It's an annual event sponsored by the American Institute of Polish Culture that Matthew and his mother have attended (as proud Polish Americans) several times in the past decade or so.
But it's the first fancy, "grown-up" event I've attended in many, many years -- and I wanted to do it right; or at least as "right" as I could on an extremely limited budget.
So, I scoured the local charitable and secondhand shops and found a gorgeous gown at a Goodwill outlet that just needed to be hemmed. I already had a serviceable pair of shoes and a glittery shawl. After finding some rhinestone clip earrings at another secondhand shop, I was all set with the outfit. I splurged on a pedicure and a fancy "updo" at my hairdresser's, plus I bought some new makeup.
And, when I put it all together, I felt like a million bucks! I walked in on Matthew's arm (with his mom on his other side), confident that I could hold my own amidst a sea of designer gowns and precious gemstones. When he spun me around the dance floor, I truly felt like a princess.
This year's guest of honor was Nobel Prizewinner (and former Polish President) Lech Walesa.
We did not really rub elbows with him -- there were way too many "VIP" guests in attendance for that; however, we did get to shake his hand early in the evening.
We sat in corner of the large ballroom, elbow-to-elbow with nine other attendees, far away from the VIP table. The event was full of pomp and circumstance (and a bit too wordy for our taste), with dancing throughout and a tasty meal served over a period of about four hours.
It was a magical evening, indeed. One fit for a princess, the belle of the ball.