The end of an era

November 2, 2008 at 11:30 pm 3 comments

Last night was really sad, yet when I tell people why I’m not sure they’ll truly “get” it. You see, as an adult woman without children it’s a bit hard to make friends. Sure, I have friendly relationships at work. I love my team, but I’m a boss. That basically means that I can only reallly be friends with other bosses at work and that just hasn’t happened. Not that they are bad people, I just don’t have anything in common with them outside of the fact that we are both bosses. Most women I know talk about the friends they have from one of two places: their children’s school or church. As I’ve already said, I don’t have kids and I think I’d likely be arrested if I just randomly hung out at the neighborhood elementary school so I could chat with the moms. A bit stalker-ish, I fear and that probably wouldn’t make me a good candidate for mom-friends. So that leaves church. I don’t go to church and even when I did I wasn’t friendly with anyone there. Most of the people I encountered at the church were very judgmental and closed minded, which also explains why I no longer go to church. So since I’m not a parent or a church-goer where do I meet friends? The answer, wine tastings.

Hubby and I discovered Wine Styles about two years ago. The owner, Brian, was a friendly guy who taught us tons about wine. We discovered that we like our wine red and bold. We also discovered that we like the people who attend the wine tastings. Wine tastings were held on Friday and Saturday nights. Hubby and I always went on Saturdays and quickly became part of the standard “Saturday night group”. We would chat with Brian and we met some great people there. We’d go to the tasting at about 5:00 p.m. every Saturday night. We’d be there until about 7:00 and then we’d either go out with one of the couples we met there or we’d go home — happy, social and a bit more mellow than we were at 4:55.

We met some great people that we likely wouldn’t have met anywhere else. There was the high school teacher/ex-military pilot and his wife, the accountant. There was the cop and his wife, the counselor who works with the homeless. There was the guy who grew up in Michigan (like me) and his wife who sometimes brought their two Yorkie dogs with her to the wine tasting. There was the handsome doctor and his barbie-doll fiance. There were Brian’s grown daughters who occasionally helped out at the store. There was the cop who rode a Harley and could make you laugh until wine spurted from your nose. These are good people. They are fun, interesting people who I probably would never have had a chance to meet had it not been for the wine tasting. Some of these people we’ve already gone out with. Some of them I hoped we would have the chance to. One always thinks that there’s more time. But for us, and for our wine store, the time ran out last night.

I had been suspicious that the store was not faring well with the economy and when I got the word that there wouldn’t be a tasting on Saturday, November 1st, I was even more concerned. But we’ve been going for a long time, surely Brian would give us the heads-up if something was up. Surely there is more time. When I got the panicked call from our friend, the accountant, she said “it’s an emergency, you’ve got to come because Brian’s closing the store for good tonight.” My mouth dropped open, I couldn’t believe it. I left my friend who I’d been shopping and hanging out with (there was no tasting that night, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to get home) – Sorry Jean, didn’t mean to abandon you – and called Hubby and told him to get over to the store as quickly as he could. We showed up almost at the same time and I was stunned at the number of people in the small store. Somehow the word had gotten out to all of the regulars from Friday and Saturday night. People were buying bottles of wine and Brian would open them and we all drank while trying to digest the concept that this was the last night. Pictures were taken. Toasts were made. I cried — a lot.

Most of the people left around 9pm, but a few of us — me and hubby, the teacher and the accountant, the cop and the counselor and the Michigan guy — stayed and helped pack up the store. I’ve not cried so much in a long time. Tears ran down my cheeks the entire time I bagged wine — four to a bag, no more or the bottom will break. As I write this now, I’m crying again. You see, this wasn’t just a wine store that happened to have tastings. It was so much more than that. It was a gathering place for friends. It was the place I looked forward to going to, not because of the wine necessarily, but because of the people. It feels like a death.

I’m happy for Brian, he has a great opportunity out of state for a new job. He deserves it, he worked too hard doing his full time job plus the store and with the economy the store closing was simply a matter of time. But I’m really sad for me. Perhaps we’ll all see each other again at another tasting at another store, but it won’t be the same. You sometimes really can’t get the magic back. And this was a magical place.

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Entry filed under: Me.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robyn  |  November 3, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Wow! I cried. As much as I cried last night. We’ll find another place and we’ll adjust. As you point out, the relationships made it what it was, and those didn’t go away last night. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 2. Jean  |  November 3, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Oh Barb, I didn’t mind at all and I didn’t feel abandoned. I understood completely. I’ve lost special places too. I’m glad you got there in time to have one last hurrah.

    Reply
  • 3. William  |  November 4, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I’m sorry to hear that 😦 It did seem like a nice place. Sometimes it seems like when it rains, it pours, doesn’t it?

    Reply

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