I see the sign. My heart threatens to stop. Laetitia Pinot Noir Next Right. The scripted “L” is the one from the logo. I’m driving the California coast, crying child in the car. Okay, she’s a young adult, but she’s my child.
Middle Chicken needs an apartment for a new job. We’ve spent two days viewing less than stellar digs and my child is near her end. Frustration cry sets in and, as all chicks know, once it gets a grip, we’re goners. And then, out of nowhere, the sign.
“What?” She’s had about enough of me promising the next apartment will be the one. She’s down the rabbit hole.
“We’re headed the right way. If we went the other way, we wouldn’t see the sign. It’s Laetitia.” The explanation means nothing. She has little patience for my belief in signs, messages and things holistic. To her lawyer mind, the world is pretty black and white.
I tell her a story.
The Norwegian was crazy for wine. (She knows that part.) He dragged this girl to so many tastings I finally gave in and joined in the fray. In Paris, lovers climb the Eiffel Tower. My husband had me join a search for rare ’28 and’29 Rothschilds; wines I sold to pay the mortgage after he died. I can smell pears, apples, tobacco, grass and berries with the best of them. I can detect oak and tannins and know the importance of French oak barrels. Not that any of this gets you a job when your husband drops dead. But it was something special we shared.
I don’t remember where we first met Laetitia Pinot Noir. But we fell in love. It was not available in the Minnesota Tundra where we spent those early years. The Norwegian had cases shipped to convince me we weren’t living at earth’s end. He, a happy Minnesota native, constantly tried to prove I could really get whatever I wanted and still live in the land of his heritage. They’re known for their wine, don’tcha know?
I knew the delish Pinot Noir was California grown but never gave it much thought. And then there’s the sign.
“It’s a sign from your dad,” I tell her. “We’re going the right way.” She laughs. A little.
As signs do–they point to better apartments in our path. In San Luis Obispo, she says, “Let’s go back. Let’s go to Laetitia so you can see it.”
The winding drive carries us through perfect vines to the white building with the scripted “L.” We taste. Memories flood. We take a glass outside. Tables turn while sitting in the sun with my middle child. A tear escapes. And then another. Loving a dead man is not easy. I have no reason why I can’t let go.
Not all the tears are sad. “I rarely feel like my old self. Right now I do.” I try to explain.
We meet a couple and a sommelier who (more signs) are from Minnesota. They give us the scoop (more signs) on exactly where to live. I know it’s The Norwegian who steered our daughter here. Her new home will be nearby something that meant something to her parents.
Full circle journey? Don’t tell me there’s no such thing as signs. Pfft.