“A pirate, a parrot, and the Notorious RBG walk into a bar…” Prager Noble Companion 10 Year Tawny Port

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Titus has been excited for Halloween for a couple of months now, and Zooey has joined in his enthusiasm… more or less. She likes her parrot costume. We think. And they both like chocolate. Titus wanted to be Cookie Monster for about a month, then suddenly switched to pirate about two weeks ago. Sonja maneuvered in expert mommy fashion and acquired a pirate costume (as seen above), only for Titus to inform us a few days ago that what he really wanted to be was an octopus. I thought up a lie, and I thought it up quick.

“Hey, Titus,” I began, my wheels turning.

“Yeah, dad?”

“You know how the very hungry caterpillar had to eat a ton of food and then get into his cocoon in order to become a butterfly?”

“Yeah, dad?”

“Well that’s how octopuses work. Pirates have to eat all the right things on Halloween and then next year they can become an octopus.”

He thought for a minute. I’m still not sure if he bought it, but I’m sure he was a pirate tonight and not a sea creature. His costume went well with his sister, the pink parrot, and his next-door neighbor, the supreme court justice best known and loved as the Notorious RBG.  Watch out for an eight-legged pirate on your front steps next year.

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So tonight we got together with our neighbors and we took our little ones trick or treating, then promptly returned to our home and handed out candy for the next few hours. We finally ran out around 8:30, after handing out more than a thousand pieces. Titus and Zooey were especially helpful in distributing candy to our visitors. Zooey would yell “People!” and wait for various ninja turtles, ghouls, and the like to come get candy from her. Even the little kids waited patiently for my toddlers to put candy in their baskets and bags. It was truly a lot of fun.

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As we sat handing out candy with our neighbors and our children, a few of us indulged in a glass of really wonderful port wine.  The Prager Brothers out in Napa have been making the stuff for about forty years, and it just got into the Nebraska market. “Noble Companion” is the name of their ten year tawny, and it’s phenomenal. I love the nutty notes and hints of toffee on a good tawny, and at 20% it warmed us right up after the sun went down this All Hallows Eve.  If you’ve never tried Prager’s ports, then you aren’t taking my suggestions seriously enough. Start with this one. You won’t regret it.

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Halloween was never a holiday I enjoyed much as a kid. I liked candy, but didn’t enjoy dressing up. I remember an especially traumatic kindergarten experience in which I was embarrassed of the fake muscles I was wearing as a strong man in a circus, and I remember a pumpkin costume that was, if I’m being objective, probably pretty darn cute on me. I enjoyed visiting my grandmother and showing off my costume, and the full sized candy bar she’d give me every year. But it was never  a holiday that meant much to me until now. Having kids, and getting to trick or treat with them and then let them hand out candy, then reading Click, Clack, Boo which came in the mail today, in addition to Little Blue Truck’s Halloween, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin, and other staples of the American classical canon of literature before we go to bed makes this holiday a ton of fun. And the port wine didn’t hurt. I’ll be looking forward to next Halloween in a way I haven’t in the past.

Cheers to the way our kids change our perspective, and to a safe and happy Halloween,

Mark

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