People are…?

People interest me.

They interest me because like the colors of the rainbow — or the sundogs we’ve been seeing recently — people cover the behavioral spectrum. Some of us are good and some of us are noncommittal and some of us are, well, to be polite, stinkers.

It’s in the watching of individual behaviors that we find happiness, balance or anger and that’s just who we are. I’m not a Pollyanna type person but I believe there’s value in finding the goodness in people. With that in mind, let me recount a few instances of goodness.

Recently with two partners and the 8th-grade teachers at the Marshall Middle School, a panel was organized of diverse individuals who were invited to tell the their immigration stories of how they arrived in Marshall. I was in a position to watch the faces of the panelists and the assembled 8th-grade students.

What interested me was the goodness of the panelists who shared very personal stories and, also, the goodness of the students as they listened quietly and respectfully to the speakers. That night I opened a bottle of Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina and enjoyed the gentle black currant flavors that ended in a very soft tannin finish. It reminded me that people are … good.

There was a fundraising event at Brau Brothers benefiting the United Way of Southwest Minnesota and I attended it. After all, it was a beer pairing dinner — how could one resist? I knew the food was going to be delicious and the beers (Old 56 — a nice classic lager, Bancreagie — a great slightly peated Scotch Ale, a nice rosé sour that was awesome and a Helles — delicious, among others offered at the dinner) were going to be good. His only question was who was I going to meet at the event?

The table had some old friends and some who were new to me but we soon become buddies. I met a Cajun — there’s a story there for another time. Since the event, one of my table buddies has reached out to me to continue our conversation – seems we are both Augustana University graduates and veterans. Once again, my mantra continues — people are … good.

Recently, a chapter in the book of my life ended. All of us have encountered those times when something comes to an end and we are left wondering … now what? Reinforcing the theme of this column, a number of people reached out to me to talk, laugh and wish me well. For instance…

A very good friend of mine contacted me and asked to meet. It seems she had something for me. Knowing this person I was a bit apprehensive — she has an inviting sense of humor and I was prepared for anything when we met.

Greeting me with a smile, she handed me a paper sack. Opening the sack, I pulled out a bottle of Menage á Trois Midnight wine! Needless to say I was filled with joy and overwhelmed by her goodness. I’d recently written about Midnight and stated how much I enjoyed the wine’s in-your-face taste. The spiciness and full-bodied red is delicious — it was greatly appreciated. Once again, people are … good.

One of my favorite wines is a Tempranillo — a grape varietal from Spain. Maybe it’s because a bit of my ancestry comes from the Iberian Peninsula but I enjoy the softness of the wine. And so…

I know this couple who makes wine at home and it just so happens they like Tempranillo, too. One day the ‘better half” (Sorry, B., she made me do it!) of the couple asked to see me and handed me a wine bag.

Remember how I mentioned they make wines at home? Inside the wine bag was a home made bottle of Tempranillo named Straw Casa — interesting! I was told not to expect too much from the wine, etc. etc. I couldn’t wait to try it.

That evening I pulled the cork from the bottle and the aroma was exactly what I expected — almost unnoticeable. Tempranillo wine is very soft and medium bodied and is usually blended with a stronger grape to produce more flavor and aroma. I tasted it and was quite surprised.

After being told not to expect too much, I was overjoyed to taste and smell exactly what I expected — goodness. As I sipped the wine, I could see the couple making it and that created a sense of connection. Once again, people are … good.

One last example — our son-in-law is the liquor editor for the Daily Beast and because of that position, he has access to absolutely wonderful beverages from around the world. He recently gave me a bottle of Frapin Château Fontpinot XO Cognac — a single estate cognac from southwest France. I was thrilled to get it and every time I sip it, I think of him and how good he is to me. People are … good.

You probably noticed a recurring theme in this column. I mean it, I believe it and I try to live it — people are … good!

Next week, it’s going to be interesting!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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