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Day 230: It Doesn’t Get Much Wilder Than This . . .

wilder red table wineTo say that it’s been a ‘Wild Week’ may be the understatement of the century.  Seriously, Monday was Patriot’s Day in Boston and the running of the famed Boston Marathon.  Through good years and bad, we’ve watched the runners who’ve run this race finish strong, collapsed at the finish line and rejoice in what they’ve accomplished.  What an triumph!  To run 26.2 miles and endure some of the most grueling hills and terrain, the runners who participated Monday had NO idea of what lay ahead.

Last evening, as we enjoyed trivia night at the Waterloo Ice House, we had NO idea of what was taking place not too far north of our part of the world.  When our good friend, Kris, who is a key part of the Red Cross team told us about an explosion that had rocked West, Texas.  We–at first–didn’t quite know how to process what was being placed before us.  The small town of West, where Jean’s sister’s husband has family, had exploded?  Turning on CNN, the rumors became reality; the footage of the Dad with his daughters so close to the fire–and then–what an incredible explosion. . .nothing in its’ path. . .”Daddy, let’s get out of here, I can’t hear anything”…

Today, the FBI released photos of two men, who they say, are people of interest in the case of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Could it get any wilder?  The week has been like a roller coaster on steroids. . .so many twists, turns and drops that one must wonder what in the world is going on!

Enter tonight’s wine of choice…a 2010 Wilder Red Table Wine from Washington.  Color in the glass is a deep, clear garnet, and the nose is redolent of cassis, plum, boysenberries, and spice. Upon first sip, the Wilder Red is bright, light, and fruity with an elegant acidity that fades gracefully away to a dark, seductive earthiness. The finish just goes for miles, a swirling tornado of mushrooms and graphite, with the daintiest little tannins.  We’ve had the opportunity to expand our horizon’s with Washington wine and the truth is, we’re hooked!  Now, we can’t wait to get up to the Seattle area and visit with Jean’s sister, Sara and her better half, Sylvia!  This stuff is GOOD.  A little sweet to be sure, but as it opened up–wow, what a nice wine.

We’ve come to LOVE the city of Boston…not just because our daughter goes to school there, but because it’s a town with a ‘Can Do’ attitude.  Maybe it’s just a town with an attitude!  Seriously, no disrespect here…there are some places that you visit and you get the sense that they–well, they get it!  Boston is that kind of town.  We watched the National Anthem being sung prior to  the Bruins’ game. . .sorry, we’ve NEVER heard so MANY people singing–even dating back to the events after September 11th.  These folks clearly get it and NOTHING and we mean NOTHING will stand in their way.  We kind of like that–it’s a Texas quality as well.  We’ve watched like so many others of the closeness in the town of West.  Close doesn’t even begin to describe the way that folks look out for each other.  We know that cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and many others have ALL stepped up to lend a hand while secretly grieving because they’ve lost someone—someone they knew, someone their friends’ or families’ knew. . .but in a town of 2,500–let’s be honest, you know just about everyone!

To the first responders in Boston and West, we raise a glass and say, “Thank You”.  We don’t do what you do–we don’t always appreciate what you do, BUT we know that with you, we’re better and without you, we’d be lost.  First responders–like those who jumped in to help the wounded in Boston–they are an amazing breed of men and women.  The First responders in West–ALMOST ALL OF THEM-VOLUNTEERS–what can you say?  It’s not just a job–it’s a CALLING!  These people-who volunteer–are called to do something that very few people EVER do–help, rescue, care.  AMAZING.

We enjoyed tonight’s wine; probably because it’s name gave us a sense of purpose in knowing that whether in Texas or Massachusetts, there are still people in our world who care.  There are still men and women who are willing to risk everything and put it on the line–for others.  To the men and women who are First Responders, we salute you and pray to the Good Lord that you never lose that love.  For without YOU–we may become lost!

Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 228 – In The Aftermath

Montes TwinsTrust the Twins. . .Meet The Twins. . .the Minnesota Twins. . .Congratulations, it’s Twins. . .it’s a tough existence when you’re greeted with twins.  Whether you enjoy shopping at Twin Liquors or want to watch baseball in Minneapolis/St. Paul, OR you’re the parent(s) of twins, the thought of something doubled or ‘twice as nice’ can be a bit overwhelming!  Brian has cousins that are twins. . .Pat and Paul Renaud are two awesome guys from an amazing family–different as the day is long, but talk about having each other’s back!  We lost Paul not that long ago, and it brought back a flood of memories with he, Pat, Roy and a LOT of cousins.  We still laugh-to this day-about the Knights of Columbus bowling tournament in the St. Louis area when we were living there–Palm Sunday–(well, Saturday night)–they brought their own Priest who said Mass in the hotel. . .while the ice was melting in the bath tub as it cooled the beer!!  Yep, that was a ‘life moment’ . . . tough to beat the sound of melting ice surrounded by beer cans–or was it the sound of beer cans surrounded by melting ice?

A trip to the casino in pouring rain and a long drive home to the house, but it’s a memory forever branded in our brains.  It was family.  Cousins . . . friends of cousins. . .and it was like time stood still.  We were ALL the same age and ALL looking to have the best time we could!  These guys (and gals) knew how to have fun.  We miss those days.  We miss those people who brightened out night. . .we know that life goes on, but sometimes, it’s a challenge.  Kind of like watching the news of the past 18 hours. . .it’s been a challenge in the aftermath to stay collected and focused and not get emotional.  There are an amazing number of survivors–an equal number of heroes–to go along with a far too long list of injured.  In the aftermath of a senseless event, we stop and remember the 8-year old boy who lost his life; the 29-year old woman who lost her life; the Boston University graduate student who gave up his life. . .and what were they ALL doing?  They were waiting for friends, family and special people in their lives to finish the Marathon.  Innocent bystanders…

Tonight we decided to go south for our wine of choice.  Aurelio Montes is a Chilean wine maker who doesn’t stop ‘at the border’.  Mr. Montes believes that great wine starts with great fruit, and this wine has an amazing amount of good fruit!  On their own, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon shine, but when paired up, these two classic varieties complement each other perfectly.  It’s a sensational double bill: wonderful richness, structure and fruit from the Cabernet, with smooth, velvety texture from the Malbec—adding up to a wine that’s greater than the sum of its parts while the oak aging contributes with subtle notes of vanilla and liqueur and its soft tannins provide an specially elegant finish.  It’s a 50/50 combination that just begs to ask the question. . .if varieties of grapes can get along for centuries, why can’t these?  This is a nice wine, but we wouldn’t go ‘hog wild’ in recommending it to others.  It’s  a bit rough on the nose; the palate has hints of goodness, but still falls short.  The finish; however, it will sneak up on you and help you to appreciate a good ‘sunset wine’.

Family.  It’s one of the ties that bind.  We live in a society that doesn’t appreciate or recognize family as the core of building society.  We live in a society that is tainted by a media only interested in the almighty dollar.  So, we stop–in the aftermath– of senseless tragedy–to recognize and love our family.  The building blocks of the future are on their shoulders and WE are the foundation for them. . .it’s really unfortunate that media is allowed to ‘rule our world’, but we LET it.

In The Aftermath, please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 227: Something’s Just Not Right . . .

wrongo dongoWe’re a little emotional tonight, and along with a lot of people who have family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and people that are just trying to scratch something off their bucket list.  We’re angry, mad, frustrated–to be blunt–when it comes to a place where our daughter is – we get an attitude.  We aren’t sure that everything is Alright–until WE hear that everything is Alright.  As the events of today unfolded in Boston, to say that we were pinned to our desks may be the understatement of the century.  You see, when your daughter is there with her boyfriend and other friends, and they are there to support the runners, support their friends, be the voice of so many Bostonians who have been a part of Marathons for years  . .  . it’s an amazing thing to watch.  Last year, the temperatures were so high that the race organizers automatically offered last year’s entrants automatic carte-blanche entry into this year’s race . . . do the math – the potential for 27,000 runners!  Wow, what a marathon, and in the mecca of marathon cities–Boston!

We knew something was up when our daughter sent a text message to Jean asking her to search ‘explosion at marathon finish line’ – can you even imagine what kinds of things go off in your head when your child asks you to search something like that especially when you knew she was at the race site?  The good news . . . all are safe tonight; it wasn’t an easy route back to the University, but the important thing is that both daughter and boyfriend – a world class friend at that – are safe where they belong. Must admit – hearing her voice was the most important sound of the day.

We write tonight with heavy hearts for those who no longer walk this earth because some one decided to act upon the evil that spoke to them – it is indeed a sad day in America and the world when the actions of one impact the lives of so many.  We could rage with hatred, but that would be to no avail – instead we pray for peace for the families impacted by death or injury.  We do hope and pray that those responsible for today’s action are found and held accountable.  Our world can longer accept the actions of those that want to harm others – we must do something to stop the madness.

How appropriate that we tasted a wine tonight with a name that fits the events of April 15, 2013–tonight we opened a 2010 Wrongo Dongo Monastrel from Jumilla, Spain – how appropriate is the name!  Wrongo Dongo. . .yes, those responsible for today off are definitely wrongo!  Almost over the top with ripeness, the wine gave us tastes of raisins, even figs, as well as plums, mulberries, and cherries. Though there is some gentle toasty oak, this wine is far more about unabashed fruit than smoky oak, and the wine finishes with a gentle and fruity polish.  It was one of those wines that catches you off guard–which we found at World Market in Bryan, Texas after meeting daughter #1.  Funny how much we intertwine family with our stories!!!  For a price under $12 a bottle, you’ll find a beautiful wine with lots of complex fruit and it’s amazing how it changes from uncorking to an hour after opening . . .  beautiful wine for the money and made even better by knowing that our family was safe!  We’d be lying if we said that the wine was enjoyable tonight – but we do raise a toast to the many lives impacted today and pray for recovery.

We get emotional; we get mad; we get revengeful, and then we stop and realize that WE are not in control.  Ultimately, we are here as a gift from above, and our job is to live our lives to the fullest each and every day.  We rejoice, we grieve, we celebrate, we mourn, but we all remember that the gifts we have are from above, and for this reason we find comfort in knowing that everything happens with a purpose . . . a Time For Every Season Under Heaven.

Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly, and remember to not only recycle whenever possible, BUT (and this is important) remember to tell those who are closest to you that you LOVE them – not just on nights like tonight when tragedy reminds us to, but every night !