So while pounding my way through a way too greasy fast food burger this afternoon, a tiny man approached the counter. He had what appeared to be a binder in the crook of his arm and asked, “Is Samantha Dugan here today?” in a very thick French accent. A tad peeved by the perceived intrusion on my lunch, (no matter how wretched) I plopped the burger down on its shiny foil/paper, wiped my mouth and said, “Yup, that’s me”. “My name is Blah Blah” he said with a big grin….I just stood there trying to figure out who this guy was, what he wanted and why he was grinnin’ at me, “Okay, how can I help you?” I pressed on. He stood there kind of blinking faster and asked me if I spoke French, I don’t… shaking my head, and looking at him with my suspicious face, I told him, “No, sorry I don’t” that was when he repeated his name for me, slower and much clearer, “My name is Guy Tempier and I live in Provence”
So as it turns out, Guy Tempier is a painter, (further investigating on the Internets let me know, a pretty good one) that lives in Provence and was staying with friends here in Long Beach, friends that get our newsletter and while flipping through The Wine Country newsletter he found my piece on Lulu and Domaine Tempier, the Lulu he had just visited with 3 weeks before his trip here, and the Domaine that that a shared his last name. Small world no?!
(A Piece By Guy Tempier)
I could not tell if his family was ever part of Domaine Tempier, but I can only assume at some point in the lineage, it was likely. We walked over to the Provence area of the store, we looked at the bottles and he showed me the book he had come in with, his book of his art…in hardback. There was little to say, we were both beaming for some reason, like we had this thing in common, this thing that inspired him to come to the store just to meet me, rather incredible really. He asked if Lulu had seen what I had written, and I assured him that she probably had not, “I would like to bring this to her if you don’t mind. I think this, this would make her happy” my heart swelled with pride, and flattery...very small world.
A couple hours later, still all goofy about my chance meeting, a Wine Country veteran came in, he has been coming in for years, we get along great and I had not seen him in a couple weeks. As soon as I saw him, I smiled and yelled across the shop, “How you doin’?!” to which he responded, “Getting better”…that always worries me, then it came, “we lost my sister last week”….from heart swelling to sinking. “Oh I am so sorry” was all I could think to say, (and can I just say, I hate that….when my Mom passed everyone said that to me…really? You’re sorry? I know it’s what we all say, just wish there were something better) “No it was a long bout with Cancer so we are all a bit relieved” he responded, “well at least the suffering is over, for all of you” I said and went about ringing up his wines.
“I wanted to tell you, you turned her on to a bunch of really great French wines. She always said how much you helped her, I just wanted you to know that” he said while looking down at our tattered little counter, “Her name was Jaculine, I’m sure would not know her by name, but you would know her…wish I had a picture. Anyway, she spoke highly of you and I wanted you to know that” he said, his voice trailing off softly. I’m telling you, it took everything I had to fight back the tears…what an amazingly unselfish act on his part. Here he is grieving the loss of his sister but he felt that she would want me to know that she had said nice things about me, and by sharing those comments he was making me feel good…before he left I put my hand on his and said, “thank you so much for sharing that with me, it means more than I can tell you” he shot me a sheepish, slightly embarrassed half grin, avoided eye contact and made his way to the front door shouting, “You have a good day kid” on the way out. Back to swelling and it is moments like these that remind me why I am on this end of the business, moments like the ones I shared this afternoon…they will be with me forever.