Our first snow of the season followed by the first hard freeze a couple of days later let us know that cold weather is here. It is no secret that I am not a fan of this time of the year; the cold only makes me wish for the warm. The meteorologists suggest that this may be another cold winter. If having an early snow event on 31 October/1 November is any indication, those folks may just be telling the truth. The best that can be said for cold weather is that for a couple of months, we have a respite from the daily chores of the vineyard. And with the cold, comes a natural version of insect control for the growing season in 2015.
We have just a short time left in 2014. I remember when I was young, and my parents or grandparents would comment on how fast time was passing, I always thought Christmas, a vacation, or turning 16 would never arrive. I now understand what they were saying! Wasn’t it just 2012 a few days ago? I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘a few’, right?
We will be hosting our second annual A Handcrafted Christmas at Addison Farms Vineyard on Saturday 6 December 2014 from 10a-6p. Come out, see us and find the perfect handcrafted gifts, from pottery to paintings, leather-tooling to custom furniture.
As part of the season, this fall has brought loss to our family, and it is the anniversary of another loss. Pat, Tommy’s mother, ended her journey on Wednesday 22 October 2014. Many sicknesses cause pain, but none, I think, are so cruel as dementia. And sometimes, illness sneaks up on us. We lost our good friend [and the chocolate maker] Doris Gibson on Sunday 19 October 2014 to a previously undiagnosed condition. We remember both Doris and Pat fondly, and pray for peace and comfort for their loved ones. We also take a moment to remember a good friend, a beautiful soul, and a kind heart taken too soon. Twenty years ago this October, Karen Styles was taken from us. Karen was my friend. When you say a prayer tonight, meditate, or send out peaceful thoughts, please remember Pat, Doris, and Karen’s families.
My last thought for this installment has to do with Veteran’s Day. My dad spent 13 months in Vietnam in 1968-69. Those of his era did not come home to a hero’s welcome. Well, I will say this: My dad is my hero. Thank a veteran this week. I guarantee they will appreciate the gesture. Happy Veteran’s Day to all who serve[d].
One of my favorite stories from that period involved the purchase of a radio. While he was in Vietnam, at some point, my dad bought a radio. At the time, he was sending nearly all of his paycheck home to his wife [my mother], and they were saving every penny so they could build a house when he returned from Vietnam. At the time, she was still living at home with her parents, my grandparents. In his letter to her, he included his pay minus the amount for the radio. My mother sent him a letter suggesting strongly that buying a radio was not a good spend of money, that maybe he should get rid of the radio. In the time it took the letters to cross, Pa Fris had already reached the same conclusion. He sold the radio to another member of his platoon, and he sent another letter and the additional money home to Ma Fris! I suppose that story is better told from the first- rather than third-person perspective, but the story makes me smile!
And for the record, they built that house, their home. They started and raised their family there. They provided my brother and I with a place where we know we are always welcome and loved. It thrills me to be back on this farm, spending time with our family, working, farming, building structures and memories, and making wine.