Alverna Mae

AlvernaThere is a plot of land in Sonoma Valley that is now empty.

Vines once rooted themselves there. But they got too old and diseased. They no longer produced.

They were pulled up.

I drove by this plot not too long ago and was  momentarily shocked to see it fallow and empty. Unproductive. But I remembered the vineyard well, but only as an old vineyard. I never saw it in its youth. I bet it was brilliant.

I thought about this vineyard while driving back home today with my wife after burying my mother. Alverna Mae was 38 when I was adopted. So I don't recall her in her youth either. But I'm pretty sure she was brilliant.

The beauty of fallow ground where vineyards once stood is its potential, of course. The possibility that the ground will again support vines that will bear grapes that will become wine that represents the ground.

The beauty of a lost parent recently buried lies in part in the potential represented by those they helped raise up. My job is clear.


Posted In: Personal


15 Responses

  1. Lewis Perdue - January 5, 2012

    My heart’s with you. Beautiful post.

  2. Todd - VT Wine Media - January 5, 2012

    My condolences. My guess is that you have already made her very proud, and that you will continue to do so. It is a special time that you are passing through now, I’m sure you will certainly spend it wisely, while continuing with the good work you do, like covering the NJ hearings today. Be well.

  3. El Jefe - January 6, 2012

    Dammit Tom. Your words have made me laugh, made me angry, made me think. And now they made me cry. Godspeed Alverna Mae, you done good. Real good.

  4. Debbie Gioquindo - Hudson Valley Wine Goddess - January 6, 2012

    Beautiful! Having just been down that road, those words are very comforting.

  5. Samantha Dugan - January 6, 2012

    The first time I ever cried while reading a wine blog was a few years ago, your Mother’s Day post about Alverna Mae. Your words then inspired a sense of pride in me as a mother as well as the hope to one day call you a friend. Think we got the friendship part down, least a little, and your friend here would like to tell you that as a mother of a remarkable son I can assure you, she was very proud…

  6. Arthur - January 6, 2012

    Wow, Tom….
    My heartfelt condolences.

  7. Ron Washam, HMW - January 6, 2012

    I’m so sorry. Just from looking at her captivating photo one can see her intelligence and passion for life. While you came equipped with the former, she certainly gave you the gift of the latter. Makes me wish I’d known her.
    Take care, my friend. Grief is a stern mistress.

  8. Marcia M - January 6, 2012

    Ohhh, my condolences. What a beautiful tribute. And a gorgeous photo of your mom. What a blessing to have had her as your mom.

  9. Nick - January 6, 2012

    Tom, that was very moving way to put that. I’m sorry for your loss.

  10. Chris | Wine Gift Basket - January 6, 2012

    What a touching piece. I am sure she was a brilliant woman.

  11. Wine Harlots - January 7, 2012

    Thank you for your beautiful elegy for your mother.
    All the best,
    Nannette Eaton

  12. Susan B - January 7, 2012

    So very sorry for your loss.

  13. Thomas Pellechia - January 8, 2012

    You have my love and friendship, and by the looks of it, you had an intelligent, beautiful mom, too.

  14. Fredric Koeppel - January 9, 2012

    I know that all of your friends and readers — even your detractors — join today in sadness yet feel uplifted by your lovely tribute to your mother. best wishes…

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