You know I do mostly write about wine. But this column is really about “the good life.” The kind that Tony Bennet sang about so many years ago. But the good life as we should know it is not a catered affair. It has to be planned, nurtured and cared for. It has to be accomplished through our own efforts and the pain that those efforts can bring can and do lead to successes and ultimate satisfaction.
They say the best things in life are free. Well, I can attest to that as I age and learn to appreciate my past and my future. At 67 years old now, I’ve seen and done a lot. Had my share of ups and downs, but thankfully, the downs have been few. So many songs, so much of life is measured by what we own, what we can handle rather than what we should cherish.
Now I know that this column is supposed to be about wine mostly, and what makes up the Good Life. When I started it, I felt like I had so much to say, so much to learn especially about wine and it has been a great, fun run so far, and I hope to continue it long into the future. Because, you see, this is an education of sorts for me. And I truly believe that education is life. You can’t have one without the other. And as the wisdom of age settles in, my education just grows and grows. And life gets, as I learn every day, more and more precious. Show you what I mean.
Growing up in the Bronx you get the experience of a lifetime in just a few short years. Going to Yankee Games was always special. Getting dressed up on Sunday for mass and a later movie at the Loew’s Paradise Theater is a fond memory as are the hours long dinners that preceded such a trip. Memories. Memories made as my mind and personality developed. Education. How to act in public. How to get along, not just get over. How and what to appreciate as a kid. Family. Friends
Last week, my son and daughter-in-law were here to spend some time with us. Kind of brighten our perfectly adequate lives. But they brought with them this little tiny two-year old. Now I have to admit, I never really noticed kids before. Heaven knows I didn’t spend nearly enough time with my own, but now, I have a grandbaby. A girl at that! Where exactly did I suddenly get all this time? Heaven knows she wore my wife and me out. I hadn’t been so glad to see my bed since my honeymoon! But there she was. This little person, part angel, part princess and part monster. And when she called me “Papa,” you could hear my heart melt. By the way, my wife is called “Bana.” Not entirely sure where that came from, but I know that it goes right to her heart like Cupid’s arrow.
Now, I do have two sons and I could not be any more proud of them. They are independent, professional gentlemen, raised to be so mostly by my wife, although I’d like to think I did have some hand in it. My biggest regret there is that I don’t tell them that often enough. A few years back, my elder son married and gave me the daughter I never had. A sweeter, kinder, gentler person than her just does not exist in my opinion (except for the girl I married). You’ll hear more about her in the future because when she was here, she raided my wine rack and went through it like a buzzsaw through butter! But in fairness, I guess, she had to stop drinking wine because of a little thing called pregnancy. Good enough excuse I suppose.
So, where does all this lead? Why all the schmaltz? Because, my friends, this is what life is all about. This is the good life. Kenney Chesney has a song where he has an argument with his wife and leaves. Goes to a bar and asks the bartender for “the good stuff.” The bartender tells him that he can’t get that here and then lets him know what the good stuff is. It’s a great song by the way. Yeah, my friends. The good life. It is made up of good friends, family and memories. Education comes in when you become smart enough to realize that you may not have what you want, but you really do want what you have.
So, now, with this knowledge and perspective, go. Go out and make your mark. Drink the wine, don’t just pour.
Anne Marie, would you get me a glass of wine please. This column really knocked me…What? WHAT?! What do you mean there is no more?
SHE DRANK ALL OF IT??