It was just an innocent trip to the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine. A dear friend since high school days was coming to visit me here at my stop-over campsite in Hickory Run state park in PA. There was wood in the fire ring set to provide a cozy, warm campfire; rich, rustic Italian bread and assorted victuals sat waiting to be snacked on. All I needed was a bottle of wine to round out the ensemble.
I am not a wine connoisseur by any means nor will I ever be; I do know that my preference is for red wines like merlots, pinot noir, and zinfandel. So down I drove to the little river town of White Haven and in I trotted to the state store for a look/see at my wine choices.
At the beginning of the aisle were the French imports with their noses and prices in the air. The beaujolais and chardonnay were nay, nay, nay on my list. Then I saw the newest American wines that tend toward quirky animal names like Smoking Loon and Three Blind Moose. Now I was getting somewhere!
It’s a fine day when I can go into a “grown-up” store and find a cartoony caricature of a loon smoking a stogie as a label on a wine bottle. For me, it screams, “there’s gotta be something good in this bottle!” After all, when have cartoons ever let me down? Never! They are one of those sure things in life. To this day, spending some time reading Calvin & Hobbes or The Far Side still broadens my perspective on life.
I settled on a bottle of merlot with a full color drawing of a rooster on the label. Oh, excuse me, not just any rooster; the label definitively announced “ HRM Rex-Goliath, Giant 47 Pound Rooster.” The HRM stands for “His Royal Majesty.” My wine for the evening would be from a winery that named its wine after an oversized chicken! It just had to be good.
When I got back to my tin can home, I settled down for some light reading: the back of the wine bottle. It was a lesson in what I call “trivial history.” That stuff that nobody else knows or if they ever did, they completely forgot it five minutes after reading or hearing it.
The back label went on to state that the rooster was a legend, a giant among chickens. During the turn of the century, the early 1900s, Rex-Goliath was a treasured circus attraction. I have to assume here that they meant he brought in a lot of moolah not, ahem, chicken feed! He weighed in at forty-seven pounds and was billed as the world’s largest rooster.
Well, my friend cancelled for the night but I decided to open the bottle anyway and sample my “find.” Ah, it was a fine merlot; to think some people might pass it up just because it’s named after an elephantine chicken.
It just goes to show that no matter where we go; there’s adventure, knowledge, and humor. It’s a wonderful world!
(aka Tin Can Traveler)