This is not a photo op

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Almost the entirety of Saturday was spent in Napa with a cast of colorful and highly entertaining characters. Wine and crap [sic] fair, lunch, general socializing and cavorting was the name of the game. Let there be no doubt about it, this was all time well spent. Yet “the ranch” topped it all.

My friend’s boyfriend’s grandmother (for ease, we’ll just call her Lavorna), lives just outside of the town of Napa. It’s a modest little place. You know, just this little hole in the wall she calls home.

Bah! Who am I kidding? This place was downright unreal. Top of a hill, acres and acres of grapes, olive trees galore (many older than I am, it seems), jaw-droppingly beautiful view of the entire valley… Ever pick up a copy of Gourmet, Bon Appetit or Saveur magazine? Seen those photo journals of these “common” folk having a friendly little get together in their “common” house? You know, the ones which look like someone shelled out a serious wad of cash to have a large chunk of Tuscany airmailed to them in the States? Yeah, that’s the sort of place that Lavorna wakes up in every morning. Not too shabby.

Another thing about those photo journals: the people. The folks in these pictures are all beautiful, stylish, perfectly-coiffed and clothed. The kind of people who interbreed and never give the time of day to you or me. Lavorna (and her entire family) are nothing like that. More friendly, open, giving, down-to-earth people I challenge you to find.

We all spent many hours up at the ranch, talking and scritching Beau the black lab and munching merlot grapes straight from the vine. Man, it was great. Comfortable. I’m really glad I got the chance to be there and do that while I could.

For, you see, Lavorna has to sell the vineyard. It’s just one of life’s cruel little tricks. Soon it will be someone else sitting on the spacious patio, sipping wine with friends and taking in the view. And, considering the asking price of the place, the new owner probably will be a perfect fit for those photo journals. *sigh* It’s a crying shame, it is. But it was good while it lasted, and I’m grateful that Lavorna and her family let me share it.

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