Saturday, March 23, 2019

On Compounding Interest

Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You would't marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help? ~ Marilyn Monroe

Rich people are not like us.

I know this because I've been slammed all week doing two things: writing close to 7,000 words for multiple assignments and driving all over Manakin Sabot, Westhampton and Park Avenue to interview the aforementioned affluent types.

Don't get me wrong, they were all extremely nice people, but then why wouldn't they be when they don't have to worry about money?

I went to one house that may as well have been an art gallery considering the number of pieces and name-recognition value of what was hanging on the walls and sitting on tables and in cabinets. I'm talking, Chihuly, Hans Hoffman, Grandma Moses and Dali and those are just some of the ones I was allowed to mention. And don't get me started on their original Bob Dylan drawing and Robert DeNiro, Sr. paintings.

At another house on the highest point in Goochland County, I strolled the gardens with the master of the house as he explained his fondness for delphiniums and foxgloves, the former ill-suited for starting in Virginia's climate and the latter a biennial that only blooms every other year. He solves both problems nicely by having a man grow hundreds of both for him and deliver them only once the plants are ready to bloom.

Then there were the owners of the 1850s Italianate mansion who bought the house to save it after extensive water damage had all but destroyed it. Luckily, they'd been collecting paneling, doors, columns, windows and pediments - that's right, pediments - for years before they had anywhere to put them. Ditto the 80 or so chandeliers they'd accumulated, all of which now hang from one of the many high ceilings in their home.

Meanwhile, I'm just happy my landlord is repainting my bathroom, trim and deck for the first time in ten years. Being poor means simple pleasures resonate big time.

And while I love what I do for a living, having to come up with 7,000 words over four days means pulling a lot of verbiage out of my head. You know I'm buried in deadlines when I don't go out a single night because I'm working right through until bedtime.

Recognizing that I'd been under the gun and without fun all week, the ever-thoughtful Mr. Wright had seen fit to reserve us two stools at the bar at Brenner Pass to celebrate me making my seven deadlines.

A little "Reserved" sign greeted us, while around us, there were only a half dozen other people at the large bar.

In the spirit of the evening, we kicked things off with Domaine Eugene Carrel Cremant de Savoie Brut and me finally letting out a sigh that could have been heard in J-Ward. Then I let loose a torrent of words which had been stored up all week because of me staying in except when I was doing interviews.

Luckily, he's a good listener.

Smoked trout, Marcella beans and fermented beet arrived hidden under a fan of radicchio leaves, a light yet satisfying start to the meal, the most surprising part being that by the time we finished it, the couple to our left was already paying their bill.

Wait, kids, it's still light outside.

Next came a platter of pillowy gnocchi gussied up with fava beans, bottarga (salted, cured fish roe) and sauteed greens, a dish that managed to be decadent despite its simple ingredients and a fine pairing with Steninger Gruner Veltliner. A big bowl of the cutest little baby turnips and turnip greens shone with only the addition of garlic oil, a dish that should be everyone's introduction to turnips.

To our right, everyone who'd been in place when we'd sat down was now exiting, soon to be replaced by the next wave. We hung in there.

Just about the time we were checking out the dessert menu, the replacement couple to our left closed out and moved on. For a Friday night, people sure were eating and running.

To accompany chocolate mousse with a crown of coconut, meringue and a dollop of lime sorbet, we chose glasses of Butler Nephew Co. 20-year Tawny Port, which all but guaranteed we weren't going anywhere anytime soon.

In fact, by the time we did decide to move the party back to Jackson Ward, it had been over four hours and the bar was nearly as deserted as when we'd first arrived. There's something to be said for longevity, whether on a bar stool or in a relationship.

A wise man knows that stellar company can keep a girl on a bar stool indefinitely, relaxing and unwinding after a killer week.

I mean, he wouldn't talk for four hours just because he thinks she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help?

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