One of the boons of living in the boonies in the Commonwealth State of Virginia ( I can hear my accent changing as I write!) is the fact that wine and beer are sold in grocery stores. The larger the store, the bigger the range, of course. But you can get very drinkable pinot noirs and shiraz, sauvignon blancs, rieslings and the current American wine drinker favorites, pinot grigio and chardonnay as well, ranging in price from about $3 to $25 per bottle.
I was browsing the shelves at my local food store when a sweet little old lady sidled up with her grocery cart.
“Darn,” she said, “They are all out of Medium Cream Sherry.”
“So they are,” I said, “”But they do have Dry, and oh, look, they have Port. I know it’s not the same thing, but a good port is really good after a meal, with a bit of cheese and crackers.” In my mind’e eye, I am sitting in front of a roaring wood fire, and the flickering light illuminates my glass of port, and I stare into the fire, dreamlike, and then munch some cheese and crackers. (I am not a romance writer, I can only stretch this imagery that far!)
The little old lady started telling me about the great deals the store had on offer that week.
“Look! Three for only $10” she chirped and squealed. “And,” she came up close to me, and said confidingly, “If you buy six bottles you get an extra %10 off! That makes the wine the same price as WalMart!”
“Oh, yes, indeed!” I chortled, “Yes, I have bought some of my wine there, and they do have some amazing wines for under $4!”
Then she asked me, as do all the people I ever meet, “Where is your accent from?”
I had, in the past, been facetious and silly when replying to this well- meant question. I have given up on that, and now just reply, “South Africa!”
This opened up a Pandora’s box about all the traveling she has done over the years, and we spent a good fifteen minutes bonding over the places we had been to, and how long distance flights are just such a pain; that I do not want to sit in an airplane for 18 hours to visit my ageing mother, much as I love her, I just can’t do it. Maybe next year…
I was beginning to chafe at having to stand their and listen to her when I had other chores to see to, and she caught the hint.
“Honey,” she said, “If I can’t have your sherry, this is what you should try…”
She stood on her tippy-toes and reached up to the highest shelf, and carefully, very carefully, grasped at a bottle that was labelled at the grand price of $4.49.
“This is a bargain, you know,” she giggled. Then she pointed at the label, and I read that it was some kind of citrus wine.
“Oh, I am not fond of citrus wine,” I said. I think I once had too much of it when I was a student, and I never touched the stuff again. The she pointed at the label again.
“No, no, THIS is why I like it…”
Nineteen percent alcohol by volume! Whoa there lady!! I laughed, shook my head and said, “I’ll stick to my shiraz!”
I bet she had a great evening!