California has not been sunny lately. No mind. My post-lasik eyes don't like bright light anyway. The rain, however, has been cold and biting. Cold like a Missouri rain can be. My last experience with a Georgia rain was a hot one, where steam rose from the streets, making the raindrops seems acidic.
I'm not a sommelier or a wine maker, but I do know that this part of Cali is far wetter than usual. I could be remembering it wrong, but I think we have already topped our annual average. It does make me wonder how the local grapes and therefore the resulting wines will fare.
Me, I'm a cheap wine drinker. I don't like dry wines, prefer full-bodied and fruity... okay, I really prefer mead. But I do like the almost overly-sweet reds and whites, sangrias and muscadines and dessert wines. Label and year mean little to me. But then, I'm not a big wine-drinker, and could care less about impressing people in my home with my wine collection. Good thing, too, as I rarely have more than one bottle at any given time.
My dad and his widow were like that. If they could buy it for $5 in a box, they considered it a good thing. I was always amused when they'd come visit me, as they'd stop off and get a box of wine just before checking into the hotel. By the time I'd driven over to see them, they'd each be nursing a lukewarm plastic hotel cup of wine.
They always kept a box in their home, as well, right by the microwave. A glass of wine was an evening affair, just to change the palette after dinner. His widow used to hand me a glass of wine and sit down for the evening to talk with me. I'm not sure if it was because I felt I had to be social enough to talk until she was done or because she felt as though she had to host me until I was done, but we usually sat up talking until ten or eleven at night, and until we were both exhausted. It always struck me as odd that she couldn't just watch tv with me, she had to talk. It was also nice, in a slightly strained way.
After my dad died, those long conversations seemed to give us something to anchor ourselves to. Otherwise we were strangers that shared two very different sides of the same man.
She tells hilarious stories, from flying in a plane altered for skydivers: only a pilot seat, and no doors... to cross-country trips by plane or car that ended in some wild adventure.
I tell stories of a man that pushed me in directions I had no interest in, and shared little of himself at all.
The man she knew was loving, caring, a friend to all, available, accessible, and quite the character. He was good-spirited, light hearted, and hilarious.
I have no idea who that man was. I never met him.
For a while, the tears fell like hot Georgia rain after he died. Certainly I questioned whether he loved me, or even if he ever liked me. I debated asking his widow. I never did.