In my early days in New York City, I used to walk down to Tiffany on Fifth Avenue with our first golden retriever, Rowdy. He loved to stand up on two paws and look at the windows designed by the great Gene Moore; and I’d dream about buying something special for my wife, Nan. Rowdy was the first, but since then Nan and I have had many dogs in our lives. For years, I’ve recorded them in the old-school way—with film—playing in our backyard in Miami or at our camp high in the Adirondacks. Nan’s birthday falls in August, so these days I’ll go to Tiffany sometimes to order a special gift for her. The people behind the counter have become my confidants and friends—they are always very patient in my struggle to find just the right thing. Often it is a piece of jewelry by Elsa Peretti, whose designs Nan loves. I’ve always wished that Elsa made a silver box that I could have personally engraved. But since she didn’t, I occasionally find myself in the silver department with lots of brides-to-be and their mothers.
“When I removed that pale blue Tiffany material protecting the box, I knew I was home free.”
That’s how I came to know the wonderful engraver Elwood “Woody” Werner. He’s a very dapper gentleman who looks like a movie star from the 1940s and has exquisite taste. The first box I had engraved for Nan was based on a photograph I took of our dogs sitting in my 1957 Chevy during a freak August snowstorm at our ranch in Montana. When I removed that pale blue Tiffany material protecting the box, I knew I was home free—Nan couldn’t help but fall in love with it. The kindness of the people at Tiffany and Woody’s artistry had helped me create the perfect gift. Through the years, I’ve given Nan many boxes that celebrate our wonderful life together with our beloved dogs. I don’t look like the typical Tiffany customer—I’m usually dressed in clothes that can get ruined when I’m working on location. But from the very first time I walked into the store years ago, everyone has always said, “Welcome.”