Celebrate the Small Things
By Mark Bohm / June 1, 2014

There was a time when I was quite enthusiastic about wine. I like wine, particularly reds, and during the few years I lived in northern California, it was easy to become a burgeoning enthusiast. I visited Napa, toured the Robert Mondavi property and others, and read some books about the different varietals and where they come from. I've forgotten much of it, but to this day, when ordering at a restaurant or surveying the wine aisle at the grocery store, I still draw upon whatever bits and pieces I've retained.

Several years ago, my parents gave me a bottle of 2000 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I knew enough to know that I'd been handed a serious bottle of wine. I'd never tried Silver Oak, but understood that their wines were held in high regard and considered in a class well above the relatively inexpensive $5 to $10 selections from which I typically made my purchases.

I decided that I'd wait for a special occasion to drink the Silver Oak. And there were occasions here and there that might have qualified as significant enough to warrant pulling the cork on a nice bottle of red -- a kid getting straight A's, a victory on a case, a favorite sports team winning a championship. But I kept waiting for something bigger. And I waited. And waited.

Celebrate The Small Things

I believe it was nearly 10 years that I'd held onto that bottle. I rarely thought of the wine as it sat there in our little Pottery Barn wine rack in a cabinet. In the back of my mind, however, I knew it was there. Still, I waited for something to happen that would compel me to pour the wine.

One day, a couple of months ago, driving somewhere, it occurred to me that it was time to drink the Silver Oak. Maybe I was prompted by some recent news of frightening health related issues that had affected some people I know. Maybe it hit me that waiting 10 years or so to enjoy a couple glasses of wine is just too long. Or maybe it was simply the growing realization that, aside from weddings or babies being born, the occurrence of pie-in-the-sky, life-altering celebratory events just don't often come along.

On a random weekend evening, my parents came over to join us for dinner. My mom cooked some of her delicious short ribs, and the kids got a chance to spend a quiet night at home with their parents and grandparents. We all hung out talking and watching some television. And I finally poured the 14 year-old bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet. I wanted to share it with my parents since the gift came from them to begin with. It seemed enough to celebrate the simple reality that we were all there together and generally feeling well. The more I thought about it; those things alone are a whole lot to be thankful for.

A few days later, during one of my infrequent visits to Facebook, I happened upon a page that is a dedicated memorial to people who attended my high school and are no longer with us. I stared at the photos, and although I had not seen those boys and girls for about three decades, they came back to me like we'd attended a class together yesterday -- their faces, voices, mannerisms. I thought over and again, "Oh, I remember that kid," as I wistfully scrolled through the snapshots of former classmates who had been taken too early. This was yet another reminder that time is too precious for one to endlessly put off the simple pleasures.

Carpe diem, they say. Seize the day. Or as a guy who waited almost 10 years to drink a bottle of wine might say, don't pass up even the smallest opportunity to celebrate.

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