A lot of you know me very well and if you have visited The Castle you can see how important family is to me. The walls are decorated with family photos going back to the 1700s.
I’m not sure what it is that gave me this passion and drive to become the family historian. Maybe the same things that give me the motivation to succeed in life. I know how fortunate I was to have the childhood I had, raised on a ranch and having the constant love and direction from my father Noble and my mother Virginia. They gave me invaluable lessons – the kind that you don’t learn in school. And there was always family around. Family was so important to my parents. And they treated everyone that worked for them as part of the family, too. In fact, Mom shared lunch with all of our workers every day.
I like to think that all these great Ledson and Cunningham men and women who have passed are still with me, giving me the direction and dedication that’s made me the person I am. As crazy as this might sound, I actually hear their voices in my head. Things like: “Have you really thought this through?” “Is that the way you would want to be treated?” They inspire me to question my decisions all the time, and help me tap into my intuition.
There is something about the family blood – I see it in many of my family members. Take my dear friend and cousin, Geordie Ledson – he’s an A-type Ledson. Not only is he a very successful man; he also carries the same family values as so many of us Ledson folk.
You can also see it in the faces and actions of Geordie’s two sons, Nick and Cole. They are driven and determined to succeed. Whether it’s at school, at home with the family, or on a high speed performance kart racetrack, these boys always give 110%. And especially in their kindness.
But make no mistake; they’re not going to let you stand in their way. The older boy, Nick, will probably realize his dream of being a professional Nascar driver. His brother Cole has been racing Go-Karts for four years and I believe he’ll soon win the ‘junior lite’ championship.
They are committed to success!
In today’s world, the opportunities that children get are far and few between compared to when I was a kid. I literally get goose bumps every time I read about or see a young person having been given an opportunity and really doing something with it.
That’s one of the reasons I sponsor Nick and Cole’s Ledson Motorsports racing team. It’s the same kind of motivation that inspired me to start the Ledson Harmony Foundation for Children. At some point I hope to start a mentoring program; I want to try and help more kids, give them jobs working in the vineyard, teach them the common sense stuff.
Can’t we just wind back the clock and start over, and give all of our kids the direction and support they need to be successful? As a country, I think we’re lacking in that area.