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Jonathan and Sheila

Jonathan and Sheila arrived on Sunday night, in the middle of Tucson snow-storm, the likes of which I haven’t seen since our first Christmas in Tucson, and our only white Christmas, in 1987. They brought this bottle of 1978 Bordeaux, from Sheila’s father’s cellar. The aroma was sun-warmed fennel and forest leaf-mold. First taste was of acid, there was no tannin left. But the final sip at dinner was a delightful tangy balance of acid and fruit, like fresh orange juice.

It was a stressful visit—Jonathan’s temper always on the verge of boiling over, clashing with Abby, loud demands for attention running at high tension from breakfast to bedtime. They had just come back from a trip to Egypt with Felicity and Oliver, which had been delightful but also tinged with family drama (although perhaps that’s normal). Stress-producing phone calls from Felicity throughout the week. Sheila was glad of Amy’s acknowledgment of all this, and was her usual stoic self, walking on eggs through life. Still, it was good to make contact with such good old friends again—all their sins are long past the statue of limitations, just as any imperfections in the wine.

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About Bill McCallum

I was born in Australia and came to the United States to pursue a Ph. D. in mathematics at Harvard University, met my wife, and never went back. I am a professor at the University of Arizona, working in number theory and mathematics education.

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