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Shirley Garrett: Coaching in the Kitchen and Promises in the Pasture

 Coaching in the Kitchen

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Promises in the Pasture


"What do you look like?" I asked Tina as I was driving to the airport. She replied, "Oh, that's easy. I'm wearing jeans, brown boots, and a brown jacket." She forgot to tell me that she was petite, young, of Indian decent and drop-dead gorgeous!

Tina lives in Philadelphia and came to spend a weekend at Camp Garrett where we worked on her speaking and presentation skills.

On the ride home I explained how the weekend would unfold. We would start off coaching in the kitchen.

"You will sit at the counter while I prepare a meal and during that time we'll get to know each other, discuss your expectations, and begin the coaching process."

I thoroughly enjoy this kind of working weekend where I get to do what I love best - being hospitable and coaching.

My only dilemma with Tina's visit is that it coincided with a family wedding scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Heard County. I adore Laurel Davis and didn't want to miss her special event. So, I asked Tina if she would like to have a unique southern experience. She was game as I explained that the invitation to the farm wedding encouraged attendees to wear farm-friendly shoes.

As I have stated before, I am not cool or trendy. It takes me a long time to let go of some well-instilled beliefs about appropriate attire and what should be worn together. I wanted to wear a spring time dress to the wedding but just couldn't get comfortable with the idea of adding boots to the outfit. Fashionista Tina assured me that my dress, boots, and jacket were stylish.

When we turned off of Hwy 100 onto Davis Rd., I asked, "Have you ever been on a dirt road?" "Sure," she replied, "whenever I go mountain climbing in West Virginia. And remember, I spent six years of my childhood in India," she said with a grin.

When we got to the farm, we were welcomed by the family and waited our turn on the hay-ride, which was a first for Tina.

On the hill, an aisle for the bride was roped off with pine boughs tied together with jute and the path had been cleared of all cow-patties. As the groom Willie and the official, Brother Josh (donning over-alls) patiently waited, the bride and parents arrived on the "wedding wagon," stopping a few hundred yards from the ceremony site. There has never been a lovelier moment than when Laurel, her parents, and the flower girl (with a puppy on a leash) walked up the hill. Laurel's dress was exquisite -- hand-made of lace -- and was perfectly complemented with cowgirl boots.

When it was time for the vows, Laurel laughed and cried and touched our hearts with her words. And then Willie spoke. He explained that vows were the same thing as promises and there were some things he would promise Laurel and some things he would try to do. "I promise to always dance with you in the kitchen." "I'll try really hard to take reason, logic, and philosophy out of the conversations when you need to be a dreamer." The guests hung on to every word of these promises and tries. It was a simple and poignant ceremony, ending with the couple's best friends from Nashville, playing the guitar and tambourine and singing songs that were significant to the couple. Much to the delight of the guests, the newlyweds broke into a spontaneous dance - the first of many they will have as a married couple.

Afterwards we loaded back into the hay wagons to celebrate in the back yard of the farm-house where an old wagon was laden with buckets of boiled peanuts and pigskins. I'm convinced nothing makes better hors d'oeuvres! (And I'm convinced that I'm never going to learn how to spell that phrase!) I chuckled with appreciation as caring cousins pulled me gently aside to ask if Tina knew what the pigskins were. They were concerned that she might not partake of pork. I graciously smiled and shared that Tina was of Christian faith although steeped in Hindu philosophy.

We returned home, changed from our stylish wedding clothes to more comfortable attire and headed back to the kitchen.

After a weekend of work and play, it was time to take Tina to the airport. As we hugged good-bye, I knew that she had moved from "client" status to the family and friends list.

As she walked away, I reminded Tina the kitchen door is always open. And with a wink, I vowed that I would try really hard to be more open to fashionable attire!   

Thank you for spending time with me. I hope you were sitting in your kitchen or on your back porch enjoying a glass of sweet iced tea.shirley reading

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