One glass

December 1, 2013 § 33 Comments

We don’t have a lot of stuff. One friend charitably describes our lifestyle as “minimalist,” but “two steps away from broke” doesn’t miss the mark by much.

The other day a good friend came by to talk about the upcoming event. His car is double my net worth, although that doesn’t really tell you much about his car. When he sat down to the table, I offered him some wine. This is always the awkward part because we only have one wine glass, and it was already in use.

Our other glasses are heavy duty Duralex tumblers, and people always do a brief double-take when I pour their wine into one. They never say anything, but the thought plays quickly across their foreheads: “Why don’t you have any wine glasses?” The answer is complicated, at least once you dispense with the obvious reason that I don’t want to spend the money.

My friend sloshed the wine around, then took a swig. He’s an unusual man. Although he has discriminating taste, and when left to his own devices seldom does anything other than top shelf, he’s equally at home with the bottled equivalent of wine from a cardboard box. He also has the unusual quality of giving thanks for things that other people may not even perceive.

Like so many people who started with nothing and turned it into everything, he’s never lost the ability to appreciate that cheap things don’t always reflect cheapness of sentiment. Sometimes the cheap offering is the only offering there is. “So, here’s the plan,” he said, carefully going through the order of activities for the big event that he’d put together. It was an extraordinary list of things that included fine wine, locally brewed craft beer, exotic catering, and an impressive event followed by a party at a fancy bar.

“Have I left anything out?” he asked.

Stunned at the level of planning, I said “No. Nothing I can think of.”

“Well, what could I add to make it better?”

I shook my head, then scratched it. “Damn, Dave. It sounds like the perfect event. I still can’t believe you’re doing all this. It’s wonderful.”

He grinned. “It’s for our cycling community. I’m pleased to be able to do it.”

Sharing the love

Dave is one of those people who believes that to have much doesn’t mean much unless you share it with many. He’s the  one who offers to fly his pals to various fun rides in his private jet. He’s the one who opens his palatial home to his cycling pals who, shall we say, don’t exactly live in the lap of luxury. He’s also the one who gives anonymously to charities and organizations that feed people, that clothe people, that give those being ground under the wheel a second breath.

He’s one of the few who closely holds views about god and religion, and preaches them through deeds rather than words.

But back to the glass …

When we eat dinner, my wife and I share our wine out of that one wine glass. Sometimes we drink what she likes. Sometimes we drink what I like. Sometimes we drink what we both like. With the glass in between us like that, we lean a little more closely together. We agree more. We take turns. We look at each other more, and, maybe, more deeply. Sometimes, when she’s pushing the glass over to me, our fingers touch.

How often do your fingers and the fingers of your loved one touch during dinner? Not often enough, right?

My friend Dave saw all that, and took it in, wordlessly. What some might have seen as absence or want, Dave saw as fulfilled. He drained his tumbler and smiled, as if he always drank cheap wine from a 2-lb. glass.

“Thanks,” he said.

“I’m the one who owes the thanks,” I said. “Can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done.”

He looked at the lone wine glass, then at me. “Thanks for the hospitality, and for sharing.” He meant it.

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