Ten years ago, my friend's wife Shirley died. Foolish decisions lead to meaningless deaths. She was driving, reached over to rummage in her handbag for a stick of gum. Hit the rumble-strip. She over-corrected, flipped the Saab, and died at the scene with massive head injuries.
At her funeral, the doors opened for the pallbearers to load the coffin into the hearse. A previously bright cold winter's day had been transformed into screaming snow squalls. I have since associated death with the winter elements gone wild.
Yesterday's snowstorm was Sammy. He was a good friend to many of us in the wine community in Boston. His social events were catalysts, binding so many of his friends together. He provided wonderful opportunities to meet, and to maintain our social bonds. There was no equal to his generosity.
Sammy started a wine import business back in the late 70s/early 80s. When he sold it to a local distributor in the early 90's, he retired, and entertained us all. His specialty was white Burgundy, in quantity. Labor Day parties featured twenty-five vintages of Latour Corton-Charlemagne (fabulous, expensive wine) so that his friends could see how the vintages were aging. Food accompanied all of Sam's extravaganzas. Foie gras, cheese, pate', lobster, he shared and lived large with us. His bulldog collection (figurines, posters, prints) was legend. He collected Tiffany silver. His wine cellar was stunning.
I know you can see where this is going. Sammy developed Type II diabetes several years ago. He lost weight, gained some back, and compensated for his lifestyle with more insulin injections. When one rolls the dice, there's no guarantee that one wins. Sammy didn't. He died suddenly, unexpectedly, at his desk, this past Saturday. We don't know how, or why. He was 57.
We are shaken and horrified. We are grieving. It just can't be true, but it is.
Two pictures from Sammy's Labor Day picnic, 2007 -