It's time to lose your mind and let the crazy out.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

You used to captivate me by your resonating light

I lost a dear friend, Diana. She was my classmate, my teacher, my mentor, but most of all, my friend. Diana was one of the strongest women I knew. She embodied the very meaning of what a strong caring woman is. I met her in the fall of 1997 on the campus at Fresno State. She was in my wine analysis class. She had worked in the industry many years, at wineries like Beaulieu Vineyard and Chalk Hill just to name a few and she owned property and grapes in Sonoma. She had gotten her degree in something other than enology when she was young, worked in the wine industry, got a divorce, and came back to school to get her official degree. She was beautiful, knowledgeable and so very nice. She took some classes alongside of us, and was asked to teach other classes, like Wine Tasting. It was in this class that she pulled me aside, told me she thought I had an excellent palate, and asked me if I wanted to learn to be a wine judge. I was and still am forever grateful, and honored. In 1999, and 2000 I was a wine judge in training at the New World International Wine Competition and in 2001 I graduated to official judge. After I graduated, I saw Diana twice a year, which was more than I saw anybody else from Fresno State, once at the wine judging and once at the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference. She worked for Scott Labs and did seminars and sold products all over America. She always had the scoop on where our old classmates were working; people seem to move around a lot in the wine industry in California. This year, 2006, neither one of us could go to the wine judging. I had Natalie's wedding and she had been diagnosed with leukemia. I talked to her a couple more times throughout the year. She was one of the most energetic people around, always talking a mile a minute, always going somewhere doing something. She refused to let the leukemia slow her down, although I had a bad feeling it was much worse than she was telling me. We both made a pack that we would see each other next February at the wine judging, because we were both sad we missed it this year, and missed each other's company. I haven't talked to her in a couple months, but saw she was quoted in this blog, just a couple weeks ago and I sent her a little email congratulating her on the article, and just a general checking-in-with-a-friend type email. I never heard back from her.

Although it isn't February, and it's not time for Diana and I to visit, I miss her deeply and my heart is heavy. She had this little quirk of putting on her lipstick a hundred times a day. She was classy and unique, introducing me to bitters, and she was always in my corner, and I in hers. Her light shined brighter than most, and in this instance it does seem like only the good die young. She was my friend when I didn't have that many friends, and she opened my door to an opportunity I will never take for granted. The last time I did see her, we had a really great visit. John, Ron and I stayed the night with her in her Bodega Bay house on the ocean in the summer of 2004. We had dinner with a bunch of my old classmates, a reunion of sorts, and then headed back to Diana's house to talk the night away, and drink more wine, of course. She was up and out of the house before we were the next day, always so busy and on the go.

I am sad to lose such a positive influence in my life.

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  • At 5:42 PM, December 01, 2006, Anonymous Katie said…

    Clyde and I just read your blog and saw this....very sad. She was so smart. I didn't realize you two were so close. You've certainly given her a lovely tribute here, Elaine. I'm sure her family and friends will appreciate knowing your fond memories of Diane. My sympathies on the loss of your dear friend.


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