Yesterday Oprah got to interview Ralph Lauren because shes Oprah.
I'm kinda dorky about these kind of "exclusive" interviews with people that don't give many appearances. I had my notebook and my ball point pen ready, (please refer to the first part of the previous sentence, "kinda dorky"). Being an older, successful gentlemen that made a business out of nothing, with no proper "design education" I knew this interview would be good and would have some "gold nuggets" so to speak. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed. The interview took place at their 17,000 acre ranch/family compound!! Wowzer! And his lovely Jeep the color of a robins egg!! OH, be still my vintage lovin' heart!!
I was struck by so much of what took place over the next hour. I liked the way he spoke about the "hope and excitement of a child" when looking at the details of design. Living life through the eyes of a child where all is fresh, new and alive! "I'm not about fashion, I'm about living." When asked what he was most proud of, he said his wife and children and "that I've done it honorably and with integrity" (speaking of his business). And isn't that the basic desire of so many humans, rich or poor? To say our children have "turned out" and that we've lived life with integrity, (to the best of our ability). No easy task to say the least.
He and Ricky have been married for 46 years, (CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN AND AGAIN)!! Oprah asked them what it takes to keep something like this? "Be a good friend" said Ricky. We are each others best friend and "we see the world as a team.""We had nothing when we started and we worked hard and we had values." By the way, he hardly has any clothes! So he says. He likes to keep the same thing and wear it again and again, making it truly vintage and truly worn, truly "his own." I don't have much closet space because my wife has it all!! This sounds like most marriages I know!
Their kids were at the ranch too and joined their parents at the end of the show. The bond they had AS A FAMILY was so obvious you could just about feel it. The closeness, ease and comfort they had together. Yes, we only watched for 30 minutes, but you can't fake that kind of thing, that kind of love. "My parents were always home" their one child said in response to the question about their family ties. "We shared a room until college" said the one son. "WE SHARED LIFE AND LIVED CLOSE!" Can you imagine the mansion they lived in? And they shared a room? I LOVE that!! And they don't get their clothing for free either!! "It's a public company, they get a discount, but not for free" Ralph said. I LOVE that too. Let us remember that this is a picture of them all dolled up, (although very good looking people), they don't look like this everyday and they are MORE then what you're seeing.We all are.
When asked about some memories they have of their parents, we watched them "just loving life". "It's never one memory, it's the life we live together. Mom chronicled our life in pictures, notes and words so we know her perspective of us." They started speaking of Dylan's soon approaching wedding day and the dress that, of course, her Dad will be making. With tears in his eyes and a quiver in his chin, "this is the most important dress I'll ever make." "I'm not giving her away, we're taking him!" said her Mother.
And so the interview ended, the camera panning away from an old window pane through which we watched them eating their dinner together, around an old barn board table. Together.It doesn't much matter if you have what Americans perceive as the "perfect" family. It matters that you CARE, truly care about those that are placed in your family. Those sitting in the chairs around YOUR kitchen table. And for all of us, all around this world, that looks differently, comes in different shapes and sizes and colors.
For some, it's just you and your husband, newlyweds living in a second story apartment, with barely enough cabinet space for all your wedding presents! For others it's just you and the children around the table, no Daddy in the picture. Or, like ours, it's a table full of "sit down", "eat right", "what was your favorite thing of today?". Or it may be all quiet, hearing only the tick-tick-ticking of your fifty-two year old clock. Whatever it looks like, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU, it's the life you create for yourself, the attitude you have toward "your place in this world", (a shout-out to my favorite song from 8th grade and my first ever cassette tape, Mr. Michael W. Smith)....that's what I learned on my rainy afternoon with Mr. Ralph Lauren. You can't take it with you, so you better love it while you have it.
"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!"