A religious experience in a plastic cup
It started with Martha Basenberg reading from John 2, verses 1-12. “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
No wine? We have wine. Sprinkled among the classes at the Women of St. Paul’s annual retreat — Bible and Prayer Study, Stained Glass, Aromatherapy and the like — was the class I waited for all day: Wine and Cheese Pairings in the Big Chapel. Yes, we were tippling in the chapel. I love being an Episcopalian.
Here’s how the class went inside my head.
Susan Miller and Cindy Thomsen: Today we’re going to taste three wines.
I love wine. I’m so happy. And I’ll bet they spent more on those bottles than I ever would. This is going to be great.
First we’re going to try a Rose.
I love rose. Oh, good. Cindy’s pouring half a glass of it each. Is that a tasting? Oh, never mind. The class description said “pairing” not “tasting.” Bottoms up.
Then she brings over a couple of cheeses.
I have hit the jackpot. Stinky runny cheese. With bread baguettes. I hope I don’t have to eat these almonds, dried fruit and chocolate that’s also on the table. What are they for anyway?
Now try the Rose with a dried cherry. Can you detect any cherry notes in the wine?
Uh oh. I’d better slam down a cherry and look thoughtful. Maybe I’ll eat an almond, too, just for appearances. Would I look piggy if I grabbed more than one bread slice and smeared them with cheese?
Next we’re going to try a Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc.
Yippee! My favorite wine of all time. The rest of the table is kind of groaning. What? WHAT?
Some people find this wine a little odd. You may not like it. What notes are you tasting.
GRAPEFRUIT. I actually scream grapefruit. It’s the reason I love this wine so much. How can you not like wine that tastes like grapefruit? It appears my street cred is fading fast.
And now a Zinfandel with some blue cheese and hard goat cheese.
I am pretty sure the women in the Even the Mountains are Sacred class are not having an eighth of the fun time we’re having. I’m going to grab some more bread and eat a piece of dark chocolate just to suggest I’m looking for those wine notes.
Who wants seconds of any wine we tasted?
Me. ME! I’m going to casually grab another few slices of bread and hope nobody notices. There’s a little more of that blue cheese left. Am I looking piggy again?
And then it was over. We started cleaning up as the next group came in to set up the Big Chapel. For cocktail hour. Is this the best religious retreat or what?