As any New Yorker will tell you, January in New England is no joke, but we, as kids, had a lot of gear that made playing outside possible through the coldest months. We had ski masks, mittens, gloves, thermals, and those jackets with hoods that made us look like Kenny from South Park. All this meant the only thing that would freeze within the first few hours outdoors were our nose hairs.
On many of these numbingly cold weekend days, when the creek down the street was solidly and safely frozen over, my brother and I would be summoned by the local middle school kids, and we’d put on two pairs of socks, throw our skates over our shoulders, grab a shovel to clear the ice, and walk a quarter mile to the bridge. I was often the youngest and least skilled skater in the bunch, so usually ended up tending goal, with the appropriate safety gear: a baseball mitt, a football helmet and ski goggles.
My brother and I had an army-green canteen – this was before the age of water bottles – which we brought on our adventures, but the canteen did not make it on one of these days, or perhaps it was emptied to early in the game. Whatever the case, we were all sweating in our down jackets and had developed a terrible thirst. I found a small hole in the in the ice at the edge of the creek and I lay beside it. It was just big enough to provide a perfectly refreshing, cool clean draught of water, and I gulped it down, as did Dave, and Jason, and James, and the others. I remember it as some of the best tasting water I’ve ever had.
Over the next few days, one by one, we were absent from school, and we – or more likely, our parents – put two and two together. What tasted like the most glorious water was a country creek like any other, rolling through fields and pastures at every bend. In fact, it is called Mud Creek; that should have tipped us off.
A few days of barfing. Another lesson learned.
I, for my part, continue to taste liquids others eschew. Nowadays, is spit, but every week, for the past ten or fifteen years, I’ve tried every wine I could possibly sell for fifteen dollars or less. Usually, I don’t like the wine – the job consists of mostly saying ‘no thank you’ - but every once in a while, I do like it very much, and then it ends up on our Fifteen and Under Table. Daniel and I taste oceans of twelve dollar wine so you don’t have to wade through it yourself, and we have at least fifty or sixty wines for under sixteen dollars at any given time, all well-tested, tried and true. Come explore the world of ‘weekday wines’ we work so hard to maintain!
And come by this week taste some fresh new arrivals…
TONIGHT: Thursday Night Flights! French Gamay & Austrian Gruner Veltliner from 4 to 8pm - $12
And this SATURDAY, December 20th: Tasting Flight: Wines of Piedmont, Italy from 3 to 6pm
SUNDAY, December 21st, we’ll be pouring Hungarian Wine Tasting Flights from 3 to 5pm - $12
See you soon,