High Points: Coming around again

Paul E. Anna

I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest things are getting back to normal. Or even close to it. But I’ll bet we would all agree that there is some semblance of “the way things used to be” on the horizon. At least more than there was a couple of weeks ago.

We are only in the second phase of “reopening” and readjusting to a changed world, but at least we are out of our houses after the better part of two-and-a-half months. Reality is no longer just something you see on a screen from your couch or read about in the 14th James Patterson thriller that you will have forgotten about as soon as you finished it. Reality is actually something real. You know, sunshine, blue skies, green grass, rushing rivers. Even fighting for parking spaces.

One of the amazing things about the lockdown is that it showed us just how important restaurants and bars are to our collective sanity. They are the places that tie us together and provide community. Never has that been more apparent than in the past couple of months.

Just being able to walk into a restaurant now, even with current restrictions, even while wearing a mask, has the effect of bringing us back to what once was. I mean, even going to a favorite haunt, a place that you used to take for granted as just being … there … seems a little strange. These are places that were, at one time, as familiar to you as your own living room. Now they look like nirvana. There is a tinge of nostalgia now when you first enter the front door of your favorite watering hole.

While I totally respect the restrictions, I hope that each day begins to feel a little bit more normal for the beleaguered folks working in the local restaurant scene. My wife says she is much more concerned for the health of those who are working and serving visitors than she is for that of the diners. At least as a diner you know that the service staff and the kitchen are trying to be as cognizant of the rules as is possible, but you just don’t know where the people you are waiting on have been, or are coming from. I mean, to have to assume (hope?) that the folks at table 12 aren’t part of Backwater Jack’s swim team visiting from the Ozarks.

The coming weeks will hopefully keep us all on an upward path. The familiar events that are the touchstones of our summer season are all canceled and with reduced flights and tourism we likely will see a very different summer. But hey, that’s why they call it the new normal.

Let’s hope “familiar” is coming around again.


WineInk: The 2023 vintage

“2023 predicted to be the Vintage of a Lifetime in Napa Valley,” proclaimed the headline this week in a press release sent out by the Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that represents the growers and producers in America’s most famed wine region. If there is anyone more optimistic than winemakers, it is the group that represents them.

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