My Wine Pages: My Ridge Anniversary!

Today is a special day for me; it’s the day I celebrate my Ridge Anniversary. July 17th. The day I signed my offer letter for employment with Ridge Vineyards. It was an indisputably life-changing day.

When I first came to Ridge, Donn Reisen was still with us, and The Great Recession had not yet occurred. The 2001 Monte Bello had not yet received a 99 point rating from Robert Parker, and this blog did not yet exist. I was not yet a husband, nor a father. I am proudly, miraculously, both now.

Things have certainly changed.

July 17, historically, it seems to me, has not proven to be either a particularly auspicious, or inauspicious date. I mean, admittedly, Constantinople fell to the First Crusade on this date, but, well, that was a long time ago.  Though it does call to mind for me They Might Be Giants’ version of “Istanbul, No Constantinople”:

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Which, I should note, was originally performed by The Four Lads. See for yourself Le Difference!

The Four Lads

They Might Be Giants

 And it was, in fact, the day that Walt Disney opened Disneyland is Anaheim, California, back in 1955. But, well, that was just Goofy …

 It was also Jimmy Cagney’s birthday, which should certainly count for something. And in fact, it was actually the day Billie Holiday passed, which really counts for something.

Lady Day

 Which most certainly calls to mind a great poem by Frank O’ Hara …

Frank O' Hara

 …entitled “The Day Lady Died” …

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille Day, yes
it is 1959, and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in East Hampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me
I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness
and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega, and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatere and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it
and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing.

I get nostalgic when I think of anniversaries, and my inner hobo old bluesman man comes out. I get melancholic, and wise, and mournful, and excellent. And in a strange way, I also get young again. Which calls to mind Bob Dylan’s great song, “My Back Pages”:

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
Proud ’neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Which then calls to mind my re-write of another verse from this song, which I just wrote:

In a pourer’s stance, I aim my wine
At the visitors who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my guests
In the instant that I preach
My wineway led by allusion notes
Poetry from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Which means nothing other than that I learn alot by being here. I have learned SO MUCH by being here.

Sometimes I just stop, look around, and say to myself, “Wow, I work at Ridge!”

July 17th. To paraphrase a line from Ice Cube, “Today was a good day.”

Categories: Events, History

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Congratulations, Christopher! Ridge is lucky to have you, too!

  2. July 17th…
    Also the wedding anniversary for Kara and Jeffisrad.

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