A Toast to my Dear Friend, Gene

Paisaje de Tupunagato Finca Filchman, 2008

Paisaje de Tupunagato Finca Filchman, 2008

Paisaje de Tupungato by Finca Flichman is an Argentinian Bordeaux blend. It’s made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. While it has quite a nice structure; full body, good tannins, and a crisp acidity, the aromas and flavors of the wine are subdued. The cooler than normal temperatures and more rainfall in Argentinia in 2008 would explain the wine’s mild flavor. But the strength of the elements alone, its structure is enough to make Finca Filchman Paisaje de Tupungato a good wine.

A dear friend of mine passed away last week. Though he had been in poor health, I didn’t expected to lose him this soon. As news of his passing spread, friends from all over posted memories and farewells on his Facebook page. In his life, Gene had enjoyed a great deal of career success. He was very talented and had won awards in his field.  He had even been featured in a magazine at one point.  But that isn’t what his friends remembered about him. By the end of the week his Facebook page was full of stories about great parties he’d hosted, beautiful meals he’d made and wonderful conversations we’d had with him. His stories, his wit, his humor, those are the things that we remembered and shared.

One time when I was very stressed about work, I complained to my good friend, Gene about it.  During the conversation, I said, ‘Maybe I should quit my job and go to graduate school.’  To this Gene responded by laughing his jovial, infectious laugh.  Then he said in a completely serious tone of voice, ‘Maybe you could just climb back into the womb.’  He laughed some more and I realized at the time that he was giving me a cold splash of humor to snap me out of it.  I have long since forgotten what I was so stressed about at work, but I will never forget that conversation with my dear friend.

I’ve always thought of career and accomplishment as the structure of life. The flavor of life, the fluff, as I saw it, came from socializing and entertaining. I think I’ve always had it wrong. Career and accomplishment are what give life flavor. But the real structure of life, its foundation and meaning are found in the time we spend with people. And the time they spend with us is how we measure our friends’ greatness in our own lives. To you my dear friend, you were truly great.  I will miss you terribly.

Photo by Lynn Wooten

Photo by Lynn Wooten