Wine time is special to us. In the long-stemmed glasses Dearly Beloved bought which don’t fit in the dishwasher and are therefore a pain to wash, he pours a glass of red for me, white for him, and we sit down together in our early evening ritual to talk and toast something special about the day.
Sometimes we talk of the future, sometimes we reminisce . More than once we have smiled about the long-ago time we indulged in more than one glass–an entire bottle, in fact– on a cold winter night after the kids had gone to bed. We even remember the brand: Gallo Hearty Burgundy, 99¢.
Rarely have we ordered a bottle of wine when the two of us go out to eat, perhaps just a handful of occasions. The first time we can recall doing so, although we no longer remember either the specific event or even the restaurant, we are certain that it was well above our budget and know that we felt quite “big city sophisticated” about the evening.
The server brought our selection, held it out for approval, then proceeded to open it. . . putting the bottle in her left armpit to do so. We looked at each other with wide eyes and tried not to giggle.
Some years later, a young couple we knew in Wisconsin invited us to a wine tasting at their home. They had heard about an excellent German vintner whose rather expensive wines were sold in the US only by the case, through tastings at private homes. They had arranged for an appointment with the sales rep. Would we come, so that perhaps if we tasted something wonderful, we could order a case between us. It would just be the two couples. We agreed to go, but although we had moved up a notch or so from the 99-cent Gallo, we doubted that we would want to order any expensive wines.
While the salesman was setting up his wares, the communion-like, palate-cleansing wafers, water, and the small sampling glasses, we sat and talked as we watched him. Dearly Beloved told the story of the bottle-in-the-armpit incident and we all laughed. The salesman shook his head with just the slightest hint of a sneer.
His slightly haughty spiel about German wines and how they differ from French wines was quite interesting and the names on the bottles he presented from his case were completely foreign to us: Spatlese. . . Auslese. . . Beerenaulese. . . Eiswein. Not a Liebfraumilch or Blue Nun among them. He had insisted that we sit in the den, since tasting these fine German wines was not a kitchen experience.
Finally it was time for the actual tasting. He picked up the bottle and the corkscrew with a swagger and a flourish… then, to our total astonishment, put the bottle between his legs, just a few inches south of his groin, and inserted the corkscrew.
Simultaneously, all four of us threw our heads back, looking up at the ceiling, to eliminate any chance of making eye contact with each other.
By the time he got to the last one, a dessert wine called Eiswein, and he explained how it was made from the grapes frozen on the vine, then pressed while still frozen, I, for one, was biting the inside of my cheeks to hold myself together while waiting to see if the ice wine would be groin-held, too. Alas, it was too expensive for the company to allow sampling, but we could hold the bottle if we wanted.
Yesterday, DB and I went to one of our neighborhood joints for lunch. He is the master of ceremony–remember the lo-o-o-ng stemmed glasses were his idea–and has decided that on Fridays he will have a light beer instead of water or Diet Coke if we go out for lunch. He doesn’t simply order it, he dramatically asks the server if it is Friday before he places his order. Yesterday’s was a Coors Light, while I got my usual Diet Coke with lemon.
She was back quickly, setting my Diet Coke down with her right hand, then taking the silverware and napkins from her left hand and placing them before us. A second trip for DB’s drink?
Nope, there was the opened bottle of beer, safely tucked in her left armpit.
Ah. . . it was fun to be 20-something again, even for an instant.