March 4, 2013: Wine Lunches

Jay is the handsome dude in the back
(wired glassed, feathered hair and no shirt)
Cindy and I did enjoy a bit of wine on our mom/sons trip to Chicago. Do note that this guilty indulgence is saved for special occasions like these, so no worries on our overall state of mind. The boys were safe and in good hands. The particular story I have to tell isn't centered around Cindy or our quest to solve the word's problems over a good bottle of wine. It is about my first wine lunch in 1983 with my Uncle Jay.

Note that I was sixteen when this event happened. Although I was quite shocked at the pleasantries surrounding the invitation to join him for a glass of vino, I later found the whole adult-ish experience captivating and wonderful (obviously some danger lights were going off early on).

Now let me describe my Uncle Jay. He was one cool cat. The forever bachelor who rode a motorcycle in cut-off jean shorts. His hang-out was Beer City and women LOVED him. He had a quiet air that was both charming and mysterious. Having Jay as an uncle was a good thing in my teenage eyes. I was one generational lineage away from hip.

The setting of my story was Sioux City, Iowa. The restaurant of note was swanky and exuded high-end. I had never been introduced to a restaurant with such strange ingredients or sandwiches with names I couldn't pronounce. There were no taverns or Bob's dogs on this menu. I had no idea that homemade chips were a meal option or that there were sauces outside of mayo, ketchup or mustard. This restaurant had it all. I was in awe of the atmosphere and trendiness.

Sioux City was a frequent destination for me at that age. My grandfather had suffered a stroke. I would often accompany Grandma and Grandpa to Sioux City as he would receive day long rehab at the hospital. On this particular occasion, Uncle Jay stopped to check on his progress. At lunch time, Jay asked if I wanted to catch a bite to eat with him. Although I was a little shocked at the adult-like invitation, I gladly accepted. The expensive restaurant he suggested was not Grandma's cup of tea though. She chose the hospital cafeteria instead.

As the tall modelesque waitress took our order, Jay looked at me and very coolly asked if I wanted a glass of wine with my turkey club sandwich (with some fancy topping). "Sure" was my surprised response. I am certain my eyes were as big as saucers at that point. Without a blink of an eye by either Jay or the pretty waitress, two glasses of white wine with a really fancy name were placed in front of us. No one seemed to care that I was only sixteen. I was thrilled and fell into my role as plush patron.

I munched on my homemade chips and sipped on my wine like a true woman of class. The more I sipped on that wine, the chattier I became. I started telling my Uncle Jay everything that was on my mind. Everything. I talked A LOT. The more I sipped, the more comfortable I became. As I felt this great bonding between us, he developed a very scared look on his face. I believe this was when he realized that I really was only sixteen and he would have to do some explaining to my grandparents.

Uncle Jay didn't offer me a second glass. Feeling warmth in the face with words spilling from my mouth, he paid the bill and we went on our way. I do remember him giving a wink to the waitress and my taking a nap back at the hospital. We never spoke of our lunch. I guess he just wanted to forget. I'm just glad I remembered.


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