|Ceiling fresco - Casòn Hirschprunn, Margreid, Südtirol|
Because of the encounters I have had in the last month and with all the rush to award guarantees of origin to the decadent and irrelevant Italian appellation system, I have zigged, zagged and ran scatter-shooting across this April month. Not that it hasn’t been a romp. Jump on a plane, beat the jet lag, eat this, drink that, run, run. My mom likens it to a vacation. I could use one of those right now. But it “ain’t gonna happen,” there’s too much going about in the wine trail that I find myself perched upon these days. And that’s more of a song coming from the mouth of the sparrow hawk above my home than a kvetch. A shriek of pleasure.
But not without its moments of sadness, or at the very least, contemplative reflection. Last night, after a long day, in the early evening I was summoned to a wine dinner. Pouring wine, sitting with new people, making conversation, trying to attend to their needs as well as to my host and our winery folk. I never really thought I did justice to any of them. I was strewn, but sincere. At the end of a very mellow evening, almost frighteningly so for the normally cacophonous venue, as we were boxing up wine for the clients and tidying up, sipping on an espresso and generally heading towards comatose places, a lady came up to me. I’ve known her for what seems like ages. Always very friendly, although never going too deep. But civil. Respectful.
It woke me up. Nothing is to be taken for granted. Here I thought the wine dinner was OK. Maybe not as successful as the week before. But in reality it was, it was just quieter, smoother. Just as effective. What it was for that lady was an evening away from the dreaded reality she and her mother are facing.
It’s those times when distractions are welcome. A breather.
Today I went to the hospital to see my friend Mario. He finally had his hip operated on. He’d been in some pain. But he made it through the operation. At 94, that’s big. And he still has major aches. So bad tonight that when we were talking he drifted off in a morphine haze halfway through a thought. The old warrior, still fighting, living to die another day. But not today.
All this from the reflections of a wine dinner, over sips of espresso, hoping we hadn’t disappointed those souls who came for a little taste of Italy, a moment off the grid, a brief reprieve from the onslaught of reality that makes up the cycle of one’s life.