• Last modified 901 days ago (Jan. 6, 2022)


Another Day in the Country

Happy New Year
from Wine Country

© Another Day in the Country

Whenever I venture back to California from my home base in Ramona, population 100 plus or minus, I’m reminded of the differences.

The first thing I notice is how everyone wears a mask in California.

“We’re doing our best to protect each other,” a native says to me.

“Wow, that’s nice.” I respond, smiling behind my mask. “That would be a good theory for Kansans to adopt.”

Eventually, we will realize it’s the best path, but it takes a while for the concept to sink in, I guess.

“California is over-regulated,” Richard complains.

“It’s the outcome of a dense population,” I counter. “Leaders have to be thinking ahead. You should be thankful.”

“For a gallon of gas costing $6?” he says.

Gas is expensive in California, but people still buy it. There is traffic galore.

In California, rules and rent are constantly rising. To live in San Francisco or even Napa Valley is formidable. Land is unaffordable even by the square foot.

In a sparsely populated place like Marion County, we still can afford to speculate. Hard work and dreams have more chances to reap good results, it seems to me, and there’s still room for expansion.

After living in Ramona for 20-plus years, I sometimes laugh at how “over the top” life is in California. We were driving to an airport when I saw a sign offering “Napa Valley wine storage.”

In Kansas, we’re familiar with what looks like an endless row of garage doors, for rent when we no longer have storage space at home. This was offering wine storage, instead.

I was amazed. This wasn’t commercial storage for wine manufacturers but private storage. Rent a garage in Kansas; rent a refrigerated, temperature-controlled wine storage unit in California.

I laughed at the thought of people owning so much wine that they had to rent space to house it.

“Does it also come with an automatic, timed, bottle-turning service?” I quipped to my daughter.

“And there’s probably a cobweb option,” my daughter joked.

Like beer in Kansas, wine is omnipresent in California. I’m out of the loop because I don’t drink it, and don’t like it.

Bottles of wine congregate under our Christmas tree, an ever-shifting population among the regular presents accumulating. Wine is the currency of hospitality. Stop in to say ‘hello’ or come for a meal and bring a bottle of wine. Haven’t seen a friend for a while? Drop off a bottle of wine.

Our wine gifts change hands and households, circulating through the community. Receive a bottle at the spa from a grateful patron and it is living next door with our new neighbors within 24 hours.

Wine, it seems, is the perfect ‘thank-you’ gift, ‘hello’ gift, and ‘seasonal’ gift in California — like cookies in Ramona.

Maybe that’s the custom now, wherever, and once again, living another day in the country, as I happily do, I just haven’t caught on.

Last modified Jan. 6, 2022