The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day 14 — “Fandom”


Looking at our children, I’m sure you can sort out who dressed whom this morning without much help. For the record, I did purchase a matching Chiefs shirt for Zooey, but apparently matchy-matchy floral print go better with her pink moon boots in Sonja’s mind. Sigh.

It’s okay. When it comes to sports in our household, Sonja is my work in progress. When we met, I don’t think she really watched sports at all, but now I’d like to believe that even if I wasn’t here on a fall Saturday, she’d probably still turn the Husker game on and devote four hours to watching it. Heck, she even joined me for the Nebrasketball beat-down of Creighton last Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. GBR! So she hasn’t totally bought in on the Chiefs and Lakers yet? No big deal. I signed for a lifetime membership with this woman. We’ll get there. We will get there.

Of course, I’m still working on Titus and Zooey as well. Currently, they’re fans of different  things than I am. They’re really big fans of Christmas movies, for example. Tonight, it was Charlie Brown, which I, too, happen to be a fan of. And while I know that ultimately they’ll be entirely their own people, and that perhaps my pushing them towards certain things may one day have the opposite effect, I can’t seem to help myself. Today we practiced “Go Chiefs” before they wen’t to daycare. Titus is pretty good with his “Go Cheeeefs!” while Zooey has a bit of work to do with her “Goo Cheee!” (Goat cheese? C’mon kid, get with the program.)

They’re also big fans of their advent calendars or, more specifically, the chocolate inside of them.  Though to be honest, I’m a fan of that myself.


For our part, Sonja and I are also fans of wine and, often, wine we get a little sentimental about. In tonight’s case, it was a J. Davies 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Diamond Mountain AVA in the Napa Valley.  Sonja and I visited Schramsberg, the second oldest and, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful wineries in all of the Napa Valley, and have been huge fans of the producer ever since. Schramsberg, though known first for sparkling wine and perhaps next for their extraordinary J Davies pinot noir, their Cabs are also and equally absolutely top shelf.   This particular Cab Sauv is super mellow, with deep, dark, mountain fruit and fine, long-chain tannins that make it well-structured yet easy drinking. Notes of unsweetened baker’s chocolate, rich blackberry, blueberry pie filling, and maybe a hint of raspberry make it enjoyable on the palate from start to finish, while the aromatics entice you to keep bringing the glass to your nose repeatedly. A truly beautiful wine, we enjoyed it with our dinner tonight as we sat around the table, talking with the kids about what we’re thankful for and teaching them to clean their plates before they get their chocolate.


This household is a fan of a lot of things. We’re a Husker household, and a Chiefs household (I’m working on it). We’re Lakers fans and North High Vikings fans. We’re Napa Cab fans, chocolate fans, KC BBQ fans, Christmas fans, Grinch fans, and fans of one another. This holiday season, I’m especially thankful for my family and the many beautiful things that enrich our lives.

Cheers to fandom,



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