Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How many grapes go into a single bottle of wine?

Who's asking: The quizmaster at The Liberal Cup, Hallowell, ME

According to the quizmaster -- and several websites I checked this morning, because I didn't believe this -- it takes 600 grapes to make an average bottle of wine. Any winemakers out there who can confirm or deny this? It seemed low to my pub trivia team; our guess was in the thousands (I won't embarrass us by saying how many thousands), because each grape doesn't give off much juice.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my mother's death, so today is the end of the traditional "year and a day" of deep mourning. I've thought more than once in the past year that it's kind of a shame that we've abandoned the old mourning customs; back in the 19th century, when people wore black for a year and a day, everyone knew that those people would not be their usual bright shiny selves, and might not be working quite as well as everyone else.

Friends who've been through it told me last year, "It [grief] takes longer than you think it will," and that's the truth. Grief is like a lighthouse, it turns and flashes at intervals. Over time, the intervals get longer, but the beam's just as sharp when it hits. I miss Mom, and so do my sisters and brothers. We always will, and that's the way it's supposed to be.

At any rate, I wasn't terribly productive yesterday, and today promises to be not much better. I'm headed to Portland right now to see Richard Ford speak at the Portland Public Library, and plan to be back up to full speed tomorrow. (I'll still wear a lot of black, though. I always did, but not in a Morrissey kind of way.)

First Five Random Songs:

"(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea," Elvis Costello & the Attractions. The Strokes, the Arctic Monkeys, the Shins, none of those guys would exist if Elvis hadn't done it first.

"Maybe It's Imaginary," Kirsty MacColl. "I don't know much/But I'd like to know why." Exactly.

"You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," The Beatles. My favorite Beatles song. It's one of John's. We've discussed this.

"La La," Cortney Tidwell. This CD was a gift, I'd never have discovered her otherwise. She sounds a little like Kate Bush, a little like Bjork, a little like the girl from Sixpence None the Richer. It's a sound that grows on you.

"Whiskey Bottle," Uncle Tupelo. I once startled a friend by quoting this song -- it's one of my brother Ed's favorite lines: "Whiskey bottle over Jesus/Not forever, just for now."


John Schramm said...

May I suggest ... THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD for your playlist?

Sending a hug for you, Clair.

Anonymous said...

Here's the whole song for the curious and the dipsomaniacal. Definitely words to live by every now and then.

Plus, my sister and I once saw a store in Logan, Utah, advertising Liquor, Guns & Pawn. Wal-Mart eat your heart out.



_Whiskey Bottle_

Persuaded paraded inebriated
In doubt
Still aware of everything life carries on without
There is one too many faces
With dollar sign smiles
Gotta find the shortest path to the bar

For a while
A long way from happiness
In a three-hour-away town
Whiskey bottle over jesus
Not forever
Just for now
Not forever, but just for now

There's a trouble around
It's never far away
The same trouble has been around
For a life and a day
I can't forget the sound
Cause it's here to stay
The sound of people chasing money
And money getting away

A long way from happiness
In a three-hour-away town
Whiskey bottle
Over jesus
Not forever
Just for now
Not forever but just for now

In between the dirt and disgust
There must be
Some air to breathe in
Something to believe
“Liquor and Guns”
The sign says quite plain
Somehow life goes on in a place so insane

A long way from happiness
In a three-hour-away town
Whiskey bottle over jesus
Not forever
Just for now
Not forever but just for now

AnswerGirl said...

Yeah, and there was that pawnshop in New Albany, MS whose window said "GUNS & GUITARS," too...

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Dear Ellen:

Sorry not to have caught this post till this AM. Sorry for your sadness and loss, what more to say? My heart goes out to you.

Isn't there a Philip Larkin poem about this sentiment? Shouldn't there be? (I'm talking about the persistence of grief--though another emotion to capture would also be that horrible pang when you want to comfort someone close to you who really can't, shouldn't, be comforted...)


AnswerGirl said...

Thanks, Tom (and John, too). There is indeed a Philip Larkin poem about this. It's called "The Mower."

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

Tom Ehrenfeld said...