In 2011, I was a missionary in Europe. I wrote about my experiences on a blog I had at the time. Considering most of you have not read those stories, I’d like to post them here from time to time. Here is one from Bad Münder, Germany, on October 19, 2011. Enjoy.
I had my first glass of wine the other day. I was at the pastor’s house in Bad Muender, and we were eating lunch. He asked if I’d like a glass of his favorite wine with my soup. Billy quickly interjected with the agreed upon response, “He’s too young to drink.” The pastor, however, was not deterred. He continued to look me in the eye eagerly awaiting my response. I stirred uneasily in my chair and muttered, “I don’t know.” He quickly added, “It’s very good. I’d like to know what you think.” Feeling a bit pressured, I replied, “Alright.”
He quickly poured the contents of the bottle into the dainty glass. I looked at it placed on the table in front of me just looking like a sin. Everyone grabbed their glasses and partook in a timeless toast of raised clanging glasses. I largely was oblivious to what was going on, so I just began clanging my glass on all surfaces and in all directions as its burned amber liquid rolled about like a slithering something. I was somewhat nervous and on the verge of perspiration. There was no turning back.
Wine is a funny thing. It seems to bring sophistication out of even the simplest of folk. You know what I’m talking about. You get a guy named Bob that can barely pronounce sophisticated and give him a glass of wine and his vernacular suddenly changes. He begins to spout out strange descriptive ramblings that lead to nowhere.
“What a robust flavor; yet with a gentle subtly that is really quite nice. I like the nutty taste in the end as well. A very nice full-bodied wine, indeed. Rather austere wouldn’t you say?” Everyone around really has no idea what he’s talking about, but in unison, they all nod their heads in agreement as they take an equally absurd stab at describing the concoction that’s kicking about amongst their innards.
Then there’s me. I took a sip and thought, “What the heck is that?” The pastor looked on with anxious eyes for a response. Sadly, the first thing in my head came out my mouth, “That was weird.” He grinned – thankfully, despite the fact I somewhat insulted his favorite wine.
The thing I didn’t say was, “I can’t believe people make this stuff and think it’s good!” It tasted like a mixed brew of gasoline and pecans. Needless to say, I didn’t finish the glass. Perhaps, that somewhat takes away from the story, but honesty is important.