I’m not a big fan of sweet wines. As a young woman I drank what had been recommended to me by a man I dated who worked for a wine distributor. He sold wine. That guy fascinated the heck out of me. He was a black man who sold wine. Well, the black man recommended that I sip on Chablis since I was not a big drinker. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was not a big hard liquor drinker. Wine was like water to me until I stood up.
One night a friend who was dating a man across the river in Illinois invited me out with them. We went to a juke joint. I’m not sure where I first heard of juke joints, but this one in the backwoods of East St. Louis did not fail my young imagination. On the front porch was an old Frigidaire-type refrigerator and a huge freezer. I suppose that is where they stored their beer, soda, and wine. Inside was a gutted first floor of an old house. There was just enough room for some tables, a makeshift bandstand, and a juke box.
On a humble, I ordered a glass of Chablis. The waitress who was walking around in a pair of socks brought me my order. The Chablis was served with a maraschino cherry and a few ice cubes. My friend told me to close my mouth and just try to enjoy it. It was disturbing, because as down-to-earth as I think I am, I was accustomed to chilled Chablis without the decoration. I was, at least, happy it was in a wine glass. A white wine glass at that.
The blues played in the background, and I downed maybe three of those embellished glasses of wine. At some point, I do recall singing. Truth is, I enjoyed myself.
I really don’t have much to say about the experience of receiving a glass of Chablis on the rocks with a cherry. It was just unusual. Nothing more, nothing less. I will, however, have more to say about my visit to the juke joint later.