I always believed keeping a diary was more of a cheesy, kiddish thing to do. I mean,, I never did it although I’ve certainly done my share of cheesy kiddish things. Keeping a diary just wasn’t one of them. Anyway, my belief changed though after experiencing a traumatic event – something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. More of that later. For now, I’ll just say that after a lot of scoffing and swearing, I came to the realization that keeping a journal (that sounds more grown-up) is therapeutic.
So, who am I and what makes me tick? I’ll try to answer that now.
The name’s Emily Crebs and I suppose the best way to describe me is…well…crazy. I’m generally a very happy person who loves to laugh and make others laugh. I’ve always believed that life is too short to have the hum-drums all the time although I know for a fact that heartache can make one question if it’s really worth it in the end. I guess what it boils down to is that you’ve got to keep trucking along or you might as well just dig your own grave and bury yourself.
I’m a voracious reader and will read just about anything I can get my hands on. I’n always in the market for a new book club to join and I’m your gal Sunday iffin you wanna have an avid book discussion. My favorites are biographies and certain eras in history. For fiction, I’m a sucker for Stephen King. And of course, who isn’t a Lenora Landgraab fan? I mean, you’d have to be living under a rock if you don’t know who she is.
I’m also known as the resident wino. 🙂 No, I don’t live in a gutter and scarf down Wild Irish Rose. Noting like that although I savor…yes…savor…more than my share of quality wine. See, I’ve always enjoyed making my own wine, so I turned it into a business for myself after leaving my nursing career.
Ah, I suppose I’d better tell you that story. It’s part of that traumatic event I mentioned before.
See, it’s like this. I was once a loving wife, new mother, and had a nice job as a well paid nurse. I say once was because all that is gone now. It all stemmed from my 6-week old baby girl dying from SIDS. One night, I put Lisa to bed. The next morning, she was just…gone. There wasn’t a peep from the baby monitor.
I did all I could to not lose my damned fool head. Sure, I’m a highly skilled nurse but man, when it’s your own, there are no guarantees. I performed CPR but it was too late. I must have sounded like a lunatic to the EMS dispatcher, but who the hell cares? Lisa just…stopped breathing and that was it. Done, finito, eighty-sixed.
My marriage to Vincent couldn’t stand up to the grief we both felt. There was a saying I heard once that went something like this. Live children are the glue that holds a marriage together. Dead ones are poison. That was the case in my situation. We drifted apart, said hurtful things to each other in our grief, heated arguments ensued, and we just couldn’t stand to be around each other.
I’ve always loved wine, and the idea of making my own always appealed to me. I think what put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage was when I told Vincent I was quitting my job and enrolling in a program to learn how to make wine. I didn’t ask him, I told him, and as you can imagine, it didn’t go over well. He said I was too emotionally unbalanced to make a life changing decision like that, then accused me of overindulging in my wine habit. “You could likely end up bolting down more than you’d sell,” he had said. The analytical way he had spoken all this infuriated me. Hey, I’m the first to admit that I’d been drinking rather heavily at the time and that it was a crutch I needed. Too much of a good thing can steer you in the wrong direction before you even realize you’re lost. I’m heartily aware of that, but I justified it in my head that I was grieving, I’d always done my drinking at hone, and I never went to work intoxicated. Still, it infuriated me because it seemed to me that he was more concerned about our image than me or my happiness. We had a raging row and Vincent moved out the next day.
All this happened three years ago. I’ve gained much more perspective on things, and there’s so much I regret. I wish I’d been able to comfort Vincent more and to receive comfort from him in a more graceful manner. It’s a common reaction to want to blame someone and to lash out at them. In my mixed-up thinking, I held him partially responsible for Lisa’s death. I grew cold toward him, which he eventually reciprocated. I regret all the hurtful and mean things I said to him. Most of all, I regret letting him go. Despite it all, I still love him and suppose I always will. I haven’t had a single date since my divorce. I just don’t have the heart for it, and the only person I ever could want is Vincent.
Have I heard from Vincent since the divorce? Oh yes. The thing is, he’s such a caring and compassionate person, and i guess that still extends to me just a little. He calls or emails me about once every three weeks or so to find out how I am. I get a Christmas card with a little note from him every year, and he’s never failed to send me a birthday greeting. When we talk, the conversations are awkward at first, and they’re always superficial. We don’t get into deep subjects, and approaching the subject of Lisa is an unwritten taboo. So many times I’ve wanted to tell him I still love him, but the words always get stuck in my throat. i’m afraid of what he’d say – should say – that it”s too late and only cares about me as a fellow human being. God, I’m such a coward!
Ah, but let me backtrack. Safer ground, you know. After the divorce, my grandmother, Grace, had a stroke and I moved in with her to take care of her. She hated hospitals and had a great fear of going to a nursing home. My grandfather had done remarkably well in the stock market, so Grams had more than enough money to hire and maintain round-the-clock at home care. Since I’d been a nurse, she wanted me to care for her and would pay me for it instead of hiring a complete stranger. I’d always been close with my grandmother, so I agreed right away. In my downtime, I took online courses in wine making. A year after moving in with her, Grams gave me a hell of a surprise. She put more than enough money in an account so I could eventually study in France and arranged for wine making equipment to be set up in part of her basement. Grams insisted that I needed to practice, to see what worked and what didn’t. She even told me to help myself to anything in the garden and urged me to start growing different kinds of grapes. I nearly fainted dead away.
Despite my many responsibilities to Grams, she saw to it that I found time to cultivate my craft. I’d wheel her onto the back porch and fixed her up with a book and some tea before weeding the garden. While she slept, I went to the basement, turned on a baby monitor I’d installed down there, and got a batch of wine going. Grams would entertain me with stories while I washed and prepared the fruit. We had a closed-circuit TV system installed so she could watch me squish grapes and other fruits. She absolutely loved it and would cackle her heart out when I’d slip and fall in the basket. Squishing fruit is a slippery activity, and it’s a rarity if you don’t fall at least once.
Grams helped me through a lot of my grief, and I started to feel happy again. “You should make it up with Vincent,” Grams had said over dinner one night. “You obviously still love him, and he wouldn’t be calling or writing if he didn’t love you.”
“Oh, Grams! It didn’t work before and it probably wouldn’t work now. Too much has happened. Besides, I couldn’t just leave you and go off with him.” Nonetheless, my heart had iven a little lurch.
“So you begin slowly, dear. You work through the damage piece by piece. As for me, I won’t be around much longer, and you have a lot of life to live. I don’t want to see you alone.” Her eyes had looked especially wise and ancient that night. A chill had run down my spine and I’d shivered.
“Grams, don’t talk like that,” I’d said, hugging myself. She’d just smiled a mysterious little smile and didn’t say anything more about it. I’d had no way of knowing that my beloved Grams would die in her sleep that night.
I’d been with my grandmother for two years. After her death, the family and I sold her house, and the money from the sale was split equally between her two grandchildren; myself and my cousin, Roe. Plus, her other assets were substantial, and I was left a large inheritance. I invested a lot of the money, used some to purchase extra wine racks and two more wine machines, and bought a nice house for myself in Glendale County where I now live. I studied in France for six months then came home to really grow my business. It’s going swimmingly well, I live in a nice neighborhood, I have more money than I can possibly spend in a lifetime, and I’m at peace. There’s only one thing that could make my life perfect and that would be having Vincent in it once again. Alas, I think that is but a pipe dream, so I will have to be content with what I have, and what I do have is plentiful.
So, let’s talk wine, shall we?
To get good wine, you must start out with good product. It’s best to grow it yourself and give it the royal treatment. A garden and vineyard must be given lots of TLC.
Once harvested, the fruit must be squished to get as much juice out as possible. Squishing fruit is a physical, painstaking process. I mean, it has to really be squished.
As I’ve said, squishing grapes is also a slippery activity, which means it’s super messy. I suggest wearing something you don’t mind getting all kinds of gunk on, such as an old swimsuit. Hell, better yet, do it in your all-together. After all, who’s to tell? Just make sure you don’t live next door to someone named Tom, if you catch my meaning.
Now, go rinse yourself off because you’re going to be sticky and covered in muck. It’s time to get that wine made. Give the wheel a spin and slowly start feeding what you’ve squished through the machine. It’ll strain out all the pulp and other stuff that’s not wanted in the wine. Once the basket is empty, the machine will crunch on for quite a while. After that, grab your clean bottles and fill them up. Ah, but it’s not time to drink it, so don’t even consider opening them. The wine needs to age in nice, wooden racks and barrels for a good long time before it’s fit to drink. As long as it’s stored properly, it’ll age nicely. The longer it ages, the better. Patience is definitely a virtue in this case.
And so, there it is. That is my life and I’m happy for the most part. It is a lonely one, but I do keep busy. Perhaps one day, I’ll adopt a child. But first, I might do a bit of traveling. I’m in no hurry to make those decisions so I suppose we’ll just see what time can tell.