Climax enjoys 1st ‘luau party’

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THE SURPRISED COUPLE, Juliet and Paul Kelly, show off the Filipino lechon (roasted pig) that was prepared at a luau party in their honor Saturday.


Climax Correspondent

Several in Climax enjoyed their first luau party Saturday, May 19, at the home of Joseph Kelly on Madison Street.

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Kelly, the host for the occasion, and his aunt, Luz Musgrove, said the reason for the celebration was to surprise Joseph’s parents, Paul and Juliet Kelly, on their 28th wedding anniversary and to have fellowship with friends and neighbors as they experienced a real Filipino luau.

As the sun began its descent into a beautiful western sky, a crowd began to gather to a festive welcome by host Luz Musgrove, dressed in full costumed grass skirts and presenting a lei for each guest to wear. Yet there was no sign of the honored guest Paul and Juliet.

The reason behind the absence of the happy couple was because they knew nothing about a luau or party. Joseph had arranged for his aunt, Dorothy Maxwell, and cousin, Teresa Maxwell, to take Paul and Juliet to the beach and coast for the day so preparations could be done without their knowledge.

On long tables along the wrap around deck on the side and back of the house, traditional Filipino food such as egg rolls, spring rolls, pan-cit, and other vegetable dishes was served with the main course of a Filipino lechon (roast pig) including the apple in his mouth. Some were even commenting on a dish that featured quail eggs.

There was food of every description along with a tropical fruit table and dessert table. Coconut cups held candles, and large banana leaves completed the centerpieces. Long dining tables were available on the grassy lawn for sitting and enjoying the food and fellowship.

Once the surprised couple arrived, they were greeted with hula dancing. Dancers April Rowland, Luz Musgrove, Maggie Adams, Emilda Jones and Rhonda Gay in their grass skirts performed to such selection as “Tiny Bubbles” and other island music. The large crowd filled the decks to watch as the dancers swayed to the music.

Before eating the feast, a prayer of Thanksgiving was offered by Paul and Juliet’s pastor, Elder Emery Carlton of Community Primitive Baptist Church. Entertainment went on into the late evening and night with music, karaoke, gospel singing, and more hula dancing. Paul and Juliet said they were really surprised and had no idea that their son had made all these plans without their knowledge or even suspecting anything.

Joseph said that one of the hula dancers, Emilda Jones of Climax, formerly of the Philippines, has a sad situation. She is employed with the Decatur County Board of Education and had been saving her money for a round-trip air ticket to visit her family, since she hasn’t seen them in over six years. She planned to take her young son Christopher to meet his Filipino family. Then she received the sad news that her brother, Charles F. Gargar, age 54, was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the bones, and had only a short time to live.

According to Joseph, Charles is in ICU at Gumercinda Hospital in Kabankalan City, in the Phillipines. He said that if anyone would like to help Emilda see her brother before it is too late, a hardship fund has been set up for her at the Climax Post Office.

Donations to the hardship fund should be addressed to: “Emilda Jones Hardship Fund, C/O Joseph Kelly P.O. Box 14, Climax, GA 39834.”

Emilda said any and all help will be greatly appreciated, as she needs a round-trip airline ticket from Tallahassee, Fla., to Manila, Philippines.

DANCING THE HULA ARE front, left to right, April Rowland, Luz Musgrove and Maggie Adams; back, left to right, Rhonda Gay and Emilda Jones.