the dinner was to benefit the Falmouth Education Foundation, what I observed and was offered as another pleasant and indelible reminder was that the people in attendance, from those who helped me cook to those who serenaded us after dinner, to the hosts themselves, together—along with so many others—form the foundation of our community.

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The Falmouth Education Foundation is yet another example of the mosaic of humanity that makes up our incredible town—and what makes it a community. People like Melissa and Bob Hamilton, who work full-time jobs, Melissa as an elementary school teacher at Mullen-Hall, and Bob as a coastal engineer for the Woods Hole Group, yet take time to donate to organizations like the FEF, spend time coaching youth sports, and still value quality time spent with friends, form a firm community foundation that allows organizations like the Falmouth Education Foundation to thrive.

As the two Donnas skillfully prepared a grilled shrimp appetizer brushed with an aromatic basil-infused olive oil, I visited with our partygoers. Phil filled their glasses with prosecco and I listened intently as they shared stories of their community—our community—and how fortunate they feel that they’re part of it. It is all of us who are fortunate to have folks like the Hamiltons, Petersons, and Quidleys as part of our community foundation. Bob reminisced about his and Melissa’s move to Falmouth in 1995. Both hailing from Baltimore and committed to its environs, they came as young newlyweds (and youthful sweethearts) to stay for a year as Bob became settled in his new job. They never left. They laughed as they explained their first wedding anniversary at the Barnstable County Fair (Bob is a hopeless romantic) and how Falmouth has transformed from a place where you couldn’t get a pizza after 9 PM to a vibrant, bustling cultural epicenter for Cape Cod.

David, a fifth-generation Falmouthite and Falmouth High School classmate of mine, then shared his insight into the reasons behind his accomplished wife’s need to cheat off this scribe in catechism class 30 years ago. I (and I suspect the Lord) have both forgiven Laura; her work on behalf of humanity long ago overshadowed this youthful indiscretion.

After a salad of locally grown Coonamessett Farm greens with homemade croutons and a Dijon vinaigrette, the main meal of braised short ribs, pommes Parisienne and haricots verts (simply put as meat, potatoes and green beans) was served to the delight of all, including the cooks who, like me, were able to manage a taste here and there.
Chris had arrived a little late, scurrying to get there from his art gallery on Nantucket (he is rumored to have stopped at Burger King on the way), but was greeted warmly by Tracy and all others. As the short ribs became even shorter, local music stalwarts Notescape entertained and engaged our sextuplet of hosts, During an interlude while Notescape rested and our helpers served strawberries and whipped cream, I chatted with local music legends Peter Clark and Tom Goux, each noting to me the importance of music and the arts to a sound education and the importance of folks like the Hamiltons, Petersons and Quidleys to a sound community. As they completed their serenade with songs we all fell in love to, I asked everyone to offer a word to describe this magical and memorable evening. “Exquisite,” noted the art gallery operator, noting that in his line of work that’s a word he chooses judiciously.

Melissa offered a toast to “the most amazing friends,” as I thought to myself that, yes, folks like these—all of them—are the most amazing friends, indeed. Friends of each other, friends of the Falmouth Education Foundation, and Friends of Falmouth. We are fortunate for our friends.

(Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at votetroy99@aol.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.)

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