The Wine Disaster

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
The worst beating I ever received was during a certain Christmas.The mighty alcohol makes you or others do very unexpected things.

Submitted: March 06, 2010

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Submitted: March 06, 2010

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THE WINE DISASTER

December, 1978 was a years that I will always remember. That year left deep marks in my mind and in my flesh. And it was all because of the grapes nectar.

I had always loved Christmas. It did not represent only a great event where you had to understand that something greater than you happened. It represented abundance; it was Almatee’s horn in each house. The sleepless nights, rhetorical questions were over. There was no lonely soul in Transylvania during Christmas! I witnessed it. There had been always snow and home made wine during Christmas. Home made wine was the best booze money could buy in my little town.

My beautiful, little town during Christmas! Every winter the snow covered it with a thick, white blanket and the sound of the Christmas Carroll’s filled the crisp, frigid air!. An unsung overture of people’s footprints on the immaculate carpet was quickly covered by the thick flakes of snow falling down with the precision of a metronome. The peaks of the town fortress became white .The mighty bastion that once hosted in its belly frightened women, innocents children and fearless warriors was loosing step by step its menace full shape and it was becoming alive and friendly.

,, Mary Christmas” random voices echoes in my head. A bridge between hearts, Christmas built for us year after year. Our home made wine cemented it .There were some very important things that people in Transylvania had to have for Christmas. It had been a tradition in our history. To have and to drink home made wine was one of them. It was a habit and a necessity. We had been keeping the old tradition alive and the end of the year had all the families with a little funny pig on the table and lots of bottles of home made wine. Home made wine had its own story, its own scent and it was a journey that the poets should have down on paper. From its creation, when a handful of people worked hard in the vineyards to its final moments, the ancient drink travelled through time a long and much expected journey.

Most of the people during the Golden Age had their own vineyard leased from the state. There was a lot of land that you could lease and work if you had the strength, the desire or you had to in order to support you family. Any piece of land harvested was a very welcome extra that people had for tough times. The location of my little town was perfect for vineyards, orchards and agriculture. Sunk in the heart of Transylvania, crossed by a long, monotonous and curvy river, guarded by hills, animated by village peasants driving their wagons every Thursday to the local animal market, It had been there for more than 1000 years never growing but always its hunger for people had been quenched by numerous offside villages which sent people to work in it.

My father had leased 2 hectares of vineyards in 1973 and since then our family had been working and harvesting them. We had basically two main types of grapes: Feteasca Regala and Traminer rose. The wine that came out was strong, so strong that you could feel the ground shaking after two glasses. According to my granddad we made one of the best wines in town. My granddad was a veteran drinker. There had not been a single meal for him without a glass of wine! I asked him one day how come we made the best wine in town. ,, Patience, love ,talent, attention to detail” he answered. Come on, man! I thought! You sound like the Holy Pope. Give me a break! You forgot to add on the list appetite and a big and strong bladder.

,, Wake up “I heard my mum say at 5 o clock in the morning. It was that awful, long and boring day in the autumn when we had to pick the grapes. It was the family’s day where I had to attend

,,I do not drink wine" I shouted back to my mother angry!, at least not quite yet" I said it to myself, let me sleep".

It was a lost cause, she was determined and hurried so I did not stand a chance.,

,, Your father and your brother are by the car" ,,Do not let them wait for you”!

I jumped up and I started to dress She came in and she dragged me out half naked

, You move like a lazy little zombie "she said pulling my hand vigorously stopped and I looked at her intrigue

,, I need to inform you that a zombie is a former human being who is incapable of emotions therefore ,,lazy" is a mistake that you should correct said., A zombie has no speeds. He is just a zombie"!,

,, Well, I am your mother and in my house a zombie is what I tell him to be and move your physic before I make you look like one”!

No reply here so here I was down the stairs into the cold morning. The old truck, Romanian made, was waiting with the engine running. My father was up in the cabin already being warmed up by a local body heater and emotions enhancer called,, tuica". That was the equivalent of the western whiskey. It was made of distilled plums and it was damn strong for an untrained throat. Not my father’s case though.

I climbed up in the back and lied down on a pile of plastic bags destined to be filled with grapes. The short trip ahead was to be noisy and bouncy .The truck had bad springs and road was a country road paved with holes.

,, Are you comfortable up there ,son?” my father s voice reached me loud and excited.

,, Give me a second to turn my massage chair on" I said.:

,, Do not bother! The truck will do that for you!" his cheeky voice came back to me.

The trip was short .We left behind the sleepy town and we drove deep between the hills. The road was steepand the truck struggled .We stopped. I jumped down, stretched and prepared my tools: my knife, my plastic gloves and my bouquet!,

, Let’s rock "I heard my father say

,, And roll" my grandma filledin panting from the steep hill that she had to walk up. She just arrived right after us. The high hill was a challenge for my grandma. She was a solid built woman who knew everything and everyone. At least she believed that.

,,Nelu, you take the first lane”! She said to my father in brisk voice. Hurry up! We have a lot of work to do"!

That was a long day! Endless bags of grapes carried to the truck. Working bent above the line of wire covered by grapes. Few tonnes of grapes ready for squashing and extraction!

.To make the story short, after one hard day hard of labour divided it at 8 people, we had the grapes picked and ready for making 200 kg of wine. .The beginning of the journey started! The hardest part was done. The next step was squashing the grapes but that was easy and it was done in my grandfather’s backyard .He had a squashing device built in the factory he worked for. It was called… All the wine made was kept in oak barrels! For the Christmas time!.

They were so proud of their wine .They had always argued in work and on the street against the neighbours about whose wine was the best. They met in weekends and tasted it. Which wine had the strongest aroma? Whose wine was stronger? Whose wine could make you dizzy quicker? Adults!

Back then I was part of a little gang band called the Dacs, made of about 7 little Romanian devils, young and naughty ready for everything and anybody." Days before the Christmas time, we all met to discuss the winter strategy:

, ,I say to go to my place and play the cops and thebandits cause I have my dad s gear .He is off for Christmas!" Luca said who was the smallest of the gang and whose father was a cop, a sergeant in the local police. The gear meant, badges, batons, hats, flashy traffic tools etc,

, How about, we go at midnight at mrs. Tomas house and we flood his yard over night and let it freeze:! We could watch him in the morning as he goes out to feed his pigeons”!, little Zolli said with a frozen nose that was severely loosing its mucus.

,, We could do what we did last year!" Vali said casually.

Last year we all had an argument with Mr..Andrei who was one of the richest guys in town; he was also a mayor and owned a big farm full of pigs and hens. The farm was his pride and joy. We practiced shooting on his chickens one day using some slingshots.. He saw us and called the police .He was influent and we had a lot of problems with our parents later. In return, we drugged all his hens with sleeping pills in one night. Next day when he saw his flock on the ground, he wrapped his head and mouth with towels and called the emergency services because an epidemic of bird flu ignited. Lucky for him, they were late arriving only next day so all the birds got well just in time. He never knew what happened to the birds.

,,I say "! came inslowly and detached ,,to go to my dad cellar ,drink some of hiswine and after that, we all go and do all of these"

,, That’s so cool" their voices roared like one.

, Let’s do that"!

At night, when the lights were off and the town fell asleep tired, we all sneaked in the cellar, little shadows on the house’s walls, silent and purposeful. The door was locked but I had gotten the key in the evening. There was a beautiful silence about the town. The fresh snow squeaked under our boots.

,, Can you open it?"

,, Sure "I said to one of the lads! Give me a second”.

We were in the cellar. There were two barrels: the biggest one had 200 litres of red Feteasca Regala and the little one had 20 kilograms of tuica.

,, We hit the big one !"I said because I knew from my father that it was the best. Get the hose from the wall "I asked Luca!

I climbed a chair and I took the cork out. The strong aroma filled the room.

,, Pass me the hose"! I said .I got it and I let it fall deep into the barrel, deep to the bottom. I got the other end and I started to suck the wine out. .It filled my mouth rich and strong and I let it flow for few long seconds.

Me too"!Voices from the darkness whispered anxiously. I passed the end of the hose to them .It was enough for me. I realize now, that I sucked about 2 big cups.

,, Be quiet and hurry up! “I urged them.10 minutes later we were all full and happy, ready to take off to our next adventure.

I slept late that Sunday morning. In my dream, the kingdom I ruled was great and powerful was mighty and fearless! I was riding my black horse when I felt a hand reaching to my foot and pulling me down. A peasant, angry and broad, yelled at me!,

,, You ruined the harvest, you little bastard! All my work was in vain"!

It was unheard of a prince to be treated like this.

,, Guards, take this worm and throw him to the lions” I demanded furiously! ,

, You are my son, but I am going to make you remember this day forever"

What was that? It was impossible for a royal prince to have a father like that? Unless! it was not a dream!That was my father pulling me out of bed!

But, still something was not right!

,, Calm down ,dad, we left enough for you and for your buddies" I said being dragged of the bed! I landed on the floor afraid and surprised to such display of paternal aggressiveness. In his right hand black, long and elastic the wine hose hung like a black mamba ready to strike.

,, You stupid kid you have no idea what you did, have you? He said pulling my mum away who was trying to have me loose!

,, We were curious to see why you are so happy every time after you exited the cellar!! I said chocking with fear!

,, We? We who?" he exploded like a gunshot.

For the next two weeks all my friends offered to get me a job at the zoo as the first hybrid between a child and a zebra. I received about 20 hose strikes on my exposed body and it was for the first time when I realized what an ample vocal range I had .Somewhere between a tenor and a soprano! I was not sure but my neighbours confirmed it!

Apparently, as I found out later, little Luca who was the last in line, forgot to take the hose out the barrel and let it fall on the floor. I had never been good at physics but I knew that much that if you suck of a hose and you let it fall to the ground the gravitation will do the rest. So it did! 200 litre of wine flowed down thru the timber floors into the foundation. A cycle was over! So was my Christmas! They changed the lock of the cellar and installed an alarm. My grandfather also mentioned something about an armed guard once! My father mourned the wine for a while! He had to step on his pride and buy to buy some wine from a neighbour!

As about me, my family has never involved me in anything connected to grapes or booze and, in the end, I got used to my father’s looks and venomous innuendoes!

Cheers!


© Copyright 2020 drago. All rights reserved.

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