It’s been twenty years since my brother Scott died. Twenty years. Which means my youngest son will be twenty this year. How did this happen? (For I am still a mere seventeen myself.)
My brother Scott Cunningham
I remember the day. It was a Saturday; my husband had two shows that day in Hollywood, and I had just been lazing around the house, being pregnant and happy and playing with my two year old. Until that afternoon, when my parents called.
I couldn’t believe it and yet it was utterly believable. The last time I had seen Scott, my heart had broken, and I will spare you the details. The time before that was in January, and we’d gone to lunch. Our conversation ranged over many topics and lunch, as I remember, took hours. I wish now I had recorded our conversation.
Anyway, the phone rang and my world shifted. It had happened to me before; the year I turned twenty, both my cousin Lori and a dear friend named Mark had died. Two separate, tragic instances separated my months and geography; both of which my parents had called to tell me about.
But those paled in comparison.
As Rosamund Pilcher said in her novel Coming Home, and I’m paraphrasing; Until you were told a loved one had died, they were there, living their lives, going about their business. It was the telling that killed. That last sentence has stayed with me. Haunted me, because it is true.
We knew his death was coming; it had been a long haul, three years of decline. Three years of giving our love, doing our best to banter the way we always did while hiding our shock at how thin he grew. Three years of feeling him slipping away. So by March we were taking it a day at a time.
Then I got the call.
In 1993, we had pagers. So in my grief, I paged my husband, who had to go on stage just then (in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), so he thrust the pager at his friend Paul, and said call her. Paul called me and I told him about Scott; Paul had been at our wedding, and he had met my brother. Paul was on one side of the stage when Tom looked at him – and from Paul’s expression, Tom knew.
I cannot do justice to Scott, for I am only a sister, one he fought with, laughed with, at times protected, and loved. But here are some places you can go to hear from people who knew him, probably better than I.
Donald Michael Kraig wrote this article on Scott. The Llewellyn Worldwide Publications site has his books listed, and they’re all on Amazon as well. And someone put up this video that Scott did on YouTube and while I normally wouldn’t do this, here’s a link. Because this is so totally Scott, lol.
And we can’t forget the Wikipedia site.
Two of the books I love:
The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham and David Harrington
and Whispers of the Moon by David Harrington and deTraci Regula,
which is the biography they did of him.
Though, seriously, all of his books show a side of Scott I only barely grazed as we were growing up. We shared an apartment for a little while; but through our childhood, we shared a bond that I feel will never be broken.
My older brother Greg and I miss him, and we cling perhaps tighter to each other with one of us gone, so long ago now.
The moon is full, Spring is here, and it’s been twenty years since Scott’s passing. But I like to think he’d still recognize me, even with my thinning hair and thickening body, for my smile is still as bright and my arms still hug tight. I shall go outside into the moonlight tonight, and pour some wine into the soil for him.
Hug those you love, for our time is short in this world. A last note: I know I’m not the only one who has lost a sibling/spouse/parent/friend/cousin. As Gregor Caine says, “We all have our dead.” May we honor those who have gone before us, and love and cherish those who are still with us.
~ Until the next time. ~
Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?
Mabon was September 21st; the Autumn Equinox is today. Since they celebrate the same thing, the balance of light and dark in the sky, it’s strange they aren’t celebrated on the same day, but there you go.
According to Scott Cunningham and his Wicca – A Guide for the Solitary Practicioner, Mabon is the completion of the Harvest begun at Lughnasadh, or Lammas. As he puts it – “Nature declines, draws back its bounty, readying for winter and its time of rest.”
One of three Harvest celebrations in Wicca, the name Mabon to delineate this neopagan festival of the autumn equinox was invented by Aiden Kelly in the 1970s as part of a religious study. Considered to be an American invention, few Briton pagans use it; but as more American Neopagan publications are sold in Britain, the term is gaining in popularity.
“Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.” For more on Mabon and all Autumn celebrations around the world, drop by a fantastic website called Crystal Links.
But what does this have to do with wine? It’s also a time of winemaking, the first crush, the picking of the grapes. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that?
So by the beautiful Lynne Marshall’s request last week, here are some under $10, juicy Old Vine Zinfandels that you can sink into to help you enjoy the changing of the seasons.
Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin Lodi Zinfandel, Vintage 2009 Alcohol 14.5% by volume – $9.99 at Vons and other fine establishments.
On the Label: “As the truck pulled up to the 80 year old Zinfandel vineyard, my first impression was, “wow, those vines sure have some gnarly heads!” Thus began my love affair with Old Vine Zinfandel. Lodi has some of the oldest vines in Caliofrnia. Unlike modern rows of trellised vines, these old Zinfandel vines were grown as free standing “head trained” vines. Today they resemble wild bushes with twisted old trunks and branches that spread out in all directions sprouting leaves like unruly umbrellas – truly “Gnarly Heads”.
“Our grapes are hand-selected from some of the oldest and most respected vineyards in Lodi. Older vines produce fewer grape clusters, but the small berries yield concentrated fruit flavors characteristic of great Old Vine Zinfandel. Rich, dark berry flavors from the small grape clusters are balanced with French and American oak, which creates layers of licorice, plum, pepper and vanilla. This luscious combination provides a lingering and spicy finish. This wine pairs well with barbecue, pizza, hearty pasta, chili and ribs.”
My Take: Wow, what a label. I enjoyed it, lol…and I don’t always, but this one had just enough information to intrigue me. As to the wine? My first impression was big – thick. Sweeter than I prefer (heads up to those of you who like sweet wines). Lots of dark fruit, with a nice balance of pepper, the first taste was good but the aftertaste even nicer. I quite enjoyed this wine, which means I’ll have to keep checking out Gnarly Head.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ But on the sweeter side. Not my absolute favorite, but a solid wine that didn’t disappoint.
Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 California 13.9% Alcohol by volume. $9.99; on sale fairly regularly for $5.99 at Vons – from the Sebastiani family
My Take: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m a fan of Smoking Loon. Quality wines at reasonable prices – what’s not to like? The Old Vine Zin tastes expensive. It’s big, bold, nicely fruity but with complexity – not a sweet wine at all. Give it some time to open up in your glass, and pair it with hearty, autumn dishes, and it’ll be a wine you will return to again and again. After all, there is much to be said for consistency.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~
AND ONE MORE…
Big House Cardinal Zin Beastly Old Vines 2010, California $9.99 at Vons
On the Label: “It’s the Cardinal Zin who consoles the straying souls of The Big House. Proud of these dark berries that evoke a sense of envy for their blackberry and peppery flavors, this Zin has been known to elicit lustful feelings and cause mere mortals to covet those long silky legs as they drip down the glass. To avoid the ire of your guests, this wine should be served with a gluttonous feast that includes sloth. Hallowed be thy zin.”
My Take: Love in a glass. I opened it, I poured it, and I fell in love. Big, peppery, warm and comforting, it was the perfect glass to drink with the ever-popular roasted chicken, and broccoli and cauliflower in a rich garlic Alfredo sauce. Plus, with a screw top, you don’t have to fuss too much before you actually get to the wine. It’s a fun wine to give, to serve, or to savor by yourself by the fire on a chilly night.
My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable! ~
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As usual, this is just my honest opinion and will totally depend upon my mood, the weather, and how much sleep I’m getting. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Give yourself a present – buy it now, lol!