Sports rivalries among some Southern states were largely forgotten Tuesday night at Bobby Van's Grill where members of the state societies of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama met to mix, mingle and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the planting of the cherry blossoms in Washington with distinguished guests, the states' cherry blossom princesses.
From left: Keiko Asakura Halbert, the proud mother of Sammy Halbert (center) and Maya Halbert, the 2012 Tennessee Cherry Blossom Princess, all from Nashville, at the Tennessee State Society reception at Bobby Van's Grill/Patricia Leslie
Mississippi Cherry Blossom Princess, Grace Swoope, comes from a family of five princesses that includes her mother, Mary McDaniel Swoope (1981) and her aunt, Peggy McDaniel Welch (1978), now an Indiana state legislator.
As they say in Mississippi, beauty runs deep.
In elegant attire, the princesses performed their duties well, warmly welcoming guests to the reception, made even more pleasing by perfectly cooked steaks found upstairs.
Mary Lou Collector, the oldest Tennessee State Society member, with Grace Swoope, 2012 Mississippi Cherry Blossom Princess/Patricia Leslie
For once, the state societies' crowd seemed more than just 20 and 30-somethings from Capitol Hill, since walking around and staking claim to the title of Ms. Tennessee State Society Oldest Member was Mary Lou Collector, who was joined at the party by other "seasoned Southerners."
Said one Alabama alum when "sports" inevitably came up for chat: "Basketball? Basketball? Who cares about basketball? This is the SEC where football is king!" Amen, brother.
It pays to get out.