Monday, August 14, 2017

My Love, We Shall Hang

In order to be one of my people, you have to be able to talk.

Two of my regulars were missing in action after she face-planted in Carytown at the Watermelon Festival shortly before the wine dinner was to commence. Truth be told, I wouldn't have thought any of my people would bother with the madness at that festival. Nonetheless, they were missed.

You can begin the ascent to my people status, as the newcomer at my table did, by announcing, "I'm a lonely man" and wind up so comfortable with us that you start humble-bragging and show us photos of your mid-century Alan McCullough house on southside. So much glass.

I awarded him points when we discovered that he also shares my hometown and then again when he inquires of the table who's been to Italy, thus providing a chance to share my memories of Florence and the Amalfi Coast and launching a wide-ranging discussion of Italy's provinces.

That he'd been so many times pre-retirement, back when he was a wine rep, only made his stories more colorful.

In order to hang, you need a bank of stories and experiences to share, so that when I talk about the food poisoning that hit me last week, you can come back with a story of a cassoulet you ate in France that did you in.

Being at my table means that tonight's wine rep tells us, "I think you're my favorite table" and later, as she's pouring us glasses of Fazio Nero d'Avola, "Nobody wants a thin wine with pasta."

She failed to elaborate on when a thin wine was warranted and we didn't pursue it.

Pru showed up in a maxi-dress, Beau offered me relationship advice and, as a sidenote to Pru telling us about the time she dated a football player, we somehow got on the subject of AMC cars like Gremlins and Pacers.

It should be noted that I kept it to myself that I once owned an AMC Hornet. A woman can't be expected to give away all her secrets at a Sicilian wine dinner, now can she?

As for the dinner's pairings, top prize went to grilled prawns with lemon aioli accompanied by Fazio Grillo, a creamy summer sipper of the highest order. Nearly as perfect was Fazio Rosato sipped with watermelon, mozzarella and prosciutto, a pairing that managed to wed the wetness of the watermelon with the bone dry finish of the Rosato.

All my people, new and old, appreciated those combinations.

What I hadn't anticipated was the afterparty that unfolded on an outside patio once the wine dinner cast of characters had gone home to watch TV.

A new configuration of my people gathered to dish with abandon in the night air and not on the subject of wine or Sicily because there's so much more worthy of conversation.

Six of us convened around a table, opinions and questions flying, while, unbeknownst to us, a scofflaw scaled the crane on the construction site behind the building and cops sped by to get him down.

When the conversational free-for-all ended at nearly 1:30, we saw that a lone cop still sat in his car guarding the crane. Only later did I hear about all the counter protests going on at the same time across the river in reaction to Charlottesville's mayhem.

Sometimes I get so caught up with my people that the hours fly by in a haze of words and wisdom and I'm grateful for the people around me.

In the immortal words of the Cars, it was just what I needed.

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