Today’s Bacon features a timelessly elegant Nashville couple, Steve and Carolyn Taylor, reflecting on ancestors, historic castles, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and all things good about summer!
Steve cuts a fine figure in a tuxedo and entertains the ladies sitting next to him with that most delightful of conversational skills: asking questions. It is rumored that he was a back row boy in law school and possibly had a lot of fun in college. Steve is, among other things, a partner at his law firm, an art collector, and the planner of brilliant family vacations abroad. His wife Carolyn is a front row girl, an earnest student from elementary school right on through. She practiced law for a number of years before staying home with their two daughters, a rising junior and 7th grader at Harpeth Hall. Carolyn has just wrapped up a year serving as President of the Harpeth Hall Parent Association, a year in which the school celebrated its 150th anniversary. By all reports Carolyn provided exceptional leadership with her patience and quiet grace. She will laughingly admit that it was a busy year, and she loved being part of a wonderful team effort with other parents and administrators.
From Carolyn and Steve…
What do you love about summer?
Steve: Having our girls and their friends hanging out at the pool, grilling out, and cold Red Stripe.
Carolyn: The flowers, breezy summer nights, and time to relax with my family. This summer, I also love the adorable small frogs who decided to live in my backyard fountain.
Steve: Just returned from a visit to Achnacarry, the clan homestead of my Cameron ancestors, who came across the pond from Argyllshire in 1808.
Carolyn: The Scottish highlands. I love old places and old things and the historic castles were wonderful. We also paid a visit to Dunblane and we cheered the next day when the village’s hometown boy, Andy Murray, won the men’s singles championship at Wimbledon.
What did you love about summer as a kid?
Steve: I grew up in a small town, and we were out from dawn to dusk playing tennis and golf, swimming, water skiing, and shooting hoops. It was non-stop fun all summer long. No World Wide Web, no cell phones, no cable, no worries.
Carolyn: Visiting my grandparents’ house near the New York finger lakes. They were avid gardeners and I would get lost in their backyard for hours with my cousins among the flowers, fruit trees, berry bushes, grape vines, and vegetable gardens. The willow tree was so large we pretended it was a house, and we dared each other to go inside the spooky red barn in the back corner. It was magical.
Memorable summer job as a teen?
Steve: I worked at a True Value hardware store for several summers. It was an old school operation in the best sense. I learned a tremendous amount from the owner, Ed Hank, who was a highly decorated WWII hero and a great, honorable man in every respect. It was all about going the extra mile to take care of our customers – we would drive out and install a mailbox, or deliver a bicycle we assembled, or mix a paint color to match the house. Mr. Hank’s emphasis on customer service has served me well my entire career.
Disneyworld, SeaWorld, or Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Steve: Two wands up.
Ice cream or sorbet?
Steve: Neither – gelato.
Carolyn: Ice cream! Jeni’s is the best and always worth the wait.
Sweet tea or Long Island Iced tea?
Steve: I’ve long since migrated to sweet tea.
Carolyn: Sweet tea, or even better, fruit tea. Or a cold glass of white wine outside with friends.
You’ve got a week at any beach on the planet. Where?
Steve: Jumby Bay.
Carolyn: Gray’s Beach in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. More childhood memories, but this time from my other grandparents.
Best amusement park ride or game? Or food.
Steve: I don’t find amusement parks particularly amusing, but I must confess did enjoy taking my girls (including Carolyn!) on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Carolyn: The thrill of a roller coaster, and then an ice cold Coke.
Steve: Not seeing a lot of ink in corporate boardrooms, so have to leave the Haida Thunderbird to Anthony Kiedis.
Carolyn: You know I can’t pull off wearing a tattoo.
Best summertime restaurant in Nashville?
Steve: Etch for lunch and Hattie B’s for dinner.
Carolyn: We love sitting outside at 360 Bistro on a warm summer night.
What are you reading this summer?
Steve: Jon Meacham’s Destiny and Power and assorted stock purchase agreements and insurance contracts.
Carolyn: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, and always the Sunday New York Times.
What would you recommend to a friend as summer reading?
Steve: Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and Wendell Berry’s Port William Membership novels.
Carolyn: Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger. Anyone who loves the Malcolm Gladwell books will want to read this too.