Monday, May 12, 2008

Richard's Vine

A sea of people gathered to celebrate the planting of the vineyard parted to make way for the station wagon as it mounted the 45 degree driveway to the flat space in the garage, which had been converted to a wine tasting spot for the occasion. On level ground we pulled out your wheel chair, helped you into it and whisked you into the house, then backed the car out of the garage as the hundred other visitors converged on the barrel for another taste.

When Pope Jean-Paul II died of that same Parkinson's disease afflicting you, I prayed to his spirit that he show a miracle and send a healing cure to you.

After the priest blessed the vines I asked you a favor. "Richard, I need your help. Would you like to plant a vine?" I had saved you hole #1, the first spot in the first row which we gaze upon every day out the front windows of our house. Carefully, you were lowered inch by inch down that steep incline by your saintly spouse and the vine was planted (did you plant it yourself or did your family plant it for you?) -- hereafter affectionately known as "Richard's Vine."

We hosted a ceremony to bless the vineyard but it was all of us who were blessed by your presence, as you made the effort to visit us that day from far away, to negotiate those steep inclines and to plant that vine.

I don't know exactly what it is with that row # 1, but of all the thousand vines in the vineyard the 12 vines in that boutique row are our problem children. Only a few of them reached the cordon wire the first year. But yours, our most precious vine, didn't even make it out of the pink grow tube. Still, last Fall it showed life and was green. I pruned it back to give it a fresh start this Spring. It still lags behind the others. It's still in the tube (even though vines we planted just six weeks ago are already well out of their tubes!). We give special attention to your vine. Each time we irrigate, we make sure there is plenty of water (perhaps one reason it's a slow grower is that it was planted too deep?). On Saturday, I put in a new emitter above the vine to make sure it gets twice as much water as any other.

Thank you for your gift to us, and may you find wellness with your new life.

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