Tonight I found a slimy bag of fermented grapes at the bottom of my backpack.
This saddens me not only because expired food is my pet peeve, but because I like grapes better than raisins. There is something refreshing about this little fruit–you can pack with you and pluck instead of peal it into your mouth.
While some families went to Disney land, others to European resorts, and some to Wisconsin Dells or Perkins for vacation, my family took long road trips to Montana and back, visiting the town where I was born, the city harvesting Casinos year ‘round: Billings. As any westerner road tripper knows, the roads get long. Like an unending trail of stale black licorice or like the track on a record player that is stuck. In a beast of a suburban when you’ve been stuck in your sweaty seat, stale for four hours, you forget how fast you’re going.
This is the only other setting in which grapes have gone bad in my presence.
I grabbed the ventilated plastic bag from the cooler, now water instead of ice. They dripped on my lap, so I put down the window intending to dry them. Well, 70 mph wind is more than enough to dry grapes; it is enough to consume grapes. I just hope there was no car behind us to experience the world through a grape-lens of a windshield.
I say all this because even when grapes going bad, not all is tragedy. Consider wine, a drink of squished grapes. Grapes even squished by feet, those nasty, complex, boned-flaps you walk on all day. This is a drink of celebration—the tinkering of wine glasses is the sound of reminisced memories. “Remember the days back when we were [grapes]. So naïve and fresh and enjoyable.” Then we laugh in good company and toast in the present to the past.
Remember that today’s smashed grapes contribute to your future’s fine wine. The greater the trials now, the more perseverance, the greater the company in your future.
Push forward through the slush of winter fermenting dreams, my Concord friends—that we may toast to trials together in the future.