“A man’s home is his castle” is an idiom that is bandied about and some claim that it derives from Cicero and others from Blackstone. I found an evening where valor was the knowledge of not trying to demand that concept and hiding in an eyrie. All I know is that it was the annual Ladies Christmas Party that my Bride has been hosting since before I ever appeared on the horizon. While some may question why I avoid this scene, instead of trying to be a co-host, I will say that it is better to be invisible. For years, I never had a problem, as I would be working and by the time I got home from retail, the party would already be coming to an end. The party is always the following Friday after the Thanksgiving weekend, and Thanksgiving is our demarcation day to have all of the presents wrapped, bundled by family, the Christmas/Hanukah cards with newsletters mailed and all parcels going out of state. In the old days when I would arrive home, it was basically a hello and goodnight greeting rolled into one, but now I am there prior to the madness, and I am there afterwards.
How my Bride coordinates it all, is beyond all imagination. The evening begins with basically is a Ladies pot-luck, and for some odd reason women prefer noshes to meals, so think of a barrage of small plates of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts that seems to make no sense, but in the end, there is a complete meal. Some of the dishes are plates are to die for (can a man say that?), while others are pre-packaged from the “catering” section of a local grocery store. My job after carrying most of the winter coats upstairs, is to hide. Of course, as I am writing on my computer upstairs in the office, I can hear when the “dinner” has commenced and I wait as the crowds go through and then reseat themselves back in the living room, the dining room or in the breakfast nook. Then I become a Ninja and hastily make a couple of plates of goodies to take back up to the office, before they begin the next phases of the evenings. My Bride besides maintaining photo albums of each event, keeps logs of the gift exchange and the part that I really wish to hide from, the moment when each participant gets up and announces what they hope to accomplish in the following year, and of course someone (I wonder who that is?) can remind them what their aspirations were the year before. One lady that had moved away for business and had just returned, thought she was safe, but her aspirations from the last time she had been here was duly noted from that year’s log. Did I mention that the Ninja actually makes a couple of sweeping attacks to the kitchen, I mean who wants to see Shrimp Cocktail, spectacular Deviled Eggs and fried chicken go to waste, and I mean this is about the only time for a year that I get to eat fried chicken?
In the library, just off the foyer opposite the living room, we set up a table near the Christmas tree with adult libations. There is an assortment of different liquors and liqueurs that are the current trendy items for those that want a cocktail or two. Then there is the collection of wines, which include my Bride’s assortment of go-to Chardonnay wines that I probably write about too often, because she is a creature of habit; I mean she still drinks the same Scotch since I have met her, even with me buying her an extravagant blended Scotch that she doesn’t like as much as her blend. Then there are a couple of treacly sweet wines that are necessary in today’s society that I try to refrain from writing about, because I might become more of a social pariah than I already am with my writings. I put out a bottle of red wine, even though most of the time, I hear that the wines are too dry. I put out a bottle from the Columbia Valley in Washington state, and one of the largest AVA areas in the country, as it basically has all the smaller AVA districts within its huge district. The MERF Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is from the hands of David (MERF) Merfeld who grew up on a family owned farm in Greene, Iowa. David ended up moving to Seattle and was employed by a construction inspection company and started brewing beer as a hobby. In 1996 he quit his day job and went into brewing full time while attending beer school and in 1997 was hired at Bert Grant’s Ales as a brewer, which was owned at that time by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. It didn’t take long before he was working for Ste. Michelle as a winemaker. He now makes his own wines which are cellared and bottled at MERF Wines in Paterson, Washington. This particular wine is eighty percent Cabernet Sauvignon, nineteen percent Merlot and a whopping one percent of Cabernet Franc. Seventy-five percent of the juice was aged for twelve months in a combination of French and American Oak, with the remainder aged in Stainless Steel for more of the fruit and when blended back together the wine is said to have character and complexity. I was hoping to tell you more about the wine, but by the time I went down to have some after my fix of Chardonnay, the wine had evaporated. I think this was a first for a red wine at the party. There were also a couple of wines that were given to the hostess, and lo and behold, your Raconteur even received a present. The guest that makes the magnificent deviled eggs (did I mention that there were deviled eggs) likes to shop garage sales for fun, and has found some spectacular things for our home and kitchen (her brother is a Master Chef) found me some wine bottle tags for the cellar, which are becoming scarce to find, so it was greatly appreciated.