Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy Old People, Drunk-y and Dance-y

I went to the St. Josefs Winery grape stomp celebration today.  Located in Canby, Oregon about 30 minutes southeast of Portland, St Josefs is twice as fun, twice as cheap, and half as pretentious as the more popular Newberg-Dundee wine tasting area.  
The very aged and very friendly owner immigrated here from Hungary, and the whole place looks like an old central European villa. It surprised me to see the grape stomp was another iteration of the ever-popular Oktoberfest celebration.  Same songs.  Same sausages.  Same chicken dance.  German flags at shirts dotted the crowd, a little ironic since the owner was probably alive when Germany invaded Hungary during World War II, before losing it to the Soviet Union.  Hungary then essentially lived out an Orwellian Big Brother nightmare for 45 years under communist rule before winning independence in 1989.

Alcohol makes us all brothers, I suppose.  I've been to many an Oktoberfest, but never have I seen so many happy old people.  The crowd was aged.  Young and middle aged pockets cropped up here and there, but at nearly every table sat lots and lots of old people, in their old people sweaters and old people pants that are always tugged up too high.  And they were rocking.  Singing.  Dancing.  Swigging beer, swigging wine and chowing on bratwurst.

One old timer and his wife hopped and bopped in the conga line, the returned to their seats next to us.  The old man looked at me and my girlfriend, and in a thick, central European accent said "You are weaklings!  You should dance!  I am 82!"

I don't know if they all hailed from Hungary or from the same nursing home, but the event felt like one big family reunion.  Everyone beemed with joy.  The crowd cheered every song.  And everyone just danced.  I find it so heartening to see old people living it up.  30 is almost here for this blogger, and while middle age looms, I learned today I can have at least 52 more good fun years ahead of me.

For a $10 admission (that included a glass and three tastes), I got more fun, more wine, and more life lessons than I could ever have hoped.

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