On this day, millions of volunteers around the world will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others. In honor of Make a Difference Day, today’s Tête-à-tête Thursday guest is Natalie Cunningham, former Volunteer Coordinator and current Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for The Lexington Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization that works to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of hurting people in the greater Lexington Area.
Born and raised in Versailles, KY Natalie received her BA in Public Relations & Non-Profit Leadership at Murray State before making her home in downtown Lexington. She dreams of one day owning a boarding house in Morocco where patrons can play music for their meals, make art for their lodging, and enjoy some homegrown hospitality. She also happens to be one of my favorite lake guests.
The Bourbonista: Tell me about yourself in 50 words or less. At least one word must begin with the letter “X” and none can begin with the letter “S.”
Natalie: Life is a banquet table and we are here to fill it. I’ve been accused in the past of having xenophilia, but I can’t help my love for the exotic. I love to feed people, to experiment in the kitchen, and enjoy the fullness of life a full house brings.
The Bourbonista: I can vouch for your kitchen skills. When you visited the boat, those scotch eggs you made for breakfast were fantabulous…and, coming from me, that’s saying something considering they didn’t actually have any scotch in them. So, if you were a circus performer, what would you be and why?
Natalie: Trapeze artist, no question. I occasionally get made fun of for being such a girl, but I am in love with beauty. To wow an audience with grace and skill, while bringing something beautiful into the world, would be an amazing gift. Not to mention the incredible body I’d have to have to pull it all off.
She flies through the air with the greatest of ease.
The girl with hair on the flying trapeze
Seriously, you and that do flying through the air would be a spectacular. So, what would you do if you won the lottery?
Natalie: I would become a benevolent overlord of some small town, or a neighborhood in a larger city. I’m not talking about just owning all of the land, I mean complete take over. Buy up every piece of land, business and building, rename it the Elizabethan Quarter (a la my middle name) and declare myself Lord of the land. All who enter must have a code or pay a toll.
Or I’d be realistic pay off debt, buy my mother the log cabin she always wanted and go into hiding for the next 15 years so people could have time to forget I ever won.
The Bourbonista: I’m kind of digging this Elizabethan Quarter idea. I’m seeing Shakespeare’s England meets New Orleans during Mardi Gras—codpieces, blues bars, jousting, and frozen daiquiri machines on every corner. Now, let's get serious, if you were on death row…don’t act like you don’t know who you killed to get there…what would be your last supper?
Natalie: Oh no, the world is full of delicious foods. I think I’d kill myself early instead of deciding. If that’s not an option I would have home food: Soup beans, corn bread, fried pork shops, followed by a trip to Shoney’s salad bar, and some delicious rare delicacy I’d never tried before, just so I could go out with something new on my tongue.
The Bourbonista: I’m not an incarceration expert or anything, but I don’t think they’ll let you leave death row to go to Shoney’s. As far as that last rare delicacy—I found an article for you on “20 Strange Foods to Try Before You Die.” I personally would go for the Cambodian Fried Spiders. Now, if you were to write a short “Thank You” letter to your future self for all the cool shit you’ve done twenty years from now, what would it say?
Thanks for never wasting money or time on things like cable television. Thank you for taking those big leaps: couch surfing, traveling to the furthest reaches of the world, gathering the coolest stories and then for fostering those kids. You have given and received more love than you ever thought you could. Now keep bringing beauty into this world!
The Bourbonista: Would you consider fostering an aging party girl? I’m going to need someone to watch over me when I get elder and keep me from ending up going viral on YouTube dancing on a bar at ninety in nothing but a pith helmet. If you were a booze, which booze would you be and who would you want to drink you?
Natalie: I couldn’t imagine being anything but smooth bourbon, to wet the whistle of a weary traveler missing home.