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Lamp shades, wine and orange Alaska

By Staff | Nov 30, 2009

Did you know that madness and genius go hand in hand? Yes, they do – and yours truly is living proof of that. Since we discussed a bit of cork popping with cranberry wine in last week’s column, let me take you back to my first introduction to wine. While visiting our friends, Jerry and Tammy Boatz in California, they introduced us to wine tasting. Prior to this, the wine we consumed as a couple would have easily fit into a thimble or a communion glass.

When we arrived at Martin Brothers’ Winery, a white grand piano, complete with lovely views of the vineyards, welcomed us. Soon we were caught up in the swirl of wine making, and, at last, the wine tasting. When my lips met the sweet delicious taste of their Moscato Allegro with its hints of apricot tang, it was enchanting. It has low alcohol content, and it pairs so very well with fruit desserts.

Naturally, we wanted to purchase a bit of this liquid elation. Upon making our purchase, we wanted it shipped to North Dakota. Well, much to our surprise, that was not possible. At that time, North Dakota had a law forbidding wine to be shipped from wineries to N.D. consumers. What to do? We did discover that it could be shipped to Minnesota. No problem (certainly another reason to love those “liberal” Minnesotans!) since my brother Neal and his wife, Shirley, reside there and we would be seeing them, this was a workable plan. We would be taking Amtrak home to Rugby from St. Paul so the transport would be easy.

When we arrived back in Minnesota, our two cases of wine had been delivered. Checking with Amtrak, they did not advise dragging on a couple cases of wine. Well, now is where the madness and genius comes into play. Plan A: we will repack the wine – but into what? We checked out a couple of second-hand stores, and to our good fortune, they had a surplus of hard-sided Samsonite luggage in harvest gold and hot pink. We checked out their collection of ski-tube socks and depleted their supply. The repackaging was a cinch because the tall pointed bottles fit perfectly into the tube socks. They congregated together like a bunch of loving cousins within that vivid colored luggage. We were set to go. On our way back to Amtrak, we stopped at one of our favorite lighting stores.

What do photographers like? You guessed it light. Any of you who know me well realize my daily rituals include checking out the light and the newspaper. Several years ago, we discovered a store in St. Paul that sold very unique lampshades. Spending time there was a thrill, to say the least. As a lover of vintage lamps, there is always a need for another shade. With this in mind, we added to our abundant vivid luggage two large, ivory brocade lampshades which would have to travel home in bags. Just imagine us at the Amtrak platform. It looked like we were going to join the circus.

We have enjoyed many trips on Amtrak going east and west of Rugby – many times taking the sleeper compartment. We became well-acquainted with the sleeping car attendants as they have your comforts first on their list. As we entered our compartment with arms laden, the attendant started to grab the hot pink suitcase. I said, “Sorry it is so heavy, but it is full of heavy glass.” She responded by saying, “What great ideas to pack your glass lamps in these suitcases – allow me to safely stow your lampshades as well.”

As luck would have it, our attendant knew, from previous journeys, our love of the dining car. Although the dining car was closed at this point, she returned with two Sundown Orange Alaska desserts. Upon request, I received the recipe and must tell you this pairs very nicely with Moscato Allegro.

As we retired for the evening, we both shared a hearty laugh about our suitcase lamps. After all, if you were not responsible and careful, you could get lit.

We have not had to repeat this spectacle because of the 2005 North Dakota House Bill No. 1325 which amended NDCC 05-01 regarding the shipment of wine to in-state consumers. Please note that Moscato Allegro is available at Gryphon Liquors in Rugby. It is now under the label of Martin-Weyrich.

Repnow is a

Rugby resident.

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