Christina Rosé from Austria

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And then my 4th Grade teacher said…

When you’re in the fourth grade even the kids in the seventh grade are old.  Students in the high school are old enough to be full-on adults.  But it is safe to say that Miss Gladys Caulkins, my fourth grade teacher, would be considered old – even to my parents (my parents were not old… they were my parents, and for me, without perception of age).

Who knows? Miss Caulkins could have been considered old before WWII!  Carefully combed white hair, wire rimmed glasses, a thin cardigan over a lace collared blouse, dark mid-calf skirt and sensible stacked heel shoes. Could she be termed a spinster? Someone who only experienced a brief flicker of that love connection that somehow was sadly extinguished, never to be rekindled?

But this is undeniable.  Miss Caulkins had an abiding love for birds.  Something she picked up in college?   Maybe traced back to her childhood?  Regardless, it became her mission to extend our learning beyond the required “Three R’s” and to imbue in us a love for our feathered friends.  Birds were her love.

Our class went on bird walks.  Who doesn’t want to get out of a classroom?

But then there was the half year project to draw a bird in pastel.  This activity was coordinated with the art teacher who came to our room to help in this endeavor.  But it was Miss Caulkins who was there as critical overseer to correct our choice of feather color, posture of the bird, and selection of background (my bald eagle was on a nest, perched on a cliff ledge overlooking an expanse of sea).

Her attention to detail was with the foreknowledge that our poster-sized pastels would be on display in Cushing Auditorium for the upper classes to see.

Miss Caulkins invested so much in this bird enterprise… and perhaps feeling the accumulating stress of pushing a group of 4th graders to artistic heights that she emerged from behind her Edwardian rectitude when I asked, “Miss Caulkins, maybe I can put a wig on my bald eagle?”

To which the ever proper, lace collared Miss Caulkins returned, “Jimmy Winston, this world doesn’t need another smart ass.”

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Open Faced Roast Beef Sliders, and…

This,  friends, is about key ingredients.  Not an elaborate recipe here.  Nor of a great prestige wine served alongside from a fancy-shmancy Baccarat decanter.  {SPOILER ALERT: put away your wine stems.}

Richard Parker, my man frog (pictured below in front of my film library), noticed that I was feeling out of sorts… some issues deeply concerning (which I will not go into here), others that may seem trivial (like my Eggs Benedict this morning were overdone); nonetheless, Richard took note and made adjustments in preparing a light midday repast.

With exquisite skill he presented: sliced rare roast beef, with a square of swiss cheese, sitting on a thin layer of  Boar’s Head pub horseradish sauce, taking up residence on a well-toasted half of a Wolferman’s sourdough mini English muffin. Added to my luncheon board, a side of Clauson’s mini kosher dills (I think of them as cornichons with a Yiddish accent).

And then, not a glass of wine here.  Rather, a superb extra-dry Tanqueray Martini, slightly dirty, assembled with my own hand.  The garnish is Old South’s tom olives.

Yes, there are wines that could be enjoyed as an alt beverage.  If you want my choice recommendations send me a 1500 word essay on the topic “What is the Difference between the Continental Congress of 1776 and a Frat Party at Delta Upsilon in 1976” OR, you can send me a check for the discounted rate of $85. 

nb: If you are curious about the small red cup pictured.   For those who remember ordering a milkshake “back in the day”, you would get your shake in the glass and any extra in the mixing tin!  It was like the milk shake “declared a dividend”.   Simply stated, the red cup was my Martini dividend.  

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Bordeaux & Bordeaux Blend Wine Tasting

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