Once word of the chef at the vineyard spread people started to come and ask for me. At first we thought that it was the frolic of an individual, but as the weeks rolled on more and more people came. It was uncharacteristic of Luke, with his natural aversion to crowds and strangers, to suggest that we open some kind of restaurant. But it was a home on a vineyard, and not our home, and further still rather, the seat of a long and honourable bloodline. We had no business opening any enterprise on Tomassino’s land and I had no interest in even suggesting anything of the sort.
So, as fate would have it, Tomassino asked me to move on. In his indomitable fashion he took my wrist one evening and walked me down the fields. I had thought then that he would ask we to go and bring my renown elsewhere to let his business continue unhindered but I was unprepared for what he did next. Handing me a letter sealed with his family crest, Tomassino told me that not only would he supply me all the wine I could sell, at cost, but that if I should ever decide to retire then a plot of land on his acres was mine from that day forth.
I was lost for words and he knew it. I choked on my love for the man and he pulled me to him and put his arms around me, then held me back from him and looked into my eyes with a pat on the face that was as much a kiss as it was a slap to give me momentum. For a man who never had a father in his manhood I knew that love in that moment. Tomassino has and will always remain a pillar of my past and an enduring example for my future. Though he was half my size he was twice the man I will ever be.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey