Saint Frances

So many of you who drink wine may think I am getting ready to talk about the wines of St. Francis in Sonoma, but you would then think I misspelled the name of the winery which I would try to never do.

No, instead, I want to tell you a story of a woman very dear to me who has become a best friend during the past eight years.  Her name is Frances Liverman, and we bought our restaurant On the Square from her in October 2002. 

Frances is what many people call a teetotaler, a word I had never heard until someone said it in casual conversation.  A teetotaler is someone who does not drink.  Nada.  No whiskey, no wine, no nothing.  Teetotalers are perfectly content drinking beverages with no alcohol.  It is a phenomenon I cannot even begin to grasp, but I have to respect the fact that in the eight years I have known Frances, she has yet to come into work hung over or left early to hit a bar. 

Frances does not drink wine.  She also does not come to work late nor does she become impatient at any time (with the customers or with us).  She always has a smile on her face, and she always makes sure our restaurant is run the way we want it to run.  Frances is the reason I can enjoy myself on vacation.  She is my peace, she is my saint.

Now, what does this have to do with wine, one may ask? 

I cannot help but laugh when Frances calls me on my cell phone to tell me she just sold a case of wine or ask me where is the Cava or who distributes the $9 Malbec on the list.  My heart becomes lighter when she tells me she rang up the $190 bottle of Chateau Montelena 1997 or that she recommended the Moscato d’Asti for someone who enjoys sweet wine. 

The gist of the blog is that Frances tries.  She tries very hard to make our business successful.  Maybe it’s because she feels like it’s her business too.  Maybe it’s because she values our friendship.  Maybe it’s because she’s a saint.

Whatever the reason be, Frances sells wine like no other person I know who has never touched the stuff.  She pushes wines that she has listened to us suggest and she has even given flavor profiles to the customer, when she thinks we aren’t listening.  The funny thing is, she’s describing the wine exactly as it is.  All from listening to us winoes talk in her presence. 

There could be a name for someone like Frances….a wine salesperson who does not drink wine.  She says she is fortunate that nobody has asked if she drinks or not.  They may not believe her sales pitch if they find out she doesn’t indulge.  We won’t tell if she doesn’t.  Instead, we take great pride in knowing someone who is so efficient, so reliable, so dedicated, so perfectly attuned to how a business should operate.

Whenever I start my nightly drinking, I become emotional about people I love, and sometimes about people I don’t love (but that is a whole ‘nother blog).  Regardless, my love for Frances is always brought to the front burner as I sip or gulp my nightly glasses.  Wine may not be her love, but it is her love for us that makes her sell wine on a daily basis. 

If I had to guess…Frances probably never thought in a million years that she would be telling people the difference between Riesling and Moscato, but that makes the story so much sweeter…she absolutely is.

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