My name is Ron, and I believe in the power of a story to inform and enrich us.
A few weeks ago, I sent an email to Per Peterson, the editor of the Independent, inquiring about the possibility of writing a regular column for the newspaper. I said the column would be about wines, beers and spirits and after an exchange of emails, we reached a mutual agreement about a regular column. Then, came the interesting part. I visited Per in his office.
I like to see and talk with the person with whom I am communicating - to meet face to face, so to speak. During our pleasant chat, I quickly realized that Per is a person I enjoy talking to, and I left his office feeling like I had met a kindred spirit. Among his suggestions for me was to make my initial column an introduction of myself - a bit about me and why I am writing. Thus, this column.
So, let me tell you the beginning of a story.
I was born and raised on a 240-acre farm about four miles north of Tyler on what we called a true working farm - we had dairy cows, feeder cattle and pigs and chickens. On those acres my parents raised seven children, with me being the middle child - we all had our responsibilities, and we tried to fulfill those duties but we were kids! Following high school (good old Tyler High School) and college (Augustana College in Sioux Falls) and after a year on the farm, I enlisted in the Navy. It was the Vietnam era. Yes, a farm boy from the land-locked prairie of southwest Minnesota joining the Navy. Interesting, isn't it? After boot camp and a six-month tour of duty at the Naval Communications School in Pensacola, Florida, I was stationed for two glorious years in Bremerhaven, Germany. It was there I met my wife, Carla (from New Jersey), and I was introduced to the absolutely fantastic world of German wines.
We have four children: Ingrid and her husband, Noah, live in New York City; James and Alexander live in Minneapolis and Christian and his wife, Brooke, reside in Providence, Rhode Island. Since we enjoy traveling, having the kids spread around the country is fine with us. It gives us ample opportunity to enjoy new cuisines, cultural events and some cold ones along the way.
Although my professional career is in pastoral ministry, my fascination with wines and beverages that began in Germany is as alive and well today as it was when I tasted my first German Riesling. If anything, my interest in the world of wine, beer and spirits is growing. I love the smell, taste and sight of a beautiful glass of wine, an inviting cool glass of beer or a hospitable cocktail. In my column, it is my desire to weave stories around the places and people who bring us these beverages - to invite you to see, smell and taste the wonder that is found in a bottle of wine, beer or spirit.
In my next column, I'll tell you a story about a birthday party and a wine experience of a lifetime.
As always, eat and drink responsibly but laugh with reckless abandon.