Charlotte, NC

11:39 AM



Saturday morning looked bleak, and weather reports promised rain all day.  Thus, it was proposed the three of us drive out of the city to visit a few of the many vineyards for wine tasting.  My old friend from high school, Andy, cooked a great breakfast for his fiance and I, and we left for the Yadkin Valley.  The day cleared up quickly once we were on the road, and we had a gorgeous sunny day at the wineries.

I’d never before experienced a wine tasting, and we had a lot of fun.  The wineries we visited were all in the same area, but each winery had completely it’s own style and flavor.  The first, Shadow Springs Vineyard, had that new smell and a really friendly and informative barkeep (wine-tender?).  Their chocolate and strawberry wines were a delicious change from the usual sweets and drys.  Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery was hosting an Artist’s Day at their beautiful hilltop location.  The vineyard is obviously the site of many wedding receptions and is stunning in a Napa Valley way.  The wines here were a tad drier here overall, and we debated if they were more ‘traditional’ than the other places because of their emphasis on the family’s Italian heritage.  The last of our tour was the most surprising and crowd favorite.  The Laurel Gray Vineyards store front / tasting area was in a tiny cottage that had us wondering if we shouldn’t move along to another.  However, we stepped inside and tasted some of the best wines that day.  The place was cozy and the staff was phenomenal.  Between sips of delectable wines, we nibbled on bread dipped in Signolia’s Balsamic Vinaigrette.  I picked up a bottle of Rose’ 1773 and the vinaigrette for home.

Earlier that afternoon, we stopped for burgers at a small diner that was recommended by the staff at Shadow Springs.  The biker diner was a double wide trailer situated just off the highway.  (cross that off my bucket list. lol)  What made this meal memorable though was not the place or even the burgers.  Instead, it was having to come terms for the first time with my friend’s career.  As we parked in front of the place, he reached over and pulled his gun out of the glove compartment and tucked it out of sight.  I was stunned.  True, our situation never felt dangerous.  However, I never before considered the blatant danger of his job as a city police officer.  Throughout the meal I kept envisioning Boondock Saints level gunfights.  I never really thought about how much danger Andy is in on a daily basis.  As a cop, you are trained to treat every situation as though it might become something more.  I teased him once about the paranoia but it really is just a total awareness as he assesses every situation.  Now, as an unlearned civilian, I worry constantly about his safety as he protects us from all those criminals, miscrents, & crazies.

I had an amazing time hanging out with Andy and his fiance, Lindsay.  They don’t visit Wisconsin very often so it was wonderful to spend so much time with them.  Although, at times it did feel a little like a kid playing around with grownups.  They are both gainfully employed, engaged, have an apartment, own a cat, and are in the process of buying their first house.

Major jealousy twinged in me as we surveyed the grounds of one of the houses they are looking at.  I am in no way looking for that kind of commitment yet, but that life seems so stable, so complete.  There is a permanency about their life that feels much more adult than the one I am currently living.  Visiting Andy & Lindsay reminded of how it felt to be a grownup, and I miss that feeling.  Moving home from my apartment in Milwaukee was a huge step for me, and sometimes it feels like a step backwards into the college kid version of me that last lived in that bedroom.  Hopefully, I’ll find a full-time position when I get home and can move back into adulthood.


 

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