A Toast to the Romans
I’ve asked so many people here if they were Italian that it’s almost embarrassing. The southern French accent of the Midi sounds Italianate to me, the dark looks and bravado of the people seem Italian, there’s pizza and pasta everywhere, and I finally know why. It’s not a news flash, but the Romans were here first.
We have friends visiting from California, and they’re are on the path of antiquities. Together we’ve walked a small part of the remains of the Roman aqueduct that has its most eloquent expression at the Pont du Gard, which is practically in our back yard. Roman feet stepped here, Roman hands made this, and they made it to last forever. And it has, despite the fact that it hasn’t carried water since its near-demise in the 6th century. Now restored and treasured, it stands as a reminder that doing things right the first time has its own rewards, but continued success often lies in the hands of those that follow after.
Tonight we’re going to a wine pairing dinner and I’m planning to lift a glass to those who believed in the future and left us proof of their conviction. Their water ran through lead pipes, their wine was poured into lead glasses, and thus they are no longer with us. And another glass, or several glasses since it’s a multi-course dinner, to those who found themselves between then and now, and spent their short lives bridging the gap of the centuries.
We’ve gotten the lead out of our lives, and we’re making wine on the same rocky soil the Romans planted, but I wonder what we are creating that will last 2000 years. Will anyone stand on a bright day by clean flowing water and offer a toast to our lives and times? Will the future thank us as we thank our past?