“I don’t like funerals,” my son told me forthrightly. He was letting me know that he wouldn’t be coming with me to the memorial service for the husband of a family friend. He knows that funerals are for the living, the loved ones left behind, and that we would be there to let our friend know that we were thinking about her; we would be there to support her. He knows all that, but nobody likes funerals.
For my 57th birthday this year I opened a 1976 Rheingau Johannishof Auslese Riesling. I was 15 years old when the wine’s grapes were harvested. After 42 years of aging, the wine was amazing; deep gold in color with aromas of white tea, camomile, orange zest, dried mangoes and sage, the wine was luscious without being overly sweet, and acidic without being tart. It was perfectly balanced with deep, complex aromas. It was absolutely magnificent.
Wine can cross time and place. 42 years ago I was beginning my freshman year of high school in central Ohio while someone I’ll never know was picking grapes in Rheingau Germany. Our worlds intersected on my birthday this year.
It seems like only a few years ago I gave our friend and her husband a bottle of Champagne to celebrate their recent wedding. In truth it was 15 years ago.
Nobody likes funerals because they are a reminder to us of our own mortality. They are a reminder of how quickly time passes. What seems like eternity becomes a brief visit. Living life is like raising children; the nights are long but the years are short.