Leading the cavalry charge
by Marguerite Cline, columnist
April 11, 2014 12:36 AM | 1592 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack Cashin is one of the most interesting people I have ever known. His and his family’s motto is “life should be lived like a cavalry charge.”

The children of Jack and his wife, Helen, each received a reminder of this as a wedding gift from their parents — a cavalry sword.

Jack Cashin has done exactly that. His endeavors included publishing a magazine, “DARE,” modeling, marketing, acting in industrial training films, operating restaurants and notable success in real estate investments. A Libertarian, he ran for offices including governor and state agriculture commissioner. Additionally, he and Helen have traveled the world.

His love of Latin is just one clue of his having a classical education. Born on Long Island, N.Y., and graduating from Colgate University with other studies in Lima, Peru, he is well read, has an impressive vocabulary and has all the qualities of a gentleman.

Jack and Helen met when he was working as a lifeguard in Florida. Before he came south for a summer job, his fraternity brothers gave him a list of area girls to call. Helen was on the list. She was working as an airline stewardess and was, as Jack describes her, “drop dead gorgeous.”

Like most things in their lives, their wedding was eventful. A huge snowstorm resulted in 54 people being stranded overnight. All night, they would knock on the door to the newlyweds’ room and make interesting comments.

Jack Cashin loves his family and the simple things of family life. A favorite memory is when the children were small and the family would line up like ducks and walk to church together. Now, some of the children and grandchildren live in houses on Chukkar Farm.

Life has had ups and downs for him. The Cashin family lived in a mansion in Cleveland, Ohio, before coming to Atlanta. They took in boarders. At times there were more than 20 people living in the huge house.

While Jack quotes Horace Greeley’s famous, “Go West, young man,” he came south and arrived in Atlanta with $28 in his pocket. Everything changed after he got a job in marketing and then opened the Cashins’ chain of restaurants.

While he says his badge of honor is being fired from every job he has had, it is obvious that his tremendous successes came from his own creations.

Seeing how tall and handsome he is and pictures of his beautiful wife, Helen, it is not surprising to learn they were fashion models. On the Mike Douglas Show, they modeled matching fur coats. After the host said he would not want to wear a fur coat that matched his wife’s, Jack agreed with him on the show. The furrier was not happy and Jack was quickly unemployed.

Jack is an innovator. Once his ideas become realities, he turns the workings of them over to someone else and moves forward with another.

Now billed as the oldest polo player in the world, Jack brought the game to his beautiful estate in Cherokee County. He explains that a chukkar is a period of play in a polo match.

Jack insists on the proper care of animals. Only when they are hurt or sick are horses at Chukkar Farm stabled. He explains that keeping healthy horses in a stable is the equivalent of putting them in jail.

You may remember Cashin’s, his chain of restaurants in Atlanta. Even the menu reflected Jack’s beliefs and personality. No processed foods were served.

A statement on the menu at another of his restaurants said no tuna would be served since tuna fishermen murder dolphins. Greenpeace presented him with a plaque of appreciation.

Jack Cashin knew nothing about polo. He just wanted to try it. The horse he bought knew less about polo than he did so they learned together.

His love of polo grew into another of his successes. Sunday afternoon polo games at Chukkar Farm have raised more than $7 million for charities. Everyone is welcome to attend with a fee for parking.

But it is not just playing polo and his animals Jack Cashin loves. Protective of his property, he loves the natural beauty of the hills, the pastures and a lake. The animals love him, too. While he was giving me a tour of Chukkar, a horse came up to the truck window and put its nose inside.

Most recently, he has published “A Gift of Wit, Wisdom, and Modern Folklore.” In it he has compiled his favorites. You can get it at Yawn’s Books in Canton.

Although he is nearing 90, his zest for living is still strong. He always has another project in mind.

After all, Jack Cashin lives his life like a cavalry charge.

Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.
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