Thursday, July 25, 2013
This pictured – and much pampered – pup runs a vineyard in North Carolina. Actually, her humans run it, but admit she is the titular head. Lulu is not only their official enthusiastic greeter but their unofficial overseer. She performs the latter daily by racing around hundreds of acres of growing grapes. I suspect she was named because she has turned out to be a real “lulu,” and the “loco” stems from her alternate duties of licking customers and loping around her domain. Lulu is so popular one of their best red wines is named for her. She is pictured on the label with a soulful look and adorned with a perky red scarf.
Lulu is a rescue dog much beloved by her owners but because of her energy and dedication, she hurt her foot and now sports a temporary limp and a purple bandage. At the moment Lulu spends much of her time on the sofa adjacent to the wine tasting room, totally relaxing and allowing her family to temporarily take over. They told us “she’s milking that situation for all she’s worth!”
To me, this canny canine represents the July cycle of Hill family celebrations. My birthday is mid-month and our son and his wife celebrate their wedding anniversary on that same date. Jim and I toast our years together two days later. As usual the kids plan “a little something” to celebrate the occasions. This year they outdid themselves.
First, David and his wife Amy treated us in an elegant restaurant featuring a floral scented courtyard with a glowing starry sky overhead. One entrée, seared scallops encrusted with ground pistachios, inspired David to promise to replicate the dish so we can all celebrate even more. It was wonderfully special to spend this private time together.
We got another chance with another duo. Our daughters Cathy and Mary Clare were more mysterious, asking us to reserve last weekend and keeping mum about plans until they were all set. Turns out this quartet spent time in and around Hendersonville, N.C. The trip, meticulously planned as a treat by the girls, began with “Les Miserables” on stage. They quite rightly reviewed it as “stunning.” Other activities included shopping (naturally, with three women), a six-hour, three-stop wine tour, and wonderful food in our B&B’s dining room as well as on its roomy front porch.
One of the most memorable times was the wine tour – as much about the people as the libations. We rode in a 15-passenger van with a delightful and informative tour guide as well as a good mix of congenial fellow passengers. I guess my most memorable part of that activity was getting on and off the van. When you’re only five feet tall and the one step into the vehicle is higher than your knees, entries and exits are a real challenge. Then two gallant – and thankfully muscular and much younger – men stepped up to help me. They put their hands under my elbows wafting me upwards with seeming ease, gifting me with six smooth transitions from ground to van floor level.
Like that vintner’s dog, my family all took some time to recoup from busy schedules, lick any current wounds, sit back and relax in the company of those we love. And with a little help from new friends. Maybe Lulu wasn’t so Loco after all.