John suggested I post an old story from when I first moved to the Hamptons. Here's an e-mail I sent 'back in the day':
This weekend I had dinner with a billionaire's daughter,
(B-b-billionaire -1.7 according to Forbes), a hedge fund guy, an artist, a coffee importer, a high powered Manhattan attorney, an entrepreneur, John Nida, and some lovely significant others.
We were invited to a dinner at the home of CW. (Christian was the most charismatic man I've ever met and although I was completely intimidated by him, I was thrilled to be invited to dinner, to be in his presence, and to meet his friends.) I reeeally wanted to go and was estatic when I found a sitter. Then I panicked! What would I wear? Who else would be there? What would we talk about? Would I be able to communicate effectively? It was a perfect example of being careful what you wish for!
I eventually settled on wearing a cashmere cable-knit dress with black boots. I thought if it was dressy, I'd be o.k. because I had on a dress and if the other diners were casual, I'd be o.k. due to the cable pattern. I think it turned out fine..because no one cared about what I was wearing except me!
Here is a sample of a conversation from that night:
"Oh, Olaff! I see you are wearing your Tyrolean jacket! Love it. Every
year I buy several when we are there on vacation, but I never seem to
end up wearing them!" (Where?)
"Christian, what a fabulous jacket. ?"
They spoke about vacationing in St. Barth's and spending the month of
August in every year because their children "speak the language" and are so comfortable there. I considered regaling them with tales of vacationing in but I didn't want them to feel inferior. Can you just hear me? "It's called Flora - Bama. Yes,
that's right. You see HALF of it is in Florida and the OTHER HALF is in Alabama!"
My favorite moment may have been when CW pulled out an old tattered notebook in which he had assigned the seating. The thought and planning that went in to who sat with whom was essential to the success of the night and it was obvious that it was protocol for any dinner given at his home.
As we were seated for dinner, we discovered a gorgeous artichoke on each plate exquisitely prepared by the chef. A Whole Artichoke...and I realize it might just be me, but I had never been served a whole artichoke before. All I could think was - 'How in the world do I EAT that?' I watched as people began picking off one leaf (do you call it a leaf?) at a time, biting it, and placing it back on the plate. I determined that I could handle that, so I picked up the first one and took a bite. It was like
rubber!!! Hmmmmm... no chewing those things. Eventually, I discovered that you gently bite toward the base and pull out the "heart" of the artichoke. Next, we were served a pureed spinach dish (I was afraid to smile after that - pretty little spinach in my teeth) and the most scrumptious sea bass. That was followed by the European tradition of salad coming after the meal. Last, we had a custard for dessert. The meal was delectable.
The wine flowed, the conversation hummed, the hours passed. I was having the time of my life and would have stayed into the wee hours. However, as the night wore on, John became concerned about the babysitter and immediately after I had (discretely?) applied some lipstick, he decided it was time to go. Everyone gave us the European double kiss goodbye. The only problem was...as the b.d. walked off...it appeared that she had a jagged, red, bloodied wound across her right cheek. Damn. I meant to air kiss her!
Well, I guess you can take the girl out of Georgia, but you can't take
Georgia out of the girl!