there’s a gentle rain this morning and it’s very quiet around here. the cat is on her perch, curled up in a tight little ball and gently snoring. the brown eyed girl has finally fallen asleep after a tough night of whatever it is she is ailing from. this post first appeared here on the front page almost a year ago. for any number of reasons, i think it’s time once again.
the other day i finally got around to making a trip back to my childhood. specifically, i had been wanting to take some photos of the old padre winery just down the road in rancho cucamonga, ca. i’ve mentioned the winery in a few blogs and a fiction piece here but there were no photos in any of them. so, what i thought i’d do was take some photos and stick them up here then sorta run the deal down one more time.
padre winery has been around since the late 1800’s. and it was the first winery in california bonded by the feds, allowing them to sell wine and brandy. the original building is still standing. amazingly enough even after all the semi sorta large earthquakes that have rumbled through the area. i guess it gives testament to some thing or another. over the years the winery has been owned and operated by a few different folks. it has had a few other names as well. but to us long time cucmongaites it was and always shall be, padre winery. sadly, it no longer produces wine. those days are long gone.
my mother’s parents lived in a house a few hundred yards west of the winery. that old wonderful house with the root cellar, in which my grandfather made wine and vinegar, no longer stands. my grandfather worked at padre winery up until the time he retired. he’d been there for many years. i spent a lot of time with my grandparents when i was a kid. soaking up old world italy and wineries. that is up until the time my folks thought i was old enough to manage on my own during the summer. though soaking up stuff never ended.
when my grandfather worked at padre it was owned by the vai brothers. i loved walking over to the winery and wandering around looking at stuff. perhaps more importantly smelling the wonderful smells that can only come from a winery.
these days the winery is owned by a local family that has long roots in the area. wine roots. they gave it a go trying to make it a producing winery over the years but money being what it is things never panned out. padre winery is for sale. there are a few businesses where the old redwood wine vats used to be and it’s kind of sad. especially to me. i worked at padre winery myself for a year or so back in the early to mid 70’s. i’ve recounted that tale as here as well.
i’d been by the winery a number of times over the years. once even stopping with the brown eyed girl so she could see the place. old padre winery. at any rate, i was alone the other day as i wandered about taking these photos. alone with my thoughts and my youth.
as you will see there is still a beauty to the winery. an elegance and charm not seen these days in much of any kind of architecture. there was something else present as i walked around. something mystical and wonderful. or maybe it was just the fact that padre winery has been around for years and years and saw a huge amount of wine in various stages pass through the grounds. it was a smell. the smell. that wine smell. a sour tart vinegary musty smell now. but still a wine smell. the old girl still has it. a complete package other than the fact the wine itself is long gone. the elegance and the smell have stuck to her and she wears them well.
i hope the old lady remains standing. standing as a monument to old california and old cucamonga. not swept into some re-development black hole and razed. re-development. the good old boy deal where the pols and hucksters make money hand over fist and we the people lose our history and magic that comes with the old things. old wonderful places like padre winery.
padre winery and the old tasting room.
the old cellars.
the still where the lees and muck were processed into 180 proof alcohol.
the old girl is still looking good.
last week the brown eyed girl and i celebrated our first wedding anniversary. time flies when you’re having fun right? exactly. so, in celebration of that monumental event another couple joined us for a couple days of wine tasting and wonderful food in temecula, ca.
we had a great time and on the wine tasting day got pretty much hammered on our six hour tasting run of six wineries. driving on our own that day would have been stupid and criminal at best. we hired a limo for the day which covered the criminal part of that equation. stupid is another story. just kidding.
all and all a wonderful trip. we plan on doing it again in a couple of months.
yours truly and the limo.
Temecula, CA grape country.
some old hammered italian guy.
what happens when the old italian guy doesn’t care for the vino.
the old catholic church still stands where it has for as long as i can remember and was there even before i was born. one of the oldest catholic churches in the area. the church sits just steps away from the old padre winery. while i was visiting padre winery the other day i stopped by the church as well. the church was my grandparents back in the day. they could walk there very easily and did several times a week.
our lady hasn’t held up as well as padre winery. plenty of parishioners but not the well to do types of other parishes in cucamonga. just your average work a day joes go to this church these days. the salt of the earth types. not unlike in the old days. the old days, when the street that fronts it was smaller. the intersection was also the home to some old stately eucalyptus trees. long gone due to street widening projects and the addition of curb and gutters.
since the church stands so close to padre winery i’ve been by it many many times over the years. though i hadn’t been inside of the church since june of 1968 or 1969. the day of my grandfather’s funeral. you would think i could remember the exact date but i was in a wisdom tooth extraction haze and all i really remember about the day was the huge cloud of incense drifting about my grandfather’s coffin.
i made it back inside the church the other day. it was an odd experience at best. there have been some changes and the floor is now carpeted. i guess carpet is easier to maintain than the old hardwood floors. the simple beauty of a very very old and small catholic church that served old italians and mexicans remains.
i miss, nona and nono, italian for grandmother and grandfather. the little house they used to live is gone. but the little church they worshiped in still stands. stands like a memory of a long ago past.
our lady of mount carmel catholic church.
our trip to the southwest went very well. fine scenery and company plus some great food and drink along the way. what could be better? as a matter of fact, we’re already planning our next sojourn into northern arizona and southern new mexico. long lazy stays in both places with none of the 400 mile drives and associated moving every few days. the long drives were the killer. trust me, 400 plus mile drives every few days are not something we want to tackle again any time soon.
all and all a fantastic trip. great scenery leading the way. i could boor you with the details of daily stuff with some days much better than others. i won’t do that. i’ll just let the photos tell the story. we think there’s magic in a few of them. hmm, yeah, sedona can do that. a magical place if there ever was one.
the grand canyon has a bit of magic as well. we saw it on one of it’s hazier days. although it was still stunning if not exhausting. elephant butte, new mexico. the place where an old dam makes a lake of the rio grande.
yes, the road still holds some magic. we found that magic in the southwest.
a room with a view in sedona, az.
approaching sunset sedona. az.
sunrise and another sunset in sedona, az.
the grand canyon on a hazy windy cold day.
grand canyon sunset.
manny’s buckhorn in san antonio, new mexico. voted one of the best burger joints in the usa. fabulous green chile cheeseburgers.
elephant butte, new mexico.
the harvest moon over elephant, butte.
the old plaza in santa fe, new mexico.
yours truly waiting for a table at the plaza cafe santa fe, new mexico. one of the best meals on the adventure.
the lorreto chapel in santa fe. and the staircase. a story worth looking up.
hasta la vista, sedona. we will be back.
all photos copyrighted 2009 john hauge.
back when i was a kid the wells were still around but not alive to the extend of what you see in the photos. they were just mere ghosts of the past. but still around. by the early 60’s oil gave way to a housing boom that still, to this day plods sadly on.
huntington beach, circa 1964.
when oil was king.
the huntington beach plunge. an indoor swimming pool with salt and fresh water pools. they were still around in the 50’s. i loved them as a kid when the rip tides and undertow’s were howling they were a refuge.
the beach from the pier.
fade to color.
yes, the knot has been tied and the vows all said. i’m a married man again. fine by me as the brown eyed girl is one very special woman. i mean what else can you say about a woman that would actually marry me? not much i’m sure.
as you may or may not know we were married in liberace’s old mansion or villa or late 1950’s re-modeled tract house in vegas not far from the famed ‘strip’. an old friend of the brown eyed girl, and now a friend of mine, is a business partner with the person who owns the place now. they usually charge a nice sum of coin to have a wedding ceremony there. we, on the other hand, slid in for free. pretty sweet.
our home base for the vegas deal was a suite in the venetian hotel. a place neither of us was very happy with for a number of reasons. let’s just say that, if and when we go back to vegas, we won’t be staying at the venetian hotel. we’ll be going a few doors down to the wynn hotel. count on it.
well, at any rate, the drive out to the heart of mojave desert and it’s environs was uneventful. um, sorta, but that’s not for here at least not now. our first stop in sin city was the county clerks office. it took a few times around the block to find it, as the address was covered by a tree.
it was late sunday morning and we expected the place to be jumping with a bunch of drunken fools there to get paperwork so they could marry some of the local cocktail waitresses they met the night before. that, sadly wasn’t the case. i mean that action might have been fun to watch. right? but on the other hand, an almost empty office made things very easy and quick for us to get our papers in order and get out of there. the wedding was scheduled for the next day at 10am at liberace’s place.
we arrived a bit early for the ceremony so i was able to wander around a bit and take some photos of the place. liberace’s ‘mansion’ is showing it’s age but then again aren’t we all? the place was probably built in the late 50’s or early 60’s in what is nothing more than your standard tract house neighborhood. an upscale tract house neighborhood that’s getting a bit seedy but still nice.
here’s a few photos i took of liberace’s place. but before that a few of the view from our hotel window.
front view of liberace’s home
liberace’s living room.
the grand hallway. we were married at the end of it.
the spot where we were married.
a portion of liberace’s bathroom.
the piano johnny carson gave to liberace.
the ceremony was very nice and rather quick, which was fine by us. we found a minister on the web who came out to the villa and married us. reverend phil, a nice gent from southern texas, performed the wedding. visit rev phil at: http://www.lvrev.com the brown eyed girl and i found a few things we wanted him to incorporate in the ceremony and he did. one of the pieces was from the american writer and poet, james dillet freeman.
Blessing for a Marriage
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.
the other piece was the navajo wedding blessing:
From A Navajo Wedding Ceremony:
Now you have lit a fire and that fire should not go out.
The two of you now have a fire that represents love,
understanding and a philosophy of life.
It will give you heat, food, warmth and happiness.
The new fire represents a new beginning – a new life and a new family.
The fire should keep burning; you should stay together.
You have lit the fire for life, until old age separates you.
if you recall one of the brown eyed girl’s great grandmothers was a full blooded navajo.
after the ceremony, the owner of the place popped a bottle of champagne for us and we all had a drink. very nice indeed. i must say, all in all, the wedding site was actually very nice in a weird sorta way. as a matter of fact, the brown eyed girl laughed through a good portion of the ceremony due to the weirdness of it all. the surroundings. not me. well, maybe not. lol. visit: http://lasvegasvilla.com for more info and some more photos. anyways, thanks to robert and dez for their kindness and hospitality.
that evening, some very old friends of the brown eyed girl treated us to a lovely wedding night dinner at, b and b ristorante, inside the venetian. b and b is owned by chef mario batali and winemaker joseph bastianich. it was a truly memorable experience in fine italian dinning. however, the next night topped it.
the following night we went over to the wynn hotel for dinner at, bartolatta di mare, owned by chef paul bartolatta. i have to say, that on numerous levels, it was one of the most amazing dinners i’ve ever eaten. an array of italian and mediterranean family style dishes that was belly busting fine dinning at it’s best. it would be hard to find another eatery with better italian fare. it was simply amazing.
we didn’t go to any shows. we spent our time wandering around eating and drinking. with a bit of gambling thrown in as well. i don’t gamble much anymore and don’t really care for it either but the brown eyed girl more than made up for my lack of desire to gamble and won a few hundred bucks playing the slots and blackjack. very nice.
so, like what else can i say? other than i’m happy we went to vegas to get married at liberace’s place. a few members of the family were there as well as a couple of the brown eyed girls oldest friends. what could be better? not much. i want to thank you all for your good wishes and more importantly i want to thank the brown eyed girl for being there for me. she’s is truly the love of my life.