Friday, June 12, 2009

A Night For Shiraz....

"Well, I started out on Burgundy and soon hit the harder stuff..." - Bob Dylan

By Ron Mexico

McAllen, Texas – It was a controlled mob that shuffled into Feldman’s last night, guys in suits and dudes in t-shirts and women in corporate wear and chicks in tight jeans and tighter blouses. Vintner’s Night brought out the, well, average, wine-hopping, eager-to-partake locals out for a taste of whatever…

I bopped in with my gal pal who shall, for now, remain anonymous, but whose initials are CM-O. We were late, as those already inside the well-known business barely a block north of Business 83 on the east side of No. 10th busied themselves sipping a variety of wines and gouging at the free cold cuts. A woman in a gray, striped pant suit, presumably just in from a day at the local insurance outfit or law firm, fingered the sliced pepperoni sausage off her plate, while nearby a balding guy in Hawaiian wear sat at a table facing the front door, clearly ogling the women as they stepped in from the 150-degree heat outside. It was, as they say in Hell, just another scorcher in South Texas – a day in June when, it was agreed, a nice, soft red or cooling white would soothe the palate. Bottles fronted a handful of show-off tables, where the vintner reps hawked their best. Somewhere else on the planet, soldiers carried out dangerous recon missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and somewhere else in the country, Americans mourned the death of a heroic security guard murdered at the Holocaust Museum in the nation’s capital by a racist white supremacist. It was time to get back to basics – to enjoying the best of civilization, especially with a lovely bottle of Shiraz, for me, and perhaps a Cabernet for the ladies.

The Texas-Mexico border around here is these days a veritable socio-minefield. That late-model SUV moving alongside you on any given street or highway could be carrying well-armed thugs ferrying serious drugs somewhere north. The waitress at the café may be a stool pigeon for the feds, out to finger this or that local Bigwig employing undocumented maids and gardeners. It is a Time for Freakin’ Reflection in McAllen, the City of Palms to locals and the Square Dance Capital of America to The New Yorker magazine. Can you stand it? Is this America, or what?

Anyway, we traipsed into the cold tasting room inside the cool wine section of Feldman’s shortly after 7:30 p.m., minutes after the Orlando Magic and Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers tipped off in Game Four of the NBA Finals. I reeled at the idea of missing the game in favor of a Minor League wine-tasting outing in a troubled outpost of this Great land. But as the say down here, “When in Rio Grande City, do as the Rio Grande Citians do…” I went in search of The Lost Grape.

Did I find it? Naaaaah. Did I have a good time? Sort of. I met two pleasant teachers from the PSJA school district who kinda conversed lightly with the Ol’ Cowboy, one a science teacher who had no idea how far it is from Earth to the moon. “That’s eighth grade,” she said, noting that she taught a lower-level class. I feigned humor, noting that it was farther, for sure, than it was from McAllen to New York, a point that drew laughter from her and her girlfriend, a woman who had told me she was the school’s principal. It’s not the setting for interrogating our local educators, I finally told myself as the wine kept flowing while the dog-ass Orlando Magic sank not far from Disneyworld…

- 30 -


Anonymous said...

For some obscure reason after reading this post some choice words crept into the inlet of my sanity. An abysmal look at life no matter how surreal is always a decadent adventure. While trying not to sound too much like Kurt and rambling more like Paz it occurs to me that the human beast can not be contained. An adventure of the spirit is much like holding the oxygen inside your soul as it too creeps like ivy. History tells us that at not one point in time was there no conflict. An inner struggle to find that piece at the expense of others is banal but more importantly, just plain simpleton. Life is an irony, and quite honestly New York is not the Capitol of the world. Nor is it the integrity of society. This blog after reading some of the stories is as self serving as Kurt was when he struggled with his inner demons on the original road trip. One could suffice to say that Richard Rodriguez's Days of Obligation was a masterpiece of thought. Yet in retrospect all one has to do is realize that his father was long gone when he chose to tell the world that he was gay. The only irony in his thought was the elusiveness of time and his soul. For anyone can say "I told you so" when there is no one to defend themselves.
The wine tasting and all its glory was a business transaction. It was a more commercial way or allowing folks to sample the finer things in life at no cost. You could enjoy a bottle at a hearty discount or you could just enjoy the moment. There were people from all walks of life, from people in suits to t-shirts. Men oogling women is an albatross to the actual truth. "In a crowded elevator the only comfort is the fact that if all else fails you will travel downwards." Unknown. I guess in a nutshell if life is an insidious moment, then drink some Lambrusco. I hear it goes well with discourse. Salud!

Patrick Alcatraz said...

It's simply hard to know whether you are merely noting or actually complaining about this particular post. It is, obviously, writing. And that, my anonymous friend, comes with perspective. Please feel free to either elaborate on your point, or, if you'd rather, simply tell us you merely felt the need to express yourself here. BTW, the "anonymous" assignation you chose shades whatever argument you were trying to make. We'll be glad to post a re-write, of course.