Good Taste. I am not sure I ever consumed alcohol because of the potency of the drink. I never have drunk much hard liquor. I attended a party 2 weeks ago. A party with Bud Light. And I hate Bud. The taste of the beer. At a last party I attended with only Bud, I quietly did not drink.

Red wine. In the last two years I had started to drink red wine. I have learned that my taste in wine is a lot more expensive then that of beer. And I do not enjoy cheap red wine. I quietly will not drink if I do not like the taste of a beverage. I have read about what the good years have been for red wine. And I mostly present gifts of red wine to hosts at dinners that I attend. Red wine from $20 to $30 was now a luxury.

The thought crossed my mind if I was really worthy of having wine at this cost. Such a luxury. For me it was not every day. But there was the tension. About feeling worthy.

The NHL came to Minnesota in 1967-68. During those early years I fell in love with the sport. The Minnesota North Stars were covered by a sports writer from Duluth. But I think I owe a lot of my affection for hockey to what I picked up when I was a youngster just reading him. He is still covering hockey and he really does not seem that old. And I have come to know the guy over the last 20 years.

And I had a beer with him Saturday night. He was writing more hockey at the end of 2008, like he never had in his life. And there was something jubilant back in his personality that had wavered some over the years. Not only is he a hockey writer but he is a car guy. And at the end of the night he said, “Great car you are driving.”

I did have a nice car. A car of luxury. And I felt defensive about it. My defensiveness hit me at Mass. And not just momentarily at the “Lord I am not worthy” prayer. It was another “When you had all of this” moment of the weekend. There had been quite a number.

I have a niece whose third birthday was in a week. It struck me that she would never really remember these years. She already was talking about “qualifications” that she had met for having dessert. The only events that I remember from when I was 3 involved language. And what I was left with from those days was my dialect. My expanding vocabulary. From the people who taught me how to communicate. In a sense that was my badge of the early years. The inflection of pronunciation. But I recall none of the events. Yet the experts talked about how vital the early years were to healthy development.

Enter the journey. Work of human hands. The 3-year-old. These kids. I read the Creighton University website each Sunday. Where Larry Gillick writes, “per” is the Latin word for “through” and “sonare” is Latin for “sound.” Literally, “a person is one through whom sound comes. A personality is somehow the individual manner of sounding.” Like a 3-year-old.

Overwhelmed by what a child had become. How smart she/he was. How honest? I created this? That was the real shock and awe. Was God in awe? Of a young person and what had been created? Like a parent could become?

I had a curling match against a guy this week who shared that his 93-year old was running out of money. By year’s end. Overwhelmed. The 65-year-old son seemed overwhelmed to hear his father was running out of money. My mother told me yesterday she will have run out of money if she lived to be 93. That was the crisis of both aging and of the economic crisis: dealing with loss.

Overwhelmed. This is a financial system crisis, not a sub prime mortgage crisis. It’s not going to go away. It was not just the derivative market. It was the entire system. It was everybody. This crisis was about real people. Real job loss. Most of America seemed to be running out of money by year’s end. And there were all these biopsies going on every day, on every station, about the pathology of loss. It was all about running out of money. And the accompanying fear. The question of “What won’t get saved next?” was becoming “Who won’t get help?” The question was another “When you had all of this” moment. What a child had become really would be shown in bad times. Would those 2005 babies have been a good year down the road for character?

Red wine. Giving pause, with Grace, “when you had all of this.” I always wanted the host to serve that red wine now. To everyone. I think that was the message of God. Serve. Now! Quit waiting for when you were ready. The world need attention. Today! Share it with everyone.

Celebrating what was here. All around you. Today. “When you had all of this.” With a throbbing hearts. And tearing eyes.


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