What a difference a year makes. Last year on our anniversary, Norm took me to the Bridge of Locks in Paris to lock our love together forever, as though it had not been done decades before when we said “I do.” (Actually, because Norm was the first to answer the justice’s question, instead of the traditional “I do,” he just answered “yes.” I had no choice but to follow suit. I try not to harp on this as “he does” so much more than words that this girl cannot complain about his nuptial vow word choice.)

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This year when he asked me what I wanted to do, I answered, “I want to go to Landry Vineyards to the Grape Stomp Fest.”

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Landry Vineyards has been located in West Monroe, Louisiana (yes, the same West Monroe from Duck Dynasty fame) for a few years now, after relocating from southern Louisiana because of Hurricane Katrina.  (Hmmm. This concept seems vaguely familiar to me.)

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Stepping into the realm of grapes and wine brought me back to two places at once: France (my most recent home) and southern Louisiana (where I was born and raised). Joie de vivre still reigns in the hearts of people from all walks of life in both of these two regions of the world.

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Lisa Spann was boisterously singing the blues as children played tag in the fields or rode in the wagon while their parents danced to the music.

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Norm and I relaxed on the lawn and people-watched as we enjoyed Landry’s Blackberry-Merlot along with a tasty plate of cheese and crackers.

Then we took a little stroll down into the vineyards – so different from the fields of white grapes of the Domi Moreau vineyards that we toured last year.

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So different, yet so much more familiar to me.

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So much more like home with its dreadful humidity and annoying bugs.

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So much more like home, enveloped in its flawed beauty.

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And home is always the best place, imperfect though it may be.

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