The Sound of Two Balls Bouncing
Calaveras Enterprise 03/29/05

ALL THAT GLITTERS By Antoinette May Herndon

The Sound of Two Balls Bouncing

2005 didn’t start out too well for Mike Dell’Orto. First off, he lost his lawsuit against the county. One of those David-Goliath things that somehow went awry. Then he lost his job on the Planning Commission—a larger blow since the Dell’Ortos have been involved in Calavaras County government since Gold Rush days.

Many of us under those circumstances might have folded our tents and silently stolen away. Not Mike! Au contrair! Dell’Orto did just the opposite. He went out and had himself a ball.

We’re talking Firemen’s Ball, a gala event that netted a record $5000. The dance, held last month at the Mokelumne Hill Town Hall, drew a mixed but enthusiastic crowd. Sooner later everyone was out on the floor. White hair and pieced navels, mixing it up.

Though spearheaded by Mike, the event was the combined effort of many people working hard. Everyone emerged a winner for the funds raised went to equipment and safety gear for the volunteer firemen.

As for Mike, he says that for the time being his political service will be limited to the Volunteer Fire Department, then adds: “Who knows, one

of these days I may come back and play some more.”

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More dancing fools were out in force for last week’s Black and White Ball. Ed Cline, poles apart from Mike politically, but also a bon vivant, man about the county, master minded that one. The gala benefited the Friends of Mok Hill.

One of those pushy newcomers (like me), Ed has made a name for himself in just two years through his work at the Arts Council. Take a look at the new art gallery. It could easily be New York, San Francisco or Paris. Thanks to Ed, we can enjoy it in San Andreas. Perhaps you may also know Ed as the poet laureate of Mokelumne Hill. (Check him out at Poets Night April 4.)

A Renaissance man who gets things done (he’s also a champion crocket player), Ed’s passionate about what he does. Needless to say, the Black and White Ball became an instant legend. Where to begin? A great band, “The Flashbacks,” put us in the mood. Big band sounds of the 40s . . . Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie. Trumpets, trombone, deep, mellow saxes,

Once again the Town Hall was the setting, but Ed’s went one step beyond by securing the services of the famous artist, John Johannsen, to

set the scene. John can do anything and did. This time he transformed the hall into an arte deco fantasy. Think silver screen, Fred and Ginger, Miami glitz. John is a living treasure.

Super chef Ray Jursnich saw to it that dinner, too, was an artistic triumph. The jewel in the crown was Noreen Huberty’s fabulous rum cake. Noreen won’t share her secret. Would any great chef? Arguably the pizzazziest lady in the county, Noreen cut a wide swath in filmy black gown . . . sequins, boas. Whooooooo!

The men were handsome, the women beautiful in their black and white splendor. JBs Tuxedo Shop reported a run on rentals. Now I won’t try to kid you, not every man wore a tux. Despite my wiles, at least one I know intimately steadfastly refused to be seen in one. He wasn’t totally alone. But with or without everyone who attended had a ball.

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Next “All That Glitters” will be about dreams coming true. If you have one to share, drop me an email at ALSO, Poets Night is one year old. (And they said it wouldn’t last!) If you’d like to read, listen or submit a poem to the upcoming Mok Hillian Review of Poetry, drop by the Leger, April 4 at 7:30.