Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Seasons & New Beginnings

This is the week of new seasons and new beginnings. The leaves of trees and vines are yellowing, and the calendar says autumn has officially begun. The harvests and fermentations are done, and we look next to bottling and the renewal of gopher season . (Watch out Mr. Gopher, I have recently seen “Caddy Shack” since our last confrontation and you are in trouble!) And, last but not least, this is the day when our cars are allowed to return to the garage, which calls for a celebration.

Celebration …. That reminds me. There seems to be something else about this day. I can’t quite get my fogged brain around it. September 24th.... The autumn equinox? The harvest moon? No, no. That’s not it. Ah, yes. The Princess’ birthday. I am the father of a 20-year old this day. Congratulations to me. Or more appropriately, congratulations to the Princess’ Mother, The Queen. I suppose the next thing the Princess will be asking for, after a dog (“Daddy, I’ll take care of him”) and a $3,000 bike (“Daddy, I’ll ride it every day”) will be a date. No, not from a palm tree. Speaking of palm trees, the Queen bought the Princess a harem of palm trees for her birthday present. She bought out the nursery. 46 of them. Not just any palm tree, but the famed “canarius” – the Canary Island Date Palm. These trees sell for $10,000 each, and as the Queen says, the investment can’t be beat. You buy a small tree for $35, put it out in the yard, and 50 years later sell it for $10,000, leaving the Princess with an inheritance of $460,000 when we ascend to the great vineyard in the sky. She ignores questions such as: where are you going to plant those? What are you going to do when they start growing? (These trees are enormous). But never mind, it’s the Princess’ birthday and the Queen can have her way for the day.

But what are we to do about that date thing? The Princess has just arrived in New York City, and the first thing she says is, “Daddy, I just met these two French guys ….” So let’s set the record straight young gentlemen. If you’re even thinking of asking my daughter for a date, here are the 10 questions which must be answered:
1) How many Canary Island Date Palm Trees can you plant in a day?
2) Which part of Paulliac is your vineyard located?
3) How far away is your chateau from Baron Phillip’s?
4) What year did you graduate from Ecole Polytechnique?
5) How many pounds (or kilograms) can you carry?
6) How many guest rooms does your Paris apartment have?
7) Do you prefer “Freedom” oak or American oak?
8) How do you spell “Barack”?
9) Do you know what a shotgun is?
10) Do you understand: “Ne touchez pas!”

Happy Birthday, Princess. (And don’t forget to water your trees!) I’d write more, but Paso Robles Bill has just brought us 200 lbs. of Cabernet Franc grapes which need dealing with – looks like I’ll need to get the cars out of the garage again. Mama threw away all of your old Barbies, Beanie Babies and photographs to make room for the wine. Love, Papa & Bluey.

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