Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.
I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.
I admit that I bought it because it was beautiful. And like all of us, I have been fooled by beauty before. Succumbing to form over substance. Part of the human condition, it seems. Particularly among the Edwardian Romantic crowd. Certain catastrophic dates long ago. Driving a Peugeot 505 for several years. But despite the lessons of the past, when I saw this bottle of Coppola Sofia Rose I gave in once again. Because it was deep into a tropical summer when Rose is the best. And because I couldn't find a bottle of my favorite Tavel out in the provinces.
Then I forgot about it. Tedious business issues and appointments intervened, truncating the summer tippling hours. The bottle lingered in my cellar, all alone. Two seasons passed. Until it was time for our traditional Thanksgiving Day feast. At which I am the only one drinking wine. I peered into the cellar and saw that lovely bottle. A great compliment to our meal of turkey and ham with all the accompaniments. If it was any good.
I am very pleased to report that this is another really nice wine from the Coppola vineyards. It was a joy to drink with our meal, and equally wonderful just for sipping afterward. This wine has enough character and subtlety to pair with most foods. It will never remove Tavel from the top of my rose list but Coppola Sofia Rose (at around $15 a bottle) is a gem very worthy of your time. Cheers!
That is for ever England.
--Rupert Brooke "The Soldier"
Retreat?? Retreat hell--we just got here!!
--American Marine, Bellau Wood (1918)
In 1914, most of the world went to war. For the first time. As usual, they thought it would be over by Christmas. As usual, they were wrong. Men and boys in almost all countries began training...
They were sent to quiet, out of the way places like Passchendaele...
Some actually survived. Some survivors looked like this...
Private Hugh McWhirter was the first Newfoundlander killed in the First World War...
Private Hugh McWhirter mounted no gallant attack. He uttered no brave last words. He had simply been standing, deafened by the screech and explosion of artillery--a terrified boy in an ill fitting uniform in a front line trench near the ridge of Karakol Dagh. Then, from out of nowhere, he had been blasted...by a Turkish shell. Suddenly he was gone, and those beside him in the shallow firing trench were stunned. Sprayed by bits...they knew just as suddenly what this war was going to be about.
--David Macfarlane, quoted in The First World War, A Complete History, by Martin Gilbert
His father's name was Hugh. His mother's name was Lottie. He was twenty-one.
In 1922, a group of World War veterans celebrated their day...
Except that it was "Armistice Day" then. You see, they thought there would not, could not, be another war. Nobody could have wanted another war after what they had been through. After what they had seen. Nobody, that is, except a newly mustered-out Austrian corporal named Adolph. He decided to get into politics. The "final armistice" lasted all of twenty-one years.
I have mentioned before on Armistice Day that almost nobody thinks of the First World War and its veterans any longer. Both have slipped beneath the tide of onrushing history. As is the natural way. The poem "In Flanders' Fields" is perhaps the most famous of all the great literary efforts of the First World War. When I was young, everyone wore poppies on their clothing on Veteran's Day. Even then, few knew that the poppies symbolized the red of the flowers in Flanders' Fields...
...and that the red of the poppies stood for all the life-lights that were extinguished there.
Do me a favor. If you can find a poppy today, put one on. If you can't, a little scrap of red paper will do. Think of all veterans and ponder what they gave for us, as is proper. But if you look just a bit, I'll bet your town has a monument of sorts or a public list of veterans of the First World War. If you can find your way there, read the names. There probably won't be many. They paved a portion of what unfortunately has been a very long road. One that stretches off into the future. Whether we remember them, or not.
P.S. This is a reworking of my most popular Armistice Day piece. I hope you enjoy it again. ML
Sportsman's Lodge, Brentwood, Tennessee. This is one amazing place. They built a Northwoods hunting lodge authentic to every detail. Hewn logs. Big stone fireplace. But better. A great bar. Get the BBQ with corn johnnycakes and a double bourbon on the rocks. Thank me later.
I did something today that I have never done. I bought myself a brand new car. Not just a car. A Cadillac. With all the toys. The first new car of my life. Why not? I'm old enough. And I have worked very hard for this day. Why not?
My Dad was born in 1925. Unlike me, a real car guy. As I drove off the sales lot, I couldn't help but think............
Dad would have been SO excited. His eldest son going to buy a brand new Cadillac.
He has been gone ten years now.
My long kept bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape is being broken out tonight. It is a very special day. Why not?
In my early 60s, widower, father and itinerant storyteller. I am a putative jazz singer, poet and novelist, dedicated to mining every minute of life for the veins of pleasure they contain. My motto is "Dum Vivimus, Vivamus"..."While we Live--LET US LIVE".