NASHVILLE, TN — The exceptionally warm summer temperatures could not dampen the spirit of joy that infused Mai Olive Lusk’s Christmas in July celebration on Friday, July 23, at Kingdom Café and Grill on Jefferson Street.

As guests arrived, their seating positions were designated by calligraphed place cards made possible by the talented pen of Judy Jones.

The party opened with greetings from Loretta Brown, after which Mrs. Lusk’s recited a poignant poem about the fleeting nature of time. Her dramatic words were an insightful reminder to make the most of time—thus, setting the tone for the day’s celebration. 

As the intimate gathering of about 30 guests dined on a delicious, hosted meal, they were treated to musical entertainment by Gerald Dixon, who sang “That’s What Friends Are For,” and as a tribute to Mrs. Lusk, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” 

The spirit of giving associated with Christmas undergirded the gathering, as Mrs. Lusk made a $1,000 contribution to the Middle Tennessee Alzheimer’s Association for research. Jodie Ruediger, development director in Middle Tennessee, was present to receive the donation and thank Mrs. Lusk for her generosity. Later, Mrs. Ruediger answered guests’ questions about Alzheimer’s symptoms and new research findings. Jean Reid shared with the group from her personal experience with the disease while caring for her husband.

Tennessee Tribune Publisher Rosetta Miller Perry, who had a birthday in July, was also celebrated during the event for the many ways she contributes to the betterment of the Nashville community and for her advocacy through the publication of her weekly newspaper.

Among the group of special guests were Nashville Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood, Rev. Enoch Fuzz, Diane Poe, Jean Reid, Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., and Dr. Alice Smith Risby. After the meal and gift presentations, Dr. Smith gave a brief but inspirational themed message on the importance of giving and forgiving.

Several guests were lucky winners of monetary door prizes wrapped Christmas paper, and the grand prize winner of a beautifully wrapped gift was Audra Davis, who was accompanied by her husband Robert, president of the Hadley Park Duplicate Bridge Club.

The warmth of the event did not emanate from the temperatures, but rather from the generous heart of Mrs. Lusk, who also recognized July birthdays during the party. Helen Ross, coordinator of the bridge club activities at Hadley Park, also received a special birthday gift. 

Betty Jennings, an active member of the Duplicate Bridge Club, gave a tribute to Ms. Ross based on Jeremiah 31:3 in the Bible. “Every day she thinks of God, her family, her church. Every hour, she seems to be looking out for others, including her Hadley Bridge Club members. Every minute, she uses her time to help others, especially her friends Dr. [Gadson] Tarleton and Mrs. Lusk. Every second she tries to do unto others as she would want them to do unto her.” 

About eight Hadley Bridge Club members and friends celebrated by playing bridge in a separate room as the party commenced.

The two-hour luncheon ended on a high note, as guests were treated to a gift bag containing an individual dessert serving as they departed.