A Man of Many Passions

Dr. Reid Smith teaches me a thing or two about passion...and makes a mean pesto!

Some people, if they’re lucky, have one passion they dive into with whole-hearted, unbridled abandon. And others, who are really, really lucky, have many passions that overlap and fill in the spaces of a life like the dabs of paint in a Monet. Dr. Reid Smith—Juilliard-trained pianist, accomplished cook, avid gardener, art devotee, revered teacher, world traveler—well, you could say he definitely falls into the latter category.

And I, being the lucky gal that I am, got to experience almost all of his passions in one delightful pasta-art-music-gardening-filled fell swoop.

I emailed Dr. Smith wanting to set up an interview for a web-only piece that would highlight his stunning Dellwood garden (see the story here) that has evolved from an acre of thistles and buckthorn to an oases fit for the glossy pages of a garden magazine. I would soon learn of all of his other passions.

After we negotiated the particulars, he added:

“Also, if you wish, I will treat you to some homemade pesto right out of the garden, with a glass of Chardonnay,” he wrote. “The basil is great this year.”

Wait, what? An interview, gardening, music, art AND pasta? I was in!

The day arrived. After showing me around his lovely sun-filled home, filling me in on the stunning artwork from a local painter and pointing out the not one but three pianos he has, I sat at a stool at the kitchen counter while he prepared pasta for me in a stainless steel pot on the stove. The aroma of the fresh pesto filled the air. I asked him questions about growing up in North Carolina and how his love of music came to be (look for this story in an upcoming issue…I can’t give it all away, can I?), and he, spoon in hand, regaled me with the story of his life.

We ate. We sipped our wine. We toured the garden. We chatted. And two hours flew by. And, yep, right then and there I was reminded that my passion is learning and writing about other people’s passions.

So, here’s to passion!