Tomorrow I will have been married to my husband Andrew for 29 years. I was 22 when we married, just out of college – a tall, tan, lithe size 8, with narry a wrinkle, sag or stretch mark to be seen, And Andrew – ah Andrew – was a dark, dashing romantic ladies’ man of 25, who loved jazz, good food and wine, and drove a 1969 mustang. Looking back, I have to admit I grieve somewhat for our young, ripe and luscious selves.
Twenty nine years later, after raising two children and working to make ends meet in both boom and bust times, it feels like we have just completed a lengthy relay race. We have been excellent teammates, learning how to pass the baton to each other, one of us picking up when the other was spent, but always running the same way, with the same goal in mind. And now, as our children are grown and off on their own race, we stand at the finish line, with hands on knees, parched, winded, and wondering what’s next.
That race has taken its toll, as I imagine it has with all long married couples. We are no longer who we were at its start, neither physically or emotionally. So we are surveying the landscape, and slowly making our way toward a new love life together. And this journey requires seeing with new eyes. Without that precious baton of child-raising to watch and cradle between us, we can now focus on seeing ourselves and each other again. With new eyes, I am re-discovering his gifts.
As we strolled through the vineyards yesterday, Andrew would pop off a few grapes from each type for us to taste, educating me on the differences between them. We savored the rich purple cabernet sauvignons, the juicy red merlots, and the lively yellow rieslings. At the top of the hill we came upon the late harvest tannat grapes. These grapes were not much to look at, smaller and drier, with a very tough outer skin. But, as Andrew reminded me, the intense fruit, spice and tannins of the tannat grape produce powerful wines capable of long aging. Andrew plucked one of the tannats, put it in my mouth, and told me to suck out the juice. And he was right, that juice WAS the sweetest of all.