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Take notice

What I’ve noticed lately are the things I didn’t notice before, well, maybe noticed but took for granted. Also, what I’ve noticed are the things I have noticed and never taken for granted.

So, what caused this “awakening”? A simple thing like listening to a new friend.

I met “Jross” about nine months ago. She lives near us and is a very mature woman with a terrific sense of humor. We nodded to each other a few times and then I introduced myself to her. She is stooped over, walks with the aid of a walker, has hearing difficulties and, I found out, is four months shy of her 100th birthday!

Upon chatting with her, I discovered she enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay, and noticing that commonality, we immediately bonded. We shared a few laughs and agreed we must sit down together to sip and talk.

History is a passion of mine and what I’ve noticed lately is how much of our area’s history is — shall we say — disappearing. My new friend gave me reason to not take so much for granted and, during our quick conversations, I listened and learned from her.

Oh, the history this woman contains! Her family lived through the final stages of the 1918 flu pandemic, has connections to WWI, lived through the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the Depression, WWII, the “good times” of the 1950s, the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, Vietnam War and all the other noticeable happenings up to this current day.

I took many of those occurrences for granted because I have lived through them and have been affected by them. Those I lived through were just, you know, those things that happened. I knew they were socially shifting events — the Civil Rights struggle, the Vietnam War, etc. — but I took them for granted. That is something one should never do — actions have consequences and big actions have huge and long lasting consequences. However, here’s what else “Jross” taught me.

Don’t take anything for granted because either you or the thing may not be here tomorrow.

Ouch! That’s hard to digest so fast but it’s so true. She talked about not being able to hear as well as she could just a couple of years ago. We talked at a rather high volume to we could communicate and that just meant our laughing was loud, too!

She touched on the various aspects of her almost century of living and how she took so many things for granted but now wishes she had taken the time to appreciate them. Things like the ability to breathe easily, to see clearly, to use one’s hands without thinking and to enjoy unimpeded walking led her list but never, never did she mention a lack of rationality. She’s very sharp and possesses something I take for granted everyday — the ability to appreciate what I have.

I take for granted that Leese — Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon will always be available and just sip through it without too much thinking. Not anymore — I’ll notice its rich dark cherry flavors and aroma every time I open a bottle of it.

“Jross” opened my eyes to the beauty of everyday — to notice the awakening of spring and its vibrant colors. To take a deep breath of fresh air as I walk and to really feel it enter my lungs. I’ve always noticed birds but now say a word of thanks to them as they sing to me. To take notice of my walking without aid — what a joy!

After all of our conversations, we always part by saying that one day we’ll share a glass of wine. The current situation makes us both wary but it must be done before the inevitability of disappearance occurs.

So, to my new and dear old friend, I raise a glass of Joel Gott’s Chardonnay. When “Jross” is comfortable sharing such a glass with me, I believe she’ll like its nice apple/melon flavors and its crisp mineral finish. I want to see her face brighten with joy as we laugh over it.

“Jross” holds a special place within me — she’s no saint and would be the first to admit to that! However, there’s so much for her to teach me and I want to learn as much as I can from her before either one of us is not here tomorrow.

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