Sunday, October 31, 2021

And the Beat Goes On – A Propitious Epiphany in Trento

For Roger…

There are those moments that sneak up and drop a lifechanging effect on you. It might be something as simple as the change of the light upon a tree you look at every day. And then suddenly, as summer merges into autumn, it’s as if you’d never seen it with such clarity. Or it could be a simple sniff of a wine that transports you back to when you were a teenager, sitting in a darkened theatre next to your first girlfriend. All of a sudden, your arm is around her shoulder and the two of you are getting ready for your first kiss. All from a dessert wine from Friuli, or Denmark.

So it was, one spring evening in the town of Trento. I wasn’t looking for it. But something was stalking me, waiting for me at the bar where I eventually sat down at.

After dinner that night, I took a quick stroll around a cool and moist Trento. I love the Piazza Duomo, and the adjoining hot spot, Scrigno del Duomo looked enticing. I sauntered in. It felt like “my bar.” And sure enough, as I walked in there was a place at the bar for me, next to a professorial looking chap, a hipster and his uber-friendly hound. I was finishing up a long day with an amaro. What else, but Braulio in Trento. To those who refer to amari as nail polish – I like to think of them as mild buffers – not too much shine, just a luster that sets one above the dazed and confused.

So, I’m mellowing out after a long day at Vinitaly, far from the madness of noisy, crowded Verona, and tucked into a cozy, intimate place in Trento. Just the place for an introvert.

Right then an instrumental jazz piece is playing in the bar. I recognize the guitar player, Gabor Szabo. I know this because I loved his music, wore out Gypsy ‘66 I played on my 8-track player in my ’55 Speedster. I recognized his sound.

But I couldn’t identify the piece at first. It wasn’t one of his originals. He was covering a more popular song. And then it hit me. The Beat Goes On.

Who didn’t know that song growing up in the 1960’s? Sonny and Cher turned it into an anthem.

But that evening it was like I was hearing it for the first time. And it mesmerized me. Sure, I knew some of the words. The beat goes on. And it was going on in that bar.

Everything about the wine business and Italy and Vinitaly and my life in that moment, it was all like the slate was wiping clean, a fresh start. A new life. A rebirth. Just from a jazz instrumental by a rather unknown musician?

But isn’t that exactly when one would have an epiphany? It isn’t something you can plan, like, for instance, having sex on Saturday night after you and your mate go out for a special dinner? I mean, it’s an impromptu thing. Unscripted. Spontaneous.

With a clean slate, I felt I could go anywhere, do anything. And right then, I knew I had 60 months to do it in, before I’d strap on my parachute and jump out of the plane.

There was something so very liberating about it. Maybe it was the amaro. Either way, I was in high spirits. I saw a pathway and a timeline. I knew what I had to do and how much time I had to do it in.

And so, I ordered a glass of grappa, something equally high-spirited. Muller-Thurgau or Traminer, in keeping with being in Trentino-Alto Adige.

The thing of it is, I can go back in time and sit at that bar in my mind, right now, and relive that moment. It’s even better when I play the music, which I do from time to time. It was a portentous moment, that is now, way, way back in the rear-view mirror. But it’s still very much alive to me. Because it relit me in a way that gave me the stamina and the inspiration to complete my marathon of livelihood, and finish with a happy ending, which it turned out to be. The wine gods truly walked before me and made a way for this solitary sojourner. The beat went on.


And the beat goes on, the beat goes on

Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain

La de da de de, la de da de da

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

tomfiorina said...

Thanks for taking us along on this wide ride, Alfonso. I'm not sure where we're headed, but I'm holding on tight.

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