Elderberry Wine - Quinn Woods '18

        For the fifteen years and eleven months that I've know my great grandfather I've always thought that he is the greatest man on earth. His name is Tom, but I call him GG. I've learned over time that GG is an incredibly wise man. He knows how to cook anything that you could ask him to, build anything that want, plant the greatest garden in the world, and he is great at telling stories.

        My Thanksgivings are usually pretty much the same. In the morning I wake up at 5:30 to go hunting with my grandfather. We then go back to his house when we finish hunting. I later get ready for Thanksgiving dinner with my grandparents, GG, my uncle and my sister. At dinner, we talk and eat A LOT. Then us guys fall asleep in the living room while watching football, we wake up to have desert, and then everyone returns home. This past Thanksgiving will probably be one of the most memorable ones to me though because of the great time that I had with GG.

      GG always brings a bottle of his homemade elderberry wine to Thanksgiving dinner every year . He usually pops it open after dinner so the adults can have it with their desert. After I had eaten so much turkey and I felt like I was going to burst, I went down to the living room with my dad, uncle, grandfather, and GG, to watch football. All of the ladies in my family were still gossiping in the dining room like they usually do after dinner. All of the guys fell asleep within three minutes after we sat down except for GG and I. GG got up and crept out the back deck door, and he silently gestured for me to come out there with him. We both sat down next to each other in wooden lounge chairs that he had made years ago as a gift for my grandparents. He reached into a bag that he had brought out with him and pulled out two wine glasses along with his bottle of elderberry wine. He poured us each a glass and said to me, “Quinn, I may not live long enough to be able to share a drink with you, so I figured that we could just have one now. Now you better not tell anyone about this because I'm sure they'd kill me before I get the chance to run.”

        I knew that GG was a fairly old man and unfortunately he probably won't still be alive to share a drink with me when I turn twenty-one. Even though GG is eighty-six years old, he still has the heart of an eighteen year old.

       I have never even had a single drop of alcohol in my life so I wasn't sure what to think, so I just went along with it. I watched GG drink half of his glass before I even had a drink of mine. I tried and tiny sip and GG asked if I liked it. I said it was great but I absolutely hated it.

       We must've sat out there for at least an hour but it felt like it was only five minutes. I sat there and laughed at the stories and life lessons that GG was sharing with me during that hour. Throughout the time that we were out there, I slowly sipped on the tiny glass of wine I had in my hand. During that time, I realized how much of an impact GG has on me. It took a big part of me to hold back the tears when I realized how much I love him. It wasn't until then that I really started to appreciate all of the things he has taught me throughout my life. We started reminiscing on all of the crazy times we've had hiking, kayaking, camping, hunting and fishing, planting his garden, me helping him build things, and lots of the other adventures that we have had together. There was an incredibly strong bond that formed between us during that hour that I am going to remember for the rest of my life.

        I only drank about half of the glass of the homemade wine that I had, but it was during that drink that we shared that created a magnificent memory for me. I hope that one day I will be like GG. I want to be able to do all of amazing things that he can do and be as creative as him, and share stories and lessons with my children and grandchildren. I haven't told anyone in my family about this yet and I never plan on telling them either. This is something that I hope he will always remember. We will always be able to laugh at this without anyone else in our family knowing what we did that Thanksgiving Night, and this will forever be our secret.