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Happy Mother's Day - Here's To The Woman Who Introduced Me To Wine And Elegant Dining!

Introducing the greatest woman I know - My Mum!!

I love this picture of my Mum - Becky Pelletier. I wish that I could introduce her

to all of my friends because she's smart, has a delightful personality and a great sense of humor. Her greatest accomplishment was raising me and my siblings, Lori, Derrick and Rick, without going completely crazy! Cheers to my Mom! I love her SO MUCH!

Nobody influences a kid like their mother - and I am living proof of that. I could write a volume on how amazing my Mom is. Not only do I love her, I really like her too - and so would you. She's beautiful inside and out, has a wonderful personality and a great sense of humor. Mum is young at heart, hard working, resourceful, honest and compassionate. She's also a fine piano player who cultivated, in all of us, a great appreciation for music of all kinds.

Mum was a columnist for the local newspaper and is also a very good writer and published poet. She worked in the public school system as an Ed-Tech ( teacher's aid / parapro ) for over 30 years and taught countless primary and elementary school students how to read. She is a talented artist, an oil painter and calligrapher, a basket weaver, photographer and so much more. She LOVES antiques and dishes and cooking and entertaining. I am A LOT like my Mum in that respect.

Mum gave me my first taste of wine - and I have never forgotten how special it was. I remember it like it was yesterday - and it instilled in me a love and appreciation for the art of entertaining, fine dining and wine. My mother set a standard by her example that I eagerly embraced and I carry it with me to this day.

It was the day before Christmas 1971, and I was 13 years old - a full fledged teenager ready to experience the finer things in life. This was the night our little family would have a special candle lit Christmas Eve dinner, and when the meal was done we would open our presents. Excitement filled the air along with the smell of delicious things roasting and baking.

Mum spent the morning preparing food and when afternoon came, it was time to set the table. Lori and I helped. With Christmas music softly playing - Mum got up on the step stool and reached into the highest kitchen cupboard. She began handing us her pretty wedding china - which we only used on very special occasions. It was carefully washed and dried, and then we set the table. Tapered candle sticks in the center, utensils properly arranged on folded napkins, water glasses at each place setting. It was the epitome of elegance as far as I was concerned.

Then Mum got into another cupboard and began to hand down wine glasses. "What are we getting out wine glasses for? Are we having WINE tonight???" The answer, to my sheer delight, was "YES." And it was going to be REAL WINE - not the grape juice we had in our little communion cups at church.

With the table completely set, it was time to make the journey to Fayette Country Store where we would select the finest of wines that Walter Hewett - the proprietor - had to offer. I could hardly contain my excitement as I rode along in the pick-up truck. We were going to have real wine with dinner and I could hardly wait!

When we got to the store Mum knew exactly where to go and that sure impressed me. There, right above the Coke cooler on a shelf, was the fanciest bottle of wine I had ever seen. It was rectangular with embossed quilted sides and it had a picture of a beautiful flower on the label. The name of it was RICHARD'S WILD IRISH ROSE . My Mum actually let me take it off the shelf and carry it to the counter. I felt like such a BIG DEAL!

Richard's Wild Irish Rose Wine - This stuff HAD to be GREAT

because it was made by a guy with the same name as my Dad!

When darkness fell that evening the festivities began. Water glasses were filled and wine was poured - a full glass for Mum and Daddy, a half glass for me and my sis and just a splash for my little brothers. The food was placed on the table, the candles were lit, the lights were turned off and a blessing was given. I just took it all in - it was the most perfect setting I had ever seen and it made a HUGE impression on me.

As the rest of the family began to fill their plates, I decided the first thing I wanted to do was taste the wine. I picked up my glass and saw the candle light glistening through the dark pink liquid - to me it was like a Goblet of Sophistication. I had NEVER felt so grown up.

Before I even got the wine to my lips I could smell the candy like aroma of cherries and red berries. When I took a sip, it tasted like very sweet juice - but it also sort of burned - kind of like cherry cough syrup but not quite as thick. After I swallowed it, it warmed me up all the way down to my tummy. I liked it with the food and finished my half glass before the meal was done - then I asked for more. Since Lori didn't like hers she gave it to me. The rest of the evening I felt great and totally enjoyed myself - I believe I got a little buzzed. ( Wild Irish Rose is a high 18% ABV fortified dessert wine. )

That elegant candle lit dinner was a sight to behold and the scene is burned into my memory forever. There was an atmosphere of excitement as we anticipated swapping gifts after the meal. The setting was lovely - music playing, the candle light and our family seated around a beautiful table laden with delicious food and real wine. It sure made a mark on me, and I credit my Mother with giving me my first taste of the finest things in life.

My parents Dick and Becky Pelletier. Every year on Mother's Day, Mum thanks me for making her a mother - even though we all know it was actually Dad who changed her status.

Until next week - Cheers,


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