‘Tables Envisioned’ to bring sight to many

Need a boost of courage, a dose of beauty and interest, or just another reason to nourish your fondness for dishes? If so, there is an event you won’t want to miss. It is the Rugby Lions Club “Tables Envisioned.” This year marks the seventh time the Rugby Lions Club has hosted this event, and more than 200 unique, charming, elegant, interesting and treasured tables have been displayed.

Tables Envisioned came about when I served as our club president. Heart of America Library board member Wanda Nielsen asked if the Lions Club could help raise money for the much needed elevator. When one is asked – or even challenged – to come up with a fundraising idea and you want it to be successful, it is best to think of an idea for which you have always had an interest. I crossed off my list the following: basketball and golf tournaments, antique car shows, raffles, turtle races and spark plug-changing seminars – not because they were not worthy, but rather that my knowledge in these areas was limited. Remaining on the list was glassware and dish collecting, and my love of Amelia Earhart.

Many folks identify with collecting glassware, pottery, dinnerware and even china. (Many of them have outbid me at auction sales!) I also knew that my endless passion and knowledge of collecting would be greatly needed to encourage others for this first lift-off. After many phone calls, and even begging, I had gathered enough adventurous souls to display their collections. Our takeoff was smooth and the Rugby Lions Club has been flying high with this fundraiser ever since. Monies raised have been given to the Heart of America Library, aiding the organization in purchasing a magnified reading machine, contributing to the elevator fund and purchasing large-print books. We have also given money to the Lions Eye Bank of North Dakota, which is located in Bismarck.

This year marks the first time we have had a table displayed by a centenarian. Bernice Hilzendager will be a delightful and very charming 100 years young. With the help of her daughter, Vicky Harmel, she is displaying her family china and flatware. I had the honor of spending a couple of hours with both of them recently in the attractive dining room of Vicky’s notable home. Bernice, young in her manner, visits with her lively red nail polish, hip glasses and a flattering young cut white chic jacket. On display was the Tielsch Altwasser china, which was made in Poland. Bernice had purchased this china with the encouragement of a friend from Rugby Furniture and recalls the set was not real expensive. The pattern is one of elegance and has detailed vivid pink roses, smaller blue flowers, and even a hint of violet with polite leaves that could easily be at rest on a backyard trellis. This garden of flowers is displayed on ivory china trimmed in roman gold and presents itself in a warm and inviting manner, with attractive cream soup bowls as part of each place setting.

Bernice, and her late husband, John, were married in 1934 and celebrated 72 years of marriage. Their cozy Cape Cod-style home with brick front and louvered picture window awning was a place of entertainment. Bernice mentioned that most people did not have money to be dining out in restaurants, so home entertaining was a must. She recalls that many times John would call in later afternoon and mention that he had invited guests over for supper. Bernice quickly put together a nice meal and set a nice table. Her table was often set with a dusky pink textured tablecloth enhanced with silver threads and matching napkins. In addition to this entertaining, Bernice and John enjoyed hosting card parities and family gathering. Vicky recalls, and still today enjoys, when her mother makes delicious roast beef in her special baking pan and then slices it to perfection.

In time, Bernice purchased Westmorland Sterling in the detailed pattern of Milburn Rose. Bernice smiled as she said, “I feel lucky to have purchased this nice sterling and have used it many times. I know that Vicky also likes this flatware.” The pattern is richly ornate and embodies the spirit and flavor of the English Renaissance, the period of the rebirth of beauty and culture. How fitting that this pattern has been displayed so many times in a Rugby Cape Cod home next to china that repeats the rose motif.

This is the beauty of the Rugby Lions Club’s Tables Envisioned. It reveals the stories behind the dishes in our community and beyond. This year’s show will be held Wednesday, July 30, through Friday, Aug. 1, at the Heart of America Library during regular hours. Another added feature to the show this year will be a table presented by Katherine Tweed, of Fargo, Immediate Past District Lion Governor. Her table will feature her mother’s china, Suzanne by Syracuse. There will even be a table that Amelia Earhart would appreciate. Come and see! Aid the good causes the Rugby Lions Club supports.

As many of you know, I am not a fan of chocolate bars making a demanding appearance on reception trays. However, these bars I would allow! I noticed these at 4-H Achievement Days in Rugby. They were made and exhibited by Alissa Volk, and she received a Grand Champion award for them. The recipe came from her grandmother, Kathy (Zimmerman) Voeller, who is an excellent baker and has many delicious bars recipes in her recipe files.