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At Ease with Charlotte Shultz

 

As you already know, Monday was a heady day of power politicos who parachuted into San Francisco.

And the majority of these players (minus First Lady Michelle Obama, though she was, of course, invited) ended that day at an intimate dinner hosted by Protocol Chief Charlotte Mailliard Shultz and her husband, Former Sec. of State George Shultz in their Russian Hill aerie.

The Shultz’s dinner was in honor of retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, recently appointed U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President Barack Obama. Sec. Shinseki was the keynote speaker at the Marines’ Memorial Association George P. Shultz Lecture Series.

Then, joined by Marines’ Memorial Association President Maj. Gen. Michael Myatt, USMC (Ret.), and his wife, Wendy Myatt; they zoomed up the hill to the Shultz’s for dinner.

Followed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver; Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom (all of whom hot-footed it up that hill from Moscone Center); Fine Arts Museums Board President Dede Wilsey (en route from the Egyptian Consulate where a celebration of the Tut exhibition was held); and former Mayor Willie Brown (who, most likely, probably managed to cram in a bit of each of these events).

However the biggest trooper was the hostess, herself. Recovering (and nicely) from a recent hip replacement, Charlotte still braved the crowd of thousands down at Moscone Center -- on her walker, no less -- in order to hear her pal, Maria Shriver, Mrs. Obama and (Charlotte’s new favorite singer) Jon Bon Jovi, at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service.

If you’ve never had the good fortune to be entertained Chez Shultz, let’s just put it this way: if Charlotte ever happened to be appointed Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, then life as we know it would become the most joyous party on the planet.

“I’ve seen Charlotte organize some great events,” enthused Dede. “But her dinner on Monday, was magnificent! Every small detail you can possibly imagine was expertly done.”

Marines’ Memorial Association President Maj. Gen. Michael Myatt, his wife, Wendy Myatt, Protocol Chief Charlotte Mailliard Shultz and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

Especially with her creative Aide-de-Camp, Stanlee Gatti, at her side.

In homage to the four-star Army general, Gatti draped the table and chairs in camouflage print cloth. The centerpiece was a globe trimmed with white flowers and flags bearing official seals of the Armed Services.

But before the Marine Corps Color Guard officially greet the guests, one guest arrived a bit early and sought out his hostess.

“You thought I’d be in the kitchen? Cooking?” teased Charlotte upon discovering the Governor in her kitchen.

He strode out on to her patio (which offers panoramic views of the city skyline), reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigar. Then, thinking better of it he put the unlit stogie back in place.

“Of course you can smoke your cigar on the patio,” said this hostess-with-the-mostess, to Schwarzenegger. “There’s a lot of air out there.”

Marianne Kent and her Quartet provided a swinging medley of USO-style favorites to entertain the troops during cocktails.

Artist Cynthia Warren hand-painted each calligraphied, Salute to The Troops menu (featuring an American flag and a bugle-blowing Marine).

And those menus featured a sumptuous McCall Associates supper, each course of which was cleverly renamed by Charlotte.

Featured were Command & Control Dungeness crab marquis with a Peacekeeping mango, papaya and avocado dressing; Unmanned short-rib tournedos of beef with Paramilitary potatoes and Boogie Woogie beans; followed by a Parachute Drop over the Golden Gate Bridge dessert comprised of a lemon Bavarian cake set in a Bay of Blueberries with a spun sugar and International Orange-dyed white chocolate Golden Gate Bridge.

Phew!

The dinner conversation, were told, will remain classified. But nuggets were gleaned.

When Mayor Brown was asked his thoughts on the governor’s handling of the budget, Brown assessed the situation with a signature, succinct response: “I’d do the exact same thing!”

And everyone was inspired by the earlier conference -- including our governor who related that when he first married to Maria (and was merely a mega-watt movie star), his in-laws (Sargent Shriver, the driving force behind the formation of the Peace Corps, and his wife, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver) kept encouraging their new son-in-law to volunteer with community organizations.

“My husband is being very nice,” Maria Shriver was reported to have said, with a laugh. “In my family, we were told, Volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer!”

Throughout this lively dinner, Skyana Costumes owner Jeanne Lauren roamed around the table in the living room dressed in full camo gear which was adorned by a twig-topped MP helmet and “spied” on the guests through her field glasses.

“At least,” joked Dede to Schwarzenegger, “She’s not on the unemployment rolls!”

Though the evening was winding down, Charlotte had one final surprise in her well-appointed sleeve.

“Sweetheart,” she cooed to her unsuspecting husband. “I’ve been so involved of late with my physical therapists, Jason and Jeff, that I’d like to invite them to join us at the table.”

Instead, in marched 14 musicians from the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Jazz Band playing, When the Saints Come Marching In. Their rousing finale featured the U.S. Marine Corps Hymn.

And off into the halls trooped the Shultz’s guests carrying a camo duffel bag billed with an SF skyline paperweight inscribed with the date, the general’s name and the phrase, We Enjoy sharing Our Views with You.

As well a cardboard box filled SF Giants peanuts, Ghirardelli chocolates, Jelly Bellys, Molinari salame and a mini bottle of Mumm Sparkling Wine -- Charlotte’s delightfully EssEff version of the armed services’ dreaded MREs.

At Ease, indeed.

See more photos below

Dede Wilsey with Mayor Gavin Newsom and former Mayor Willie Brown

Jennifer Siebel Newsom speaks with the Governor

The Marine Corps Color Guard

Sec. Shinseki, George Shultz, Gov. Schwarzenegger, Wendy Myatt and her husband, Maj. Gen. Michael Myatt

Members of the Camp Pendleton Marine Band

First Lady Maria Shriver and George Shultz enjoy the band