If We Pumped Wine like Gas

Phil says when he was doing foreign exchange in France, they pumped wine like gas. He says they would take jugs, like growlers for beer or Culligan water tanks, and bring them to the wine shop, where they would pump wine into the jug with a gas pump, that even had the same stopping mechanism on it.

We were discussing this over second dinner at a patron’s house. They were throwing us their annual wine party, which included hors d’oeuvre, beautifully grilled brats, somehow sweet and savory beans with bacon and potato salad. We’d already eaten dinner back at the Players (mmmm spicy chicken tenders) but that didn’t matter. We ate again.

And, of course, an excellent selection of red and whites, uncorked and at the ready. Oh, how the wine flowed.

Our hosts had a wine cellar. I mean that literally. It was a the size of small bedroom, all cement, and filled with crate upon crate of wine – 6,000 bottles of wine. Looking at this, my “bank account hurts when I buy $9 bottles of wine,” intern eyes thought it was impossible. Like maybe it was a mirage, and if I tried to dust off their 200 year-old bottle of wine (seriously. he challenged everyone present – he had a bottle of wine older than their grandparents) it would have crumbled and disappeared. Or a genie would’ve come out of it.I can dance like Aladdin.

I didn’t touch it.

To put his 6,000 bottles in perspective, he said if he were a Frenchman, and drank a bottle of wine a day, he would have already drank 7,000 bottles of wine. But alas, we can’t all be French. I certainly can’t. I smile too much, smell like roses, and can only safely consume three drinks on any given evening. Four = Floor.

As we walked to our cars that evening, we could hear the coyotes howling. While I always stop and listen to them, especially when they get a little chorus going and are close by, I’m never surprised to hear them. It’s pretty standard. For others, though, the idea of a group of small wolf-like animals bellowing at the moon is not a comforting, nighty night kind of sound. City folk.

In essence, you can expect several things when you come to Wisconsin, particularly northern Wisconsin. One is coyotes.

Supperclubs are also a Wisconsin phenomenon. The place you go after church. Not too dressy, not too casual – dress casual. Nice top and jeans. Men wear ties and tuck in their polo t-shirts. Women were blouses. Perfume and cologne wafts heavily in the air. You order cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Manhatten at a superclub. Supperclubs are glossy.

This would not be self explanatory even if you from as close as Chicago. Perhaps they would have read about supperclubs. Heard rumors. But never actually seen one. Never been inside.

Then there’s a little thing called a cheese curd. Nothing quite like a deep-fried wad of cheese, dipped in ranch, blue cheese, or horseradish sauce to celebrate the land of dairy and a whole lotta XL and 2XL t-shirts. It’s not that I’m hating on cheese curds, really, because they are delicious, but everything in proportion, yes?


I had the morning off last Saturday, and Colin and I had big plans to go sailing on the sunfish. This meant getting up early. Neither of us excels at getting up early unless compelled by something like work. When no immediate need exists, we cannot get out of bed. I blame Colin. I would definitely get out of bed if he got out of bed first. I know it’s his fault, because when I wake up earlier than he does, he sprawls out and stays in bed. Case closed.

So anyway, we were out of bed after breakfast at the Players, which I meant to attend, due to Lori’s pancakes (she’s the master. perfect pancake thickness and texture). We dilly dallied around trying to make a decision about breakfast. Breakfast out? We’d been wanting to go to the White Gull, seeing as they’d just recently won the “Best Breakfast in America” award. Due to our late timing, however, there was already a half hour wait, which would have cut even more into our sailing time. We wandered about the kitchen looking for stale bread for French toast, searched for waffle mix, and settled on an egg scramble.

Satiated at last, I believed we were to embark on our sailing adventure immediately. Colin had mentioned something about needing to get a “ramp” situated, but I was not listening and had no idea what he meant by that. So I went back to my room and changed. I thought about sailing attire, and decided on a cute pair of white shorts I’d recently purchased but not had the opportunity to wear yet. I thought about wearing a little “swim skirt” I’d also bought, a long time back, but ultimately decided the white shorts would be cuter.

So I sashayed back over to Colin’s, ready, I thought, for sailing. When I got there, I found out what Colin meant when he’d mentioned the ramp. He stood behind the shed, with two long logs running parallel to each other, and short logs at either end running horizontally. It was last year’s ramp, and he was repairing it. He had power tools in hand. There were screws involved, and washers. It looked serious. I decided to throw the ball for Logan.

After what seemed like eons, we walked the ramp down to the water. I tried to avoid letting the dirty logs rub on my white shorts. Colin spent still more time getting it into position. He attached it to another ancient, weathered-looking ramp. He flipped them willy nilly to see which way they should be connected. My neon green nail polish was peeling.

By the time we were finally ready to set sail, it was lunchtime. I had a little over an hour before work. I carefully stepped into the mossy water, helping Colin guide the sailboat along. As we inched further out, and the waves rolled in, I began to wonder why I wore white shorts. The sailboat was dirty from storage, and the water washing over it created muddy patches. A large wave foamed at me as I held the sailboat in place, slapped my ass and suddenly my shorts were transparent.

Butt cheeks billowing in the wind, I climbed into the cockpit. I crouched down as Colin climbed in too. We were off! Good wind, sun shining, hair flowing…and…NO LIFE JACKETS. Turning around. Crouching down for tacking. Climbing out of the boat. Holding it while Colin runs back to the garage for life jackets.

As the water slapped up at me, I thought about the first time we ever went sailing. It was late fall, and I wore a half-wetsuit. Colin boasted about how he’d only ever rolled the boat once, maybe twice. As we got going, he prepared to change directions – tacking – and move the sail over the tops of our heads to the other side. For some reason, I think it had something to do with my location on the boat – this went horribly wrong, got caught, and sent me sprawling. Thank God for the dorky sunglasses holder.

Why was I wearing white shorts?

Colin came jogging back and we donned our life jackets. I climbed aboard. He pushed us for a moment and then climbed aboard too. Finally. We were sailing. With 45 minutes before work, I was a slave to time. But it was worthwhile, even as I jumped out only a short while later and ran, dripping, back to my room with five minutes to dry off, change, and pick up the phone, “Good afternoon, Peninsula Players, how can I help you?”



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