Shaded by wide-brimmed hats, with a string quartet providing background music, ladies took leisurely walks through the grounds at the Missouri Governor's Mansion, sipped cocktails and laughed with friends — old and new — late Saturday morning.
About 300 guests joined first lady Teresa Parson for the inaugural First Lady's Mother Daughter Brunch.
Included were four generations from her own family.
"I thought this would be a nice event for mothers and daughters — and grandmothers as well," Parson said. "We thought it might be a way of families getting together and just having a very festive time here at the mansion."
Parson said she was looking for a way to create a unique fundraiser for the Friends of the Missouri Governor's Mansion — a nonprofit organization that provides tours of the home. It also hosts events, handles arrangements for first ladies' portraits, and raises money for needs like replacing rugs or furniture when it wears out.
The state takes care of the grounds, the 148-year-old building and its mechanical needs. For five months, beginning this summer, the governor and first lady will have to stay elsewhere while the state conducts much-needed repairs to the structure's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and do other repairs, at a cost of $3,297,000.
For now, the mansion is still operating normally.
On Saturday, women from all across the state traveled to Jefferson City to socialize and celebrate mothers and daughters and "the people's house," said Rebecca Gordon, executive director of the Friends of the Missouri Governor's Mansion.
Parson said organizers of the event wished to create a tradition that would celebrate mothers and women of all ages.
"Mothers are so special," she told listeners during the event. "And we appreciate each one of you. We appreciate everything that you do for us."
She shared a pair of inspirational quotes with the gathering. The first: Successful mothers are not the ones who never have struggles. They are the ones who never give up, despite those struggles.
On a lighter note, Parson said, she wanted to share another thought: Don't be too hard on yourselves, mothers and grandmothers. The mother in "E.T." had an alien living in her house, and she didn't even notice.
To help celebrate women, organizers invited Katelyn Lewis, reigning Miss Missouri, as a guest speaker for the event.
Miss America candidates are all working to make the world a better place, Lewis said.
Each point on her crown, she said, has meaning — style, scholarship, service and success.
The point on front — that representing service — is the most important to her.
"It kind of symbolizes your entire year as Miss Missouri," she said. "It's service, and I'm a volunteer for the state of Missouri. And, I get to represent Missouri."
The service gives her opportunities to reach out to middle schools and teach young children some of the risks of using social media.
She told listeners about a young man she met named Andrew. Andrew knew early on that he wanted to attend an Ivy League college — Princeton University. He worked for six years to be accepted into the prestigious college — and was. But, during his senior year in high school, he got angry with someone and began "venting" — posting unflattering things about the other person on social media.
A few weeks later, he received a letter from Princeton. It stated, "Your Twitter is not Princeton worthy."
Princeton revoked his acceptance.
The young man looked great on paper, but because of the mistakes he made on social media, he lost that opportunity.
Young people should be taught they need to use a lot of common sense before they begin using social media, Lewis said. Parents, teachers and other authorities should begin telling children what they should or should not do when using the internet.
Throughout the morning, as the girls and women walked about the grounds, many ventured inside the mansion and took advantage of the opportunity to see the stately home.
Parson's mother, Darlene Seiner, of Bolivar, sat at a table under a tent set up for brunch listening as members of the Jefferson City Orchestra Program played in a string quartet.
"It sounds very good to me," Seiner said. "I like it."
As she listened, she talked about the weather — pointing out that the temperature was hovering at a pleasant level.
She also said she enjoys poking around inside the mansion.
"I love the mansion," Seiner said. "That stairway — I just love it. I can't walk up it, but I can walk down it."