I have a dear friend
Although he is more than a friend.
A mentor. A guide. A wise man.
In my globe-trotting, high-flying, ladder climbing, corporate days he employed me to set up a European business for an American multi-national. But that is the dull part.
He was more than the next generation above me, he is now in his eighties. And yet he still exudes a raw energy. His voice is fathoms deep, a precise Canadian accent with that ever-so-slightly-I’m-not sure-it’s-there Quebec-french inflection. He is still movie-star good-looking and he has that charming charisma and wry sense of humour that has people naturally gravitating towards him. Wherever he is.
I was with him in lots of places. Chicago, Miami, St. Louis and the US Mid West. We travelled in Switzerland, Germany, England (of course), Italy and France – to unashamedly name drop some of them. He had that genius for making whomever we were meeting, wherever we were eating, and whatever we were drinking, into something special and memorable. Moments to savour.
Especially the wine. He adored red wine. He would always choose an unexpectedly brilliant restaurant (even in Germany) and then find a gem on the wine list. He would smile at me – and whomever else was with us – and grinning over the top of his glass growl ‘This won’t do us any harm’.
He is a long way away now, and becoming elderly, but it would be good to hear him say that just one more time, his eyes twinkling.
But I grow maudlin.
It was he who introduced me to my favourite wine on the planet.
Brunello di Montalcino.
I am not going to tell you how perfect it is. (Although it is pure nectar). I shall leave it for you to discover.
But I will never take sip of that divine liquid without thinking of a man who is of a very rare and special vintage indeed.
Salud, my old friend.
© the author writing as Romantic Dominant
Art by Fabian Perez
I posted this a year ago. I am pleased to say that my old friend is still alive and well and, as an erudite, intelligent and well-travelled Canadian living in America, is bemused and shocked by recent events there. I’m sure however that a glass or two of red still allows him to see the extreme comedy in it. I raise my glass to him right now, though sadly it is not a Brunello.