People say the most amazing things sometimes. A lot of the time, us ordinary folk say the best things, the most encouraging things, the most enlightened things. Those wise words get spread around like rich, thick verbal butter. It’s yummy and greasy and once you get that quote on your hands, it’s difficult to wash off, so we’re better off just licking our fingers really.
Why, just the other day, my friend Mike said to me, ‘A trouble shared, is a trouble doubled’ and I thought that was absolute genius. He has been called a genius before interestingly enough, of the musical variety, but that’s another story. But back to the point, I thought I should catch up on the Friendship Book before getting down to sorting out my Quote Of The Week. The Friendship Book is one of those thought-for-a-day books, full of philosophical musings, spiritual insights and the occasional uplifting quote thrown in to make a point. Things to warm the heart on a daily basis. It never works out like that and I end up reading two or three weeks worth, all in one day. My heart is toast by the end of it.
Anyway, the first day to catch up on was 15th June or something, so I wasn’t too far back. The first words were ‘What are the ingredients that make up a man? And how are they best shown in his words and actions?’ followed by a quote from Tennessee Williams about the deceased actor Paul Newman, ‘You never really know what he’s thinking or what he might do but it always ends in kindness and fairness. A mighty recipe produced this man.’
What I found out, is that Paul Newman wasn’t just a ‘Hollywood Great’, as they used to call movie stars from the forties to the seventies. He was much more than that. We don’t seem to have ‘Hollywood Greats’ anymore and when he died, he was one of the last to go. (Hold on in there Kirk).
I was never really paid attention to Paul Newman, he was a very good actor but in a way, just seemed like just another pretty boy to me. What I learned about him is that he wasn’t like most of the other Hollywood stars, he was different. That’s what turned him from just another pretty boy actor, into a man.
‘He was a philanthropist, who had distributed more money – in relation to his own wealth – than any other American during the 20th century.’
He burned his tuxedo in his driveway and that was the last time he went to a black tie dinner event. He began making his own dressings and sauces in a washtub in his barn. He would tinker away for hours like a mad scientist, until getting the right combinations, flavour and taste, then he would bottle them up, wrap them in ribbon and give them away as Christmas presents. They were an absolute hit with the neighbours and Martha Stewart, now a famous American television personality, was actually one of them at the time. She once did a blind taste test on one of his relishes.
He called up his friend, A.E Hotcher, American playwright and novelist, and he came over and helped him with his mixes. ‘Newman’s Own‘ was born. The sauces went from the barn to the supermarket but that’s not what makes this special. I mean, it’s all very nice and interesting but it’s what he did next, it’s what Paul did next that I love. He started selling his sauces commercially and every cent of the profits went to charity. In 1988 the first Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was set up, helping 288 seriously ill children. By 2012, the camps would reach 384,700 children globally .Paul has been gone from this world now for eight years but the one hundred percent charitable donations continue. It gave me chills when I went to the website for Newman’s Own and it has a countometer thing, counting up the money made from the profits, in real time. Four hundred million dollars and counting. It goes up while you watch! Gave me shivers, but in a good way. The profits of Newman’s Own’s products go to charity , ALL OF THEM, and it made me go in search of the product and buy it. It just makes me feel all warm and gooey inside, a bit like his sauces.