“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder” – Ronald Reagan
A WHOPPER OF A DAY
Today was a big day. No, not due to Super Bowl, sorry sports fans, (in fact I would go as far as say big “f…ing” day as our fierce leader of a VP once so poignantly stated.)
Today is President Ronald Reagan’s 100th Birthday.
As I was retrieving a birthday cake in his honor from Whole Foods bakery, I inadvertently caused much angst (and possibly few extra months in therapy) to the organically certified staff. Not only did I ask them to write “Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan” (the bakery lady giggled quite a bit at the unusual request but didn’t know how to spell “Reagan.” She was so traumatized that she asked twice for spelling assistance, then I asked for an exclamation point at the end to boot!)
Yummy, fully calorie-loaded chocolate whopper of a cake in hand, I proudly marched home to pair it with my favorite Napa Cabernet (more on that later). However, the realization of last night’s letter send by Robert Parker to his subscribers hit me hard and took some pep out of my step… Like the Great Communicator and Storyteller before him, Parker single handedly rearranged the wine world, one newsletter at a time. And now he is no longer a California reviewer, relinquishing those duties to a colleague. The news was difficult to swallow and absorb.
A BIG SIGH HEARD AROUND THE [WINE] WORLD
Last night was pretty tough. As the hangover of last night’s revelation slowly began to sink in, I was flooded with thoughts and emotions. As many of you know, and despite his repeated professions of being a Francophile; in many ways I consider Parker an American Patriot and a champion of American Spirit. Clearly Parker has been a transcending, transformative force in the wine world at large and California wine in particular and I felt momentarily orphaned…
In the fragile ecosystem of the wine world, the balance can get upset rather easily. RP’s instrumental role can simply not be underestimated; nor the unintended consequences of his departure from CA wine reviews be quantified.
His curiosity and passion for New World wines was contagious enough to rearrange many a palate (and a checkbook!)
Unlike some, I am not looking forward to any replacement; not due to change it signifies, but for an entirely different host of reasons.
Reagan is irreplaceable. So is Parker. I won’t bother qualifying my statement with how his colleague is “a fine writer”. I am sure he is. It just simply isn’t the point. Parker is unique in the same sense as Reagan was. There is nothing interchangeable about great leadership.
I never thought of myself as the type that needed rescuing; but apparently, I did. Not once but twice. First I was rescued from the clutches of rampant tyranny of the New World order, then, ironically from the Old World puritanical restraint.
I never thought that I would speak of Reagan and Parker in the same year let alone the same sentence, and certainly never aspired to compare or correlate the two in any way. However as fate would have it, both played a pivotal role in my life and the similarities that emerged as they were gradually revealing themselves were downright eerie.
I cannot express enough what Reagan’s presidency meant to me personally and how profoundly it affected my life. I would have never had a chance to become who I am in a true sense of the word had it not been for his personal courage and brilliant policies.
I also would never have matured into the kind of wine geek I am proud to have become if it wasn’t for Parker’s passionate portrayal of boutique California producers who strive for excellence and authenticity.
Both men were and continually are crucified for daring to carve the path of their own, and for doing the right thing. Both went against the politically correct, fashionable rhetoric of their day. Both stuck to their guns. Both will go down in history (one of them has already) for being right on a great deal of crucial matters. In fact they are both heroes for championing individuality and embracing diversity, and encouraging us to carve the painful yet wondrous path to ourselves as the only sustainable journey. They both believed in one’s goodness, creativity, drive and individual abilities as the only genuine solution to virtually any problem.
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