Love a Good Story

Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? I Love a Good Story. Here’s another good story.

        I’m George Maddox, Hamilton’s father. Hamilton is the main character in Judy’s newest novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom, coming out soon. I asked to come back because I wanted to talk a little about the fires in California, specifically the destruction of the vineyards in California.     I know many people don’t sanction the drinking of wine; some have even said it’s the devil’s work. However, wine has sacred beginnings for many of us. It was very important during Biblical times and was consumed during important events. Jesus drank wine. During the last supper, an extremely important event, Jesus asked us to remember Him in the form of bread, representing His body and in the form of wine, representing His blood. The making of wine has been and still is a prodigious contribution to our American life.

As a wine maker, I can tell you with certainty that wine is not the problem. In fact, it’s beneficial because red wine has a high level of antioxidants, has positive links with cardiovascular diseases and several other diseases, and helps with circulation of the blood. White wine promotes digestion and relaxation and protection of lung tissue. Wine is made from grapes, the main ingredient and a large portion of wine. Wine is not made for people to over consume. Wine should be consumed in small portions and most often used on special occasions to accompany a dinner or a special lunch; it is used to sip on during a reception or gatherings, during a congratulatory event such as a raise, new job, birthday, or a move to a new place. It is the “extra” during dinner or lunch or on any special occasion. It is not meant to be gulped daily and in large quantities.

            I want to mention the hard work and diligence that wine makers put into the making of wine. For winemakers, wine making is a business. Like all businesses, it feeds the family, enables a family to live comfortably, provides for family health needs and enables the children to attend a university. This is the same with everyone, I’m sure. Unlike a steady office job where we know that for as long as we show up and fulfill the supervisor’s expectations, we can expect a payday that comes at the same time monthly, winemakers don’t have the expectation of a regular payday and even though a worker may show up, if the weather is troublesome, the employee may not be needed that day.

Wine making demands sun, and lots of it. The workers must endure a hot sun daily. Think what a hot sun, regularly, will do to a person. But people must work. They must provide for their families. My workers could go into a shaded area I provided when they needed, and they drank gallons of water and other beverages good for hydration and electrolytes. They also wanted to work in the vineyard. To me, these are special people who love others enough to endure the heat in order to contribute to their community. My workers were also good-hearted people and I’m sure the wine makers in California were also good-hearted people.

            I can barely watch the destruction of the vineyards in California. It’s gotten so bad for me that Mary makes me cut the TV off or leave the room when the news programs show pictures of the devastation. I worked my entire life in a vineyard growing wine. I began as soon as I graduated from college. That was all I ever did. My heart can’t stand it to know that the future of these wine growers, is obliterated. All the hard work put into what they did up to the fires is wiped away. Many didn’t get a chance to sell or ship off the wine they had ready before the fires destroyed everything. How will these families eat? Where will they live now? Is there any chance that their children can have a college education? Mary, my loving wife, and I pray for these people and give thanks to what was given to us. If this had happened to me, Mary, Hamilton, Taylor and I would have had to live on the streets somewhere. And in Stevensville that would have been a real challenge. I beg you to speak to your senators and representatives and let them know that they must do something to prevent these fires from happening. Every year this happens!! There must be something wrong with us if we don’t see this coming by now! (Mary asked me to remove the last two sentences, but I’m upset with this and I want the readers to know that.) We must be prepared. We must help them. We must pray.

            The wine makers are not the only ones who lose their homes every year in these fires. Many other people have also lost everything. We’ve never had to, but I can imagine how difficult it must be to have to start over again. I remember how hard it was for me to get started. That’s something I’ll never forget. The disappointment one feels when things don’t go as planned, the loss of money already invested, the lack of help, and the look that some give as they turn away, can make a person feel out of his/her element and give up. In my lifetime, life was just hard. It was difficult to do anything. Looking at what we have now, many people, especially young people, don’t understand how difficult life was sixty, sixty-five years ago. But these are modern times now, and life is easier. So put yourself in the place of a winemaker, or some hard working citizen who has to suffer the destruction of their home – the place where memories were stored, where pictures around the walls and on table tops told the stories of children playing baseball, on a hockey team, playing the trumpet in a band, leading cheers, where the dining room table and mixed-matched chairs once belonged to grandparents, where a flowered vase represented a birthday gift, where a son or daughter broke the leg on the couch and tried to fix it back so no one could tell, where children’s toys and homemade clay figures filled mantels and tables, where a scrapbook held a marriage certificate, graduation diplomas, and degrees, where happiness and some sad times abounded, and where mom and dad and sons and daughters grew together as a family and individually. Where would you start to rebuild your history? Why would you want to? What good would it do? How would you go about rebuilding? What would you include? After you answer these questions, then think about all these people who are displaced. What are they doing? Where are they now?

I want to thank Judy Kelly for allowing me time to talk to you about this. I hope you will get her book when it comes out, The Attractiveness of Wisdom. Thank you for listening. And if you haven’t already read Blessings and Curses, I think you should. AllAuthor did something really nice for Blessings and Curses. See it below. Isn’t that nice? I like that.

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