Papa Gorilla

Papa! Where’s Papa Gorilla?”

I was sitting with Aksy, my grandson, and, with an amused but concerned look in his eyes, he asked: “Papa! Where’s Papa Gorilla?”

This calls for a bit of a back story.

It began a few years ago when I was playing with my grandson. We would run around the room as I tried to tickle him and, at times, I would “hide” around a corner to surprise him as he walked by me. As this action was occurring, a thought began to form in my mind.

I thought back to when I would read Maurice Sendak’s book “Where The Wild Things Are” to our kids and how the animals came alive through my actions. And, so I thought, “What if…?”

And, Papa Gorilla was born!

Sometime later, as I was playing with my grandson, I transformed into a gorilla. My body bent over, my arms began to swing back and forth, my walk became a bent kneed saunter and grunting emanated from my mouth. Aksy stared and couldn’t figure out what was happening until my grunting told him Papa Gorilla wanted a banana and his belly was full of them.

You can imagine where Papa Gorilla found a banana and the squeals of laughter cemented the creature in our lives. Since that day and usually when least expected, the gorilla appears and the fun begins. We were recently with Aksy and, during our time together, there were many visits from Papa Gorilla — good times!

Our visit to our New York City family was full of wonderful celebrations (birthdays and anniversaries) and they produced many opportunities for good food and fine beverages.

One of the birthday parties was at the Gramercy Tavern and, along with fantastic food, I was introduced to two new wines. The setting was casually formal and the service was fantastically professional. A white and a red appeared before me.

The red was Chapter 24 — The Union, a Pinot Noir from Washington’s Willamette Valley. Its aroma was quite earthy and its taste presented hints of raspberry, cherry and a nice bit of spice at the end. An excellent wine.

The white was Domaine Janine et Dominique Sauvignon Blanc from Sancere, France. It was beautifully pale gold in the glass, literally filled the glass with green apple aroma and gave a nice minerally light acidic apple taste. Refreshing and a real pleasure to taste.

After the lunch, we went back to our grandson’s apartment and Papa Gorilla appeared. He got to eat a banana from someone’s belly midst peals of laughter and a lot of kicking. After a bit, the animal disappeared and there was a need to slake my/his thirst.

From the fridge came a bottle of Sierra Nevada 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Hoppy Ale. My thirst disappeared as the beer’s piney and heavy citrus tastes flowed over my tongue. Surprisingly, there was a bit of caramel sweetness with it — a perfect brew for any animal.

The next day we took a walk through Central Park — the temperature was in the mid-60s with light breezes and sunshine. Aksy took off his shirt and ran around the park with his mother trying to prove he could outlast our fitness oriented daughter — it didn’t happen. Papa Gorilla watched everything and was ready to appear at any moment.

That night it was time for a nightcap and a bottle of Italian Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur appeared and, exhibiting Minnesota Nice, I accepted a taste of it.

All one needs is about an ounce or so this liqueur to appreciate its amazing taste of — get ready — oranges! It’s like someone poured some maple syrup on the liqueur as it was being made. It was satisfying, comforting and so easy to sip. An amazing liqueur!

At a birthday party the next day, a bottle of Moët & Chandon 2012 Grand Vintage Extra Brut Champagne was set before us. Papa Gorilla solemnly sipped a glass of it and was very happy with its flinty classic taste.

Later that night and after Papa Gorilla had eaten another banana and Aksy was asleep, the animal quieted down with a little glass of Russian Valley (California) Ramey Chardonnay. It was lusciously creamy with a touch of acidity to cleanse your palate. It was time for the animal to go to bed.

As much as Papa Gorilla enjoys sampling different beverages, he loves eating bananas from Aksy’s belly. However, whenever the animal doesn’t appear for a while, the question is heard: “Papa! Where’s Papa Gorilla?”

And, after a brief moment of time and a transformation, he appears.

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



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