Washington writer, classy gossip columnist and Capitol Hill resident Diana McLellan was laid to rest in Congressional Cemetery June 28. McLellan’s life was celebrated at the cemetery chapel with friends and family reciting poetry and recalling perfect dinners with her.
Jokes flew about her being buried among such famous Washingtonians to get the real stories. At the burial, her spreading a little more dirt around was a quip. Also, as family members placed flowers on the wicket-basket coffin, daughter Fiona Weeks placed a tube of lipstick on the coffin.
The repast was at the Capitol Hill Mr. Henry’s, one of McLellan’s favorite hang-outs.
At the memorial service, Roy Forey, a neighbor of Diana McLellan, read a poem, entitled, “A Night at Diana’s Table.”
It is reprinted below, with the author’s permission:
A Night at Diana’s Table
I was lucky enough to dine at Diana’s table.
The invite offered in the most casual terms — “just neighbors and friends and a peasants’ meal” — but it was more than that.
Welcomed and introduced to everyone, no one could ever be on the fringes.
Plied with liquor and opening chatter we were ushered into the dining area.
With candles dribbling hot wax and flickering in the inebriated air, Diana and Dick held court at each end of the table.
Diana disappeared behind the curtains and like Merlin from King Arthur’s court conjured up tureens, filled with wonderful vegetables, beans, and tender meat in a sauce that was always delicious.
Quickly we transformed into a huge debating table, where participants fought for their point of view. Speakers’ corner on octane, Algonquin on Constitution Avenue.
Then, as the wine flowed and some took to liqueurs, others lit up, engulfing us all and sending us in a time machine to the fifties.
On occasion, Edith might be persuaded to play the “old Joanna” and those of us with bigger egos than voices sang the memories of old.
We left Diana’s table without a care.
We were in the moment, and only our beds beckoned.
Of all the tables I have been invited to, Diana’s was the best. Not by an inch–by a mile.
Yes, the guests were great, the diversity, the stories, but it was the master of ceremonies, the conductor, the Air Commodore’s daughter who shone the brightest and made an invitation to her table one you would never turn down.