This is not a story about traveling to Italy. It mentions Italy because that’s where I finally found clarity for my life.
Since clarity is a rarity, it is charity for me to share for thee.
I’m not gonna lie. Since retiring, I’ve struggled.
While comfortably tucked into my career as a morning radio show announcer, I knew how my day would go. I’d finish up work around 10 or 11 am every morning, then go join the old fart golf group that teed off every day around lunchtime. Many years, I would play 150 days or more.
The point is, I knew what I was doing with my days. In retirement, I’m playing maybe 50 rounds a year. That leaves a lot of days in limbo.
To some extent, golf has been replaced by travel. Oh, it’s not all exotic. For example, we’re taking in more live concerts now, so sometimes our trips are just a quick overnighter to hear an artist we enjoy.
We’ve fallen in love with Nashville, Tennessee’s music scene, so we wind up in Music City way more than I would have ever imagined.
Still, we are trying to see some other parts of the world and recently returned to Italy for the second time in two years. And for a second time, we hooked up with a travel guide named Max.
On our first tour of Old Italia, it took Max about one day to figure out what we liked: wine. With lunch.
On our just-completed trip, he didn’t even ask what we wanted to see. Every day, he had arranged a wine tasting at a nice winery, usually with lunch thrown in.
Lunch often lasted for a couple of hours. Afterwards, Max would just drive us around until we fell asleep. When we woke up, he’d tell us of the nice places he had taken us and say something like, “too bad you slept through it.”
In the Tuscany region, we hit a couple of places that are actually referred to as wine castles. Translated to English, that’s a castle with wine.
A castle, y’all. With wine. Take a moment, if you need to.
Besides wine, another thing to love about Italy is gelato. Gelato is actually Italiano for ice cream, but gelato is better. It uses more milk…. something, something, something… so it’s not just like American ice cream.
Gelato is sold in a gelateria. If you think about it, that makes sense. Pizza is sold in a pizzeria; gelato, in a gelateria.
I’m a big fan of gelato. Specifically, coconut, though I’m multi-gelatinous and can swing many directions.
So, the epiphany: I want to open a gelateria in a wine castle.
When I told my wife, she suggested I build the castle from the corks we have in the basement.
It was meant as a snide remark, a dig at me for saving corks, even though I have no plan to do anything with them.
But her idea is brilliant. A cork castle!
Enemy bullets would bounce right off the cork walls. And if someone bombed my castle, what’s the damage? Broken cork? No problem.
“Hey, we need more cork!” And out comes a corkscrew.
My cork castle would also be flood-proof. The same rains that floated Noah’s arc would float my castle. When the rain subsided, who knows what country my castle would have landed in? But it wouldn’t matter. The local chamber of commerce would welcome me. Because I’ve got a castle full of wine.
Who wouldn’t want to be my friend?
Beautiful minds like mine – and Steve Jobs – don’t come along that often. I can only imagine that you’re thinking, ‘Dang, I wish I had thought of that first!’
But you didn’t.
Bring money. I will be charging admission.