Tomorrow night, Husband and I are going to a local winery with some friends. It's a little place way out in the country, a little vineyard with a very small restaurant. By small, I mean it has one room with enough seating for 25 or so people, and you have to reserve it almost a year in advance. Most people reserve the whole thing and take everyone they know. That's the case here. We're going with about 20 other people. Because there won't be a designated driver, we have thought about hiring an Amish hauler--which is probably only funny to a local person--there are people who work as drivers for the Amish who don't drive cars but will gladly ride in a van driven by the English.
The winery is run by a husband and wife team. The husband used to be a chemist for the government, testing and developing agricultural stuff, but after years and years of that kind of work, he pitched it all, bought this land, planted a vineyard, and now runs his own little winery. He looks very happy standing behind the long wooden bar pouring samples. His wife is a chef, and she personally crafts dinner and serves it in this small room with big stone walls and wooden floors. I can't wait.
In the summer, the place is entirely different from what it is in the winter. Dinner is served on picnic tables outside, and the kitchen can accommodate dozens of people at once. When you make your reservations, you select steak or chicken. Then, when you arrive and have chosen your bottle of wine, you are directed to a picnic shelter and given a tray of meat which you grill yourself. It's all very lovely, surrounded by gardens and fountains and a fish pond.
The thing that really strikes me about this place, though, is the owner. Here is a guy who studied and planned and worked in a field for over twenty-five years. Then he switched, not to something completely different--chemistry and wine making make sense together--but to something less...let's say industrial. So, I got to thinking, what if other people with "industrial" jobs all switched later in life? What jobs would they convert to?
--A graphic designer who designs book covers and catalogs switches to making hand-crafted one-of-a-kind greeting cards
--A construction worker who spends 30 years building bridges switches to building jungle gyms for school playgrounds
--A garbage collector switches to sculpting with thrown-out scraps of metal and wood (Junk Yard Wars used to be one of my favorite shows, and I wish I knew how to weld)
--A CEO of a Fortune 500 company switches to teaching grass-roots business principles to small-business hopefuls in Appalachia
--A bus driver in New York City switches to driving the Amish around the Ohio Valley
Fill in the blanks here with some other ideas, becuase I'm running low.