There was some truth to this. Everyone who knew her understood that wine was one of her passions. To her, wine was more than a beverage. It was a multi-layered sensory experience. And she loved learning about it. Every region, every grape, every winery, every year is different, and she wanted to know about everything related to wine. When she talked about it, both sides of her brain kicked in at the same time and she was beside herself with enthusiasm.
Her love of wine began about 25 years ago. She and the younger of her two sisters were professional women living together in Houston. One Christmas Kathleen decided to give her sister a series of wine-tasting classes conducted by a boutique wine shop. Kathleen attended with her, and they both loved it. They discovered the world of wine, met wine-makers and wine distributors; and they made friends with the shop owner and other students.
They took more courses and their knowledge grew. They got together with their new wine friends for wine-related social events. They even went to the California “Wine Country.” When Kathleen moved to Miami, she found a more international wine community. She attended wine-tastings there and made a new circle of wine friends.
Once when we were courting, Kathleen spread a tablecloth on the dock outside her condo on the Biscayne Bay. She made a wonderful salad, which we ate as the sunset illuminated the water and the clouds in an indescribable display of light. As it grew dark, she lighted candles and we drank a 1994 Benziger merlot. It was lovely, and I was happy. Perhaps this is what she meant by seduction by wine.
On another occasion she took me out to dinner at the courtyard restaurant in the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. It was one of the fanciest restaurants in Miami. We were seated next to a gorgeous fountain, no doubt according to her request. She ordered a bottle of Grgich Hills cabernet. The dinner was wonderful, and I have fond memories of being treated like royalty. And she paid the tab.
Yes, the wine was fabulous, but that’s not really what seduced me. What did it for me was the life wisdom. One of our daily rituals was to sit on her back porch and watch the sun go down. She would get real quiet and seem to be totally absorbed in the beauty of the moment. At a certain point, her eyes would fill with tears.
“Sunsets really move you,” I remember saying.
“Beauty rests the mind,” she replied.
Then there was the time when we were sitting on the edge of the dock and a baby stingray shot straight up five feet out of the water. It did a somersault and fell back in. Without skipping a beat, Kathleen said, “If you’re not there when the miracle happens, you won’t see it.”
She had an engaging way of telling stories. She would begin somewhere in the middle and tell everything out of time sequence. Afterwards I’d try to piece it together chronologically to make sure I got it right. I was impressed that her way of telling stories was more entertaining than mine, and I once asked her how she came to be such a good storyteller. She replied, “Stories invent themselves, every day.”
Now, fourteen years later, she has abandoned her banking career and writes mystery novels full-time.
To me, wisdom is a lot more dizzying than wine. I just woke up one day and realized I couldn’t live without her.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .