This Wine Is For The Best Damn Shrimp And Grits

family at bball game

First thing’s first: there is no recipe.  Just let destiny take the lead.

Step One

Make a few good Southern friends.  Become intrigued by their welcoming nature, their monogrammed chevron makeup bags, their Kendra Scott jewelry and their prevalent use of polka dots.  Surprise yourself with a little positivity.  Replace (almost) all the black in your wardrobe with confident, colorful prints.  Get to a point where you convince yourself that you could join a bible study.  Because all of a sudden, you want to be as grounded as they have been their whole lives.

Step Two

Move to North Carolina.  Be overwhelmed by the abundant sunshine.  Buy a house with your husband after eight years of renting.  Watch proudly as he assembles the crib.  Order a mounted polka dot giraffe for the nursery.  Realize that life is brimming with possibility.

Step Three

Later on, some day, when you have a free moment, swing by your local Harris Teeter for some shrimp.  Cook it up with red bell peppers, fresh spinach, some garlic, pepper, and lemon juice.  Accompany this happy medley with stoneground grits, a sliver of Kerrygold and a healthy serving of Irish cheddar.

Step Four

Pour out the dregs of your discounted blend and savor that best damn moment — when not everything is gravy, but you think it could be soon; when your stomach is empty, but your heart is full.

It’s OK To Put Ice In Your Wine

First thing’s first: when the wine is white,

And the only available vessel is a red Solo cup.


And maybe you are pouring it quickly

For a colleague whose efforts are about to pay off;

Or a boss who is a role model in work and in life;

Or a team that gets together but once a year,

In the jungle of Florida,

In the middle of June.


It’s OK to put ice in your wine

When it’s 80 degrees at night,

And the cooler is already full,

And music is playing somewhere,

And laughter is all around you,

And you feel compelled to dance.


Swirl that cheap Chardonnay around,

Let those ice cubes rattle in their cup.

Life is good,

Work is fun,

And you, my friend, are lucky.

This Wine Is For Casey Jo

Becker Vineyards Malbec

Producer: Becker Vineyards
Importer: n/a
Year: 2009
Price: $16.95

Have you met the toughest girl I know?
Don’t be deceived by her big Texas hair,
her 100-watt smile,
or her goofy charm.

Under that onesie,
behind that Dougie,
this Aggie is tough as nails.

She is the first person to call you out, talk you down, or pick you up.
She is the worst person to disappoint and the best to have in your corner.

And just when you think the world has gotten the best of this girl,
she reminds you of her constant capacity to give more.

How’s that for a coaching opportunity?

This Wine Is For My Mother’s Hands


Firelands Cabernet Franc

Lake Erie

Producer: Firelands Winery
Importer: n/a
Year: 2006
Price: $10.99

The best way I know to put me in my place is to slip my hand into my mother‘s hand. To compare our hands is to measure how far I have yet to go , how much I have left to learn. Her hands show years of doing things – writing letters in the dying tradition of pen and paper; calculating numbers for bills and budgets; washing dishes and clothes; carrying groceries and children; driving; praying; fixing; opening; soothing. My hands pale in comparison, a muted, minor version of her warmth. Our hands intertwine as if being first introduced, as we do with strangers at parties, or lunches, or after church. But her index finger covers my pulse, where metaphorically it has been all my life — a gentle reminder of why I am here, and how. In time, I remove my fingers from her grasp, but the connection remains, as it knows no other way to do, as I know it will forever.

This Wine is For New Beginnings

Jeio Prosecco

Producer: Desiderio
Importer: Vias Imports Ltd.
Price: $10.99

For the bubbles, let’s all raise a glass
To Dan, as he heads back to class;
To the dream that he is pursuing –
We’re so proud of what you are doing.

Proud to call both of you best friends
And to be here for you as this chapter ends.
Your new adventure awaits on the east coast,
So tonight, this is what we celebrate most:

To the love that continues to grow every day;
To a couple committed to making their own way;
To the joy and success you will soon come to know;
To the home you create,
And make beautiful,
Wherever you go.

** First toasted with friends on July 9th, 2011

This Wine is For Lizzy

Cloudline Pinot Noir

Producer: Cloudline
Importer: n/a
Year: 2008
Price: $16.99

Kind spirit, you fool no one –
Your richness revealed in your smile.
You appeared on the scene of my shaky misgivings,
Exposing the shadows with friendship.

If ever I admired a soul – Content,
Riding out these damaging waves of change.
Kind spirit, your strength brings me home,
Stirs my heart to a renewed ambition.

— Written ten years before the picture was taken.

This Wine is For That Girl

You know the one –
Over there,
In the fleece vest and drawstring pants,
In clever disguise or bawdy costume,
In chic attire, borrowed from your closet
Or purchased that day, after brunch,
With too much champagne but with great ambition.
The one with the heart on her sleeve,
And a face for every punctuation in the book.

You know That Girl –
She has it all together,
Yet collapses in a fit of laughter at your feet.
The one who creeps, chugs, and lays one on you;
Who hoards soy sauce and expounds pop culture;
She dances across near and distant lands,
Sings Journey at the bar and Ave Maria at your wedding,
And she does it all with everything she’s got.

You love That Girl –
And in some way, you’re certain,
Inexplicably and always:
She lives in the room right beside yours.

— Toast her with 2009 Sofia Blanc de Blancs