Friday, July 22, 2011

Vineyard's Blend

I make wine as a hobby and my daughter is studying to be a sommelier, so I have some knowledge of wine. But I think I have much more knowledge about life and will combine both here for illustration.

I recently spent a week and a half on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and came away with a interesting observation.

Wine comes in many forms and varieties, as do people, and how people see wines or think about them is not dissimilar to societal views in general. Pardon me while I take a sip.

Let’s take a Merlot for instance. It is a singular, 100%, wine from a pure bred grape. It is only compared against itself and the competition among vintners is fierce to say the least. It can be an elitist, a segregationist, snobby, exclusive, unwilling to be a part of a bigger thing and bound by expectations.

Blended wines, on the other hand, are diverse, exciting, mysterious, entertaining, surprising, not bound by comparison or competition, and are willing to be tried in any situation. Let me do that now...sip, sip.

Martha’s Vineyard is a place where people go to get away from the world and I am happy to report that it is a place unto itself;  like a blended wine with all the best things diversity brings to a society.

If you walk around the town of Oak Bluffs, for instance, and observe and listen to the people around you, you can be forgiven for mistaking it for a waterside park in New York City. There are people of all nationalities, speaking the languages of those nationalities. But the most interesting thing I found was the fact that folks were so relaxed in this environment that no one really stood out as being different from anyone else. We were all just people on vacation, mixing with the locals and seeking the most we could get from the serenity of the place we were in. An ideal world, if you will. This calls for another sip.

A good example would be breakfast at Biscuit’s, a “minority owned” family business where we sat surrounded by people at one table speaking Russian, another table with a big group from the Caribbean, still another group in for the Portuguese-American parade, folks from Texas and a French couple. This is just a sampling, and I could not help but wonder why it is so hard for this to work in so many other places.

There is nothing wrong with liking a good Merlot, but people should not be afraid to try and to embrace a good blended wine whenever they come across one. Life is much too short to miss out on the beauty in the diversity of it. So, off I go to get another bottle of  Bordeaux. Salut!!


Photo Credit: casparcash

Martha's Vineyard Link


Saturday, July 2, 2011

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It does not matter what day it is when you are in a special place with special people.  Any day there is a beautiful day.  And I have found that the women in this particular neighborhood make it that way.

I don’t know if people who are not familiar with the section of East Flatbush in Brooklyn have any idea of the beauty, caring, love and kindness that pervades this place.

In my long and getting longer life, I have worked in numerous situations and in various places where women either made up the bulk of the workforce, or were ever present in relation to it.  Whether it was sitting with a bird’s eye view of the daily fashion parade at 42nd and Lex in NYC, working in the facilities on a military base or walking the halls of colleges and hospitals, the women in those settings left their personal and professional impressions on me.

I can honestly say that never in all my travels have I met better people, who happen to be women, than those I’ve met in the midst of this neighborhood.  Their beauty is unmatched and, despite told and untold personal trials and tribulations, they love and care, give and smile, are professional and smart, work hard and laugh hard.  They recognize their own faults and forgive those of others. They are cautious from experience and open from their hearts.  They are worthy of their dreams and too often uncelebrated for the remarkable people they are.

If you are honest and respectful these women will reward you with an indelible smile that never leaves you.  And if you know any little bit about the tremendous hurdles these women have cleared in their lives, those smiles will leave you speechless.  If you are fortunate enough to be befriended by them, you are truly blessed indeed.  Would only that my travels had brought me here sooner.

The day is today, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Photo Credit: Laynecom