What the fuck?! I swear my face just puckered Palate just quit And brain just atrophied reading this nonsense.
Shame On You...
Oh and I wonder what the belly hole guy is dipping that cheese stick in a little more than I wonder what any of these "professionals" would pair with it. Can't you just see it now, "What To Pair With Toe Jam & Other Bodily, Um, Sauces" Whimper..... You all let me know when it's safe to come back.
I’ve worn your scent all day Could smell you with each shift of my shoulders… My arms Every move I made had you shimmying back to the front of my mind Your scent Now all over me…
Each tiny bit of you that slithered beneath my skin Made my flesh go bumpy and gave me that “Damn I remember you” shiver The one that makes my breath leave my chest whispering raspy memories on its way out Your scent Now all over me Again….
So many years apart A lifetime really since I smelled you last One touch One moment close enough to take you in Feel you and relive your touch, your body, the way mine reacts…. To you…
Here you are again My body once again drenched in your aromas Images of our history dropping before me like snapshots being tossed on a table Exploration Fumbling Finding a rhythm…our rhythm Discovering what I like, what I want and what I need more of…
Remembering the beginning How it all started How I started Part of me was brought to life Awakened Sculpted into this woman I am now Because of you….
Wet mouths Nervous hands The way my whole body would quake My tummy jumping My thighs shaking…. My young hands pushing you away Your earthy and ready aroma pulling me back….
as hell the connection between my life, my body, my desire, my
strength, my want and how something as primal and basic as scent can
evoke memories so vivid that I can actually be transported right back to
that moment when I first touched, tasted and felt.
Nowhere in my life
is this been more prevalent and powerful than with the very thing I chose, or more likely, was chosen to do, this here crazy world of wine. I find myself often not quite fitting in. I read posts and notes, those goofy Delectable entries rattling off what's in the wine, the "blackberry bramble" and "apple blossom" and my eyes begin to float, my heart and desire however, they just sink. Well right after my face scrunches up and I mutter, "What the fuck is bramble?!" I don't taste without feeling, can't write without feeling either. My grammar may suck and and my spelling is even worse, people will, and have, told me over and over again how I won't be taken seriously because of that. As I sit here after reading a passion filled email from a stranger in Italy, one that has spent the past few days reading through my nearly 800 posts, a man that now feels like we've met...almost 800 times and is sending me wine from his family's vineyard. His story for me to taste through the first harvest he oversaw as well as the wines from his father and his father's father, and I am reminded once again, much like life, love, listening, touching, being touched and making love....there is no one right way to do anything, especially writing about something as personal and subjective as wine.
To the French wines that first slipped beneath my skin, made me purr, bend my frame, crave and leak desire, thank you. To the handful of you that come here to jump over my typos and grammatical errors to sink your teeth into me and the wines that move me, I thank you. I miss you when I'm away too long....and most of all, I need you. You feed me and keep me hungry. To open my heart, my laptop and my mouth for more.
“If you can overcome the fear, you have nothing to
worry about. It's a matter of wanting to do it, and believing that you
can...and taking the risk.”- My Dear Friend Thomas Nearly A Year Ago...
Thomas’ words swam around in my head as I drove home
from work tonight. His staunch support, mild irritation with my reluctance and
gruff exterior covered bits of hope, all swishing about between my ears as I
signaled the direction of my course to the sea of cars behind me, one left and
right turn at a time. My route home so worn into my subconscious that I often
make it to my front stoop without one shred or flicker of a bump in the road, face
in a car parallel to mine, a missed or made light. Point A to point B taken so
many times that my mind checks out to wander into all sorts of cavernous
possibilities while my autopilot knows to slow down while making that sharp
right and recognizes that there is a four minute window right before that light
turns green for the folks waiting to make a left and we can “just make it”.
Not nearly as hot tonight as it has been but when I
arrived home the big fan was still on the stoop, screen door open and resting
upon the back of it in an effort to bring more of the cooler air from the out
to our in. Did the whole obstacle course climb trying to shimmy my bloated bits
past the doorway hogging fan with my backpack and box of The Wine Country
acquisitions, (wine, cheeses, canned tomatoes and the tiny jars of Spanish
almonds cooked in olive oil, the ones with just enough salt to convince me, at
well past midnight most often, that I need one more glass of wine to wash them
down. Always sexier those, “Come on, you know you want to” voices when the
world outside is still and you are bumping around in your home, lonely and
seeking) past the screen and whooshing fan. Dumped my box on the counter, spun
around in one flourishy ballet like move that admittedly ended up looking more
like a linebacker squat as I flung my backpack in its spot at the dining room
table. Wasn’t in my kitchen more than forty seconds before I felt my chest
expand, the heat from the 450 degree oven stifling and suffocating, my shoulders
given to a deep shiver as tiny soapy scented beads of sweat began to collect
and puddle around the loose fitting material around my waist.
Much like my drive home my head was busy working on
my inner puzzles as my body just moved
about and reacted. Opened the box of stuff I brought home, put the wine in the
fridge, stocked the pantry staples and began to unwrap the cheese that needed
to be scraped, (fucking hate plastic wrap and how it imparts itself on the
flavor of cheese. Crazy sensitive to that so all my cheeses get a good shaving
before being wrapped in Cheese Paper and stashed away in the fridge) before I
grated it for the Cacio e Pepe, Cheese
and Pepper Pasta that was on the menu for the evening. A plume of salty
sheep’s milk cheese aroma bounced off the grater, the starchy smell of
spaghetti getting just fork tender in its bath of bubbling hot water, the
splash of fresh lemon juice across the top of now crispy skinned chicken thighs
that were baking in the oven. My kitchen, my food, the way I do it…empowering.
An exhale so deep that I swear it came from the
balls of my feet as I slipped out from the sweat inducing furnace that was my
kitchen, fan peppering my lower back with cool, sweet kisses as I tugged at my
work top and began to wriggle out of my jeans while walking down the hall to my
bedroom. There I would pour my wet noodled self into dark grey sweat pants and
one of those shamefully thin white shirts that stretch and cling to my frame in
that way that would make me blush if it didn’t make me feel so goddamn sexy. My
outfit for the night telling the story of my life, frumpy, wrinkled bits but
mixed with plump, craveable curves, slippery skin, and vulnerability combined
with a mouth, soul and mind that ache to be fondled and engaged. Walking past
the mirror in my bedroom I found myself in absolute wonder about any man, any
one for that matter, that would be curious about me…pulled that thin white
material tight across my breasts, watched as my ribcage expanded and nipples amplified,
sank my top teeth deep into my bottom lip as I felt the very powerful, and
terrifying reality of being looked at and the possibility of being wanted. Sticky…I
felt smugly and humiliatingly sticky. Quickly
pulled the gauzy material away from my flesh, smoothed out my hair, caught my
breath and headed back to the kitchen to finish dinner.
“Another pool party Sam?” my mother annoyed that my
third ever birthday party, (and let me just point out I was like 10 at the
time) was once again going to be spent outside by the pool. I was in the 5th
grade, I had more friends than I’d ever had before, (probably like 8…woo hoo!)
and my birthday was in June for fucks sake. If there was one thing worth
enduring the rather horrific and humiliating existence that was living in that
sullen and sadness swollen house, it was that pool. I’d snuck out to find peace
and silence there, probably hundreds of times, feeling safe while floating
weightless or blowing all the air from my chest and sinking to the dark and
soundless bottom of that sloshy retreat while the cruelty and unrestricted
abuse continued inside. I felt safe there and that was the only place I wanted
my friends to be. In some weird way I thought they would be safe there too.
Pool party it was, and for one of the few times in her life my mother was able
to give me what I asked for, another reason to feel good about my request, no
matter how much she protested.
Pool parties brought with them a number of assorted
games but there were none as thrilling to me as when my mother would throw handfuls
of quarters into the water. The “Plonk” sound they made as they broke the
surface, their slow, swishy decent and the slightly metallic thud they made as
they settled on the bottom. I would stand at the edge, toes gripping the cement
so assertively that I’d surely walk away with blisters, chlorine damaged red
eyes desperately trying to focus as my mother blew a whistle and pointed to
everyone but me to dive deep and claim their monetary prizes. My browned from
the sun arms would be folded into a pouty square in front of me as each and
every one of my friends was invited to scoop up the silvery treasure at the
bottom of the pool, the one I was not allowed to go after until everyone else
gave up. I had just one ace in my bathing suited pocket, that deep end was
anything but scary to me, it was a treasure of a different kind, one I craved
more than almost anything. I’d watch my young comrades’ jump goofily into the
water. Eyeball them as they plugged their noses and flapped their tiny legs
trying to plunge themselves as far as they could into the deep end. Sat all
pudgy but shark like as each one of them drew their soaked and tired frames
from the kidney shaped pool, hands empty as they jumped on one leg to try and
knock the water from their ears. I’d just sit and wait for that final
whistle…hands held in a diamond shape, arms extended, toes pushing off the side
and body curved into a loose U as I rushed to the bottom to claim the ungrabbed
“If you can overcome the fear, you have nothing to
worry about. It's a matter of wanting to do it, and believing that you
can...and taking the risk.” Thomas’ words once again floating amid the 500
hundred other voices bumping around inside my noggin. His voice just a little
louder as it flicked at my stubbornness and fear.
Tucked the sweating bottle of San Lorenzo Il
Casolare Verdicchio that was left over from dinner under my arm, slipped my key
ring around my thumb and headed out to indulge in silky,
still-warm-from-the-sun pool water and the very grownup treasure of glugging
down crisp white wines, ones so unique and indelible that their stamp or
imprint have become so woven into my memory they have begun to overwrite some
of the ugly that used to plague me. The second my toes broke the glasslike
surface of the still pool I knew my feet would not be the last of my bits to be….wrapped
and caressed by slowly moving bands of sumptuous water.
the weight of my sweat pants as they drank in
the cool liquid, shivered a touch as the thin material of my shirt
itself around my flesh like a wetsuit. Let the muscles in my thighs flex
pull, push and propel me through the water, my shirt billowing and
like a jellyfish while my body slithered about just above the bottom of
Nearly all the voices and dramas in my melon silenced by the utterly
captivating sound of water lapping and trickling, breaking, dripping and
falling off my skin. I pulled my thick calves through the water in our
tonight. I let myself move about in viscous liquid, a feeling so sultry
I can only compare it to the way it feels when you run the tip of your
along the insides of your mouth….better yet, someone else’s mouth. There
other feeling like that on the planet for me, the submission of my body
water. Tonight it made me feel strong, powerful, cold, erect, saturated,
liberated, shy but flirtatious, erogenous and less afraid and once I
myself out of the water, the material clinging to my flesh and bones,
of pool water dripping down the sides of my wine glass as I drank
deeply......... standing there, in my wet street clothes gulping
Verdicchio and not giving a
shit what anyone thought about it, empowered.
I used to practice diving into the deep, cold, water
in the blackness of night. Sucked my breath in hard as the ripple of my
presence skipped from my little corner of the silent pool to the expansive deep
end and splashed against the curved edge of cement that stood between those
loud and angry voices inside and me. Bobbed around in the relative quiet, water
lapping around my neck and sucking at my ears. Fear and running from the inside
used to send me there but my legs stopped shaking once I settled in, felt the
caress of water as it pushed me to spend those fearful hours, not afraid but
making myself stronger. A stronger swimmer, a better diver, more capable of
grabbing those thin treasure coins from the bottom of the pool, fingers shriveled
like golden raisins and all. The fear of those people lurking inside a hard
slap to my backside that as fucked up as it might seem now, inspired me to push
myself harder. Strive to give just a little more, notice every little beautiful
and terrifying thing…feel each and every second of my life. For the most part,
I’ve been able to do that, just turns out that every once in a while I need to
drink deeply from my glass, give myself over to absolute pleasure, splash about
in silky wetness, look at my body with the eyes of someone that craves me, not
give a shit who might be watching and yes, sometimes I need a firm slap on the ass to
get me going.
I stopped at the light. My head resting back on the
seat, fine hairs lifting and separating, landing upon my gin soaked lips,
dancing across my collarbone and lapping at the tip of my nose. A long day at
its end, dinner consumed, out, and with the lube of not one but two martinis.
The long light giving me pause to try and tuck the wildly flipping stands of
white blonde behind my ear and plunge my pudgy paw into the center console in
an effort to retrieve my increasingly disoriented radio remote. Lady Gaga,
flip, some Irish sounding “rock” band, flip, the shallow and tinny sound of
studio produced music taking less than a few seconds to turn me off and inspire
my wandering thumb to scroll up and down.
“Layla, you got me on my knees” the soulful plucking
of guitar strings in place of electric screeching and intensity, the groan of
the taught wire palpable as the thick-skinned fingers pressed them hard against
the vibrating frame of the curvy instrument. “Begging darling please, Layla” and
older, calmer, more longing Eric Clapton’s voice a mix of want, remembrance and
wisdom as his long ago ache spilled out into the warm caverns of my 2007 red
Camry…before I knew it I’d slipped my fingers around the tight little top button
of my uniform shirt and in one fail swoop, set a tiny bit of my work day flesh
free. Clapton’s voice groaned with the kind of desire I am especially accustom
to, that knowing what you want but not being allowed to have it thing. Hair
being restrained, the grumble of a long and trying work day, in the form of a
stiff spine, slightly softened by icy cold chunks of shaken gin served in a
high and tight triangle glass, sitting across from the face of a man that
adores me and the skin tingling purr of relatable music wistfully spinning about
me on my ride home.
A very deep growl simmered inside me. Started right
around my weary ankles and slowly began to creep up the fleshy bits on the back
of my thighs. I felt the day being lifted from my skin with each rumble much in
the same way I used to lift the comic images from the Sunday comics with Silly
Putty. Everything still there and visible, just flipped in front of me rather
than sitting weighty on my chest. That growl slipped from between my lips in a
way that might have embarrassed me…if I hadn’t been distracted by, “scrape,
pop, hum” the sound of little rubber wheels skipping across the sidewalk.
That particular sound, the dragging of firm rubber
across concrete a sound so familiar to me it could be my middle name. The
secret language of skaters, be they roller or board. I spent nearly every
summer with my feet laced onto wheels, my increasingly rounding body sailing
down every hill I could find…often with my heart resting at the very top of my
throat and beating so loudly, and before we were all plugged into nerve
rattling music, it became my soundtrack. Scraping, the sound of warm air whizzing
past my ears and pulling my skin and hairline tight, the thump-thump-thump of a
heart that didn’t know, or care, how or when we were going to stop. The way
those extra hours of sun were spent until I could slip my chunky frame into the
barely lit and sloshy cool pool…the rolling, scrapping and sloshing my best
friends way back then, ones I miss now when I hear them call….
“Scrape, pop, hum” like a crooked finger rested upon
my jaw pulling my head to the left. I felt my heart start beating more ardently;
very much in the same way I felt when I would fly down a hill, wheels ablaze
beneath me, tiny pebbles and bits of tossed aside life being rolled over as I
heard my mother’s voice calling me to dinner. I knew it was time to go, end the
freedom and exhilaration, hard rubber wheels that just seconds before brought be
absolute liberation now ushering me back to the house I ached to be let free
from. I saw the newish sneakers, the crushed black material, thick laces and
well-worn soles, one foot rested firmly on the thin slab of a board and the other
dragging and pushing the frame of an aching to sail soul down the broken
buckling sidewalk. I was at first mesmerized by the calling of, well of that
middle name thing but I was quickly jarred back into my reality when I saw that
the “Young man” fleeing and exercising his summer was my age, older than my age
actually, probably had ten years on me and here he was, jeans, skater sneaks,
sailing, rolling over broken bits and letting his heart thump away a soundtrack
of long ago.
Might have been the gin, might have been that damn
soundtrack but I found myself speeding ahead, pulling along the right side of
the road, hitting that hazard button jobbie on my dash and climbing out of my
car. Resting my thick rear end against one of those weathered fences watching the
salt and pepper hair float in the wind as that grown ass man let his inner him
coast. His thin frame evidence of his good behavior, the speed with which his
sneaker clad foot raked and pulled at the concrete evidence of his rebellion and
ache, “got me on my knees Layla” still pumping through my speakers adding to
the “pop, scrape” and “hum” the beauty of the realness so powerful it nearly
brought a tear to my weary and not-as-cynical-as-I’d-like-to-think eye. Ended
up crossing four lanes of pre-freeway traffic just to sit closer and smell the
sensual aromatic of clean but freshly sweating skin, feel the pulse of not
giving a fuck, for a second, and be reminded that no matter how old we are we still
ache for, and crave that heart thumping.
His name and scent now part of my heart pounding. My
fearless stopping of his ride to tell him how much watching, feeling, hearing, smelling
and comprehending his feelings meant to me, adding to his heart-pounding and making
us both bits of left behind road to smile about as we rode over them on our way
back to the voices that called us for dinner.
Wheels not so much needing of
reinventing, just maybe craving some fresh air and heart pounding.
“The boys, they are um…looking a little rough” me
tattling, sort of, when Aline finally made it down to the belly of the hotel where
I had been waiting for 35 minutes. Josh had been the next to arrive, big blue
eyes swimming, or floating on leftover whiskey shots and finally Jim made his
way down, out of breath and with a look that assured me that my lost night,
well it had partners. I sipped away on my second double espresso, the dark and
bitter elixir like punishing spikes clipping down my throat as Aline tucked her
wild and wavy hair behind her ears and headed outside to gauge the situation by
chatting with the struggling gentlemen. Her nearly lyrical lilt splitting the
sliding doors, “Bonjour!” her rallying call, “What the hell happened?” the hysterical
grumble from Team Booze Sweats as they paced and took nerve settling draws from
smoldering tubes of nicotine.
Once our somewhat unruly bunch crammed our bags back
in the car and were on the road to wherever our lovely French guide would lead
us, we found that any sort of embarrassment was overruled by gut-splitting
laughter and finger pointing as we retold and ribbed each other for the little
bits of recollection that floated through the tight cabin on tufts of air
scented with leftovers, dark brew and a comfort unlike any I’d ever known on
one of these trips so early. I let my tense shoulders rest against the
backseat, my legs stretching a bit longer and looser, the vibration of giggles
and joke-slinging like strong fingers rubbing the anxious knots, massaging my throat
and making my voice and laugh just that much louder. I sat there, my ass
rumbling as the tires spun us to our next destination, knowing that this trip
was to be one full of personalities and honesty. The four of us, the sights,
the food and the wines we were to encounter, they were selected by this one
bright-eyed and stylish French woman that had the insight, and sense of
adventure, to not only select the wines that drew us all in, but to bring us
there, together, to see why and share our story with the people that would
eventually take home the bottles, set them on their table and add another
night, laugh, memory to that label and the family that made it so. I let my
fingers trace the buttons on the car door as I listened to the churning of anticipation
We spent the next few hours tasting with a
cooperative, sampling some value driven reds, whites and roses all the while swallowing
mouthfuls of refreshing liquid as well as crunchy bits of local bread that had
been slathered with fatty bits of pork and seasoning. Restorative in the form
of nourishment, and getting us back on the path of seeking wines for the folks
back home. The Terrebrune Anjou Rouge and its luscious and friendly fruit
sprinkled with black pepper, the Rose from the same producer, that zipped across our fatigued and waiting
palates, giving life and incentive to keep plugging along if for no other
reason than for, one, more, sip. A Muscadet from Garniere that reminded me to
sit up as its sexy little acidic claws drug down the sides of my palate, made
my tummy flip with oyster cravings and had me smacking my wanting lips for
more. Wines that we all unfalteringly agreed we needed to share with our folks
back home, and we could offer for wicked cheap come late summer when the only
thing we all crave is simple, juicy, fresh tasting wines that don’t challenge us
as much as give. Gots me some stacks a-coming people.
On the bumpy road to our next stop I thought about
how many and how varied the voices are in our little world of wine. Big and
powerful, bone shaking wines like those of Pithon-Paille, the simple and easy,
less demanding and lip parting gems that can be found when a bunch of hard
working farmers get together, as a collective, and produce simple table wines
that won’t change anyone’s life but can, and do, most definitely make a
contribution. How each of us hears, smells, feels and tastes something in each
offering. I sat quietly that evening, my teeth sinking into another couple
platters of preserved pork, gorgeously sinewy pillows of warm bread dispersed
between firm stalks of crunchy green lettuces doused with sharp vinegar and
mouth coating oil. The wines not so much speaking to me but the retailer in me could
pick up on the angle the hipster wine maker was throwing out. I could sense
there was a place for the wild and somewhat unwashed wines I was tasting but
not sure our little corner of the wine world was ready…or moreover, wanting for
that kind of challenge. Fuck, I’ve been doing this a long damn time and even
lit up and full of adventure I was having a hard time swallowing. Cool for two
sips, weird and redolent with hinny hole the rest of the bottle? I was wide
open and listened as my LA counterpart (totally flattering myself, he is way
fancy in the pants area) made a case for those wonky stinkers but I stood firm….those
car ride laughter massages reminding me that I too had a voice worth hearing.
Took a pass. I’m sure there is some wine bar in San Francisco that is calling
me an idiot, that’s okay, I know there are a bunch of my people that are
grateful that their next glass of sparkling wine from the Loire won’t wreak of
body odor and horse poop. You are most welcome…(insert curtsey here)
Been one hell of an emotional couple weeks for me. Started last Sunday with me opening a Word document, the contents of which would set in motion a roller coaster of feeling that I have been strapped into and riding ever since. I sat at The Wine Country an hour before closing flipping the pages, the ones I printed out so I could focus on them rather than read them on the screen of the store computer. The pages containing a summarized history of the father I never knew. Much like I responded to the Uncle’s email I took if far lighter than the situation may have called for. Just hit print, even stapled the pages and began reading as if I were not at all attached to the story that I was reading. Got up to help customers on the floor, rang people up, answered the phone then went back to the pages like I were returning to some novel I had flipped face down, spine spread on my desk.
Wasn’t until meeting my husband at our Sunday dinner spot, Tracy’s Bar & Grill that the story began to seep in. I sat there watching him turn the pages, his face intent, eyebrows raising now and then, felling much like I were across from him, fingers slipping between the buttons of my top, fists gathering clumps of my shirt as I ripped the material leaving myself completely exposed. He slid the stapled sheets back in my direction while searching my face for some direction. My husband is the sweetest most patient man I know, I mean c’mon he’s married to this raving case, he has to be but, well heavy emotion and deep conversation kind of freak him out. I know this, respect this and truth be told I’m not much of a “Lets’ talk about our feelings” kinda chick so we work exceptionally well in that respect and yet….here I sat, the words I had read just an hour before becoming more real as his big brown eyes left the page and fell upon me.
I leapt into full rattle. Just jumped into the retelling of revelations and very faint memories, somewhat manic I suppose but I was sitting there so naked and feeling the twisted anguish of someone that loves me not knowing what to say to me. It was perfect for a moment, I was able to think not about what I was feeling and instead turn my attention to soothing him, reassuring him that I was fine….that was until one of those freakish coincidences slaps you in the face and leaves you wondering just who the hell is trying to reach you.
“Oh little Jeannie, you’ve got so much love” fucking jukebox. My heart started pounding like a fist inside my chest, like it had had quite enough of this ignoring bullshit. I was mid sentence and my words simply froze in mid air, my eyes watching my fellow Sunday night reveler, the one that had chosen that particular song, stroll slowly back to their seat at the bar. My mouth was still half open as if I had been hung up or searching for the next word but the truth was I had stopped breathing. I was holding my breath, jaw slacked and heart ripping away at my flesh. I turned back to my husband and had the wind knocked back into my lungs when I saw his face….his face looking at mine that was now streaming with tears. I hadn’t even noticed that I was crying but was helpless to stop it, “I am so not going to be this woman dude. I am not gonna be the crying in a bar chick. You get the bill, I’ll meet you at home” grabbed my backpack and made a beeline for my car.
Spent the next week with my heart and head wide open, devouring every bit of history my Uncle sent, stuffing the information in the gaping holes, coming to terms with the idea that bits of this story, my story will never be fully filled in now that my mother is gone. Been missing her a lot as of late, missing her and wishing she had been more honest with me, more open. Feels a little like trying to finish a T.V. Guide crossword puzzle from like three decades ago….so many of the answers no longer at the tip of anyone’s tongue…
I woke this past Sunday feeling like the Sunday before had happened months ago. Like I had spent an entire month in my head roaming, picking things up, blowing the dust off shelves and finding places to hang my father’s things; his almost photographic memory, his angst, his rebellious nature. Holding the two of us up in a mirror and seeing how we fit. Laughing as I realized that I was not so much unlike my mother, just much more like my father. I may never be able to solve seven across and four down but, well it’s really amazing to get just a little closer.
I popped on Facebook Sunday and made some comment about how I could skip my shower and be enjoying eggs, hashbrowns, steak and sipping a martini in 20 minutes. The first two “likes” came right away along with a couple people chiming in that they wanted to go. I sat in my jammies looking at the clock, could I really start my Sunday in a dark coffee shop bar? Um, yes, yes I could. Tossed the day-before curls in a loose ponytail, painted my face, sent a “Meet us there in 20 minutes” text and headed out.
Walked into Hoff’s Hut and went directly to the bar. I love this bar. Gotta love a bar when you are one of like five people under seventy right?! I was blinking wildly as my eyes tried to adjust, (note to self, get sunglasses dammit) and I searched for the other crazy chick that was down with wasting away in whatever-ville with me on a lazy Sunday morning. Found her sitting at the bar, (I would have gone for a booth God love her) sipping her Bloody Mary and waving at us. Took my seat and was there not two whole minutes before I felt a tap on my arm, “Do you remember when we were married?” older gentleman sipping a margarita with his buddy just to the right of me, “I do and I really miss you” I responded, the grin that he tried to choke down melted my heart and I let out the first of many giggles that I would share with my new ex-husband that morning. He told me “off color” jokes, I laughed and played along with being his wife, discussing the children…our two dogs of which he has custody and whose vet bills are the reason his alimony checks are late. I went back and forth between the ex and the people I had come with, my head far away from puzzles and sad stories, just laughing and feeling so vibrant.
“There is nothing sexier than a woman that can laugh like you do” such a simple comment tossed out by my ex’s buddy but even in my somewhat crazy headed state I let it hit me. Took his unbelievably sweet observation and the dreamy eyes with which he delivered it to my newly open heart. My husband, (the real one) and friend both shook their heads as I bid farewell to my ex-husband and his buddy who took their leave just as our meals were being served. Laughed my ass off as the hostess came into the dark bar, craning her neck before walking up to me and telling me, “I was asked to tell you that your husband just left” say what you will about bars and the people that might be found there before like noon on a Sunday but what I found at that Hoff’s Hut bar with Guy and Mike, well it was just the sermon I needed.
When I was designing my first tattoo, (only have the one but there is one or two more to come) I knew I wanted to include the motto that had seen me through many a dark day; the living on pancakes, the never quite fitting in, the being the mother of a biracial son that I wanted to make sure was never ashamed or in any way hurt by his differentness, the sitting in the front room of my apartment while my baby slept and I poured coffee for the police that were there to file yet another report. Strength in laughter. The one thing that no one could take from me was my ability to laugh, desire to laugh and find some bit of light in the face of things that I was unwilling to let crush or consume me. Took a couple of strangers in a dark bar on a Sunday morning to remind me but I started laughing and began feeling like me again…
Wasn’t even really thinking about it when I reached in my fridge and pulled out a bottle of wine. Don’t think I even really looked at the label, just removed the foil and drove my corkscrew into the neck of the bottle. The perfunctory motions of opening a bottle, the glugging sound as the liquid splashed into the glass, the replacing of the cork, the mindless saunter back to my little couch perch to peruse crap on the information super highway. Cigarette lit, television on, mind off and wandering as it tends to do. I reached down, my fingers taking their assigned places on the glass, the quick swirl, the half assed sniff, my lips parting as the cold lip of the glass slipped between them, the saturation of history….my history, the one that I’ve made for myself spilling across my palate. Francois Chidaine, Francois Chidaine Touraine….
How many times had I had this wine? How many bottles consumed with friends? How many cases sold? How many people now know and love this humble producer because of the words I’ve shared about him? This wine is just as much a part of me as any of the things I’ve learned over the past week or so, in some ways more. This kind of wine, the voice that exploded inside me that demands that I find, drink and share wines like these....this is the me that I know, the laughing me, the me that I think my parents would both be proud of. Could not stop laughing. Been so caught up in the before picture that I had lost sight of the after. I am a product of my parents, their love and passion for one another but it does not define who I am now.
I owe so much of who I am to people like Randy and Dale Kemner, owners of the store where I get to….where they let me thrive. Michael Sullivan, the importer that took me on that life changing first trip to Europe, answered all my questions, laughed with me, believed in me and my palate. Ron Washam and his undying love and support of whatever it is I do here, his finding some sort of beauty in this beast regardless of typos and horrific grammatical errors. Charlie Olken and his even knowing who this humble wine slinger and fumbling blogger was, in letting me tease his palate with grower Champagne, arguing and getting me to take another look at wines that I had long ago given up on. Eric Asimov for sending me that first message telling me that he read me and admired what I was doing here. Thomas and our shared and understood love of the fried potato. Alice and her palate that I understand, her relentless voice and strength when I know it’s not always easy. Jess and Dave for flying or driving out to visit me and partake of my tastings, you two have no idea what that meant and still means to me. Another Day of Crazy, chris, Kevin, Michael Hughes, Benito, Heather, Vicki, Andy, Bill, webb, Sara, John Kelly, Stephen, Alfonso, Nico, Jeremy, David and Wayne….the list just keeps growing and just so you all know, with your help and support, so do I. Thank you. Thank you all…
Just felt like I needed to get that off my chest There, now you own it Now I can get back to my silly nonsense