Excerpt from Summer Bridge Tales - Going to Uncle Clémmôn's Vineyard.

       Sarah and Marceline stay at her Uncle Clemon's vineyard, to experience exceptional California wine,
                  great Spanish food and a epicurean lifestyle.  (return to home page.)

  The next morning Sarah gently knocked on Marceline's adjoining guest room door to check if she felt any better after a good night's rest. Aroused by the sound on her door, Marceline, from being ensconced in a cloud-like dreamless sleep, gradually awoke.   Thinking she heard something, through a haze of drug-induced after effects, she tried raising one arm slowly upwards above her cloud-like Pillow Topper mattress cover.
Discovering that she could move some part, any part, of her body again, she smiled to herself as she let it flop down to land in soft Egyptian-cotton comfort. Sarah, hearing little response, gave up on Marceline, and went down to breakfast.
 Adding to her increasing early-morning energy, a blazing sun, making no apology for its brashness, streaked into Marceline's east facing suite. Sarah’s adjoining guest room opened to a French balcony with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. A small round cocktail table and two comfortable chairs provided the room with a Californian touch of European decor.
  Marceline and Sarah had the best sleeping quarters in the hacienda since the sliding doors in both of their rooms faced the first light of dawn. Sarah's room, at the southeast, corner of the hacienda, was doubly blessed by a second blaze of sunlight streaming through a quarter-round window enveloping a small breakfast alcove. She thought her room with its French touches was very apropos for an actress of her professional standing. Filing away her accommodations arrangements in her mind for later was mandatory, since nothing but the best was never too much for Sarah Davidson.
  Marceline's near-paralytic stupor from the pain pills prescribed for her surgery the previous day faded away in the night. After a few minutes of stretching and gazing around the room from her bed, she began to feel more awake and eager to take on the day.   Beyond the bed's incredible comfort, she anticipated an exciting day around the vineyard. She was especially hungry, as she felt her empty tummy growl while swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Foregoing her robe, which someone had kindly laid at the foot of her bed, Marceline headed for the bathroom.

During her shower, because she hadn't eaten since the picnic down at Putah Creek and a bite of Sarah’s Clark Zagnut candy bar before surgery the previous day, her thoughts about scrumptious breakfast urged her onward.
  After nine o'clock in the morning, the overhanging eaves of the large hacienda conveniently blocked sunlight for the rest of the day, and except a short time at sunset the interior remained cool and inviting. If a guest went upstairs for an afternoon siesta, the sun tracking overhead would not be able to interrupt their catnap.

Down in the east-to-west aligned covered patio, the kitchen staff served breakfast to the Aragônne vineyard crew in a blaze of morning sunlight, penetrating every available nook and cranny. Everyone was delighted with their self-served breakfast from a wide variety of comestibles. Piles of chorizo sausages and tortillas, complemented by fresh cooked eggs, bacon and Jamón Ibérico, (a delectable variety of nut-infused Spanish ham) powered strong hard-working bodies throughout a long workday.
  As Marceline slowly and carefully came down stairs, remembering nothing of the trip up them yesterday in the arms of the handsome yardman Rodrigo, she was enveloped in scents and aromas of a Latin-style breakfast as it floated up the stairs. Sarah came down twenty minutes earlier was also enticed by the Spanish breakfast repast. Food this delicious and rich made the vineyard’s healthy meals easy to find. Radar-like hungry workers and hacienda guests easily found the center of the breakfast table, and latched on to plates and silver services found there, like weary travelers in the desert.
  The first to spot Sarah, the hungry traveler from the East, and ask her for her breakfast request was chef, Bob Ludwig. He spread his huge arms out to welcome the famished college ingénue vintner to his breakfast meal. He asked Sarah, "How shall I prepare your eggs, Spanish, New England or British style with bangers and mash?"
  "Sarah was surprised and asked, "Chef Ludwig, you have bangers here in a Latin house hold?"
  "Mais oui, sûr, et oui faisons mes vignerons intellectuels affamés. (lit. trans. Fr.; But of course, and yes, we do for my hungry intellectual vintners). You think we have forgotten our roots, perhaps?"
  Sarah's eyes grew 'round as she thought about having the full English breakfast, and her palette was tempted as she requested the Spanish ham and two over-easy eggs with a dollop of red-chili salsa. Then she said, “Wait till Marceline comes down and gets a taste of this breakfast; complete with English style bangers and mash; she will be in heaven."

“But only if I tell her.  Speaking of your fellow traveler, where is Marceline; I heard she had a nasty accident a while ago, and is still recovering?”
  “Oh; she should be down any minute now. She's won't be very long; with just that small bit of food she had in her tummy from just a day ago...wait a minute... I see her coming down the stairs now; you as a master chef, are going to love this girl; she'll eat you out of house and hacienda.”
  “I will look forward to her trying Sarah.  I've fed some workers here at the vineyard who have out eaten a horse; so, she's welcome to try anything I have in my kitchen.”
Marceline made her way slowly into the kitchen savoring every aroma and smell and finally spotting Sarah at the serving table.  “Oh, there you are Sarah; I thought I was going to miss you for the day, but I finally got my act together and I'm hungry, and I'm ready for food.”
  “Oh; I'm glad you're OK Marceline.  Did you sleep well?
  “Yes, thank you Sarah, I slept like a dead person.  When I woke up, I could barely move but eventually I found out that I had a body, instead feeling like a plastic mannequin.”
  “I'd like to introduce you to our Chef Ludwig.  He's as much a man with the ladies, as with making a satisfied with a great meal.  So step on over here, and he will give you; now wait for it, a full English breakfast, including bangers and mash.  How's that for service; I'll bet you haven't seen an English meal of this calibre since your mother cooked an English breakfast for you at home?”
  Marceline pulled her wits together, and said to Sarah, “Ma chance est au-delà de toute mesure. Avec un aussi grand chef qui prépare mes repas, il est possible que je ne veuille jamais quitter cette cuisine.  (trans. Fr.; My luck is beyond all measure.  With a such a great chef preparing my meals, I might never want to leave this kitchen.)”
  "Such iconoclasts in my kitchen; I shall endeavor to prepare a breakfast that will break gastronomic records mes amis (lit. trans. Fr.; my friends)."
After they finished, the two-full-of-anticipation vintners broke their consumption records over many school months, during which sustenance was their only goal in the college dining room.  Here, by meekly holding their plates up to Chef Ludwig and craving seconds, Marceline daringly said, "Please only one more egg Chef Ludwig, s'il vous plaît."
  Sarah echoed her breakfast companion in English with, "Yes please Chef Ludwig, only one for me as well."
  The chef seeing a chance to take the mickey (or have a bit of fun) with both girls, bellowed, "You dare ask for more; you haven't even put in your twelve hours in the grape stomping barrels.  What nerve of you two.  Of course, mes chers (lit. trans. Fr.; my dears), you may have some more; just bring me a bottle of sumptuous Cabernet tonight from the bottling plant for dinner!"

  The beaming smiles on Marceline's and Sarah's faded temporarily, and then returned as they realized the thrust of the chef's joke in his take on 'Oliver.' Together they replied, "Thank you sir." Then the morning breakfast crew laughed at being the brunt of Chef Ludwig's twisted sense of humor. 


© 2018 and beyond, R. L. Lyons. All rights reserved.            return to top