I have always had two favorite performers – Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra. Seemingly worlds apart in their style and genre of music, there is a great similarity in the control and range of their voices. (If you hear them singing “My Way” together, it may bring tears to your eyes). I must admit that I loved Pavarotti tossing around his handkerchief and, of course, Frank wearing his signature hat!
Frank sang “Saturday Night is The Loneliest Night of the Week”. Hoping to avoid this dilemma, I attended the annual “Celebrate Sinatra” party at the Ritz in Ybor City. It was a Black Tie Optional event and featured a Big Band Orchestra in the main ballroom and a Latin Band in the Copa Room.
It promised to be a special evening, so I wore a long gown and one of my favorite cocktail hats. My dress was black and sleek with a little glitter at the shoulder. The hat was a black silk rose with a veil sweeping across the face and a short poof of soft feathers in the back. I wore it slightly tilted (one of the Rat Pack rules about hats). It was a beautiful combination and I felt elegant and sexy.
Knowing there may be 600+ guests, I arrived early to avoid the line and headed to the bar to relax and “people watch”. Typical Rat Pack behavior is to drink Jack Daniels, always Jack Daniels! I, however, hate bourbon so I strayed from the pattern and ordered a vodka cocktail.
I then met a charming gentleman seated next to me. He had recently arrived from Arizona and introduced himself as Ken Atwater, the new President of Hillsborough Community College. As a former teacher, I was delighted to visit with such an accomplished man. And – he generously paid for my drink!
Not surprisingly, I met several young ladies who complimented me on my hat and wanted to be in a picture. I am always pleased to reaffirm my belief that women love to see hats as much as men do.
I was soon swept up for a photo-op with two men, Ron and Kevin, who were also wearing hats! For me, this was the “hat trifecta”.
I took a few turns around the dance floor in the Copa Room and then moved to the Ballroom to see if I could spot the “Sinatra” style gentleman – namely, those in tuxedos and cufflinks. They were everywhere! It almost made me feel, for just a little while, that Tampa was “My Kind Of Town”.
The backdrop of the “The Sands” was beautiful, the band played many of Frank’s greatest songs and almost everyone was dancing. The singers were fabulous and I was introduced to Paul and Lexie and we traded hat compliments. As it was time for me to continue dancing, I spent some time with Ron who can do an amazing swing dance. It was truly exhilarating.
I met and talked with many more interesting and beautifully dressed guests and took several more pictures. As I left the party, I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I dressed up, I had cocktails, I danced and I did it all “My Way” – wearing a hat!