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The Wine and Green Mushroom Caper

We were really looking forward to our visit with Andy and Gwen. Old college buddies, while I chose the medical profession, Andy chose sales. After a few years, Andy joined a wine distributor and eventually evolved into a master vintner. He is semi retired now, but as we reached his villa on a high hill in Napa, California, all we could see was grape vines twisting gracefully along rows fading off into the horizon. He certainly still had his hand in it.

We visited all morning while downing several glasses of a variety of wines that Andy had produced and tinkered with.

Finally I excused myself to find the bathroom. Jill directed me down the hall, to the right, third door on the right. Light switch on the left. Being a bit tipsy, I did manage to find the bathroom, but on the way out, turned the wrong way into another hall.

There before me was the master suite. As I peeked in, I noticed what appeared to be a giant green mushroom growing right in the middle of the bedroom. Backing away, I weighed whether should mention it, citing my error in directions; or not, for fear of being thought a snoop. But my find was just too strange and my semi inebriated brain had no control over my mouth. As I reached the doorway of the sitting room I spontaneously blurted “why are you growing a giant green mushroom in your bedroom?”

Andy and Jill exchanged puzzled glances, and then glanced back at me. Their faces both changed to horror at about the same time. They leapt from their chairs and dashed down the hall. We followed close behind wondering if I had just stumbled into an alien nation or something.

It was the waterbed. Andy had attached a garden hose to fill it sometime just before we arrived, and had completely forgotten about it.

By this time the bed had swollen to the size of a giant blimp. The wooden stays on the bed separated and pulled apart. The sheetrock was cracking under the sideways expansion into the wall. The nails in the bed must have been finally exposed, because the bed material suddenly gave way to a huge popping sound and water began to run everywhere. It quickly saturated the carpets and flowed down the hall. Water began to leak to the lower floors. There wasn’t much we could do but watch in dismay. Andy raced downstairs and we were quick to follow. Sure enough, the water continued its downward path clear to the basement.

The basement turned out to be an extensive wine cellar, home to Andy’s most coveted wine collection. Row upon row of bottles lay carefully filed on their sides, separated by vintage and other important details known only to him.

Seeing water leaking from the heating duct over his head he quickly reached up and pushed the edges tighter together to see if he could seal off the leaky area. Instead, the duct opened with a long squealing sigh, separating like a rhino’s jaws sending gallons of water gushing over the wine bins and flowing down to the lowest section of the floor knocking over a row of shelves nested there. There, in the lowest, darkest, coolest cave-like opening was Andy’s most precious and newly-tasted collection of wine. Picking up the bottles one by one, the handwritten labels began to slide off.

More and more labels became dislodged and before long, there were labels floating everywhere.

After a few minutes Andy stood back and took stock of the situation, there was only one thing to do. And it was urgent.

We needed to taste and grade the wines as soon as possible, before he forgot the content of each of the bottle’s washed off labels. And, which bottle was which.

We set up our tasting table near the shelves of the now label-less wine bottles. Andy would choose the bottle, write down what he remembered about the label contents and we would all taste the wine, commenting on the flavors, acidity, etc., all the things a wine connoisseur might want to know. We pressed on through the afternoon into the late evening, until the last naked bottle had been tasted and Andy had completed his notes in his journal. All in all, we had tasted our way through about 27 bottles of wine.

We had no business driving back to our motel in the condition we were in, but we were wet, exhausted and probably getting on the nerves of our host by then.

After a few days we received a most gracious note from Andy, thanking us for our help and fortitude. The house was almost back to normal, and the waterbed had been replaced with an airbed.

We wondered, could he risk blowing himself up with one?

Submitted by:

Kathleen Jerauld-Brack

Kathleen Jerauld-Brack is a Graphic Designer and web publisher. She has won many awards in art and literature, including poetry. Webmaster of: http://www.BestPlacetoEat.com and http://www.BestRestaurants.us





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