Yesterday should have been a snow day. Powder was coming down hard all morning, and turning to ice soon after it landed under the pressure of car tires and feet. I have a nice car with traction control and good tires, but I still spun out the entire way to school, twice in intersections that could easily have caused accidents. From the gym I messaged all of my students. What I wanted to say was “stay home” but I settled for something like “be safe and take your time getting here”. Attendance was terrible all day, and my more diligent pupils emailed to ask what they were missing, which I appreciated. In a district that usually gets this stuff right, I was surprised and disappointed. Neighboring districts cancelled class. Daycares closed during the day, causing some of my colleagues to have to leave to get their children. In my industry, if you want to call it that, our first consideration must always and without fail be the wellbeing of young people.
I texted Sonja and asked if she could keep the kids home, which she did. There seemed no reason to risk their lives on the road. Our daycare being on a hill, I didn’t want her to have to get them there or for myself to have to try to retrieve them later on. After school, I skipped the grocery store and went straight home, where I fished around in the refrigerator and pantry until I found enough random food to make a piecemeal dinner. And while I did, I sipped at a really nice glass of Zinfandel.
The Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2014 from the Napa Valley is a gem of a wine. A dark ruby hue with a compelling, classic Zinfandel nose, upon the palate it is smooth from the start, with vibrant black and red fruits — currant, blackberry, raspberry, persistent throughout. Chocolatey undercurrents and a silky mouthfeel to me define the wine. It lacks that hot, astringent nature that much of Zinfandel has resorted to of late, which is a welcome change of pace. Extremely subtle traces of cedar and a certain herbaceous quality towards the back of the palate add complexity, and soft tannins linger on the finish. This is truly a delightful wine, and made a perfect cooking companion for me last night.
The meal, cobbled together though it was, turned out alright, with wilted spinach, onions, and well-seasoned hamburger taking center stage. I’ll admit that I thankfully heard no stories of buses full of children sliding off the road yesterday. That being said, I still prefer erring on the side of caution, especially when it comes to the livelihood of young people.
As the evening wound down, Sonja and I sat in the living room, chatting about life and sharing wine. I twirled an empty glass by its stem between my fingers. We were probably just about to head up to bed when I dropped it, one of our monogrammed crystal wine glasses, the ones we got for our wedding. It shattered into tiny shards, right where Zooey likes to crawl around at the foot of my chair. Sonja and I made eye contact; if we exchanged words I don’t recall them. She may have asked me what happened. Then I immediately started picking up splinters of glass while Sonja readied the vacuum. The vacuum, for its part, shorted the breaker in our now 113-year-old house, so I ran downstairs to correct that briefly, and together we cleaned the mess I made. As we did, I looked up at my wife: There’s something sublimely reassuring about having a partner in life, a person who will treat your messes as their own, and who has your back through good times and bad. I’m a lucky man.
Cheers to the people who help us clean up after ourselves,