Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Oakie, Creamy Finish at the Back of Your Throat

Yesterday I had a little victory and decided to celebrate by buying a bottle of wine, so I walked into a convenience store and bought a jug of Boone’s Farm.

LOL!!! Uh, no. That was college. In fact, I don’t even know if they still make Boone’s Farm. And, I’m still about half-way convinced that Boone’s Farm was basically rubbing alcohol with Lifesavers dropped in it for flavoring.

Anyway, my friend, Elaine,  loves wine like the royals love jewelry, and she’s wonderfully knowledgeable about it. I, however, know about as much about wine as I know about nuklar fiziks. If you wrote cow wine on a jug of milk I’d try it, but I’d probably lie about being able to recognize the grassy finish and barn-like aftertaste. I mean, I’m pretty simple. I like wine, but only some kinds; sweeter whites in hot weather, and reds, like cabernet sauvignon or merlot, in cold weather. 

I strolled into Total Wine, looked around and saw nothing but…wine. Racks and racks, shelves and shelves, bottles and bottles of…wine. Even if you only like wine a little there’s an instant in which you want to grab a big, iced tea glass and start pulling corks. In the next instant you’re just overwhelmed. So, I thought, “Why not prove women everywhere wrong. I’ll be a guy who asks for directions.” 

Unfortunately, there were no snooty-looking sommeliers (that would be wine stewards if you’re playing at home) in tuxes walking around with slicked-back hair, a thin mustache and one of those big, spoon-looking things hanging around their necks they use to taste-test the wine. There was, however, a guy sitting behind a counter looking like a TSA agent and wearing a white shirt with Total Wine embroidered on the pocket.

Ah, the authorities.

“Excuse me,” I said, “I don’t buy wine a lot and I’m a little out of my element. I’m looking for cabernet sauvignon.”

Considering the look he gave me I thought he was going to say, “License and ticket, please.” But, he didn’t. He simply looked to his right, my left. I followed his eyes, turned my head and there, about 10 feet away was a sign that said…right…Cabernet Sauvignon. I had been standing beside the sign when I walked in the store and looked around. I kept turning my head and saw Cabernet Sauvignon signs and bottles along the entire length of the wall to the back of the store; and it’s a doggone big store.


A young guy (come to think of it, almost everyone is young-looking to me nowadays) in the same white Total Wine shirt, was unpacking boxes about half-way down the wall. He was a good-looking kid and gave a big smile as I approached. I ran down my I’m an idiot about wine spiel and he showed me four or five cabs in various price ranges. He said something about, “Oakie finish, and creamy tasting on the back of your throat,” but for all I know he might as well have been saying, “The wine is actually the sweat of aliens from the planet Thorlon and we find the bottles out back in the ditch.”

I said, “Thank you,” grabbed two bottles—like I’d know the difference—and headed for the checkout.

Driving home I thought about missing the sign when I walked in and the look of the TSA guy. I immediately thought of a couple of people in my life who, when I would be totally flustered about not being able to find something, had the annoying talent of simply walking in and finding the missing item…usually about two feet away from me. They both would say, “You know, Mike, sometimes you have to look down.”

In life, if you’re running wide open, physically and cognitively, looking down may not occur to you. Two years ago a wonderful study debunked the myth of cognitive decline. It said that as we age we have so much flying around in our heads it’s difficult, sometimes, for us to slow down and find just the right word, or the tv remote, or the wine sign.

So, if you’ve had one of those moments, chill out. Slow down just a tad, be glad you’re above ground, and keep moving. Kick back, have a glass of vino, enjoy life, and appreciate that creamy finish at the back of your throat.

No, wait, that was the Breyer’s Extra Creamy Vanilla late last night.

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