F.O.B. - Friends of Bressler

Our SoCal friends were in our part of the state again for a second major Amador Vintner's Assn event - The Big Crush! Celebrating that time of year when the grapes are ready to bring in from the vines and get crushed, stomped or what have you. The Baers and their kids were up, as well as Rick & Gulshen. The Favetti's didn't make it but the Baers created and laminated a 'Flat Tony' to carry along (and pose) with us.

On July 4th of last year my Grandmother Brown passed away at 88 years old. Grandma Brown always had a smile and kind words for just about anyone she met. As with many of Americans of her generation, she was very patriotic and devoutly Christian. She would often tell stories of her early family life. When she was a child the family lived week to week, moving wherever there was work and enjoying simple and rare pleasures, like an extravagant trip downtown for an ice cream sundae, the single new Christmas present she got one year, or 10 cent boxes of oatmeal. As a young adult at the time of WW2, she could relate how everyone pulled together in salvaging scrap materials and rationing goods. She'd never complain, just laugh about how different things and people are now.

The Sacramento Valley Scottish Games & Festival are one of our biggest 'family' events of the year. Jennifer and I have been going every year for probably over a decade. Fianna has been to each one since she was born. Over the last half-dozen years or so, we've teamed up with the Wilsons and their kids (who we consider extended family), wandering around as 1-3 groups of managed chaos (me watching over a couple of the Wilson kids, the Wilson girls managing Fianna, everyone together for the Wicked Tinkers, or some other combination).

If you're from the Sacramento area, and like wine, you've probably heard of Amador County Wineries. If not, it will probably come as a surprise to you that Amador County (East of Sacramento County) has a Vintner's Association with 36 member wineries. Most of these are on, or within walking distance of, a 5-6 mile stretch of the Shenandoah Road in what is referred to as the Shenandoah Valley. At one time the Shenandoah Valley was the main viticultural region of California, but along came Napa, Sonoma, and all that jazz... and now... most people I talk to are surprised to hear about it... or consider it their own little getaway that they don't want ruined by Napa crowds.

In April, my Dad (Rick Maybe-Bressler) and Uncle (Allen Maybe) did something that nobody one else has done. They navigated personal water craft (perhaps better known as "Jet Skis") from the Pacific Ocean to the source of the Sacramento River. They started by passing under the Golden Gate bridge, then navigating the San Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay, Suisun Bay, and the Sacramento Delta region to the source of the Sacramento River (somewhere past Lake Shasta). In all, a trip running four days and a little over 400 miles, some of it across pretty rough and debris-prone waters (at least for a Jet Ski).