Love, Grandma

My grandmother was very stern.

As a young lad, she was, well, you know, just grandma. She always seemed fiercely focused and so intent on accomplishing whatever it was she was doing. I don’t remember her smiling.

Her life was hard. As the matriarch of a farming family and with a disabled husband, I expect she worked long hours keeping the farm functioning and raising four children — my mother, one of them.

Among my memories of her is when we attended a Farm Fest event and she literally dropped her drawers! Apparently, she had worn an extra layer that cool day and, as she walked along with us, her drawers simply slipped to her feet. I couldn’t miss it because I was walking beside her. Unfazed and with a straight face, she reached down, stepped out of them and just stuffed them into her handbag. Needless to say, that moment is one that has been passed on but, where was her smile?

I respected her strength and deep faith. As a young lad, it never crossed my mind if she loved me or if I loved her. She was, well, my grandma.

As the years wore on, I wondered if she ever let her hair down — figuratively and literally — and had a glass of wine. And if she did, what kind of wine would she have enjoyed? Not knowing the answer to those questions, I feel free to let my imaginations gush forth.

FYI, there’s more about love coming.

As a person of English descent, would grandma have liked to drink a French wine? Would she have taken to a Bonpas Côtes-du-Rhône? Maybe the beautiful ruby color of the wine would’ve made her smile or perhaps the soft notes of black cherry infused with a hint of spice would’ve made her laugh out loud? And, those gentle finishing tannins — I wonder if they would’ve lead her to pray!

Alright, if she wouldn’t accept a French wine, how about a nice white Italian wine? I would’ve loved to pour her a glass Entwine’s Pinot Grigio and see her face. Although this wine is grown and produced in California, its roots are in Italy — literally and figuratively. Would she have loved the citrusy taste and aroma? I know she liked apples and the green apple taste that accompanies this wine is so pronounced and it mates so well with the lemon and bit of honey in the finish. Come on, grandma — you have to love it! Smile for me!

Well, if that white isn’t for you, how about a heavy hitting Pinot Noir? Let me pour you a glass of Mark West’s Black Pinot Noir, please? This wouldn’t be your usual easy sipping Pinot Noir because it’s aged for about three-fourths of a year in French and Hungarian oak casks. And grandma, while sitting in those casks, the timid red wine becomes much more complex. Yes, it exhibits the usual light cherry taste but, there’s so much more to love because the casks release their vanilla and oak tastes into the wine. And grandma, there’s some chocolate to taste, too! Come on, you’ve got to love this one!

OK, I still can’t see you smiling so let’s try one more wine. I know you enjoyed flowers so let’s pop the cork on a bottle of Santa Margherita Brut Rosé. Can you smell the floral aroma and see the sparkling bubbles? It’s excitingly refreshing and gorgeous to see — such a nice soft pink color. Do I see a hint of a smile? I’ll say you are smiling and I’ll love the memory!

Speaking of love…

A while ago, I was on my way into an office building and saw a friend and colleague carrying boxes into the building. I asked if I could help and was granted the honor of hefting boxes into the lobby. When finished, I was asked if she could have a few minutes of my time and we started to talk about funding possibilities for a healthy living program.

As we talked, I noticed a tattoo of a small cross on her hand and asked if it had any significance. She said it didn’t but then showed me a tattoo that did have significance.

On her arm, was a beautiful floral tattoo and I asked for the story of it. She pointed to some cursive writing inside the tattoo. Flowing among the artwork was the precise handwriting of her grandmother revealing her signature statement to her family: Love, Grandma.

Wow! It blew me away. My friend said how much she loved her grandma and now she would forever carry her through life — never to be forgotten. And, those two words would always remind her how much her grandmother loved her.

I don’t doubt my grandmother loved me and all of us kids. I just wish we all remembered her smiling.

You know, in retrospect, maybe Grandma’s stern face was her way of saying to us: “Love, Grandma.”

Next week, where does heritage fit into beer?

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