I’m a writer, a playwright. And as the cliché goes, this playwright has a penchant for wine, among other things, and have decided it’s time to turn my predilection for this liquid into a fine-tuned, go-to-for-advice palate. This blog is about that journey.
My roots run deep and are ground in dirt and manure and sweat and the sweet reward of sun-soaked fruit spilling down my mouth and shirt as I bit into a ripe tomato or yellow watermelon or peach, a Georgia peach which is like the Aston Martin of the stonefruit world; of running around barefoot while chasing guinea fowls or reaching for scuppernong grapes to suck the ripe asian-pear flavored jelly-like grape from its thick golden skin — forgetfully unaware of hidden dangers lurking in the grasses and vines and shadows, thankful for my mother and her endless supply of sliced onions she used to reduce the immense pain suddenly remembered, caused by bumble bees and yellow jackets.
This was my Disneyland. My father was in the USAF and we didn’t get to visit Georgia and the family homesteads often, but when we did you’d find me raiding my great aunt’s and grandmother’s pantry for jars of jams and preserves, my grandfather’s freezer for frozen cantaloupe balls and grapes, drawing water from the well and finding a freshwater seahorse, shelling peas and stringing beans and plucking feathers from dead chickens and gigging frogs with my dad, fishing for catfish with my great aunt, crying at the sight of a fresh-killed fluffy (my tears were only temporary as I savored every fried bite of rabbit leg), thrilling at the smell of fresh fried quail served with quail gravy over biscuits for breakfast, and Sunday after-church days spent running and eating and porch swinging, going for life-thrilling walks with my granddad, clutching his hand after the man in the caboose passed and waved, I then traversing steel railings and every-other railroad tracks aware I could slip between and fall all the way down to the creek below, far far below it seemed.
When I think back it seems like a mirage as the family farms no longer exist, the train tracks are gone, and the streams now only trickle in spots due to overgrowth and beaver dens. All that remains of one farm is the chimney dating back to the 1850s, the remnants of the water well, and the outhouse which you can barely see anymore as the woods have engulfed it. But I have proof this waxing and waning isn’t just nostalgia as I have scars and imbedded fears of unseen lurking creatures, and a brick from the collapsed chimney reading Dalton Brick & Tile Co. on my mantle along with a mirror framed in wood from the barn.
Now I live in another paradise, San Francisco, and even though its landscape is vastly different, San Francisco offers all the magic of those days spent digging my toes into the sun-moistened grass, sipping sweet tea from mason jars, and eating M&M chocolate-chip cookies snuck to me by my grandmother when my mother’s back was turned. Blue-blue skies and green-green trees wallpaper my living room (when the fog permits), buffalo that look like giant Redwood tree trunks through the distance enchant, farmers’ markets edibles fill my pantry, and wine from up and down the coast and across the pond line my closet; a veritable wonderland.
The stories you’ll find among these pages are about my learnings and wanderings. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride as much as I.