Monday, May 2, 2016

How can you resist...

...reading the obit of a bona fide American aristocrat with the nickname "Frolic" and the words "horse enthusiast" and "bon vivant" in its title?

Where do you begin? How about with the first sentence (my emphasis):

In 1967, George Weymouth, a member of the du Pont family and a longtime fixture in fox-hunting, polo, steeplechase and carriage-driving circles...

It gets better:

George Alexis Weymouth was born on June 2, 1936, in Wilmington, Del., and grew up in nearby Greenville. His father, George Tyler Weymouth, was an investment banker. His mother was the former Dulcinea Ophelia Payne du Pont, known as Deo. He acquired the nickname Frolic after a family dog that died soon after he was born.

He began riding horses as a boy and went on to train and ride show horses, hunters, racers and polo ponies. After graduating from St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Mass., he entered Yale, where he led the polo team to a national championship in 1957.

National championship? How many teams were in that tournament? (Something tells me my alma mater was not among them.)

He was not, by his own admission, much of a student. “I couldn’t read and write or spell,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2007. “I still can’t. I don’t know anything but painting pictures and being on a horse.”

His life wasn't all fun and games, however:

A bon vivant and a character, Mr. Weymouth was a toff of the old school, with a global network of friends in high places, [including Andrew Wyeth, David Rockefeller and Prince Philip], whose portrait he later painted, and who over the years allowed him and his carriage the free run of the royal park in Windsor.

But here's the real kicker:

He rarely turned on a television, in part because he never mastered a remote control, or light switches, for that matter. He preferred candlelight. Computers he regarded as an abomination.

There's no mention of anything even resembling a career, and the obit closes by saying:

The Philadelphia Inquirer, in its 2007 profile, cautioned readers that Mr. Weymouth was “more than an amiable dilettante, amusing swell and flamboyant eccentric” before cataloging his conservation efforts. But Mr. Weymouth did not seem to mind the characterization.

“Yes, I love good living,” he said. “Why have a bad time? It’s such a beautiful world, and every day is my oyster. No one has had more fun out of life than I have.”

Ya gotta love the Times.

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