In a previous class I taught this summer, I challenged my M.Ed. students to create a lesson plan around Coach Jimmy V’s “Heck of a day” speech in which the legendary coach suggests that if “you laugh, you cry, and you think, that’s a heck of a day”. I tend to agree. The objective was, of course, not to inspire tears as much as empathy, and as any classroom practitioner can tell you, a room full of thirty adolescents isn’t going to share a sense of humor, but they can share a smile. Ultimately, the lessons were for the most part pretty great, and got us all thinking deeper, as well as smiling at the humor of life and empathizing on levels we maybe hadn’t before. Perfect.
Today was, for me, another heck of a day. I have students wrestling with some incredibly difficult things, which of course make me worry for them. One in particular was distraught this morning for the health of a close friend, and simply warned me that she might start crying and have to leave class. After class, picking my son up from daycare, I walked in and the look on his face that said clearly “Dad, let me finish my snack,” had me almost in stitches. And later, checking my email, I learned I was accepted onto a panel of judges that will be examining adolescent literature of the Middle East (remember please that writing about wine isn’t my day job). These seem like little things maybe, because in fact, things of this sort aren’t terribly uncommon. When I think about it, I live a heck of a day most days, and I suppose that makes it a heck of a life. Not bad when you think about it.
Tonight I went to cook dinner, my cathartic happy place, while my wife watched our two children. While I cooked, I had the last of a bottle of wine I’d been Coravin-ing with love over quite some time so I could pair it with various dishes. The 2013 DeLille Four Flags Cabernet featured prominently in my Great American Cabernet Review last year, and for good reason. A quintessential Washington State Cabernet, it’s velvety soft and oh-so-flavorful, with ultra-fine dusty tannins offering delicate but important structure to an almost inky dark body composed of lush overripe purple fruits, classic black fruits, and subtle hints of vanilla cream and raspberry towards the finish. A wine that is perfectly in balance, there are few wines I enjoy more than I enjoy this one, and it was the perfect conclusion to a heck of a day. The final pairing: penne pasta and meatballs in tomato sauce, with a side of sautéed vegetables.
I know I’ve written a lot about gratitude lately, but that’s simply because I have a lot to be grateful for. Not least, I am grateful for the heck of a life I’m so privileged to be living, and all that goes along with it. To all of you who are part of that life in some way, from my family who support and love me unconditionally to the people who make the wonderful wines that pair with the rest of my life, please know how grateful I am to you.