Back To School?

This week I received an e-mail from our regional winery with the unlikely subject line: Duplin Winery Back To School Savings.  At first, visions swirled of second-graders standing beside their chairs with stemware raised in toast to their new teacher and the coming school year.  The tinkle of clinking glassware overwhelmed my auditory senses.  Then I thought, No, wait!  The enjoyment of alcoholic beverages is reserved for those of us who are twenty-one years of age and older.

The sale must be targeting the parents of those school-aged offspring.  What rapture to send the little darlings packing back to school after twelve unrelenting weeks of slamming doors, running through the house at breakneck speed, asking incessant “whys” about everything you attempt to do, and you, stirring up and serving them 1346 gallons of sugar-free Kool-Aid.  That must be it.  You’ve done your duty.  You’ve earned your freedom.  After the school bus pulls away from the curb, you and your mate call in sick, draw the drapes, unplug the coffeemaker, pop the cork and kick back with a refreshing glass of sweet muscatel.

I wonder if Jack Daniels is running a back-to-school special targeting vacationing teachers retuning to the grind?

Link: Duplin Winery

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The Neighborhood Lemonade Stand

Ah, the lemonade stand.  A bit of initiative and voilá, easy pocket money for any kid.  Just one problem, the government is trillions of dollars in debt.  Wars are being continually created and financed to protect the freedoms of entrepreneurial ventures.  Resource-hungry politicians are overdue to realize that those enterprising tykes need to feel the pain of Uncle Sam taking a sip from every dime that crosses their makeshift counters.

Tyke-Tax is just around the corner, folks.  Then you will see those kiddie-made drink prices soar as the little ones strive to cover the additional overhead of retaining CPAs, corporate lawyers, buying street-vendor permits, bribing local health inspectors and joining watchdog groups to eyeball the Big Boys (Coke & Pepsi), least they try to muscle in on the wee ones’ turf.  No doubt, enlightened community colleges will rush to fill a need for these pre-pubescent capitalists by developing a series of weekend seminars.  Under-12 Upstarts would be one apt addition.  Reasonable fees with Pell Grant options, of course.  Ah, the carefree days of childhood.

Thinking about Thornton Wilder’s Our Town

When I was just four, Mother kept me up one night to see a live broadcast of a program on TV.  She said it was special and perhaps I might remember some of it later as I grew older.  It was a live production of Our Town.  Although I’ve seen several productions of Our Town on TV and on local stages in the intervening decades, I have never forgotten some of those shadowy b&w images on that early model TV screen.  I remember the stark, near-barren stage, Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Gibbs  cooking breakfast on invisible stoves.  I especially recall a mass of huddled umbrellas and a young lady emerging from them dressed in white.  Mother said the girl was dead.  It was her funeral.  I have never forgotten that.  I have attended many graveside funerals since then, and studied Our Town– especially Act III.  And I have taken many peaceful walks through our city cemetery and imagined its residents seated in folding chairs beside their tombstones, unemotionally commenting about my presence amongst themselves as I passed by reading their stones.  “Beloved Wife.” “Daddy.”  “Little Angel.”  Act III tells us the departed grieve the ignorance and blindness of the living.  And if we only could, we’d grieve more for ourselves than for our dearly departed no matter the age or circumstance.  The answer to all of our “whys?” and “what fors?” about the meaning of death lies in Act III of Our Town.  Yet I’ve never found the words to utter that answer aloud– but I can feel it in my bones.

Winston and the mighty Zenith