Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where The Heart Is

I had been hearing it in his voice; in the posts on facebook, the text messages and the occasional emails, my son was aching for a piece of home. His last visit home was the first time he flat out told me that he was not planning on staying in Louisville. He loved the school, the town and had made some of the closest friends he has ever had but….it just wasn’t home and he felt he needed to be closer to his family. So I guess it should have come as no big surprise when I spun around in the tiny footwear isle of Dick’s Sporting Goods and saw my son, my now 21 year old son running at me full speed, shoulders low and arms in his signature, “I’m gonna pick you up Ma” pose. I saw the flash of his big beautiful smile just seconds before his strong arms were constricting around my neck. Longest I have had my son in my arms since he was small enough for me to carry him. Trying my best to keep both of us from losing it I just whispered, “Well it’s about goddamn time”

As luck would have it we got there just in time for his dinner break so we were able to take him for a quick bite before checking into our hotel and on to my next blogger meeting. I had noticed a really nice looking sandwich on one of Tom’s facebook posts and seeing as I had not always had the best of luck with dining on my earlier visits to Louisville, (not that it was ever a mission or I really even looked that hard) I commented on the photo asking where he was eating. He sent me a message telling me that if I were coming to town he would like to meet for a glass of wine. Kind of threw me a bit as I didn’t even really think Tom, (Louisville Juice) really read my blog so I couldn’t imagine why he wanted to meet me but….hell I am always up for meeting new people, and of course a glass of wine so I wrote back telling him I would love to.

Dropped off our bags plugged in my laptop and sent Tom a message that I was in and running a few minutes late. He wrote back that it was not a problem and that he would wait at L & N Wine Bar and Bistro for me which as luck would have it was about ten minutes away from my hotel. Asked the hubby if he had gotten directions and after being assured that he had we were in the party van and on our way. Now it was less than two turns in before the hubby and his girlfriend were in yet another spat, shit. We arrived a bit late, me annoyed and the hubby still huffy at his woman but I was ready for a glass of wine and to meet yet another fellow wine blogger.

Tom was very gracious, direct and funny and set about making the snacks start flowing as he had another engagement in about an hour. We talked about blogging much more than Ben and Michael did which made sense seeing as he and I have never really “spoken” outside the occasional comment on facebook and the couple of times I commented on his blog after he posted a link to one of my um…..well one of my more saucy pieces. I felt instantly comfortable and it was really interesting to meet with someone that had very different ideas about wine blogging. He much more interested in linking to other pieces he likes and me content to just ramble alone in my little bubble. Great snacks, fun conversation and a couple of lovely little glasses of white wine….neither of which I can remember now, and we were saying goodbye and telling each other how we must do this again next time I am in town, Would love to and Thank you for the nibbles and chat Tom, had a great time.

Jeremy met us in the lobby of our hotel when he got off work and we hit up 4th Street Live, the kind of flashy “hotspot” or more touristy area of downtown to buy him his first legal drink…well with us anyway. He picked a Mexican themed bar first so the first drink was a margarita and a shot of Don Julio 1942, one of our favorites. I sat there clinking glasses with my baby, the man that will always be my baby and watched as he looked shocked at how delicious the tequila was. Guess it was a far cry from the tequila he would have been drinking had he been drinking underage. We walked out of the getting-louder-by-the-second cantina, the sweet almost vanilla ice cream like flavor of the Don Julio still clinging to my lips and sides of my mouth and headed to the next spot. The Makers Mark Lounge where we treated him to a Makers and Coke with a side of Pappy Van Winkle 15. Don’t think I have ever had a Bourbon so deep and inviting, reminded me of Kelt Cognac but with a little more caramel and sweetness and a creamier finish. We got caught up, laughed lots and made plans to meet for lunch the next day before picking up Amy & Sexy Bitch from the airport.

Spent the afternoon together laughing, Jeremy and I falling right back into our rhythm cracking on each other but especially picking on Call-o….he makes it easy at times and when he damn near choked on a wasabi pea at the swankiest bar in Louisville, (Seelbach Hilton) and spent like fifteen minutes coughing….well we didn’t have to say a word. We just looked from each other back at him and between coughs Call-o would squeeze out, “Would you two shut up”. Picked up Amy & Roger from there airport and headed right back to 4th Street, seemed a perfect fit for the group and that was where things like this happened…..


A quick stop off at Jeremy’s local bar….amazing all the regular spots the kid was able to find in the three days between when he turned twenty-one and our arrival, mad skills that kid and oh so committed. A couple of his friends met us there and a very cute little twenty-five year old girl bought us a shot just for being Jeremy’s parents….strange feeling that, taking shots with kids that think you are awesome parents. The act alone making you wonder how true that is.

Up early the next morning, slow moving but nothing too hateful, and on the road for the one hour drive out into Bourbon country. We arranged for a VIP tour of Buffalo Trace and I have to say if you are ever going to visit the area it is well worth the drive. Old, historic, amazingly friendly and with a dizzying array of truly fantastic Bourbons. We climbed the old rickety walkways, peaked into the giant fermentors, tasted White Dog Mash #1 which is the spirit before it is aged and becomes Bourbon…so um, moonshine and were treated to a tasting of Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and their special Buffalo Cream. We were treated wonderfully and learned more about Bourbon then I ever thought there was to know. Amazing visit.


Next thing I know we are sweating in Jeremy’s kitchen and a steady trickle of kids just kept coming through the door, the fridge being stuffed with beer, (Pabst of course) the freezer with booze and the crowd hovering in the kitchen growing by the minute. Once the food was on the table Jeremy made an announcement, asked his crowd to give Amy and I a round of applause…you can only imagine how much I loved that, and gave a quick speech about how much this night meant to him. I picked at my chicken scraps (wanted to make sure the kids got enough) and stood in awe of my sweet young man. Amy and I drank Domaine Dragon Rose with the meal, the soft round fruit a perfect partner to the garlicky meal. Sipped Azo Petit Chablis…one of our wines. Took long satisfying sips of a wine that feels like family…doughy, apple rich family that is and even took down a bottle of Michel Turgy Champagne which tasted full, sexy, weighty and just the thing to make me feel as if my heart may just burst wide open.

Had an amazing night, met some really fascinating kids that were bubbling with passion about politics, awareness, food and let’s not forget drinking. Sexy Bitch found out that he is no longer twenty-one and while he napped the kids taught me how to play beer pong. I love them for trying but this really is a stupid game. Guess I am just too damn old but I am not waiting for some dork to toss a plastic ball in a cup before I take a drink. I adored their patience and their wanting me to play with them but….no.

Left the kids to play, (was told the next day that we kind of wore them out….party ended not long after we left) dropped Amy and Sexy Bitch off at their hotel and found myself not sober but in no way drunk, snuggled into my bed feeling lit up and loved in a way only one person can make me…Jeremy, “about goddamn time”

Met Jeremy at his place in the morning where he made us all lunch before we got back on the road for the trek back to Nashville to catch our flight. I tried with all I had not to think about leaving, about not feeling those arms around me and the one thing that saved my ass…aside from the gin and tonic I made from the leftover freezer booze was knowing that he was coming home in just over a week. Our conversation shifted from the events of the evening before into talking about where he was thinking about attending grad school….another saving grace, closer to home. When we had used up each last second of time we had it was time to hit the road and I felt the knot in my throat growing. “I’ll walk you guys to the car” Jeremy announced and that was when I began swallowing really hard trying to dislodge the grapefruit that was growing in my throat. I cracked jokes, told him to think of things he wants to do when he comes home and as I was belting out my last little bit of camouflage the arms were once again constricting around my neck “I love you Da Momma” his voice a whisper with just a hint of a crack in it.

As I tossed my left leg in the party bus and leaned out to grab the handle I took one last look at the lean, tall frame of my once three pound tiny son, his back strong and straight with protruding shoulders and a deep groove running down the middle…walking back to the house where he lives but the place that is never going to really be home for him. He looked back at me his eyes full, watery, sad and wearing my…wearing our separation all over them. In all the years we have been doing this goodbye dance I have never seen that look before, never even seen him look back before. I let my eyes lock on his, gave him a wink and climbed in the car where Amy and I both lost our shit completely. Cried all the way to the Louisville airport where she and I held each other tight before she slipped behind the sliding door to board her flight to Dallas and we got back on the highway, off to the Nashville airport and on our way home……


Charlie Olken said...

Lovely writing, Sam.

Bourbon--welcome to my world. My first legal drink was Wild Turkey. It has been the house whiskey ever since I could afford it.

Sounds like you found enough to do in Louisville. The Seelbach is a throwback to another time--sort of like the Peabody in Memphis.

I meant to congratulate you over on the previous post about your newfound love of eggplant. I have learned to love it myself in all kinds of interesting preparations. Now, if I can just find a goat cheese to go with Pastis, I make be able to make that leap as well.

Samantha Dugan said...

Sweet Charlie,
You are too kind. To be honest I kind of hated this piece because it feels rushed but it was already getting too long and I wanted to just sew up the vacation stuff. So thank you, once again you made me feel better.

Like the eggplant I am not sure I would order Bourbon but I do have a new found appreciation for it. Amazing how your tasting skills kick in when you are in that kind of situation....much like I have to taste wines that I would not drink for my pleasure I can still sense quality and flavor profile. The same was true of tasting through Bourbon. Really was a great education.

You still avoiding the Pastis?! I am beginning to think you will not until we meet and knock you down, pin your hands to your chest with my knees and force a spoonful into your mouth!

chris said...


This piece isn't rushed, it's beautiful...as usual.

Charlie Olken said...


I am ready. When are you coming by? I have about fifteen different bourbons ranging from stiff to spicy to oaky. No Pappy, but then I find Pappy a bit like an overoaked Chardonnay. Nothing wrong with a balanced dish, but too much seasoning is still too much seasoning.

The distinct differences in flavor between a soft, easy bourbon like Maker's Mark and a spicy, full-flavored bourbon like Bulleit make interesting tasting whether one ultimately drinks the stuff or not.

I have the same fascination with Scotch whisky because of the amazing range of flavors that can show up in what might seem at first to be simply whisky.

Come on over. You can force Pastis down me and I can--well, let's not go there publicly.

Jeremy said...

5 days...

Samantha Dugan said...

I don't know I still think it reads like a "How I spent my summer vacation" paper but I did feel like I repainted that last couple hours just as I saw them....so thank you darlin'

Sir Charles,
Um Rawr. "Spicy" "Stiff" "Till I pin you down".....see what Pastis can start!

Samantha Dugan said...

Yer killing me kid. I love you!!!!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

You are the only person to ever make me wish I had a son, HoseMaster Junior. And you make me feel that way with the simple power and beauty of your language. Like all people with talent, you make it seem so easy. I'm here to say it's not easy. Sure, it's just a simple recap of your vacation, but it has the feel of real life, one is able to sense the beat of your heart in every paragraph. And reading through it is a pleasure, though the end comes far too quickly.

And, for the record, as talented a writer as you are, I still hate eggplant. The only egg plant I like is chicken.

So, did the other bloggers write about meeting you? Now that would be interesting. I'm betting you scared the holy crap out of those boys.

I love You!

Your HoseMaster

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful 'last trip' to Louisville. Glad your son is moving home closer to you. It's so hard when they're away, isn't it? May have been rushed, but still heart-string-pulling, as always!

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
What an unbelievably sweet thing to say. Not sure I wish to be responsible for you releasing your seed but if you had a son that is anything like you...I would love him.

Got one more trip, (at least) for graduation in May so there is more fun to be had. Simply cannot wait to have that sweet young man closer.

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh and 2 of the bloggers I met did in fact briefly talk about our meeting. No one was scared of me Ron My Love....nor should they be.

Benito touched on our meeting here:


And Tom at Louisville Juice did...kind of, here


Sara Louise said...

Such a wonderful post oozing with love. Teary eyed this morning (happy lovely tears).

Samantha Dugan said...

Awe I melted the fly Ninja!

Thomas said...


I saw your response to Tom concerning linking. Once again, I agree with your take. Whenever I used to link on my blog (now that I've changed its focus and even fewer people read it, I don't have to think about linking) I always put the links at the end of the blog--why?

I hate links stuck in the middle of what I'm reading. I believe that the practice is one more reason behind people's inability to focus on one thing at a time--it's called multi-tasking, but it usually winds up as over-tasking and many simply can't retain the information or misread it completely.

Do Bianchi said...

what a lucky Jeremy he is!

great post, beautifully written, SSD...

Samantha Dugan said...

Jeremy (Not my),
Thanks kid and I am just as lucky to have him I assure you.

Now didn't we first start reading each other because I was agreeing with you on a couple other blogs?! Kinda full circle.

The linking thing is in large part a matter of style to me. The stuff I write and the way I write and fuck, the reason I write would get so lost....lose half its shape and feeling if I stuck some weird speed bump right in the middle of it. If I were "reporting" maybe I would include a link but my posts are more about emotion therefore I don't think links have a place.

The thing that made me kind of sad is that I think Tom sees the not linking as some kind of greedy I-want-to-keep-my-readers thing and at least in my case....not the truth at all. Well, of course I want to keep my readers but I share them with many other bloggers and that is all good in my book. I could be totally wrong about why it bugs him but just kind of stung to be pointed at like that....especially considering that I was the one that wrote about our meeting. If I didn't want to share my readers, turn them on to his blog I would have never said a thing. Okay now I am just being whinny!

Tom is a very nice guy and I had a fantastic time meeting him and would do it again...and plan to in May when I go out for graduation. We just have different ideas and that right there, well that's what makes the world go round.

Charlie Olken said...


This too shall pass. Tom and you obviously spent some quality time together. You have both said so. He likes links. You don't.

Not to worry. I happen to do it his way, but it is more out of habit and a desire to make things easier, and thus more likely to happen, for my readers. I am sure of one thing. Links, whether at the instant of the reference or at the bottom of the piece, will generate more traffic than letting folks go Google for themselves.

I reread this posting just now to see what all the fuss was about. I still think it is a very attractive bit of Sam on display, and I like it.

Thomas said...

Just to be clear: I think bloggers should link to one another when appropriate. I just don't like links in the middle of sentences--don't like to see them there when I'm reading and don't like to plant them there when I'm writing, cough, cough, "content." Hate the use of that word, too.

Samantha Dugan said...

Charlie Love,
Oh I think you misunderstand, there is no fuss, least I didn't think so. I don't think Tom was being mean or anything just a stylistic difference. Like I said over on his blog, I am not looking to be a search engine....just sharing my heart with you amazing people and I just think a link in the middle of a sentence disrupts the flow...in the kind of stuff I write. In fact I was reading a short post this morning and as I was going along there was a bright blue link in the middle of the sentence I was on and my fist instinct was to click it thus breaking up the flow of what I was reading. Dunno maybe it is just me but I did want to make clear that there was no fuss. I adore you for trying to soothe me though.
Kisses to sweetheart!

Tom Johnson said...

OK, I need to get involved with this.

First of all, I liked the piece, even if it wasn't as much about me as I think it should have been. (Everything should be at least 60% about me, by law.) Also, you didn't mention the curried mussels, which I thought were excellent, and you were generously discreet to not detail the wine, which was mostly a nice-but-not-special Rueda.

All of that said, I do not assume you didn't link because you're greedy. You let me eat most of the mussels, so I know you're not greedy. What I mourn is the loss of opportunity to provide readers with a service: easy access to more information about your subject,even when that subject is not me.

Nonetheless, I love you and, in an entirely different way, I love your husband, too. If what I wrote seemed mean, it was unintended and I will flagellate myself in a way that -- I promise -- I won't enjoy, no matter what people say about me.

Oh, and one more thing: I hate the Hosemaster. Wine is sacred and should not be joked about.

Thomas said...


Just read your diatribe on HR 5034 (I'd put a link here, but don't know how one can do that in a comment, and if I were to put in a link everyone would probably miss my next sentence).

I fully agree with you on the matter, not that it will get you anywhere, but thought you'd like to know that you indeed are not alone.

Samantha Dugan said...


You are adorable kid. Thanks for weighing in here and I a promise you I did not see your post as mean spirited in the least. I understand your point completely but I just don't think they have a place here. In the stuff I write for work, sure but here not so much. I did include a lovely photo of you though!

On this (as well as many other things I am sure...call me out on being French snotty over a lovely pot of curried mussels and yummy salad topped flat bread will you) we simply see things differently. I adore you for coming here and adding your two cents and even more for loving me even though I was not wearing a boobie shirt! Plus you let me order the deviled eggs and I loves me some deviled eggs....

DO NOT punish yourself...let me do it.

As for my beloved HoseMaster you and I know the real deal there. Oh and so does he...told him!

Big hugs to you kid and I will see you in May.

k2 said...

Great stuff as always. Glad you had a great trip. And glad you discovered there is more to Bourbon than being the favorite drinker of every cowboy and 80's rock bass player in the world. I'm with Hose - it'd be nice to have a K2 Jr. around the house to at least pick dad up after a wine bender. Thanks for sharing your amazing relationship with your son. The world needs more of that.

Samantha Dugan said...

No thank you for listening and giving a shit...truly remarkable how sweet you guys are.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Hey, I hate the HoseMaster too. Just can't seem to shake the guy.

I try never to link to other Poodles except for my exclusive, hard to get on unless you ask really nicely and send me seminude photos, Recommended Blog List. Links really mess up comedy, if that's what I'm doing. And, besides, I can't imagine anyone wanting to read anyone except HoseMaster anyway. OK, maybe ChronicNegress.

Did I mention I hate the HoseMaster and I don't think he's funny at all?

I love you!

Your Idiot HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

My Brilliant HoseMaster,
Semi-nude?! You fucker. That is NOT what you told me. I suppose not everyone else looking to get on your exclusive "roll" had to use the whip and the goat either...goddamn you.

Hey how about we start putting links in but they just send people back and forth to each other?! That would be freaking awesome....least it would crack me up.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Love,

I just want to be hacked by that same guy who hacked the WBC website. I'd link to that guy even if he didn't send me seminude photos.

I love you!

Your HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh the Asian James Bond? That guy was wicked cool, not sure I would pull at the whip and goat for him but he cracked my ass up.