My story? I grew up on a plantation in the deep south with all brothers and ended up working as everything from a quail hunting guide to a safari cook (notice I said cook and not “chef”) to a television correspondent on Alaska’s Iditarod trail. OK, so the profile doesn’t really fit the bill of the debutante my grandmother had hoped I’d be… but the way I see it is adventure has its fair share of glamour – and like many of you, I’ll opt for the adventure every time.
When it was time to grow up and go to the big city, I headed for New York and wore the skirts and pretty pumps and got a job in television. But I couldn’t shake my past — the television execs kept me doing what I already knew: the outdoors stuff. I had had grand plans of making my fortune and entertaining in grand style in a fancy Manhattan apartment. Okay, so I ended up in a great little apartment (shared with my younger brother), but I did entertain. And something interesting happened: I couldn’t help but use the things I thought were cool: antlers as centerpieces, venison for dinner parties, a zebra skin rug on the floor (the one given to me by a guy who borrowed money from me in Africa and couldn’t pay me back in cash). Surprisingly, the lifestyle was grand – in it’s own special way. Slowly it sunk in: I am who I am…not who I thought I’d be.
That’s when I realized I’d been given a gift that I never knew was a gift. The hours spent making chutney with my mother…picking ripe tomatoes (and throwing the rotten ones at my brothers)…plucking ducks when my hands were so cold that my fingers didn’t work (Dad said it built character)…turning the tractor barn into a venue for a black tie dinner…all were FOR something.
There’s stuff here to share – the adventures, the humor, the just plain fun of making the most of what’s around. You can live a practical life with grace, style and elegance. Throw in a little adventure and you’ve got a winning mix.