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Monday, June 27, 2016

California Dream Revisited

Because we went out to lunch today with longtime friends to an excellent restaurant in Galt, I decided bring an old post forward into the present and enjoy the sort of confabulation that has characterized our relationship from the '60s and '70s. Long friendships are full of delightful semantic distortions and, rather than tease specimens out of today's encounter, I found this 4-year-old post would easily serve, and so trotted it out. Let's return, for a pleasant while, to another summer:

August 9, 2012:
Norma told me Friend Dan had a magnum bottle of 2004 Sterling Cabernet that I didn't know about. Suddenly, the 103 degree temperature outside was unimportant and we headed over there to make sure it was genuine. Sterling Vineyards is a winery near Calistoga, a central coast region well-known for its waters. They are geyserous and curative and I was hoping the same benefits were imparted to its wine but I am not an optimist and was prepared for pleasurable disappointment.

Dan and I are in our 60s and therefore knew enough to ask our dates to this function some 40 years in advance. They immediately tired of our silent oenophilic appreciation and began discussing "charmeuse" as they wandered away. We didn't know whether they were talking about charmeuse silk or qui exerce un pouvoir de séduction. Being longtime Californians, Dan and I thought they were saying "Shamu", which is the name of a whale at Marine World who became famous for something and whose name was associated with whales ever after.

We decided "charmeuse" is a French word for whale.

Then conversation would drift back as our wives passed though with their heads together and we learned of warp and weft.  All who have taken folding chairs and hot cocoa to Reyes Point in January know the whales are passing by on their way to...something. As we consumed more geyserous  fermentation we mentated upon this migratory imperative. The destination must be where the whales spin their cocoons and emerge as butterflies weighing 3 to 9 tons.

We learned "Shamuese(?)" whale silk(?) is used in bridal gowns, hankies and boxer shorts. It was at this point I looked at Dan and wondered why he stopped aging at 45 while I look every minute of my age. When I recover from the effect of these rejuvenating waters, I fully intend to investigate it. Meanwhile, I'll have what he's having.




24 comments:

  1. I love where you mind takes us... and the thought of hot chocolate at Point Reyes in January sounds delightful!

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    1. Reyes is a cape that thrusts you right out over the sea and is perfect for winter cocoa. A favorite.

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  2. An extraordinary coincidence has occurred. Today I had an intense craving to read a humorous and brilliantly written post which incorporated long-ago days in California. You came through with flying colors.

    The only down side was that the Sterling Cabernet emphasized the fact that I'm living in an unnervingly dry county in Tennessee.

    I fondly recall whale watching in San Diego (I'm not talking tourists - I'm talking real big fish).

    I don't know if wearing silk will subtract my unwanted burden of years - - but I'll give it a try....

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    1. Jon, I've decided the abundance of promontories, points and headlands on this coast means the Pacific is an ocean that LOVES to be looked at. It crashes and laughs and sings, hops up and licks like a big friendly dog. It'll always be with you.

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  3. I think the Sterling Cabernet may have altered your perception of the whale-terflies. I have never seen one that weighed more than 1 ton. Maybe this new meeting will have you ponder the properties of tulle and the effects of the giant octopus on modern civilization.

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    1. True, I may have exaggerated the tonnage of individual butterflies pupated from whales, but I'm one of the few men on earth who use the word "tulle" in scrabble. Impresses everybody!

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  4. Longtime friendships are a joy and a source of wonderful memories. A 2004 Sterling Cab is also a marvelous thing.

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    1. It's a solid combination, Tom. I daresay we're living on the best planet in the world.

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  5. Red wine, old friends, and whales. It doesn't get much better than that...

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    1. Indeed, EC. These are measureless treasures. I will also add the good minds one finds on the internet.

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  6. Interesting...the '04 Cab isn't rated the highest, mostly around a 86 or so, but it's the hardest to find.
    I remember some Sterling years and wines with fondness, there was a 'Two Palms' that took my breath away some decades ago. While in servitude at Cal I lived in Sonoma Co, on River Road, too damn close to some really good wineries back in the late '70s. My buddy, the 'Cook down the street', was briefly a soil scientist for Rodney Strong, before moving to the dark side of Sandia Labs.
    Anyway, a glass of good red, swirled around a generous glass, is one of life's rare pleasures.
    Cheers, Geo.

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    1. From Healdsburg vineyards to nuke-labs in Livermore, quite an adjustment. Fortunately wine is a stabilizer in this chaotic adventure.

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  7. I am very impressed with the thought of whale silk and whaleterflies (as Emma aptly named them)! And also, I don't know how you stand the heat. Whew! But good friends, there's something I understand.

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    1. O Jenny, it's 11 pm and our outside thermometer reads 80 degrees F. Norma and I are in the coolest part of the house --kitchen-- trying to read. She can hear my synapses misfiring!

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  8. Wow! I was thinking as I read that this french word meant something like 'charming.' But the text is very charming, anyway.

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    1. You are correct, Ana! Charmeuse is a French word for "charmer" but it is also the name of a soft, silky fabric.

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  9. So all those UFOs are just whale butterflies? Awesome. I think I'll have a glass of that wine, too...

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    1. Awesome indeed, Squid. Whales with butterfly wings are capable of interplanetary travel. I'm pretty sure whales did not evolve on Earth --very improbable aquatic mammals.

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    2. ... I trust you know the work of Douglas Adams, the Hitchhiker's Guide and so forth. The bit with the whale and the potted plant is one of my favorite passages in all of literature.

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    3. From Dirk Gently to Salmon of Doubt. Mr. Adams is well-represented in my shelves. An astonishing imagination that departed too soon.

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  10. Long-time friends, good wine, engaging conversation, and the ocean. Who could ask for anything more? Sounds like heaven to me... with whales singing the background music. Accompanied by a school of harpfish, of course.

    Happy fourth, dude!

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    1. Harpfish, Of course! What a lovely thought. Thanks and happy fourth to you too, Susan!

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  11. A good memory, to be sure. Whale fluke fingerprints, many glasses of wine (I can remember...), so old stories, maybe some songs as the night wears on...excellent reason to pull this post out into the light!

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I have learned to treasure those friendships that hold up in good light.

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