Texture...context...community values

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Posted by Maureen on August 29, 2002 at 11:44:37:

In reply to: Re: Texture counts... posted by jessica on August 28, 2002 at 23:13:22:

Hi Jessica,

I didn't find your statement controversial. I found it resonnating
with something I knew I know but could not connect with the thing I
knew I know when I first read your statement. It was trying to
dredge up a memory and understanding that was not immediately making
itself available. It was making me crazy trying to force it to come
to me. I read the statement repeatedly last night but could not get
to access on a conscious level what I was relating to about the
statement. When I awoke this morning it was there.

My father and all of his siblings made wine every year for as far
back as I can remember. Fall was began when the wine was ready and
my mother began to bake home made bread and rolls. Within my family
system, everybody knew who made the best wine...who made acceptible
wine...and who was continuing to try to make good wine. My father's
wine was known to be the best. He held great status within the
family because of this singular achievement above all else...except
perhaps his thriftyness. This was acknowledged by his siblings
request for a gallon of his wine each year. And he was oblidges to
supply it. That was the responsibility that came with being the
best. The individual recipes for wines were a carefully guarded
secret. My siblings and I were never to tell my aunts and uncles or
cousins how the wine was made...not the process or the ingredients
was to be shared. And it would get to the point that my father and
his siblings would resort to lies to throw each other off if someone
came too close to discovering the truth. No family gathering was
held that a gallon of hosts wine was not brought out and shared.
When I was grown and moved away from home, my father supplied me each
year with at least three gallons of his wine while no one else ever
got more than one gallon. I had established myself very early in my
life as both his wine-making assistant and the first person to get a
taste of his wine. When I was little it wasn't but a spoonful, but
there was much pomp and circumstance around that moment. And if I
didn't think that it was delicious, the he either reworked it or
pretended that he did. When I became grown and got those three
gallons of wine, I would bring some of it out to be enjoyed only by
my closest and most intimate friends. For anyone else there was the
liquor store or a night club if they wanted something to drink.

This wine would never have made a wine list at a restaurant no matter
how many stars it had or didn't have. It lacked clarity because of
his insistence to add potatoes to the batch to make it stronger. And
no amount of straining and run off would make it clear. He resisted
putting it into anything other than a gallon jug. And if he gave you
a gallon of the wine, you had to return the empty gallon to him so
that he could clean and sterilize and use again the next
year...remember he was thrifty!!!

In the context of my family, the making of the wine was more
important than the quality of the wine. The wine making was
something shared and understood and important to each member of our
community...that constituted our family. Clarity was not important,
deliciousness was valued but not necessary. Even my uncles wine that
seemed more like syrup met family standards. The criteria and
expectation was that wine be made and shared. The closer you were
connected to the family system the more you understood this. The
farther removed you were from the family system, the less you
understood this.

This is what your statement below brought up for me. And provided
clarity for me concerning the thick lines and somewhat sloppy designs
that may appear on the hands of the women...or at least a clarity
about how values may be placed upon how and why things are done
differently depending upon whether or not one is part of or apart
from what is considered to be the "community" itself which
establishes the values and criteria based upon its own community
needs. The value of just having henna on the skin and just making
the wine feel the same...for me.

Well, maybe your statement may be viewed as controversial. But I
also "felt" it to be insightful. What may be important then would be
for us to remember that the wine is good wine or the wine is bad wine
depending upon whether ones perspective is from within or without
what constitutes the community. I have never tasted a wine as good
as my father's wine. There has never been one made. And what holds
those two statements true until today, is context.

Thanks for prompting my stroll down memory lane..:-)


Now for my controversial statement... I think this lumpier
: henna is purchased becuase its A. available. B. inexpensive. and C.
: the henna I've seen done by people in person is of very poor
: Rudimentary designs, thick, and chunky. (everyone on this forum and
: those others whose websites we've seen blow the typical Indian
: henna out of the water)
: This is the truth as I see it.
: The folks buying henna off shelves are using it for traditional
: purposes, weddings, etc. where out in CA at least the focus does
: seem to be so much on the quality or 'beauty' of the design but in
: just actually having henna on the skin.


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