GREETINGS FROM FLORIDA where I am enjoying
a week's vacation visiting my sister-in-law, Mindy. She and
her husband, Lad, live in Jacksonville, and Mindy is a partner
in a gallery at Neptune Beach. I get the best of both worlds
when I come here, since I can stay at the beach and still get
lots of time with my in-laws.
Mindy and Lad are two of the most artistically talented people
I know. She creates the most phenomenal bird sculptures from
gourds, hand dremeling every vein on each feather, and has had
her work featured on television and in numerous highly respected
shows. There are folks all over the country on waiting lists
for her work. Lad carves driftwood, turtle shells, tree stumps
and more into fantasy fish, elves, crabs, alligators and anything
else that catches his whimsy. Their home is like something out
of a storybook, too
filled with art, crafts, plants and
Lad's many collections of antique tools, miniature horses, and
They are also quite talented practical jokers. My favorite
story of their high jinx involves an elderly neighbor named
Freddie, of whom they are both very fond. This dear lady, who
turns 90 this week, has always adored magnolias. One year near
their neighbor's birthday, Mindy and Lad happened to find some
especially real-looking artificial magnolias in a gift shop,
and decided to surprise her with them.
Long after dark on the night before Freddie's birthday, they
quietly sneaked over to her house with a ladder and placed three
of the faux flowers high in the magnolia tree in her yard. Much
to Mindy and Lad's chagrine, Freddie did not realize the magnolias
were fake - indeed, it being November, when such blossoms are
far from in season, she proclaimed their appearance a miracle.
Her sister had recently passed away, and the sweet soul decided
the flowers were a message from her dear, departed sibling!
Freddie even went so far as to call the minister from the church
she, Mindy, and Lad attend, insisting he come over right away
to witness her miracle. "We just didn't know what to do,"
Mindy recalls. "It would have broken her heart to tell
her the magnolias weren't real at that point." It took
a while for the well-meaning pranksters to get the artificial
flowers down from the tree, but to their knowledge, Freddie
never discovered the deception. "We told the minister the
truth," Mindy says, "but we couldn't bring ourselves
to tell Freddie."
Just as well, if you ask me. I say if someone has the heart
to believe such a thing as the Miracle of the Magnolias, why
deprive them of that experience? It's difficult enough in our
complicated and sometimes cruel world to believe in magic, don't
HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS, PART ONE: There are numerous holiday
events coming up in and around Sunol and I'll add more as I
get the details. Here's one to mark on your calendars for starters:
Kilkare Woods residents Fran and Lanny Replogle are the owners
of Fenestra Winery in Livermore and invite the public to their
annual holiday wine tasting on November 23 and 24 from noon
to 5 p.m.
Winemaker Lanny will be introducing two new Fenestra wines,
a 2000 Estate Livermore Valley Mourvedre and a 2000 Santa Lucia
Highlands Merlot. Lanny says the Mourvedre as the first of its
kind made from estate grapes and describes this unique red wine
as having "lots of fruit and deep color, with a rich, lingering
There will be Thanksgiving food tasting, wine tasting, gift
items, and the ambiance of the renovated 113-year-old winery.
Fenestra will be introducing scrumptious Belgium chocolate truffles
filled with the winery's 1998 Port. All Fenestra wines currently
released will be available for tasting and there is no charge
for this event.
Fenestra Winery is located at 83 Vallecitos Road, six miles
from the Livermore Route 84 exit off I-680. For information,
call 925-862-2292 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.