Let’s not equivocate here, kay kay? Even stone-cold atheists recognize that I am one of God’s favorites.
My mother recognized it at birth when she noticed that my pupils were horizontal rather than round; my father recognized it during my first bath when I walked across the tub, and I myself realized it in the 7th grade gym when I saw how much ‘larger’ I was than the other boys.
That’s all public record, so shall I get to the point?
As some of you know, last year at this time I was on a divine appointment from God; in July, 2014, the Archangel Gabriel appeared and told me to write a wine book about Michigan, home of my heirs, chersonese of my dreams, kith of my kin.
Although I was wasted on psilocybin at the time, I believe Gabriel’s exact words were, “Do so and verily, the Lord will be a shield to thee and the lifter up of thine head.”
And do so verily I did: Heart and Soil: Northern Michigan Wine Country is a righteous sentence writ by dim and flaring lamps. I showed it to Gabe, made a few editing changes at the behest of the Almighty (I replaced all the swear words with smiley faces, for example) and released it to what I assumed would be an eager public.
Arrogant assumption, as it happens.
Despite the fact that Heart and Soil is more than a book, but rather a symbol for human thought, I realized that pricing it at $14.95 would place it beyond what most students, priests and people of ordinary income could afford. Even then, I believed that my sales would be prodigious among monasteries, universities, particularly wealthy individuals, and in a pinch, among the very smiley-facing wineries I wrote about.
In the end, I overestimated the faith of ye nations; the strength of our Covenant. Those of you with memories as long as my manhood may recall that my book signing in Traverse City, the heart of Northern Michigan wine country, meant to be a call to fellowship, was a bust among my brethren. A no-show humiliation for yours truly—my crown of thorns, my INRI, my cross to Golgotha.
It would have been my scourging before the crowds, but none of you dickheads showed up.
I assure you, when God said in Romans 12:19, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine,” he was not smiley-facing around.
‘All the Fountains of the Great Deep Burst and the Floodgates of the Sky Were Opened.’ – Genesis 1: 11
Thus, last Sunday, when Northern Michigan wine country was hit by the scariest-looking storm in the history of everything; a raging, blustering, churning urn of tornadoeing funk, it was not coincidental.
Did you dare think otherwise?
Northern Michigan wine country, already savaged by the winter God sent in 2014, followed by a hard frost on May 21 as a sort of final warning to impenitent sinners who did not stock Heart and Soil in their tasting rooms—a shut off notice, if you will—was hit with the double whammy of hail and tornadoes, a calamity unprecedented for the latitude—the same as Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Accounts of the vicious, mid-afternoon deluge indicate that hail stones four inches in diameter fell on the vineyards of both the righteous and wicked, the vinifera and the hybrids alike—it was a lot like the Great Flood: An equal opportunity judgment.
Only this time, no Noah.
“A state of emergency has been declared in support of promoting a quick recovery,” said Gregg Bird, County Emergency Management Coordinator.
According to winemaker Sean O’Keefe—one of my few remaining Northern Michigan confederates—the storm tore through Leelanau and Old Mission at about four thirty Sunday afternoon, pelting his pet vines with tennis-ball-sized hail and winds like those that shiver the timbers on Jupiter.
“Northern vineyards and those in the extreme south were the worst hit,” he says. “People are being sort of tight-lipped about how much damage they suffered, but it was pretty bad. Nothing much we could have done about it, though…”
That last bit of fatalistic acquiescence was shared by Rick DiBlasio, another good dude, this one from Shady Lane Cellars.
But with respect, boys, I think we all know what could have been ‘done about it’.
Don’t Kill The Messenger…
Well, there are none so blind as those that will not see. I’m done with all y’all myopic ingrates. No more advertising, no more Facebook ‘page’ boosting, no more book signings, no more weekend retreats at Lake Twinkletwat, no more proselytizing door to door asking, “Do you have a few minutes to talk about Old Mission Peninsula?”
Oh, no. I have seen the light, and so have you, and as God is my witness, the light is very, very dark.
I take no special pleasure in any of this, of course. I love Northern Michigan wine country and the Lord’s vengeance is hardly fodder for my smart ass little column—it is Divine Providence; no more, no less.
Just don’t assume you’ve seen the end of it, that’s all.
Not sure how you feel about locusts in the first place. Maybe you dig them, like Bill Nye the Science Guy. Or frogs or pustulant boils or any of that crap. And those first borns? Entitled little pricks anyway, aren’t they?
Carry on, my wayward peninsular winemaking children. I live by a simple Golden rule:
If you want to read my book, read my book, and if not, smiley face you.