Note: Read the below introduction before playing the above video. If the video isn't visible, click here.
Here is the first chapter of an ongoing story I'm writing for this blog. I hope you enjoy it. Like I do with my weekly wine reviews, I will be including a YouTube video to provide background music, a soundtrack if you will, to play while you read. For what it's worth, here it is (oh, and you can click the play button on the video now):
The funeral was over, the burial had taken place. James sat slumped in his easy chair, mindless, recovering from it all.
His Aunt Annie, or "Annie Annie," as he had affectionately called her since the time he had learned how to say her name, fought the good fight against her cancer but in the end peacefully succumbed. She knew it was inevitable and given the long and fruitful life she had lived, she only saw the good side of it, thankful for the many blessings she had received over the years.
The room darkened while James sat, oblivious. Finally, he straightened up and in the twilight gradually escaping the room, gazed at the manila envelope that lay on the coffee table.
The attorney for the estate had given it to him that morning. He accepted it, left it unopened as he really didn’t care what it contained, and brought it home with him. Now he figured he should open it before it got too dark and he’d have to get up to turn on the lights.
He opened the envelope and pulled out a single sheet of paper. It was a short letter from Annie Annie, in her characteristic neat handwriting.
I’ll start this like a line from a B movie: if you are reading this letter, it means I have departed this world. Please don’t be sad; you know how much I loved life but always believed that it was something to enjoy at the moment and not cling to in desperation. I am at peace and I hope you are, too.
I lived a simple, modest but very satisfactory life. I have no large sums of money to give you or any other material wealth. I do pass on to you an incredible gift, one that I hope you will use wisely.
I have already made arrangements and you should be receiving the first of hopefully many annual shipments of this gift for you. Expect the first to arrive around the middle of March. It will be a shipment of a case of wine from The Zephyr Wine Estate.
When you receive the wine, each bottle will have a number on it. Drink the bottles consecutively, at a time when you are alone and can relax and enjoy them, when there is nothing to distract you. If you are pondering my enigmatic message, it will be clearer to you once you have sampled what I am passing along to you.
Enjoy it, James, and may life be good to you.
With much love,
Auntie "Annie" Annie
James stared at the letter, reading and re-reading it until the light permitted it no more. He didn’t even know his aunt drank wine, much less any alcohol. What an odd thing to give him. And to drink a bottle by himself; he wondered why she would tell him to drink so much.
James knew little about wine. That evening he searched the internet for references to Zephyr Wine Estate and found nothing. He loved and admired Annie and made up his mind to respect her last request of him, however.
To be continued…
The album containing the song in this post: