And so it’s coming to an end. The dreadful summer of 2014.
Wars in Europe and the Middle East. Ebola outbreak in Africa. Children (yes, children!!!) being shunned and scorned on our southern border by dehumanized politicians. A powder keg of racial tensions here in the U.S. News media that relish and exploit images of a decapitation as Americans sit down to dinner…
I was only eleven years and hardly world-wise in 1978 (the year my nuclear family fell apart). But I know I’m not the only one to make an analogy between the now and the late 1970s in the U.S., when the “oil crisis” arrived, the Russians and Americans were poised to annihilate each other, terror brought western Europe to a standstill, and Spielberg’s Close Encounters depicted a world in tumultu.
It seems petty to mention here the current, disastrous situation for Italian winemakers, who have experienced one of the rainiest growing cycles of our lifetimes. Their battles against hail, rot, and mildew are dwarfed by the myriad human crises that have taken shape this summer.
But they represent another thread in the fabric of the world’s ills.
As August came to a close, it seemed that the news couldn’t get any worse.
And then, here in the Houston wine and food community, the unthinkable happened when a rising star chef, charismatic and beloved by his peers, died at twenty-eight. A tragedy by any measure.
His wasn’t the only passing that punctuated our dreadful summer of 2014.
Stefano Bonilli, ousted founder of Gambero Rosso and champion of socio-politically enlightened food writing, left this earth in early August.
Indigenous grape pioneer Paolo Rapuzzi was another bright light extinguished in August 2014…
Last night, I made my girls one last pesto for the summer of 2014.
As my daughters, my wife, and I sat down to dinner, I couldn’t help but think of Boccaccio’s Lisabetta da Messina and the mournful tears that made her basil so rich in aroma and flavor.
Innocent and unaware of the problems of the world, our daughters (aged one and two-and-a-half) are healthy, happy, playful, and joyful. One day, Tracie P and I will have to tell them about the dreadful summer of 2014.
But for the time being, I’ll cherish the solace that I found in their smiles, laughter, and hugs. And I’m glad that the summer is over…