Carrie Trent entered this world one day and many years after I was born. Everybody loves Carrie and so usually the gang gets together to celebrate the anniversary of her birth. I piggyback my celebration alongside it. Carrie doesn’t seem to mind – that’s one of the reasons she’s so lovable.
(Now before you start with “there goes Roy, being all self-depreciating and shit,” do I have to remind you that the last time my wife threw a birthday party for me only 3 people showed up and we wound up eating leftover barbecue for a week? I’m pretty sure I bring it up, like, every year.)
Trent wanted to go to a winery this year so Melfy suggested Noboleis Winery in Augusta. We had never been there before but a quick Internet search revealed it met our two main qualifications for being an acceptable winery. 1) It sold wine. 2) You could bring your own food. As a bonus, Noboleis was 3 miles closer to home than Balducci’s, which was our previous winery of choice.
After almost being run off the road by motorcycle thugs, we made it to Noboleis around 11:30 a.m. It was a gloriously beautiful day, which is a wonder given that it’s been raining almost every day for a month. We were greeted by the Finley clan and Stevie, who had already set up tables.
The sun was out, so I had on my Thule hat. Tim’s eyes light up.
“Where’d you get that hat? I was looking at buying my bike rack from them.”
“Hitch mount or roof?”
“1-and-a-half inch or 2 inch?”
“Platform style or hanging?”
“Thule or Yakima?”
“I went with Swagman.”
Then he tells me he needs a kayak carrier and we go through that discussion and I realize that for the first time in my life I’m having a conversation with a man that’s not about nerd stuff. What has happened to me?
At that point the guest of honor arrives with her parents and we all settle in for a lovely day of drinking and eating and chatting. In addition to wine the business also offers pizza and other food. We ordered a couple of tasty pies and ate and drank our fill.
Noboleis quickly became our new favorite winery. Sorry Balducci’s, your pizza is better but Nobo is less crowded, has a lovelier view, is 3 miles closer and they don’t check your coolers at the door. Which is not to say that we brought in our own water and soda – which is against the rules – but we could have if we’d known they don’t check your coolers at the door. Which is not to say we’ll do that next time, and why is it so wrong to bring our own water and soda anyway? It’s not like we didn’t spend a small fortune on wine and pizza that day.
They also have a nice photo op spot, so we took advantage of that. My camera phone isn’t that great but Stevie had a real camera so it all worked out. Did I mention the weather was glorious? And the place wasn’t nearly as crowded as I thought it would be. I think going to wineries is more of a fall thing that a spring thing. Maybe. Or maybe everyone was at the zoo. Good.
By 5 p.m. things were winding down. The Brashares had already left for an Easter Egg hunt. Cindy B, who had promised us a crate of White Castle burgers, texted to say she was unable to make it. I was sad, but too full of pizza to be too upset (aside from the fact that I was really upset about not seeing Cindy — of course). Andrew was starting to get antsy so we figured it was time to head back to St. Charles. After considerable hugging we bid everyone farewell and declared the outing an unqualified success.
Happy Birthday, birthday buddy.