A Celebration for Clee

The first time I ever went to the Baltimore Country Club was as the Maid of Honor for my dearest college friend Suzanne. I was the only non-blood relative in the wedding party with her next sister up, Gussy as Matron of Honor and her nieces, Laura, Caroline, Emily and Kristin as brides maids. Suzanne’s parents, Mary and Clee had welcomed me into their family as the sixth daughter years before, even if I was like Kristen Whig in the Lawrence Welk skit on SNL of the Maharelle Sister of the finger Lakes. Suzanne and her four older sister are still the most stunning family. And then there was me, with perhaps awkwardly short arms, making inappropriate comments. I was defiantly there for comic relief.

That first visit at BCC we danced the night away in the wood paneled ballroom and enjoyed a delicious dinner in the adjoining dining room with all the many Wordens and their giant extend family.

The second time I was in that same dining room it was for the lunch following the funeral of Suzanne’s mother Mary in 2006. I loved Mary and she loved me too. She always gave me the benefit of the doubt and loved to talk about finding antique treasures.

Today, my third visit to BCC was for the brunch to celebrate the long life of Clee Worden, Suzanne’s father who lived to 98 and some change. The rooms look the same, although Steve, Suzanne’s husband asked me if I thought they looked smaller than at their wedding. The people gathered in the room were as familiar to me as my own family. All of beautiful Worden girls, Nancy, Carol, Mary Jo, Gussy and Suzanne. Their husbands, and children and now their children’s children. All there to bid farewell to “Opa” as he was called by grand and great-grand children.

Friends had come, Steve’s sister Stacey and her husband Peter. Rose, our dear college friend. Meg, Suzanne’s best high school friend and each sister had their close friends. So many to toast the life of Clee. After Carol spoke and the Suzanne we watched a wonderful video of Clee and his clan. Steven made a wonderful speech about Clee, my favorite part was about the two subjects he always talked to everyone about, Metallurgy and Politics. That got a big howl from the crowd who each at one time or another had those conversations, or more like listening sessions with Clee.

One difference in the people in the room from that first visit in 1991 were perhaps my favorites, Suzanne and Steve’s kids, Grace, Jack and Oliver, whom I love like my own children. Grace admitted to me today that she was at least ten before she realized I wasn’t a real Aunt to her as she had always called me “Aunt Dana,” but couldn’t quite work out the math when her mom said she was one of five girls. Grace thought she meant she had five sisters, counting me in with her other Aunts and Suzanne made six girls in total.

The visit was too short, as it always is, especially to celebrate such a long and fruitful life. What a wonderful family that I am lucky to know and love for all these many years. Cheers to Clee and Mary Worden who started it all and I am sure are smiling down on us all.

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