Over 30 YAG I was working for a wine company which was sold out to Seagram's. Seagrams wanted me to go to work for them running the restaurant side of the USA operation which would is headquartered in the Seagrams building on Park Avenue. This place has a bar/restaurant on the ground floor - the Four Seasons which has wildly over priced booze and food - expense account only crowd. Wow what great people watching and their bar scotch was Chevas.
Seagrams brought me to NY to interview for the On Premise -restaurants- director of this important business because we had been evicting them out of major accounts left, right and center. I had spent several million dollars buying stuff for this program and their people wanted me to help them roll it out.
I love NYC - wow - so many things to do and the anonymity of the place is incredible. With a casual contact I made with some of the local employees I determined my stay would only last till I had got their on premise program rolling. After the interview with some senior managers of the company, I asked to see the human relations manager to get a better understanding of what my options were. During the conversation which he assumed I had made the decision to come to NY - I asked him what would happen if I did not come to work for them. He had to look up what the typical officer of an acquired company would get if he elected not to go to work for them. WOW was I surprised - it was several years pay, a generous retirement package - really nice now and extended healthcare coverage.
When and how can I quit. After getting the lump sum payment - extended income tax terms would not work for me cause I was classified as a sub chapter S corporation - only way to go if you have lots of income - did the gold thing a few years before and income averaging would be an expensive option.
Here I am with a pile of money and what to do. I have always liked traveling in third world countries and got the bright idea to do just that. Planned on going for 6 months but when I got out there - literally loved and kept on for 1.5 years. Kept my house - a friend moved in and her dog and she loved my cat.
Got to Tanzania - went on a safari - if you go watch out for malaria - a French girl that was on the same Bedford truck as I had died a few weeks before of cerebral malaria. I as usual had taken the necessary precautions and took a batch of choloroquin and fansidar with me. Fansidar is no longer regularly proscribed as it can cause severe vision problems. Virtually every African we came in contact with had malaria - just one or 2 fansidar tabs would clear it up.
While on safari in Tanzania, we stopped in Gibbs Farm - a coffee plantation started years earlier just outside the Nerongoro Crater. We were traveling in the dry season - you can not go in the rainey as there are few paved roads. We all took showers and then sat down for a wonderful lunch. I sat next to the head of the table because I wanted to talk to the farm manager. As you can tell verbose should be my middle name.
The table setting was superb - set in the English formal setting complete with coffee cups. It was in the mid 80's so I automatically turned my cup over to indicate no coffee. The manager said, "We wish you would try your coffee." I was one of the good characters on this safari - we had some bad ones too. I did not normally drink coffee - the stuff at work was made from concentrate and years old and truly awful - any veteran air travelers will recall those units that took a can of coffee concentrate and made truly awful rot gut coffee.
I followed my wine tasting protocol - did the swirl - a sniff and then sipped a bit with some air to energize the taste buds.
I then exclaimed, "What the hell is this?" The manager laughed and said, "That is the first time in your life you have tasted freshly roasted and ground varietal coffee."
Have been hooked ever since. Wish Gibbs Farm coffee could make it to SM.