How it was my "turn" to drive, I will never know. I always end up with the Winery Tour rotation. I think my wife arranges things this way because she knows I wouldn't dare hit it too hard knowing I have guests in the car. And she was right. Frankly, wine makes me sleepy, and combined with food, it has little effect other than the usual detachment found in the head the next day. Food kills a wine buzz quicker than aspirin kills a tannin hangover. I write this slowly and deliberately, if you know what I mean?
Regardless, it was up to me to get the Blau's, our favorite couple, to the winery then out to dinner and home safely. It would mean that I would be on my best behaviour, if there is such a thing.
We started at the Smokehouse with a group of caravaners rushing in to purchase cheese and supplies. I like the Smokehouse, where else can you patronize adversity? In 93 the place was wiped out by the flood. I remember sandbagging for the businesses in the Valley and others near in the city of St. Louis. Annie Guns is probably my favorite restaurant. Both the Smokehouse and Annie Guns are owned by Tom Signert, top dog restaurant guy. I don't care if it costs more to go to both these places. Hands down it is butter.
I had just come home from Columbia that morning after spending the day at Missouri Valley College on Friday. I was exhausted and stopped to see my sister Kathryn at her home in Columbia. Her home is half way and sometimes I will stop and visit with her, on my way back home. I was too tired to drive the rest of the way, so I thought I would poach a bed and maybe dinner. She is always glad to have me. Never a time goes by when I stop to visit that we don't stop and reflect on dad, who passed away a while back. It is usually a moment of silence followed by a tear. Then back to whatever it was that we were talking about.
This years Entrepreneurial Day included my Business Dining Etiquette seminar and, new this year, a wine tasting. It has always been my honor to provide a 5 course meal along with a program that I wrote a couple of years ago on Symmetry and the Subconscious: Business dining do's and don'ts. I am writing the book now and it will be my first in a series of no-nonsense business techniques. We shall see where it takes me.
I enjoy this sort of thing, getting to speak about myself and my ideas for two hours straight. It is absolutely an expression of my ego, I confess. I do feel I can connect a lot to graduating college students. They are so much on the brink at this time in their lives and they listen intently, because they are a little scared. It is like they need polish just before we kick them off the cliff. It is a tradition to do this with our young. After the lunch/seminar, I was off to Stone Hedge Country Club for my second presentation of the day, a wine tasting, of all things.
I used to study wine and I should do it more, based on the fact that there were several questions that I could not answer. To dive in I am afraid it would lead to an all out immersion of vineculture and we know what that means...equipment, books, bottles, a whole new hobby. Not to mention the somewhat sedentary epicuristic culture that comes with drinking wine all the time. I am afraid that I would get fat, drink too much wine, have the numb head all the time. And my kid would have no part of me, being as straight as she is. Nope, I will stay with what I have for now. Guitars, Blogs and Bikes
The seminar went well, however. What I learned was that all you have to do to present a successful wine tasting seminar is to get past the first 15 minutes, then they get giddy and can't keep to themselves. I doubt anyone remembers what the hell I told them after the second round of reds. I couldn't even speak over them talking to one another. I put it on autopilot and mumbled a couple other facts and figures, made up at the time of delivery.
Again, I enjoy doing this, what a way to change the world? Helping educate students on what seems to be missing a little in our culture. Explaining how breaking bread and drinking spirits is a part of our culture and that it is to be respected and practiced accordingly. We conform to tradition this way, rising to the standard of what has always been. In business it is no different. There is so much culture, most of it finding its roots from the process of eating and drinking together. It is an equal time, one of mutual respect, in order to transfer thoughts and ideas.