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Welcome leads to discovery

Welcome! Such an easy word to say but, in so many instances, so hard to fulfill.

Growing up a very quiet and introverted farm boy, I was always hesitant to talk to people — especially, those folks I didn’t know.

Our family farm and life style allowed me to kind of isolate myself, and perhaps that’s why I enjoyed the solitude of field work. When working with another person in the fields, most of our communicating was done via hand signals or head nods.

I seldom had to greet anyone on the farm (Certainly not complete strangers!) but attending public school and college induced me to meet new and, at times, very different people. Slowly, very slowly, I realized that welcoming led to discovery and the world began to open up to me.

As the years passed and new people and places entered and left my journey, there grew a belief that respectfully greeting a person many times opened the doors to new and refreshing breezes of richness.

For example…

Coffee was always a terrific way to meet and learn. As we shared work with many of our farming neighbors and at break times, coffee was the great equalizer. As we sipped, we talked, munched and laughed together. Through a cup of coffee, I felt welcome among the adults and discovered them to be very much like me and my family. It wasn’t easy for me to be among those hard working farmers but they welcomed me as an equal and I discovered them to be wonderful neighbors.

In my post farming years, wine entered my life and the liquid became a way to meet and discover new friends. It was over a glass of German Riesling — a Mosel — when I met my future wife — talk about welcoming and discovering!

Since that glass of wine, Rieslings have always found a welcoming tongue in my mouth and I always “see” where the wine gets its minerality — which is from the stony hillsides of the Mosel River valley. Even if the wine comes from Washington State, I see those German slopes that are filled with grape vines.

Another welcome discovery about Riesling is they can completely cover the taste spectrum — from very sweet to very dry. One of my favorites comes from the state of Washington and that’s the spectacularly dry Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. It possesses a welcoming sweetness but you’ll soon discover a crisp dry finish.

It seems I discover new wines every week — sometimes, even daily. I like the Chardonnay that Hahn Family Wines produces. This California wine welcomed my with its very first taste and it’s been a friend of mine ever since that many years ago initial sip. There’s a nice balance between lemon, vanilla and oak leading to a long clean finish. A real treat!

Like a good cup of coffee or a fantastic glass of wine, a smile and a welcoming greeting are a pleasant way to discover new friends of any kind.

During a visit to a local bookstore, a conversation started between me and a couple. The husband and wife team noticed my reference to a certain town and that began a chat about our common knowledge of that town.

In the midst of our talk, the husband noted he was a Jackrabbit from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. I sympathized with him and informed him I was an Augie Doggie from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We traded humorous barbs and thus started a new friendship.

All along my life’s pathway, I have used the knowledge and experience I learned from those very hard working farmers of the past. I have “heard” their laughter and wisdom many times when I drink a cup of coffee. Likewise, I always think back to a certain young woman I met over a glass of Riesling — it changed my life forever. Thankfully!

One never knows who is standing next to you and it doesn’t hurt anyone to simply say a welcoming word of acknowledgment to them and, then, wait for the discovery!

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

Cheers!

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