Yesterday was a much needed break from reality- and all in the name of December birthdays. I am blessed enough to have some of those great long time friends that are more like family. My mom’s best friend, a friend of hers, the best friend’s daughter and boyfriend ( a heck of a man and our wonderful d.d.) enjoyed an all day birthday month outing.
We started our day at Adalia’s house (my mom’s best friend) for snacks, champagne and pictures. We loaded into the car and from there- our journey began- a day of wine tasting touring. Between personal life, medical life, writing and opening a publishing house with my partners (which is not an easy ho-hum task if you do it properly.) – A break from the norm was exactly what I needed. I savored the heck out of it.
The first winery, I knew was made for me when I spotted a steampunkish top hat tree topper. If I were rich, that baby would have come home with me. Since I am NOT, I am going to attempt to connect with my crafty side very soon and create it myself. Pray I have one somewhere in there. The wine tasting was a blast. Mister makes everything fun. If normal people could be like him sober, and love life the way he does- nobody would need to drink.
Adalia is like a second mom to me. I have known her my entire life and talking with her, she is so vibrant and strong, next to my own mother, she is what I strive to be. I cannot tell you how honored I felt to be invited on one of their adventures. No matter how weak your heart or body may feel, this group of people radiate strength, happiness and enjoying every moment of life.
Melanie- Oh Lord, this sweet woman. She is a slight bit older than I am- not much, but still, she beams this beauty of youth and I swear, if she wasn’t so damn sweet, her beauty would be enough to hate her. HAHA. I always looked at her as the sister I always wanted. I didn’t get to see her often as I grew up, but when I did, it was like a kid getting to see Santa (after the fear of him goes away kind, not the kicking screaming, ‘I don’t wanna sit on his lap!’ kid and Santa experience.) Getting the chance to be around her for an extended period of time was a birthday present in itself.
We laughed. We told stories. We were loud and we lived. After this slump since September, my God, laughing like that was a gift. This group of people don’t just tolerate real raw me- they love me. All of me. All my personalities are welcome in their company. That kind of comfort is priceless.
Our second stop, though- on this wine tasting tour- That is the core of my tale.
Something about this place pulled me in from the moment we parked. I love old unique buildings, as is- but this castle appeal- the door knockers the wooden beams and brick work- My heart pulled harder the closer we came to entering. We walked into the lobby- and this table of horsd’ourves seemed so very familiar, as if I was walking into a dream.
We were led toward the bar/winery area for the tasting and as we passed through a small dining area, my eyes locked on the tables- the tables held by old black chains connected to the ceiling. I knew what it reminded me of- this place I only ever went once with my mom- and with my dad, aunt and uncle (the last three have all passed away)- I tried to shake the thought off and went to the bar area. The wine tasting was divine. Very well blended wines and the winery shoppe was perfect. If I were rich, I would not have been when I left there- Instead- someone lucky on my Christmas shopping list is getting a fine jar of moonshine jelly.
After hearing the history of the establishment, that was not only a winery- but a fine dining establishment and Inn- we had to walk around and see it. You know, above all- I believe in fate. The more we walked, the faster my heart raced. The rooms- the antiques- the everything….It was like being awake and walking through a dream I visited often. Then- BOOM- I saw it. The tree growing in the middle of the room. A real tree in this beautiful room that went straight up with the roof built around it. I thought I would faint. I was there.
I was in this place I’d only ever been once as a child with family members. It was one of my favorite memories of spending time with my family and even then, I just wanted to move right into the place. It was like a fairy tale in my youth. Honestly, still- It was my fairy tale place. We walked into one of the dining rooms (lots of separate dining rooms) and there it was. The table my family and I were at over twenty years ago. The torches on the wall, the perfectly folded napkins, and there- the tapestry… When I was at this table with my family, I recall fidgeting with it. I walked over and touched each chair- fell into the memory, remembering where my sweet mother was…my father…my aunt and my uncle and that unforgettable cackle he had. I wanted to cry. Touching the chair that was mine, for that one meal, I just wanted to lean down and whisper into the ear of the memory of childhood me and love her…and tell her….I don’t know what I’d tell her. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe not risk ruining that night- that for some reason, she held onto so dearly. Sweet Mister took photos of so many things for me. Of the mural on the wall, of my tree, of a sign I loved walking in, even of me at the antique writing desk.
I didn’t want to leave. Not just then. Not ever. When I die, I hope I can become a ghost and roam this fairy tale place for eternity. I wanted to share it with the people of my soul, those closest to my heart. I have talked of this place so often, not knowing a name or a location- I never thought I would see it again outside of my dreams- and to share it with such great people yesterday- what a birthday fated blessing. I know I will never get married again, but if I did, when I dream about it- it will be here. Something about my heart just pulls in this place. And here is the kicker, guess what is all over this place? Guess? Okay, you are taking too long. Apples. Apples! My dear calling card. Everywhere- fresh, real perfect mounds of apples. You know how at home I felt. I want nothing more than to stay in the Inn. Here is a link to this most wonderful place I thought I would never see again. Scroll through the photos, but I promise, it is nothing as grand as seeing for your own eyes. You have to bucket list this place. It is worth it.
After that, we stopped by a bar called Whiskey Dicks. Come on, it has been a while, it caught my eye. This place was nothing like it appeared from the outside. Another lovely hidden jewel. We had a great time. A bar right on the river, it was a stunning moonlit vision. A good shot of tequila and listening to one of Mister’s fascinating stories as he chatted with the owner of the bar- It was a short stop, but we will return.
Finally, we rounded our day off at a redneck Christmas bonfire party. Nobody parties like southerners do- sorry- Just a fact. There is no such thing as a stranger at a southern get together. I knew absolutely no one there beyond the people I came with and I had a wonderful time. I fought to not focus on the fiery ring of the bonfire as the flames refused the middle, but some thoughts will not vanish no matter how good of a time I may have. We talked books and festivals I’d never heard of in my life. Lots of great food and jello shots for all, great music, karaoke and the most colorfully entertaining folk to kick off the holiday season- Not to mention watching Mister and Adalia dance better than any twenty year olds I’ve ever seen. My body grew very weak as the day caught up with me and the pain took over but, my goodness, it was worth it. Mister did a great job of trying to talk some sense into me and my heart on the way home, which like the other male important influences in my life, he made perfect sense. Logical. Blunt and loving breaking it down for me. Everything my mind knows, everything my heart refuses to hear.
I came home, whimpering in pain and smiling from the best time I have had in a long time. I love these people. It was an honor to be a part of the December birthday girls outing. Days and people that great are what make aging worth while. Now, back to work.