Monday, May 25, 2009

A Broken Promise

Two summers ago, I took a trip to San Francisco to visit my friend Laura while she was interning at a law office. I have known her for 20+ years, since the sixth grade. We're old married ladies now but it was so much fun to have a girlfriend getaway! I spent eight days there and I really feel like we saw a lot of what the City by the Bay has to offer. We went to Alcatraz, Muir Woods, Japan Town, The Japanese Gardens, Chinatown, Little Italy, The Castro District, Haight Street, Golden Gate Park, the piers and we also did a wine tour. Each night, we walked a few blocks from where we were staying and hung out at a karaoke bar. We sang Don't Stop Believin' together every single time. Fantastic sights, excellent public transportation and a good friend made for quite an unforgettable trip!

When we took the wine tour, we were in this biodiesel van and the driver set up the tours as we went along. We didn't do the touristy Napa Valley, we went to the Russian River Valley instead. There were vineyards as far as the eye could see and I lost count of all of the wineries passed. The tour guide was quite knowledgeable and seemed to know most of the wine makers by name. We probably went to about 4-5 wineries and I bought a bottle from two. Each one was $30 which is about 2-3 times my normal budget for a bottle of wine. These babies were special and I wanted to bring something home to Chris that we could enjoy together. On my flight back home to New Jersey, I sat next to this adorable old Italian couple. I told them all about my trip and when I mentioned that I was bringing home some bottles of wine, they made me promise that I wouldn't wait for a "special occasion" to drink them. They told me that when one gets as old as they are, every day is a special occasion. I concurred and I told them that I would enjoy the wine as soon as possible. I lied.

I really tried but I just couldn't bring myself to open the wine just for any old day. $30 wine is a big deal in our household! A year ago, I took one of the bottles along with us for a farewell dinner. Some friends of ours were moving across the couple to England and the other to Germany. I took great pleasure in sharing our wine and it went over quite well. It was just as good as I remembered. It came from a winery in the town where Charles Schulz resided when he died. Peanuts statues were scattered all over. The winery, Paradise Ridge, had a Snoopy statue. The second bottle of wine came from Longboard Vineyards. The creators have a passion for solid wine and surfing. I remember being blown away by two different tastings and it was difficult to choose which one to buy.

I went with this one. I am sitting on my couch and sipping it...enjoying it...almost two years later. Today is Memorial Day and the fact that I am alive and that most of my family and loved ones are also alive and well seemed like a good enough reason to celebrate and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. My Opa is a veteran of Vietnam and Korea and I am respectful and thankful for his service to our country. I'm blessed that he is still with us and that my Oma, my mother and uncle never had to experience that fateful knocking on the door by uniformed soldiers bearing ultimate devastation. My heart goes out to the thousands of families who have had to endure losing a loved one to war.

Drink with me
To days
Gone by
To the life
That used
To be
Let the wine of friendship
Never run dry
At the shrine of friendship
Never say die
Here's to you
And here's
To me...

-Les Miserables

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