Would You Like Some Vintage Wine?
I Would!

This wasn’t to be the essay for this date. However, this is more important than another dumping on Donald the Dumb, our fake president. There I was on Sunday morning posting grades for the previous week of the two classes that I was teaching online. Then I had to remind both classes about the remaining assignments for the semester that was quickly coming to an end.

Then it happened. I got an email from The New Yorker. Yep. The New Yorker wanted to inform me about a wine that will be auctioned on this very day, December 5, by Christie’s in London. This wine was valued by that auction house as inestimable due to it might have belonged to Thomas Jefferson. While it was a cursory glance at my email, I assumed that I was the only one to receive the story and was quite excited. Nonetheless, I had to spend another hour or so posting grades and replying to students’ emails.

Then I returned with excitement about what The New Yorker sent me. Well, Christie’s auction was on December 5, but it was in 1985…a third of a century ago. Man, I wanted to bid on a bottle owned by Jefferson. Okay, I doubted that a semiretired college professor who is a half a dozen weeks short of turning 76 could amass a small fortune to even bid on it. However, perhaps one of my readers had enough bread to do so.

While I consider myself a wine connoisseur, this is me at a slightly younger age. Personally, I enjoy red wine over white any day.

This is debonair me in my mid-30s.

In addition, I want ice in my red wine, but the vineyard where I was tasting their grapes preferred my not to use ice in the photo op. That being said, this is a photo of Ginger and me having dinner several weeks ago. We were drinking blackberry Merlot…and I had ice in my glass.

While I was greatly disappointed, I did read my email from The New Yorker. Interestingly, the email looked like it was an article. I guess it was their way of trying to catch my attention. The following was an artist’s conception from their email of what Jefferson’s bottle looked like.

I’d drink to that.

The New Yorker’s email described the bottle being a “handblown dark-green glass and capped with a nubby seal of thick black wax.” Notice that while there is no label, someone etched onto the bottle the date of 1787 along with the vineyard’s name, Lafitte. In addition, it also had the initials Th.J., that was the rationale for Christie’s saying that it could “rightly be considered one of the world’s greatest rarities.” That is why when Christie’s listed the value of the wine, they wrote that it was “inestimable.” That is how the British fat cats would describe “a lot of money.”

I understood why Christie’s believed the bottle belonged to Jefferson. He served as our Minister to France from 1785 to 1789, which was the beginning of the French Revolution. He packed his bags along with those of Sally Hemming, his slave and lover to return to America. Apparently, he left gay Paris quickly and left behind some wine, which was quite costly for poor old Jefferson.

Jefferson was also, along with me, a wine connoisseur and was considered America’s first aficionados when it came to the grape. Supposedly, he spent, in today’s money, approximately $120,000 for wine during his first term as president. That being said, The New Yorker also described Jefferson as our “first great wine bore.” John Quincy Adams wrote about a dinner in 1807 with Jefferson. Reflecting about Jefferson and wine, he wrote, “There was, as usual, a dissertation upon wines….Not very edifying.”

The bottle of Jefferson’s red wine was auctioned for $157,000. I guess that I was on a fool’s errand thinking that I could purchase “one of the world’s greatest rarities.”

The fool woke up….

That being said, this isn’t a fool’s errand. I need to raise $500,000 for 1250 laptops and for improving Internet service to the two schools in Myanmar (Burma) where my three granddaughters attend. Go to We Are Family. Consider my three requests.

1. I am asking you to contribute to the money necessary to enhance the Internet reception and purchase 1250 laptops. Consider contributing to the purchase of one or a hundred laptops and improving Internet reception.

2. My next request is to send this link, We Are Family, to ten of your friends and ask them to send it to ten of their friends…ad infinitum. Bobby Kennedy said, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” I am a dreamer, but my dreams will benefit my extended family in Myanmar with your help.

3. My final request is to consider returning with me to Myanmar with all the laptops for the two schools. The sooner that I raise a half million dollars, the sooner that we can go to Myanmar and see where your investment in laptops will benefit the education of the next generation.