Doon Diary: BamBOOZEled
September 14, 2005

Dear Doon Diary,

As an anniversary present to each other, The Evil Dr. Mathra and I solemnly swore to love and be drunkards for the rest of our lives.

Well, that's what my parents will think after they read this entry although they aren't ones to talk after what I imagine went on at their raucous 40th Anniversary celebration in Ann Arbor.

When I told my little sister how, after a shouted cellphone conversation, I learned that our Dad tried to sneak food into the Michigan-Notre Dame football game by telling the Home Team Security (tm Keckler) guards that they were diabetic (they aren't), Nessa exclaimed, "God, they're acting like they're twenty again!" I agreed. I was so astounded, I could only splutter at my father -- "But Dad, that's a LIE. You were LYING!" -- when he chortled through his story. For the record, my father (a very pious and upstanding member of the Republican and Presbyterian Midwestern community) doesn't lie. He just doesn't do it. At all. That's why I was so aghast at his football hooliganism behavior last weekend. Hysterically, the ruse didn't work. The guard asked if Mom and Dad had notes from their doctor detailing the time and content of their supposed diets and, without missing a beat, Dad said, "No, but I can call him." Conspiratorially, Dad explained to me that he planned to call one of their Ann Arbor college friends and pretend he was the doctor. I couldn't get over this behavior -- if I didn't know better, I'd think they'd been tailgating at one of the local frats! The guard didn't go for it and Dad cheerfully ended his story with, "Well, all these years I've never tried to bamboozle [yes, he actually used the word 'bamboozle'] anyone, but now I've done it, and it doesn't work, so I don't have to do it again because it's not like I've been missing out all these years." There you have it my friends: my father, the lawyer and former church deacon, does not bamboozle.

My mother, on the other hand, does attempt a sort of bamboozling at times. For instance, when another set of guards told my mother she couldn't bring her excessively large purse into the game ("She carries half the household in that thing -- it probably IS a deadly weapon," quoth my father) because whatever bags she brought in had to fit through some narrow slot or sorts, my mother proceeded to get creative. She pulled out what I can only imagine were hoards of tiny blank notebooks, complete with tiny pens whose ink had long dried up; three sets of eyeglasses cases; a pack of cards; decrepit Lip Quencher lipsticks in discontinued orangey-pink shades; a crusty leather book of jangling keys that would put a prison warden to shame; and several of those credit card-sized calendars you get at the bank, which helpfully list either birthstones, birth flowers, or the proper gifts for various milestone anniversaries, but which are always five years out of date in my mother's purse, and jammed the stuff into her pockets. She then wrapped her purse straps tightly around her slightly less gargantuan purse, folded the thing up, and shoved it through the slot. The guard looked surprised but let them in. She was probably thinking hard about whether the decrepit lipsticks could be considered bio-weapons.

After the game, which Michigan pathetically lost, they retired to the drawing room of their aforementioned rowdy old college friends, where, I've been reliably informed, the punch flowed like water and my father's lectures -- about any subject he takes into his head -- even more generously. I'm not talking some simpering sweet powdered punch, either. No, this is the real stuff -- the stuff that 60s parties were made of. Not those kinds of parties -- my parents were wild, but not that wild!

The punch they whipped up was the same punch made and served at their wedding by their friend Malcolm Ponder. As such, it was christened "Ponder Punch." It was a punch that The Evil Dr. Mathra and I had served with great success at our own wedding shower to honor my parents. It was a punch that when served at my parents' wedding, my grandmother mistakenly tasted and announced, "This is certainly NOT for me." See, two separate punches had been made up, one regular and one unleaded. Clearly, my teetotalling grandmother accidentally sipped from the demon brew and wasn't happy about it.

Ponder Punch
1 qt. brandy
1 gal. chablis (Keckler's note: to make it really authentically 60s, make sure the chablis comes in a big glass jug with a finger hook)
2 bottles champagne
sugar (to taste)
lemon juice (to taste)
pineapple juice (to taste)

Mix everything together, adjust flavorings, and serve in a punch bowl with ice.

You gotta love that the non-alcohol ingredients are all to be added "to taste."

Anyway, exposing their recent excesses here was just a way to keep my parents quiet after reading about our little story.

Last week, Mathra and I rented a Prius -- which was AWESOME! 225 miles on 4.6 gallons of gas?! And a computer screen?! If we really buy one, we are calling it Defiant because we are total, unashamed geeks! -- and drove down to Santa Cruz. Our first purpose was to test drive the rented Prius -- which was AWESOME! At one point we were going 50 mph and not even using the gas engine! -- around the city and out on a highway. Our second purpose was to revisit the Bonny Doon tasting rooms to sample some wine and to specifically pick up a few bottles of sparkly we'd heard they'd been bubbling.

We walked away with a full case of wine -- only one bottle was the sparkly stuff because that's all they had left -- and a membership in the DEWN (Distinctive Esoteric Wine Network) Wine Club. I could blame what some might call excessive behavior on the twelve wines we sampled, but after our final taste of Angelica (a sweet, cream sherry type of quaff that lovingly reminded Mathra and I of Trinity College's OCR), we piled up a the few shirts, posters, magnets, and bottles we had collected in the three hours and betook ourselves to the car to eat some cheese, bread, tomatoes, and cured meats in an effort to clear our heads. In the car (the foggy, drizzly, Scotlandish weather that day, while beautiful and mysterious, was not conducive to alfresco eating), after eating bits of the lovely, buttery triple crème and slivers from a tangy slab of Morbier, we made a list of all the wines we wanted in the case and we also filled out the membership application. Truth be told, we had been thinking about joining this wine club ever since our first trip to Bonny Doon's tasting rooms with our Boston friends last spring. With the complete membership application, we got a bottle of the 2004 Sangiovese Rosato for $1 and we also got 20% off the case of wine. AND future discounts on future wine purchases!

Since I've always wanted to join a wine club and we adore Bonny Doon wines, we figured this was a great way to experience oodles of creative glasses all from a single, trusted vineyard. Plus, wines confuse me, so simplifying the whole thing by really concentrating intensely on one maker seemed a sound idea. It's also the perfect anniversary present because the fifth year is wood -- see, you DO learn things from those bank calendar cards! -- and, well, know?

Because of this momentous event, I've decided to start a Doon Diary where I can keep track of wines tasted, how they tasted, if they tasted, and what we liked, hated, were indifferent to, or need to buy five gross of. Oh, and I'll also document what we ate because I'm so firmly in the camp of those who believe that wine WITH food enhances both experiences that I'm already roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories.

A few nights ago, I made a dinner to match our first taste from the newly- acquired case. We grilled some rock cod (also known as Pacific Red Snapper), drizzled it with ruby grapefruit olive oil, and topped the fish filets with shallot-roasted maitake mushrooms. We had a side of pan-warmed white corn with lime zest and cherry tomatoes. This meal was paired with the 2004 Le Cigare Blanc.

I'm not overly enthralled by white wines. I drink them on occasion and crave them on other occasions, but I often find it hard to find all the notes the winemaker has cultivated in the vintage. This particular one is supposed to emote flavors of white peach, lilac, honeydew melon, and lime blossom. I definitely got the lime blossom and the white peach. The lilac was a bit harder to detect. As for the honeydew, well, I'm not much of a melon person unless it's wrapped in prosciutto, so maybe I'm intentionally not finding it. To me, it tasted like one of the better white Burgundies I've had. It wasn't icky-oaky like a nasty Chardonnay, it wasn't sweet like a vintage from der Vaterland, it was just nice, clean, and refreshing.

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