Imagine a Party at the White House

12/03/2011 07:48 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2012

It was a night to remember. Imagine going to the White House for a holiday party. Yes, the White House... a place I have seen in photos since I was a small child. It was last night, Dec. 2, and the first of many such parties the White House is having this year. They are expecting 85,000 guests this month. Wow, that is quite a commitment to entertaining citizens of our country.

The evening feels like some kind of dream. The rooms were decorated beautifully with fresh cut trees (37 of them) and there was delicious food everywhere. There was a buffet with everything you would want to eat -- steak, salads, fresh vegetables, cooked vegetables, two kinds of potatoes, shrimp, cheeses, smoked salmon and more. The dessert table was amazing; there were about a dozen choices and most people felt compelled to try a bit of each. It was not a night to diet. We had the freedom to walk into all the rooms (except their personal living spaces). So I saw the Red room, the Green room, the Blue room, the East room and the State Dining Room. So many rooms, so beautiful. Beautiful music from multiple groups permeated the rooms.


Their dog Bo was not there in person but he was there. Little black and white Portuguese water dogs statutes were everywhere; some were made out of licorice and marshmallows and others made out of paper and buttons. Pretty cute. I even managed to get a Bo cookie to take home to my grandchildren.


As guests climbed the stairs to go upstairs, they came upon a beautiful tree you could see from across the hall in the Blue Room decorated with cards written by children of the US military and medals and badges from all parts of the military. It is a beautiful and inspirational tree.


In the East Landing was the Gold Star family tree covered with gold stars and next to a video screen showing families of Gold Star military men who gave their lives for the country. A beautiful, but sad tribute.

Guests also had an opportunity to write handwritten notes to the troops. I wrote several. It is the least I can do to thank the troops for all that they are doing for the country.

So how did I manage to get invited? I am not sure but I think it is because I am a community leader of sorts, not a president or a mayor, but just a person who sometimes organizes events. Most of the events I organize are for teachers since I am a teacher and I am passionate about improving education in this country. That might have been my ticket in. There were lots of such people from all over the country and many volunteers. One of the best parts of the party was meeting many of them. They were such an impressive and interesting group of people.

The highlight of the evening for all of us was that we each got our picture taken with Barack and Michelle. It was so well organized and it all happened so fast that I can't remember smiling for the camera but I guess I did. It is amazing that the president and first lady were able to take pictures with all of the guests (about 200) in about 180 minutes. That is less than one minute per photo and as you can tell that meant no chit chat but it was great just being able to stand beside them. Now I am excited to have a photo to hang on the wall. Thank you Mr. President and first lady for opening your home to so many of us this holiday season. It was a wonderful evening and showed me a personal side of Obama and Michelle and how incredibly committed they are to our country.