It would not be accurate to say we drove our mother to drink. Let us just say that we gave her little reason to do without the occasional belt.
This meditation is occasioned by something new in the $10 bargain bin at Hannaford — Mommy’s Time Out, a light, fruity (apples and pears) Garganega-Pinot Grigio from Italy. Yes, Mommy’s Time Out is a blend: 70 percent Garganega and 30 percent Pinot Grigio. Garganega is the sixth most widely planted grape in Italy; it is a helper grape, a spear-carrier that is almost always blended with another more distinguished grape. The Mommy vineyards are in the Venezie region of northeastern Italy, region whose climate (sunny, hot) is ideal for white wines.
Mommy’s Time Out is good but not life-altering. It is refreshing and clean and Ma would’ve liked it.
The Mommy’s Time Out website explains the name: “Mom deserves a break from time to time. And she’ll love taking some time out for a nice glass of wine. The inspiration for this wine is all the supermoms who take care of their homes and families and maybe even manage to have a career at the same time.”
That was our Mom: six kids, full-time job and, at the age of 55, pursuit of a graduate degree.
But let’s stick with the six kids. We variously got arrested, fell from high places, ran away from home, married non-Catholics, flunked courses, got divorced, lost jobs, moved, missed Mass and had impure thoughts.
Dad, a fireman, had a 24-on, 24-off schedule that made Ma something of a single parent. When he was home, because he had a second job painting houses, we didn’t see a lot of him. And even when we did, he saw his role as instructional so we received many lectures and reproofs. We well recall a whole dinner devoted to his professional discourse on fire safety and the elements of fire: fuel, ignition and air — remove one and the fire goes out.
They both did their best, but we kept screwing up. Our own particular shortcoming involved the manufacture, in the basement, of small bombs made with sulfur, saltpeter and ground up Kingsford charcoal briquettes. We once suffered a burned and blackened hand. Another time, an ill-timed detonation set fire to a mattress. We doused the fire but enough smoke had wafted upward that we soon were busted.
Fire department captains take the dimmest possible view of sons who set fire to mattresses; the wives of fire captains take an even dimmer view. The two of them dragged the ruined mattress out of the basement and lifted it onto the roof of the family station wagon for a trip to the dump.
As it happens, we hadn’t actually extinguished every little spark. On the way to the Berkeley dump, the combination of ignition, fuel and air caused the mattress to burst into flames and our parents found themselves driving the very first Chevy Blazer.
Few mommies deserved a time out more than our own, and we are sorry Ma is no longer around to have one.
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