This Winery is a small leap from my house, right around a bend in the Oak tree lined road. It looks like any day at any Winery, doesn’t it?
But, maybe not.
It’s an Italian Winery, and the man and wife who own it, both in their 80’s, make fresh pizza for us in their out door brick oven.
When we come here we eat crisp pizza dripping with cheese and drink bottles of wine. Italian men play instruments on the patio and sing Italian opera for us while we overlook the grape vineyards and the great rock and grass strewn valley below.
Today, I’m here with my daughter, her husband and my 6 year old grandson and 10 year old granddaughter.
I’ve been here, before but my god, something has changed.
Look at the photo, again. Do you see anything unusual about it? No? Well. Let me show you a few things.
We drive into the place and my daughter and I hop from the car, ready to eat, drink and be happy.
Whoops. Immediately we see the statue above. My granddaughter has seen it first and says she isn’t getting out of the car. We pretty much drag her out. We’re talking to her about the Beauty Of The Human Form.
And, then we all see a naked lady, sunning herself on a box.
My grand girl is hiding her eyes.
“Get a grip,” I say, “This is Art. It’s just like being in Italy. We went there when you were two. Remember the pigeon that sat on your head in San Marco Square?”
My girl is petulant and beginning to whine. We look around. My god. I have never seen so many naked men and women statues in one place in my life. There must be twenty-five of them that we can see at a glance.
My girl is not happy. She is only 10, but puberty is calling her name. She is moody. She is concerned about her hair and her legs. She is careful and cautious about what she says and she is rattled by things we say.
Later, as we sit at a table sunning ourselves, my daughter says, “I’ve given her ‘The Talk’.”
When she says this, my granddaughter screams, takes a fake swing at her mom, a fake swing at me, then throws her head down on the table top and cries out, “Don’t say it! Don’t say it! Don’t talk about it!!”
What she means is, ‘Don’t talk about sex!’
Don’t talk about sex? We’re surrounded by sex.
Behind our table is this:
Ruth, the 80 something year old owner, comes to our table. She’s a nice Italian lady with red lipstick and a bit of a wobble.
My grand girl still has her head on the table top. She has pulled up the black hood attached to her black sweatshirt so it hides her head and face. She looks like a black stink bug collapsed on the table top.
“My goodness,” I say to Ruth, “You have added statues since the last time I was here. And you have so many of them!”
“Oh, you must take a walk around the vineyard,” Ruth says. “We have lots more that are in place! But, we also have crates and crates of them. You can look into the crates and see them, we just haven’t gotten them all out, yet.”
“It’s like being in Italy,” I say. “Or a museum.”
Ruth is pleased. “We have Diana the Huntress and all the gods,” she says. “I love that they are all naked.”
My grand girl gives a heaving, muffled whimper.
“And we have bird statues, too and all kinds of creatures,” Ruth says. “You need to take a walk and see them all. It’s spectacular. And, we even have a Foundry where we’ll have artists make more for us.”
“Well, we’ll have to come back and see all that when you get it set up,” I say. “It will be a great education for my grandkids.”
My granddaughter whinnies and jerks.
It’s going to be a long afternoon.
At least the grownups can drink. If my granddaughter could drink, it might help her.
Why, I wonder, are we so open and easy with life and naked bodies until we slide into puberty and it all goes to hell, so to speak. Many of us lose our easy, real selves, and slip into the foreign land of Embarrassment where everything is offensive and hurts and outrages us. Some of us don’t come out of puberty again, and take life on it’s terms, it seems, until most of the good part of life is over. Or, maybe I should say, until the Juicy part of life is drying up?
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