Remembering My Dad on Father’s Day

 

Remembering My Father on Father's Day

My dad and me

A few years back I bought some Concord grapes at the market.   I hadn’t tasted them in years and surprised myself  as the flavorful berry burst in my mouth and I burst into tears.   My father had cultivated Concord grapevines up the side of our garage,  when I was a kid.  My memory of him was apparently inside that grape.  He passed away when I was 13, so my recollection is gauzy…much like peering out from behind the bee nets we would wear to harvest our honey.   He was a beekeeper, among other things.  As a physician and small plane pilot, he had served as a flight surgeon in the Army.   He was a wood-worker, a craftsman, and gardener.  He was the father who had nurtured me until I became a teenager, and then was gone.   As an adult I realize, now,  that I missed out on truly getting to know him as a person, as only grown children can know their parents.  My insight comes from the clues I collected over the years.  He was an eccentric for sure, to house 5 stacked beehives in an urban ¼ acre backyard.  I remember him reading constantly, many books at the same time, and the thousands of books in our home were a testament to his love of them.  I discovered the mysterious root of my wanderlust when I found his massive collection of adventure travel books.  He was an armchair traveler, and that took me around the world.

I missed that feeling of security that having a father allows you.  Some umbrella of protectiveness shut with his loss;  I so envied those who had that.  Truth be told, I still do.  A father’s strong love is unique.

In time,  I was fortunate to gain an amazing father-in-law.  He is also a renaissance man, a physicist, artist and author.  Most importantly, he is father to my husband, also a renaissance man in his own right, and my equally amazing sister-in-law.  I can see how his influence has nurtured them both.  With the advent of our own children, these two new fathers in my life give us so much to celebrate on Father’s Day.

On a string I kept one of the enameled hearts my dad had made as party favors to give my friends on my 12th birthday.  Now I watch my own 12 year old daughter with my husband, as they tease each other and laugh.

My Husband & my daughter

My husband & my oldest daughter

I try to reach back to find those memories of that age to see him through her lens.  I know how lucky my children are to have such an amazing father and grandfather in their lives.  As we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day, no matter where your father is , or what your relationship may be, take this day to cherish just having him in this world.

Now when I eat Concord grapes I know what to expect ,and I let my beautiful memories flood back in.

 

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Travels to France’s Wine Country

I just returned back home after a week-long journey to France’s wine country. Part of my job as a working mom and wine shop owner is to travel to vineyards in the U.S. and abroad to visit with the great wine estates that I work with and represent at the shop. This trip was amazing– but ever so busy– visiting a different wine region and changing hotels each day. We visited in this order – Alsace, Champagne, Sancerre, Puligny Montrachet, Pouilly, Fuisse and the northern Rhone.  This trip was probably one of the best I have ever had.

Each day I spent time in the vineyards with the owners and winemakers studying the soil, in the winery understanding the  producing processes and of course finishing up with a tasting. The tasting often consists of sampling 10-15 different wines. Of course I am not drinking them. I swish and swirl in the mouth and then spit out. Not too lady like sounding but that is part of the job; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do the job. I tasted Champagne and wine as far back as 1973 and 1976 respectively – wow, I was only 2 and 5 then.

At Olivier Leflaive with Patrick Leflaive & Winemaker Franck

I was the only person from RI (well except for my supplier) who was asked to go on the trip and was the only woman, which made it all the more interesting. This actually happens frequently since the wine industry is quite male dominated. However the industry has changed over the last 20 years with more women representing part of the pie or should I say wine.

My background hasn’t always been in wine. I worked in the public relations world for some time, before deciding to make a change and dive head first into a life centered around a passion – wine and food. I love the jump I made, my career and helping people find the best wines for them.  Not once have I ever looked back.

Despite that I love what I do and the great travel opportunities that accompany my career, I always struggle when I get on the plane and leave my 3-year old daughter. I worry that she is sad and feel that I have abandoned her. As a woman who considers herself intelligent, I know rationally this is not the case. I am certain that it’s harder on me than it is her, especially when I have planned her days full of activities so she won’t have as much down time to realize I am gone.  But no matter if it is the 3rd or 20th time that I have gone away, the departure is never easy.

Tell me your thoughts. Do you ever have these feelings when you leave your children whether for work or vacation?

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