Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Here's to Crime"

It's not something I'm uttering because I might've eaten an olive from the olive bar at the grocery store today.  Nor, is the title indicative of the fact that I drove 37 in a 35 yesterday, and got away with it, to the chagrin of hapless coppers.

When I say, "here's to crime", I say it as a toast.  A toast to this man:

That's my grandpa, Louis F. Herrig, who finally decided that he'd done all he could do in this life, after a tidy little run of 103 years.  He passed last Thursday, leaving a legacy untouched by any family member I've ever known, along with the template for long life:

- The daily Vodka Martini (Gramps was never much of a wine guy, save the splash of dry vermouth in his martini)
- Red meat, pan fried in butter
- An occasional cigar
- Hard Work
- Faith, and Family
- Humor, in every situation

All of it, as he prescribed, in moderation.  Seems to have served him well.  I was also taught by Grandpa- along with the moderation thing- not to let anything cause stress in my life.  Admittedly, I can occasionally stray from the principles of Moderation.  However, I'm not going to allow my deviations to stress me out.  Perhaps Grandpa'd be proud of my loophole.

While it's easy to say that sadness is not protocol for those mourning someone who had lived so fully, the fact of the matter is we were given that much longer to get to know him.  Hence, the loss is so greatly significant.  His loved ones had become accustomed to Grandpa always being around; his gruff and self-effacing exterior merely shrouding tenderness and a fierce love for his family.

However, my title for this post does not insinuate that his leaving us was a crime.  Grandpa stole not a single one of those 103 years.  He lived each and every one with purpose:  causing us to laugh ourselves dizzy, imparting unparalleled wisdom, making new friends, and outliving his enemies (if any).

Rather, "here's to crime" is a toast Grandpa used to pronounce to us when glasses were raised.  Quite simply, during Prohibition, it was the jovial and defiant salute given by patrons of the speakeasys.

Something about that always made me smile.  And though Louie has left us for the great Unknown, the stories and the memories will always remain.  They- themselves- will be shared, passed on, toasted, and embellished upon... moderation, of course.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the Weeds

There are ideas and things that need to be said rattling (or sloshing) around in my cranium.

Unfortunately, I've been covered up trying to preach the goodness of the grape to your neighborhood drinking establishments.

I recorded a live session at a sales call today.  It's in black and white because we're behind places like Seattle and San Francisco down here in the South, and we've yet to discover Technicolor and such: