He died doing what he loved. He died last night after having celebrated his 100th birthday two months ago. Somehow I cannot imagine living so long. Especially if I had to go through life doing something I despised day after day.
Inspired by his three months of travels throughout Europe, Chuck Williams returned with a passion to bring the cookware from the kitchens of European chefs to the homes of America. With a passion and a hardware store, the world of Williams-Sonoma was born.
I cannot remember the time I first held a Williams-Sonoma catalog in my hands. It was probably sometime in my teenage years when I would peruse the colourful pages and make note of what I would like to own one day and the recipes I would like to try. Every now and again I drive to the store at The Arboretum simply to browse the beautifully stocked shelves and see which samples they have at the front counter.
Today was a day I felt a need to take the drive to the store. I needed something to get me out of the mood I was in all weekend long. A mood resulting from my trying to figure out what to do with the job situation and what I would do next in life. I stayed at home all day and simply had the need to leave the house and go somewhere for inspiration.
This time of year is my most favourite at Williams-Sonoma. Perhaps due to my favourite colour being featured. Red was everywhere. As was plaid. The mood was festive but still did not get me to a state of changing my point of view. I was still wandering about the store, passing the espresso machine I had my eye on for a while and the various bakeware of which I had many at home already.
Afterwards, I walked over to Trader Joes where I bought the bottle of wine I had intended plus a basketful of other items I did not. Lebkuchen for the children and more mini chocolate mint star cookies, cheese and green chili tamales for dinner, and chips with salsa. Once home, I put the tamales in the oven and poured myself a glass of Syrah whilst finally getting around to Skype with Mario.
That was the moment. The moment when my focus shifted. We talked about work and what we would do if we did not have to do whatever simply for the sake of paying bills. He said he would like to manage something but still would like to cook. I told him of my dream of owning a B&B or a BB&D where I could use my creativity, love of baking, travel, and photography.
We started to discuss various aspects of a menu until our natures got in the way. He held up a pen. 'I would say this is blue. You would argue with me that it is black.' Yes, this was true but I would rather have someone to argue with than live with someone who had no opinion, no spice to life. 'A spicy life' is what he calls our life. I would have it no other way.
A dream is all it is at the moment. The reality is that it takes a lot of hard work and money to get there and to keep going. But a goal and a never ending passion is what it took for Chuck Williams to start his dream. And a love of what you do is what will keep it going in the end.