Days of Wine & Trees

August 31st, 2006 by Larry Smith

I read a lot of Wednesday’s New York Times early this morning when I couldn’t sleep and stumbled upon a story in a way that you don’t stumble about a story when you read everything via RSS feeds and most-emailed stories. The story was found in the dining section, buried beneath an excellent riff on the comeback of pigs in a blanket (note to anyone at my wedding: see, those little croissant-wrapped dogs were at the bleeding edge of cuisine) and it was about the life of a guy I had never heard of, Leonard Paul Evans, an Aussie wine promoter. Frank J. Prial unfurls a brief history of this man’s life in a way that maybe makes you want to drink wine, but definitely invites you to drink life. Everyone has a story indeed. Leonard Paul Evans’ made my morning:

To hear it, Len’s recounting of his Theory of Capacity was a comedic masterpiece. (He estimated in 1976 that he probably had only 8,000 bottles left to him — along with about 2,500 “succulent steaks.” What’s more, he said ruefully, “I might make love only another 5,000 times.”)

Which reminds me that I’d like to start a column on SMITH called “Black and White and Dead All Over” (or some such title), where readers send in links to interesting obits.

Also receiving votes today is a wonderful riff from SMITH guest blogger and 52 Projects guru Jeff Yamaguchi on the death of a tree. The tree was Jeff’s fixture, and fixtures, he writes, are important:

There are the fixtures in our life, and they help connect the dots of who we are, help us remember, show us how to forget, get us to bend over and pick up the pieces, help us close our eyes at night and finally, finally, at last, fall asleep.

But I’ll let him tell the story in words and images .

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