It was at the Front Page Follies this summer when auctioneer Bear Stephenson announced an item I thought sounded like fun. A game dinner prepared by News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable and his wife, Mary Ann, in their home — with klezmer music by the band, Tennessee Schmaltz.
I was feeling pretty good about how the bidding was going until Bear made it known that my main opponent for this item was Jim Clayton. Right. THAT Jim Clayton. Multi-millionaire manufactured home magnate and banker. Oh, Lord, I thought.
Much to my surprise, Jim threw in the towel — a total act of kindness on his part — and Alan and I walked away with the prize.
To show our gratitude, when it came time to redeem the item recently, we invited Jim and some of his Follies table guests — Michell Witt and Jay and Marga McBride — to join us. Marga and Jim have been singing together recently, which is Jim’s avid avocation.
What a fun night we had. Sam and Mary Ann were gracious hosts and when Tennessee Schmaltz took a break from its hilarious set, Jim and Marga stepped in and played a couple of songs.
If you, like me, thought they were endangered and therefore illegal to hunt, you, like me, would be wrong. Click here for some info on the official state of Tennessee website.
Want to hear a smidge of the evening’s entertainment? Click on my Instagrams from that night below. Fairly hilarious.
Knoxville suburbanites get wild and crazy! Go Klezmer! A video posted by @cmmoxley on
Thanks again to Sam and Mary Ann Venable, Tennessee Schmaltz, Jim Clayton and Marga McBride for a great time. Sam, better get to re-stocking that freezer!