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Anita's Imaginary Family

As the Barrel Turns...

My name is Joe.  It’s just Joe.  It’s not Joseph or Josiah or Josephus or Josephine; just Joe.  I’m a simple man with a simple name.  Mother and Daddy gave it to me because they knew that I was going to be simple.

Over the years, many of us get nicknames.  As kids we get names from friends.  Grandparents, girlfriends, coaches and parole officers are good sources for nicknames.

Spouses are the most particular and creative source.  Anne has called me by several monikers over the years.  A few might possibly have even been nice and respectful. I usually do not care what she calls me as long as she does not call me late for dinner She often calls me Joseph.  To which I respond, “Yes, Anneseph?”

Anne is always meeting new people and adopting them as a new best friend.  She talks about people all the time and with familiarity.  Many of her new discoveries I do not know.  Sometimes I feel like she brings them home like a stray.  It seems that I am supposed to know about whom she is talking and about what.  Needless to say, I have exploited my “hearing deficiency” as expected of a man my age.  Some call it selective hearing.  I often get falsely accused of “ignoring”.... believe it or not.

Lately, I have a new name.  This is why:

I am not sure when I first heard of the “Neeta” girls.  I never met them, but it seemed that Anne was in daily contact with them.  They appeared to be a set of triplets and a neglected older sister.  The triplets were Uneeta, Ugotta and Weneeta.  The older sister was Anita.  They must come by the house often when I was at work because much of their subject matter involved our home and our business.

I did not hear much about Anita.  I usually heard about Uneeta or Ugotta.  I got regular updates on those two. I heard about them several times each day.  Once a day I might have heard about Weneeta, but I thought it was really about Uneeta.  I rarely heard about Anita.  Uneeta, and Ugotta were very ambitious.  They were doing so many things to help Anne around the place.

The day of reckoning came just before dinner one evening. That’s when I realized that I was supposed to be paying attention.  It hit me like a brick (maybe it was a brick).  Anne had mentioned to me that Uneeta was doing something earlier in the day.  She then repeated it at lunch and again over the phone that afternoon.  At dinner, she looked at me like I was stupid and asked why I was ignoring her.

I was astonished and asked for her patience as I tried to calculate what I had done wrong. (I should be pretty good at that after 38+ years).  I responded in a sweet voice “I’m sorry, Honey, whatever do you mean?  I always want to please you in everything I do.” (At least that’s the way I remember it).

She looked me in the eye and talked slowly as to a child.  Our conversation went something like:

Anne:     “Uneeta replace that light bulb in the kitchen.”  (I wondered at her grammar, but did not comment)

Joe:         “Great, I appreciate that.”

Anne:     “What?”

Joe:         “When?”

Anne:     “Replace it now, if it is not too much trouble.  The bulb has been out for 3 days.”

Joe:         “That’s nice.  Where is she?  I’ve never met her.”

Anne:     “What?”

 Joe:        I repeat, “That’s nice.  Where is she?  I’ve never met her.”

Anne:     “Who?”

Joe:         “Uneeta”

Anne:     “Who in the Sam Hill is Uneeta?”

Joe:         “That’s what I want to know!”

Anne:     “Why?”

Joe:         “Because you are always talking about her and her sisters.”

Anne:     “What sisters?”

Joe:         “Ugotta, Weneeta and to a lesser extent, Anita.”

Anne:     “Are you confused? Should I call a doctor?”

Joe:         “No, I pay attention.  You don’t think so, but I hear when you talk about them”

Anne:     “Really?”

Joe:         “Yes.  Anita never does much.  She waits on the rest to do all of the work. 

Anne:     “Anita?”

Joe:         “Yep, and Weneeta is just about as bad.  She may have something to do, but it is later delegated to the others.”

Anne:     “The others?”

Joe:         “Uneeta and Ugotta.”

Anne:     “What language are you using now?”

Joe:         “Uneeta and Ugotta are real work horses.  They seem to get all of the jobs. 

Anne:     “What jobs?”

Joe:         “The ones you are always talking about.”

Anne:     “Indulge me.”

Joe:         “Have I not heard you say, hundreds of times, “Uneeta do this.  Ugotta do that.  Weneeta go there?  I hardly ever hear, “Anita do anything.”

Anne:     She gives me “That look”.

Joe:         I give her “That look” right back because I don’t know what she’s thinking…

Anne:     “Listen to yourself.”

Joe:         I sarcastically cock my head to one side as if listening to something.  I do this, because I am stalling.  I can tell she has the upper hand.  She now has me figured out and has an air of confidence.  I hate that!  She is about to declare “checkmate!”

Anne:     “Those are not people.”

Joe:         Puzzled look.

Anne:     “Listen carefully.  YOU NEED TO change the light bulb.  YOU GOT TO stop the leak in the bath.  WE NEED TO go to the farm and clean out the barn.  I NEED TO make sure you do everything right.”

Well the discussion went downhill from there.  Now I have a new nickname; Uneeta.

Meet Anne

As the Barrel Turns...

Anne is my wife of 38 years and partner in everything.  Anne likes pictures.  She says that I’ll thank her someday for all of the pictures.  Maybe she is thinking of the 2 TB of photos on her external hard drive in the safety deposit box.  Or maybe the wardrobe full of photo albums from ancient days (before digital) that have faded like my eyesight. 


Anne also likes to communicate.  In other words, how can I put this…, she likes to talk.  If you know her, enough said.  If you don’t, well, she is a sweetie.  Now I don’t mind all of the talking, but she expects me to listen.  Not only do I have to listen, I have to engage and look her in the eye!  Come on.  I’m a man for goodness sake.  Just be satisfied with a Hummm and a grunt every now and then while I’m reading the Wall Street Journal or watching the weather channel; in the next room.  Our dachshund, Snickers is a better listener than me.  At some point, we realized that I was not hearing like a young man.  I told Anne that God made my ears to only hear so many words in my lifetime.  I hypothesized that I had heard the equivalent of a centenarian by age 50, so she needed to give me a break.  She was not humored, nor deterred.  I still think my theory is valid.  I only have a few words left to hear.  I need to make them count!

Anne is talking, I'm "listening".

Anne is talking, I'm "listening".

When Anne meets someone, she engages her victim expertly.  Like a trained professional, she can lock into your vision and you are helplessly engaged in the conversation before you know it.  She is so good that you will not even realize it for several minutes.  Then it is too late.  You have been friended the old fashioned way.  In a crowded banquet room, you are the only one present.  Among dignitaries, you are the most important person in the room.  When she gets your attention, you are center stage. You will voluntarily reveal your life story.  Next you will check your social calendar.  Then I’ll have to feed your family after church on Sunday at my house.   She genuinely likes people and wants to know about you and how you are doing.  When you come to M6, guess who greets you at the door.

Since Anne is so social, she is naturally gifted to be the M6 Marketing Director.  She has become a whiz at social media.  She can point, click and post to Instagram like a millennial.  She is convinced that if we post a “cute” picture of me mopping the floor then that will result in swarms of visitors to the Tasting Room.  During construction, I kept painting over the spots on the wall until I realized that my eyes had not yet adjusted from the flash.  She will take your picture and make you feel good about it.   She has a lot of contacts and (unlike me) wants more.  If you sign our guest book in person or online, Anne will see to it that you are kept up-to-date with M6 news.

Anne lets me handle the tastings. She likes for me to present the wines. She likes to hear me talk about the varietals and the blends.  Aromas, flavors and taste are intriguing to her.  After visitors are released from the inquisition, I am prepared to entertain with wine speak.  Since I have no notes, Anne is there to make sure that I do not leave out any important details.  I usually begin by saying something like, "This wine is a very nice blend made from"....and then Anne takes over the discussion.  After all, she is the real expert.  She drank most of the wine I made over the past decade.  She now even has her own wine.  Check out our Sweet Tex Anne for a refreshing sweet white wine.