The Holiday Throwdown: Why We Should All Take a Page out of Provident Jewelry’s Book

Wonderful story about the way to run a jewelry store in the 21st century!

Now that I write full time I don’t find myself in jewelry stores as often as I once did. Occasionally I will visit the shops of my friends if I’m in the cities they’re located in but unless I’ve been invited to attend an event or I’ve been hired to speak about the different topics I know about, I don’t often wander into places unless there’s a reason.

Thankfully, there were several reasons to be at Provident Jewelry in Jupiter, Florida this month.

Back during the WatchTime New York show I had a moment with MB&F’s Phil Ogle where I started picking his brain about a few different stores he works with. Provident, to me, seemed unlike many of the retailers I’d visited in the past. The company was not a family jeweler but rather a joint effort between several guys – young guys, too – and yet they seemed…

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Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Why do I write? I believe it’s because from early childhood, I heard, learned, and adored Broadway show tunes. My parents’ stories of attending performances of “Oklahoma!” and “South Pacific” enthralled me. Their records permeated our childhood, and I can still here my Dad chuckling over “Poor Jud is Dead” and “There is Nothing Like a Dame.” The lyrics were amazing bits of art: compact, character-laden evocations of a time and place.

Before I ever saw a Broadway show, I imagined it all, mostly through the words of Oscar Hammerstein, one half of the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. His words created worlds for me. Later, I would discover Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Sondheim, and many others – and Oscar would be joined in my pantheon by other great lyricists such as Lorenz, Cole, Ira, and Stephen.

But Oscar was my first teacher. When I later learned that he was also Stephen Sondheim’s teacher, and that Sondheim frequently visited Hammerstein’s farm in Bucks County, PA, I imagined the house, the setting, and how those early sessions went.

So it was a joy to discover that Hammerstein’s farm is now a bed & breakfast. My friend Marcia, who lives nearby, took me there recently, and the owner graciously took us through the house, at a lull between seasons when the rooms were unoccupied. I was able to see where Oscar wrote, where Stephen slept, and the meadow outside Oscar’s front porch that inspired his immortal line, “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow…”

What worlds he brought to me, through the power of words.

I took the photo that illustrates this blog in Sondheim’s guest room. The light, the desk and chair, the bit of bedpost. Could there be any more perfect place to be a writer?