I belong to a “wine-honoring” group of 5 gorgeous, prime of their life women, who meet a couple evenings a week. We call ourselves “THE 5 O'CLOCK SOMEWHEREs.” We meet at various watering holes for a sip and a chat. One particular evening, we were popping a cork to celebrate one of our funniest member’s birthdays in the outdoor seating area of a local restaurant.
Lots of laughing, whooping, and an occasional naughty word would grab the attention of passersby – all wondering who we are and no-doubt wishing they could join us, if not be us. After much carrying on, and with our laughter increasing in volume with each sip of wine, one of us noticed two young police officers coming our way.
Birthday Girl says, “I think we’re about to be arrested for causing a public disturbance.” She nods in the direction of the two uniformed hunks who could easily pass as one of our sons.
“Surprise, here come your birthday strippers!” I said in jest.
Birthday Girl, thrilled with anticipation, turned her chair to face the officers.
The two officers proceeded to pass us by, hands on hips and seemingly unaware of what I had said, as we nearly fell off our chairs laughing and hugging our bellies to keep from peeing our pants.
Birthday Girl could hardly contain herself. Very disappointed that they ignored us, she jumped out of her chair, marched over and stepped in front of the officers.
“Hi. It’s my birthday. Are you my strippers?”
“Ma'am, please take two steps back.” Officer Blonde held one hand out to stop her and placed his other hand on his holster.
“Show us both your hands,” Officer Brunette shouted, taking a wide stance.
Birthday Girl froze in place, arms in the air. Actually, we all froze in place and silence took over.
“Ahh, we’re just kidding.” Officer Blonde relaxed and smiled, waving to our table.
“Surprise! Happy Birthday,” Officer Burnette said as he reached up to bring Birthday Girl’s arms back down by her side. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time someone asked if they were strippers.
Even though we are at the age when we could be wearing Depends, no one had needed them before that day. Laughter is the best medicine when taken with good friends, even if it puts you in an embarrassing situation!
We describe her as full-bodied
and try not to offend
when times our pallet might prefer
embracing a mixed-blend.
She prospers in a climate which
fashions her big and bold.
Her thick skin characteristics
improves as she gets old.
Her bouquet of oak mixes well
with spice from Cab’net Franc
and light, sweet grassy aroma
thieved from Sauvignon Blanc.
With ruby reds upon the edge
Glass held with pinky class,
She swirls in space, collects her legs
seen melding through the glass.
Plucked off the vine with me in mind
To make me blush (or flush?)
She’s always there when I need her,
My Cabernet—my wine crush.
WINE IS BOTTLED POETRY.
~Robert Louis Stevenson
One spring evening, most likely a pizza and wine night at my house, my sister, sister-in-law and I were sipping and chatting at my kitchen table. My seven-year-old son excused himself into our conversation-- some of you might use the word “interrupted”—and was excited to show us his daily journal filled with stories about his dog, Rex, The King.
“I didn’t know you had a dog,” my sister said with quite a bit of surprise since she visited my house most days.
“Just go with it,” I said then sipped.
For the early years of my son's elementary school life he told tales, and journal stories, about our dog Rex, The King. They were wonderful narratives: What did you do over the week end? “Played catch with my dog Rex.” Best part about Christmas vacation? “Playing with my dog Rex.” Who’s your best friend? “My dog Rex, The King.”
The only problem was that we did not have a dog! When he turned 8 years old, and the last of his three older sisters went away to college, he cried, "I have no more sisters left." So, we finally brought a dog home for him.
But, then we had another conundrum; we couldn’t name HER Rex, The King. I called my father, who had named the two Great Danes we grew up with Thor and Bacchus, for some help. To him it was simple, “If you can’t name her Rex, The King (which is funny …since he named me Kyle) name her Regina, The Queen.
Reggie, which soon became her nickname, could not be any smarter nor any sweeter. She could not be any more well-behaved, nor have any more personality. And that is not just me talking! She graduated from Pre-school "First in her Class" and was dubbed "Little Miss Personality." She then moved on to Post-graduate and literally kept up with the big dogs. Because Reggie was such a dream pet, two of my daughters and two of my sisters adopted puppies. None of them, as ideal as Reggie (I’m not biased or anything!)
Reggie is an apricot beauty, svelte and sleek with velvet-like fur and half-inch long eyelashes that emphasize her expression-filled eyes. Her mother was a white Poodle and her father a Cocker Spaniel, making her a Cockerpoo, a mutt. Yet, she has always believed she was a show dog; she stands like a prize-winning Standard Poodle, she runs around like a Greyhound on a racetrack, and she jumps like an Olympic Jumper Horse. Now that she is into her 14th year, no one is going to let her think that she is anything less.
I’ve told my children many times over, “If I had Reggie first, I would have had four dogs and no children.” My son graduates from college this month so that means for a while now Reggie has been my sidekick, my travel companion and my wine buddie, thanks to her I never have to drink alone.
Fun Fact: International Cabernet Sauvignon Day is always the Thursday before Labor Day! And, this year it falls on her birthday August 31th, 2017. She hits the right Thursday one out of every seven years. So, in dog years, that means every year is International Cabernet Sauvignon Day on her Birthday, right? Works for me!
Reggie and I… the perfect pairing.
We had just moved into our new home in a South Florida country club neighborhood when my husband got called away on business. He was gone for months and only home for a few days at a time.
It was a large house and we had moved furniture into it from two other homes, one house in “South-er” Florida, the other in Massachusetts. If you know anything about new Florida homes, you’ll know that it was needless to ship our furniture from Massachusetts.
It was six pm, I was exhausted from unpacking and had called it a night. Having to pick my son up from his after-school activities, I backed out of my driveway and my new next door neighbor, Vivian, stopped me.
Great. Just Great!
I had on my Pajamas: purple flannel shorts with cute little owls and a solid colored non-matching t-shirt. I won’t mention what was or was not underneath them. I reluctantly rolled down my window.
Viv and I chatted for a few minutes about an upcoming luncheon and a golf event at “the club.” We finally said our goodbyes and she backed away from my car. Her arms quickly started flailing, bringing me to a stop. Her dog, Chanel, had crawled under my car. She said it was Chanel’s way of preventing me from going anywhere and that she had to get in the car to make it look like she was leaving for Chanel to come out. Apparently, this happens all the time. OK, so here we sit, the dog in control of when I can pick up my son.
Ten minutes later, Chanel came out from under my car and Viv jumped out and swooped her up. So, off I go.
Can you believe I ran out of gas? Yes, right in front of my neighbor’s house, in my new fancy neighborhood, in my pajamas. The first thing I did was text my son so he’d know I’d be late. Viv fetched Josette, a petite red-head- her “other-side next-door neighbor.” We were introduced and she let me know in her delightful French,
"Je n’ai pas de gaz pour vous.”
As we chatted, Sarah from across the street came out and introduced herself. Of course, she didn’t have any gas but I learned she was an ER doctor. “If you need anything medical-related you can call me. Call Josette if you need anything “hostess-y” or baking related, and Viv is our resident artist, she loves to refinish furniture. The neighbor over there, well, he’s a proctologist, so...”
“For the moment, I just need to pick up my son.”
I debated running to my house, to at least change my clothes, but I didn’t want to leave my car smack dab in the middle of the road. And then I saw her coming. Viv had gone down the street to rouse up yet another neighbor. And they were carrying a large, red five-gallon can of gas.
Viv excitedly introduced me to Bill and Darlene. As Bill filled my gas tank, Darlene explained why she had a 3x3 gauze pad taped to the side of her face, “Removal of basal cells.” Something I’ve come to learn a lot about while living in Florida.
I was grateful for the gas, for meeting all my neighbors, and for no one mentioning my pajamas (at least not that day.... I heard about them from women who weren’t anywhere nearby that night, for years to come.)
When I returned home, Darlene had left a bottle of wine on my door step with a note welcoming me to the neighborhood and, “to call her anytime.” I called her that night for a chat and a glass of wine and many, many nights after that.
Kyle Ann Robertson
Chief Writing Officer at Ifcorkscouldtalk.com and BBWalsh.com