Category Archives: Wine

Padgett bash, old school style

I’ll let the pictures tell most of the tale — but everyone I talked to said they had a blast. It was fantastic seeing so many old friends and family from both sides show up and have a good time. Just wish the weekend could have gone on longer.

Dads 70th April 2011

Born to be wild

Perhaps a bit of an overstatement, really. However, last weekend I headed to the hills seeking some clarity and relaxation, but Mentone had other plans for me. Nature always wins — we shouldn’t forget that.

I arrived and headed straight to Andy’s memorial chapel. Seeing that peaceful green spot, looking up at the trees, I did have some bit of thought and I’ll even share the most obvious. It’s something my father preaches to both of his children (and anyone who listens) and that is to leave what you are working on better than when you started. Andy took that up a notch and forged pure beauty with a light tread.

After this it was time to visit. I hugged Marc, who is still running the MSH like a machine and with finesse. I dropped by Lucy’s place and left a note and then I planted myself on the brow and listened to trees and birds and pre-eve chittering of creatures. Only one couple came up and disrupted the moment. It was an incredible stretch of alone. I don’t remember the brow ever being so still (except in winter). After the solitude began to grow old, my cell phone rang and Lucy was on her way with a bottle of wine. So we had a glass or two and headed to the hotel after sunset. Marc was waiting due to the fact we were 20 mins past seating time. Oops. But he still sat us on the porch and I had another incredible meal. After the campers and other restaurant goers left, Marc, Lucy and I had a revealing chat on the porch that probably kept up neighbors and may have scandalized any dropping eaves.

The following day found Lucy and I in the valley on a fruitless journey for plants. Sans plants, we cruised the tiny town of Valley Head and I heard the maddening call of an ice cream truck. We kept stopping, listening, and finally I spotted it a few blocks over. Lucy does not have a lead foot, by any stretch of the imagination, but she gave it a go and the chase was on. He was hauling, but we finally caught up to him, honking all the way, at the entrance to a dirt road. After such a hunt, that ice cream was good and the plantless state forgotten.

Then I went on a solo woodsy ramble at DeSoto State Park. After working up a sweat and encountering a bee the size of my head, I went back to my gorgeous turrett bedroom. I had my own little suite with a jucuzzi bath tub and a seperate shower. Honestly, sitting here on my couch in Atlanta, I’m amazed I left that room willingly. I stayed in what used to be my summer bedroom. (Yes, I had a summer bedroom — deal with it.) It’s much improved and hardly recognizable — so most of the things that haunted me about that place seem to have left for darker corners. Restorative jacuzzi experienced, I headed back to the brow.

And here’s the thing about Mentone, you never know. We say that about everything. But seriously, you never know what is going to happen. Ritual is disrupted — maybe nonexistent. Well, you have to really struggle with a set plan, that’s how I’ll put it. So back on the brow for sunset day 2 — drastically different. Lucy joined me again. We had to bum some vodka from one of her neighbors and we sipped slowly. But then company came. Gwinn, the keeper of the vodka, walked over and joined us; then her girlfriend Debbi pulled up. Come to find out, I have cousins there. Cousins that know my mother and have provided a family history of the Duncans. Deb is one of them and shared her family history with me. My mother’s side of the family is fairly scarce, or so I thought, not so much. I’ve got tons of cousins running around. In fact, as Deb and I sat there debating if we were 2nd or 3rd, a girl walked up with her family and said her last name was Duncan!! Bring out the rolls, it was impromptu family reunion time. Odd odd odd stuff and yet so typically Mentone.

And then, wildness. The ladies all went home, but while I was chatting it up with my cousin, Lucy was hatching a plan. I can’t tell you the plan in its entirety, but I will say that Lucy is waging a war on tacky. It was a full moon and after I went home and read about my grandfather and took some details down about his life (there was a picture of me in the book that I didn’t know existed!!!), I dressed in dark blue jeans and a grey shirt. I snuck out to the car and made sure the interior light was off. Picked up Lucy by moonlight and we were off righting the wrongs of taste and city ordinance. Adventure and mishap ahead of us — born to be wild once more. Ahh, Mentone — you are such a blast.

Road trip — Greenville

Winding down the mountain, 7 hours to Greenville, NC. Stop.

Michelle and Shane’s house, met Gwennie, re-united with Callie, Pip, and Addie. Comfortable, relaxed, friends—met some new ones. Then yesterday (Tuesday) became centered again while walking in Beaufort, NC and along the Atlantic. Maybe I’ll return there one day.

But then the evening. I love good food and wine. At times, if you watch closely, I perform a happy food dance while sitting at the table. And last night Will cooked for me. Well, he cooked for Miche, Shane, Brent and I, but, really I think just me. Pork tenderloin, pears with Gorgonzola and honey, asparagus. He actually stilled me with his food. I did ask him to marry me at some point, but I’m not his type. And how do you follow this meal? Well, with the generous offering of Brunello that Shane has been waiting to appreciate with me. (Our Miche likes birra, but wine for her hubby and I.)

I gotta say — lovely evening Greenville style. Next stop — Wake Forest and the debaucherous Shelby. I’ll let you know what happens next.

On the road and at a wedding

It should be easier. Less dressing and planning — more decadence and life. But seeing Irene and Steve get married was beautiful. There were mountains, the sun began to set. A light that isn’t an everyday event took hold of the moment. But still. . .

They were married in a vineyard, so there was wine. And it was good. Some dancing, but to be honest, and I hate to say this publicly, but I missed a dear friend of mine in Florence. He would have had so much fun. I took my camera but left it in the car. Oh well. Just close your eyes and picture the Appalachians — our Earth’s oldest mountains — and the gentle ease of the rising against the end of a day. All my best for new beginnings and love.

Lorelei (or a cautionary tale of drunkeness)

There were steps leading up to this moment. Actual steps and then stages may be the best way to explain. But first, for you non-knowers of L, an introduction. My friend, let us call her Lorelei, is a mother of a 2 1/2 year-old gem of a girl, a wife of seven years, and one of my longest and best friends. She is, well, typically reserved with a barbed wit and mostly reasonable. But some of that reason may have slipped away one Thursday night while visiting her in Atlanta.

I mentioned, perhaps, the free wine at the Atwood lecture/reception located on the lovely Emory campus in Decatur? Wine, in the slight chance you have not made an acquaintance with its effects, can cause spontaneous, impractical and uncharacteristic behavior when consumed in excess. That said, it was free, we are all poor on some level, and there was a mighty long line winding its way to the tower where Ms. Atwood diligently scrawled and was photographed by the adoring masses. So, understandably, excess— and free excess at that — was unavoidable.

Lori um, hmm, sorry— Lorelei was in rare form already by the time we decided to brave the stone stairs and the wait. The beauty of French men was discussed with strangers.TheOntari-ari-ari -O song was practiced. Contemplation of random objects Margaret Atwood could sign was carried out. I vetoed both the rendering of the Ontari-ari -o song and the mammogram reminder as autograph receptacle as perhaps a bit too much for the (surely at this point) exhausted author. Oh, and we were the caboose at the end of the train of people. So, hopefully at least that fact gave Atwood pleasure at seeing our motley, slightly intoxicated crew crowding her with random tidbits. And by random tidbits, there was my, (stupid, stupid) proclamation and gratitude over a line of text from the Penelopiad . But Lorelei, oh Lorelei, well I think she will be remembered for her particular tidbits. Those bits being:

“Hi! My nickname is Lorelei”

MA: “Really, your parents named you Lorelei?!”

“No, no!” (on her knees now to better view Ms. Atwood at eye level and propped elbows, head tilted above signing area) “my friends just call me that.” (I should admit that I did harp in and attest to this fact.) “And I too am also from Canada!” (I’m cringing at the possibility of On-tari-ari-ari-o and noticing laughter filter from hallway and around us.)
MA: “Really?”

“Yes” (some warbled tale of now being American) “and I want you to know that I think I may get the cover of your book tattooed on my body.”

MA (eyebrows raised in alarm or concern or humor — hard to say with the Canadians): “And where are you getting this tattoo?”

“On my leg, above my ankle” (and then some more rambling).

Needless to say, I think our Lorelei made an impression. Something I failed at, completely. Next time, more free wine before I meet an author. As for the general audience, L’s presence was felt there as well. Tears were flowing from our eyes. Everyone we knew, and that knows my darling Lorelei were laughing. The moment was so rich, that in the process, I lost the very book I just had signed by the lovely, gracious, and highly entertained Ms. Atwood. So if you find a signed copy, let me know.

And Lorelei, thanks for allowing me to tell your tale. To the rest of you: beware tables laden with free wine.


So, finally made it to Atlanta yesterday. My hometown was playing host to my favorite living author, Margaret Atwood. Lori and I sat in Emory’s Methodist Church, with a large congregation of fans and listened to the unraveling of mythology. Margaret taught me that the word “Gandalf” actually means elf wand in some language. Wish I could remember the language, but the 2 beers prior to the Atwood reading seems to have erased some detail. I actually got to meet her, after a few free glasses of wine, mumbled something incoherent, she signed the book and chatted to Lori and my first glimpse of the world of gods ended.

Later, we went to the Higlander. But, the best of all was the awakening I had this morning by my darling god-daughter. Smiling, laughing Zoe. There is nothing comparable. And today, Ru-Sans’ Firecracker sushi roll. I love this town. More on my trip after its conclusion.

Have a great weekend!

Pine trees, swamps, the usual

My impromptu self pointed the car towards my parent’s farm yesterday morning. With company coming for several days and future travel plans on the horizon, I realized this may be the best time for a visit. As much as I hate driving in towns—traffic, idiots, red lights timed against you—driving down the highway and in the open is not so bad. All of the planted pine forests and swamps of north Florida rolling by sooth. That evening, mom, Lucy, and I listened to the tree frogs and night sounds after a lovely summer storm and some wine. One would think this would be a peaceful setting.

But, it is my family. And while the night was unwrapping the dark, my mother was finalizing contracts, dad was writing something for his campaign, and typical chaos was carried out on keyboards and cell phones into the evening. Entertaining til the end and progress always. Hopefully we will all have that energy in our mid-60s. Or if not the energy, a comfy chair to watch the world go by.