Jeff’s Future Is So Bright He Has To Wear Shades

Guy with SunglassesTo complete the paperwork for the donation, I needed the van’s title. Donna said it was in her desk drawer. I fumbled around then pulled open the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet and saw something I hadn’t seen in three years – a stack of dusty travel magazines and guide books staring at me. Once again, I thought about how close we came to giving everything up and going to Europe. It made me shudder.

Just weeks after Donna proposed her trip idea a job fell into my lap. The studio manager position at the cable company opened up. I’d learned enough about video production to get hired and the salary would keep us afloat until the Real Estate market picked up again and I could resume my appraisal business.

Not long after getting that job, another miracle happened. While making one of my follow up calls to the PBS station, I got through to the program director. He and Mr. Lewis had been considering adding my show to their schedule. He asked if I could deliver thirteen broadcast quality tapes by the first of January. I nearly dropped the phone. My answer was a big YES even though I knew I’d have to spend every waking hour over the following weeks producing these shows. Thank God I’d taken the job at the studio because now I had control of scheduling. We spent the holiday season frantically shooting and editing thirteen shows. It was stressful, yet I was more excited than I’d been in my life.

Donna was supportive of this new venture. She turned out to be a natural director and the quality of the show really improved with her at the helm (it was in her blood, did I mention her grandfather was a studio camera man?). It was no longer my show, but our show.  Her Europe plan didn’t pan out, but I felt as though I’d redeemed myself financially. Even better – hosting a TV cooking show in southern California provided a lifestyle that was suddenly so exciting. The show itself wasn’t earning money yet, but the fringe benefits were plenty. Chefs were inviting us to their restaurants and treating Donna and me like royalty. Wineries, breweries, and food producers gave us private tours of their facilities and samples galore. I was judging food contests and hosting events. Our life was a blast. Who needed Europe?

NEXT: Whole Lotta Ham

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