Like fine wine: He’s still the one


Sweet Al is still the one. On April Fools Day, I married a salesman and I have asked myself many times, “What was I thinking?” I was as sober as a country preacher when I said, “I do.” My Sweet Al was selling the sizzle and I couldn’t say, “No.” He was all I wanted and still do.

He’s the one who holds my affection and holds my hand. Never a day goes by he doesn’t tell me he loves me. As we have grown older, we have mellowed. Kind of crazy, like fine wine in two old wine bottles with torn wrappers, and we seem to be getting better with age.

I remember the days of “crushing grapes.” We were young, trying to make our marriage work. We have had friends whose marriages didn’t work.

An article written by Karen Ahn caught my eye. “Make Crappy Wine Taste Good and Good Wine Taste Better Without Any Special Tools. You can learn how to do it at home. It’ll make just about any wine, including Two-Buck Chuck, taste much, much better.”

Wow! It sounds like her tips could be applied to just about any marriage that needs a little excitement. It’s like a metaphor for making crappy marriages better. The wife marries Two-Buck Chuck and complains about her marriage. She wants a divorce. Instead of giving up hope and throwing in the bar towel, she should first try some of Karen’s tips.

Karen writes, “Making wine better doesn’t require buying extra gadgets even if the Home Shopping Network tells you to do so. Letting wine breathe makes it taste better. Exposing your wine to a lot of air reduces that harsh note as well.”

Looking back on our marriage, Sweet Al and I didn’t have money to buy fancy or the latest gadgets. We had to makeshift and use what we had. There were times we swallowed sour grapes, which put our teeth on edge.

I surmised in making marriages better, young lovebirds need fresh air and ideas. As far as old birds, the article states, “If you have a very delicate older wine, you probably don’t want it to aerate for too long or its singular aromas might literally turn into thin air.”

Oh, no. I’m not ready to let my old lovebird go into thin air. I better keep him under wraps. I still need Sweet Al by my side.

“Do you need to buy a fancy aerator to do the job? Nope. You can aerate wine at home by using a blender.”

Holy smokes. If you don’t own a fancy aerator, a blender will do. Who would have thunk.

Old lovebirds will probably have a lot of sediment. She tells how to handle it in older wine. “Eliminate any sediment (aka fine grit) that might have settled at the bottom of the bottle. In other words, don’t up-end that thing and shake it to get the last few drops out.”

That tells me that we need to leave the fine grit at the bottom of the bottle and don’t up-end it. Don’t shake things up; leave things alone.

She continues, “About half an hour before you plan to drink the wine, get out a pretty decanter or a plain ol’ glass pitcher.” Is she saying, fancy up your marriage with a Hallmark or a Redbox movie and snuggle up to Two-Buck Chuck? I think she is.

If the wine is very young and harsh, let the decanter and the semi-full wine bottle sit for a while — 20 to 30 minutes on average or even an hour if the wine is really young and harsh. Exposing the wine to air might flatten out its taste.

Young lovebirds could use this tip. Hostile words need to flatten out. When things are too explosive, take a time-out. Don’t regret the words said in anger. They will come back to bite, over and over again.

Karen gave another tip about high-speed blenders. The motor runs so swiftly that it can warm up the wine and ruin the delicate balance of flavors.

Maybe Al and I are doing it right. These days we are slowing down. We’re not running the old blender at high speed any more and we’re enjoying the delicate balance of flavors. We have either become wiser or just too tired to move any faster.

In the middle of the night, in his sleep, I hear Al giving his canned sales talk. He’s still selling the sizzle and making old women flutter. I smile and let him sleep. I can’t believe we’ve made it 58 years. It makes me want to pour a glass of wine and ponder it. My Sweet Al could probably use one, too.

Final brushstroke: There you have it. Tricks and tips on how to make Two-Buck Chuck taste better, and your marriage even better. After this serious, intense study, you won’t need marriage counseling, just a blender and a glass of wine that’s been aerated.

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