How’s your mamandaddy? Saturday morning . . .

February 20, 2017


Leslie Anne TarabellaYou may remember me telling you I was going to be the guest speaker at, “Saturday Morning With Friends” sponsored by the First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida. Well, everything was perfectly organized, and went off like clock-work. Here I am with my darling Bob, who braved a room-full of mostly women to accompany me and be my assistant. The photo was snapped by my childhood friend, Gloria, who along with our other longtime friend, Cheree, came to hear me speak. I was also happy to see my good schoolteacher friend Pat, who helped me so much the first few years I taught school in Pensacola.


Chairwomen Julia Crowe and Connie Vance and their power-house committee did a stunning job of filling this entire room with gorgeous auction items. For the first hour, everyone strolled around and listened to beautiful live music and sipped on cranberry coolers and flavored coffee and said Southern Lady things like, “Oh honey, you look darlin’!”— “Oh, no sweetie, you’re the one who looks precious!”— “How’s your mamandaddy?” People who think Florida isn’t Southern haven’t been to Pensacola.


The funds raised from the auction and ticket sales went to support The United Methodist Children’s Home in the North Florida, South Alabama Conference, and also to the Weiss Elementary After School Program — both causes dear to my heart.


Every single woman I spoke with was completely charming. I could have plopped down at any table and made plans to go shopping with them later in the day. That’s high praise, because you can’t go shopping with just anyone.

I spoke about how God shows His love for us by giving us gifts . . . that we need to use. Just like the ladies of this church used their gifts to raise funds for those in need.  (If you loved someone enough to give them a gift and they didn’t use or appreciate it, you wouldn’t be in a hurry to give them anything else, would you? Hmmm).


Saturday Morning With Friends Leslie Anne Tarabella

The food was not only beautiful, but completely delicious. It always seems when you prepare food for a large crowd, the flavor suffers, but not this time. Whoever chaired the food committee, obviously knew her way around a kitchen! “Crystal and silver for 300? Why, sure honey! What did you expect, Chinette? Hahahaha!”


First United Methodist Church Saturday Morning With FriendsAnd this is why everyone really came . . . GRITS BAR! Oh, my goodness, they were creamy and tasty all by themselves, but with bacon, cheese, peppers, tomatoes . . . I can’t even remember all the other toppings, but it was fabulous!


Saturday Morning With Friends Pensacola FUMCNo one (not even Bob, my photographer husband) remembered to take a single picture of me speaking, but I snapped this one of Connie while she was making a few announcements. You’ll see a story soon about how this deceivingly simple-looking stage caused me to reveal my secret identity . . . Klutz Girl. Oh well, I had them charmed for a while, until the ugly truth came out . . . I can’t walk. Maybe it’s a good thing no one had a camera ready.


Leslie Anne Tarabella - Gayfers


The topic of my talk was, “Gayfers, Grits and God . . . Proof we are Loved.” One of the church members, Mitzi Presley Holt, who served as the former art director for Gayfers,  presented me with this autographed ad she created for the dearly departed department store. I am going to frame it and hang it in my office because I just adore it!


The hand painted ornament is gorgeous, and I used it on my Valentine’s Day dinner table. And the hand-turned wood bowl . . . be still my heart. Mr. Bob Joseph, a member of FUMC who is 80 years old, created this stunning bowl from the root of a Pink Perfection Camellia bush. I KNOW! How perfect is that?!!! Such lovely, kind gifts from people with sweet, sweet spirits.


I may be getting a video of my actual speech later, and if I can figure out how to post it, I’ll let you know. Thank you so much to the ladies of FUMC Pensacola for a wonderful experience.


Now, how can we all be like this group and get busy using our gifts?


  • I love Southern Lady talk, Leslie Anne! I don’t hear it as much as I did growing up but all I have to do to hear a fine example of it is call the dentist office where a darling woman named Beth answers the phone. I slide easily back into the diphthong speech of my youth for hours after listening to Beth.

    Wish I could have been sitting in your audience to hear you speak! And to have been in line at that grits bar. I’ve seen grits bars at weddings and biscuit bars at weddings but I really think it should be a grits and biscuit bar at weddings, don’t you? I mean, who cares about beef tenderloin with those sides?

    • Good point about the grits! And wouldn’t our grandmothers think it’s funny that grits have become so cherished when it was a basic staple for them? Wish you could have joined us!

  • I left a comment a couple of days ago but it is not showing up. I said I would love to hear you speak someday. You’ve got to train your hubby better to take pics of you. Have a good week, Leslie Anne. I will check back to see if this comment shows up.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh no! I don’t know why it didn’t show up. I never saw it on my dashboard either! Thanks for trying again, and yes, aren’t we always training our husbands for one thing or the other? What a life we lead . . .

  • A grits bar…”who’d a thunk it”…When I moved from Boston to Maryland over 30 years ago, many around me spoke of grits like it was a religion. I didn’t get it until I tasted shrimp and grits…amazing. You look fabulous in that photo, sounds like a wonderful event for a great cause.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It was certainly fun. Glad you are on the grits boat now!

  • Wow! That is a big group. And brave you for speaking in front of friends! That’s always the toughest for me.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I know! I love my friends, but I’d much rather speak to strangers for some reason, but actually these particular friends are so dear, I didn’t mind at all!

  • I wish we were in the same church! Looks like a wonderful event. I’d love to see a video of your speech. You looked stunning in your pretty red dress!
    p.s. I always wanted to be a Gayfer’s girl in high school (can’t remember the official name, can you?). The teen board or something like that. The girl’s got to have a professional, framed photo on the wall near the customer service desk and also got to model in fashion shows. My GPA wasn’t high enough to apply though. Sigh…

    • Leslie Anne says:

      This wasn’t at my church, but I would still love to be in church anywhere with you! I tried out for the teen board, but was far too gawky and lanky to qualify, but I still loved Gayfers!

  • A perfect Southern Social! You and Bob are so adorable, I’m sure everyone was so charmed they didn’t notice any missteps, and so full of grits and goodies they were in a happy daze! Your gifts are incredibly lovely, especially the heart orb

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks for the kindness, Jenna. As for the ornament, not only did I use it for Valentine’s Day, but I think I’ll also hang it on my Christmas tree next year. I love a tree full of happy memories!

  • Leslie Anne, this looks like a fabulous time was had by all. I would have loved to hear you speak, so get that up as soon as possible. How Southern is a grits bar?!!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Very! And a “bar” in a church, no less! Hahaha!

  • I know it was a success. Everything looks lovely, but those gifts are ALL truly amazing. Miss my Gayfers!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I miss it too. I think everyone does! And yes, I feel blessed by such unique and special gifts! Definitely not a box of chocolates from the Big Box Store! (although that would have been okay too!).

  • Kenneth Holley says:

    // People who think Florida isn’t Southern haven’t been to Pensacola. //

    Hahaha! Gee, where do ya think the L.A. geographical description comes from?!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      So true! When I lived in Pensacola it was funny/strange how many of the kids I went to school with had grandparents somewhere in Alabama.

  • Oh my! I have never seen a grits bar! This looks so so good. The Methodist ladies always do it right — every single function I have ever attended that they were in charge of was outstanding.

    I do hope you didn’t hurt yourself! I am rather famous for tripping over my own feet, too.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      If you take lots of tumbles, then you’ll love my story coming up! Stay tuned . . . and yes, the grits bar was a very clever idea! Wouldn’t that be fun to do for a wedding brunch!

  • I’m sure that your husband was so captivated by your remarks on the podium, that he forgot to make a picture.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you, husband. (or perhaps you were sleeping?)

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