Thursday, November 10, 2011
Day Date, part four
As we drive through towns without stores or gas stations I realize how thirsty I am. There is nowhere to stop but we know of a small grocery in Naples we have gone to a few times. We will be driving through there on our way and although there is much to do in Naples, our only stop will be the grocery store. As we walk around the store, we grab a few things we need or want. Because I am Celiac, I am always on the look out for new gluten free items. It is funny, the small town stores often carry items I have never seen. Mark and I both scan their GF section, his support with my diagnosis of Celiac has been incredible. It is not always easy to find a quick bite to eat with me, I can't just get a burger or a piece of pizza. At times, it has to be frustrating, after all, he didn't marry me as a Celiac, I wasn't diagnosed until I was 39 years old. But Mark rolls with it, helping to keep me on the diet with his support and sometimes also his protective nature. He will ask questions at restaurants or gatherings, as sometimes I back down with the lack of understanding. There have been many times I have felt like people may think it is an attention getting diagnosis, not a real one. Actually, I hate the extra attention it brings to me in a restaurant or at a party. People trying to work their foods around my need for gluten free often causes me angst. Many times I just don't eat and try to go unnoticed. Parties are the toughest, even if something is GF, a cracker may have been dipped in it, which causes cross contamination. It may sound like I am being neurotic, but if you understand the disease, you get this. I react to even the smallest amount of gluten, physically I may get sick, but it is the unknown that gluten does to my body, that really scares me. Every time a Celiac has gluten, it creates their villi in their small intestine to flatten. The flat villi do not absorb nutrition and so foods go through you "quickly." The healing process after I have accidently had gluten takes about a month. A month of nutrition not being absorbed correctly and the other unknowns this can cause, scare me into following the diet strictly. There are many studies because Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease, that indicate we are more likely to get certain aliments and cancers if not following the diet. I think this is what drives both Mark and I, our family needs me, so I do my best to stay gluten free. Mark does his best at protecting me from uncomfortable situations and especially from doubters. I grab an apple at the grocery store, fruits are always safe and my favorite, Honey Crisp, is in season right now. We get back in the car and continue toward our destination, only about another half hour to go. As the roads become winding and the houses fewer again, I wonder how people ever find this place without a GPS. We are out there, for sure, the country roads twisting as NRBQ and Skeeter Davis play softly in the background. Mark introduced me to NRBQ when we first started dating, an underground band that never really made it big, but has a good following. Their music is fun, upbeat and happy, it is a welcome change from our kids choices in music! As we drive down one of the dirt roads we spot an orange, mangy looking cat on the side. Mark knows I am a sucker for such situations and immediately says "If it is there on the way back, we'll stop." I make him promise, knowing he means what he says. As we approach our destination, it is all I hoped. It is a gorgeous setting overlooking the lake and the fall colored hills. The romantic in me is just thrilled! Walking into the building we look around and then see the wine tasting room. A young woman with another couple in front of her asks us if we want to do a tasting. It was much fun, as we talked with the other couple and our host. Many of the wines were delicious, some were not my taste. It was interesting what Mark and I had in common and what we did not. We tried several varieties of whites only, as the other couple did not want to try reds and I can get migraines from drinking reds. The host was very generous and knowledgeable, giving us much history of the vineyard and the Frank family. It was to me like marking off a bucket list item. We were actually at the place that we have celebrated with every December 17th since that first one in 1988. Mark could have brought a wine from California, Germany, anywhere that first date. But that he brought one from a local vineyard and it took us almost 23 years to finally visit it, made it all the more special.