Monday, April 5, 2010

My Aunt's wine

Listen to Steve's discusion of Motherless Soul on The Authors Show:
Part One
Part Two

Our Easter dinner had an exceptional twist to it this year. Or I should probably say pop to it, since it involved a couple of corked bottles. My cousin Joan and her husband Gordon have a winery in Washington state. They're doing quite well with it, but because of the distance between Washington and North Carolina I had never tried their wines. We recently received two bottles: a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Rose. We saved them for the Easter dinner so I could share them with our family and friends. And they were a hit!

The Cabernet Sauvignon was the first one we opened because so many people seem to favor that type. It tasted better than any Cabernet I've ever had and I know the others at the dinner would rave about it as freely as I do. But the Rose was the one I treasured the most. Joan dedicated this wine to her mother - my Aunt Rhoda.

I spent the summers of my youth on an island in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey's largest lake. Our house was positioned between the homes of my Aunt Jean and Uncle Quinn on one side and my Aunt Rhoda and Uncle Alan on the other. So I grew up knowing my Aunts and Uncles and all my cousins. Each family had a separate house, but the doors were always open. We ate dinners together in a large picnic area. And we shared the waterfront as well as countless small boats. When I was four years old Hurricane Hazel flooded the yards of those lake homes. In the laid back, fun loving style of our family we celebrated with a parade of boats paddling by the front porch of Aunt Rhoda and Uncle Alan's home. The event was recorded on 16MM film but I don't know who has the copy now. Living with an extended family is an experience more common to Mexico than to the USA, but I was lucky enough to experience it.

My mother was once in a serious auto accident. I was out at a concert that night and it fell to Aunt Rhoda to be the one to break the news to me when I came home. I mention that because it was typical of her to step up when a task was difficult. She was a very strong woman.

The following is printed on the label of the Rose my cousin Joan dedicated to her mother:

Wine Lore: This is the first Daven Lore Rose and with it we remember a special woman Rhoda Davenport, Joan's mother. No one person had more influence in making Joan the woman she is today. Rhoda, Hebrew for Rose, was a singularly gifted woman in knowing sometimes the best gift one can give is the steadfast belief of family. To Rose! To Rhoda! Enjoy!

Easter is a celebration of the promise of life everlasting. I believe it was a perfect time to remember my Aunt and to drink her wine.

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