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rooster and hen

The man was probably in his late forties. A stocky build that would have shown his love of drinking had he not come from a family of giants. The lack of balance in his stride was almost too relatable as he crossed feet multiple times. He had a wide smile. Genuine in his approach.

He told me the history of the building I was in; an old white home that reminded me of the Yuhasz farmhouse. Small, but purposeful. Wood-fire stoves and handcrafted furniture that dated back many a moon. The walls were like clay; textured. A deep green color on wooden doors and shutters.


Vine and weed crawling the cracks.

Cat and bird searching for snacks.

His excitement for my arrival to the garden was palpable. For a tourist to choose to travel out of Vienna to visit the botanical gardens was a delightful surprise. His thorough history lesson spilled out through broken English and structured arm movements for a considerable amount of time. I honestly don't remember much, which is simply to say that my memory is poor and stupidly selective. The passion of his storytelling was engaging.

At the completion of the lesson he led me to another building that wasn't part of public access. It was a house of decent height; its foundation dug into the dirt. A large green door prohibiting entry by padlock. There came a story of a wedding that took place when the structure was young, where the wooden beams were used for a purpose I can't recall. The building had been saved over the years and rebuilt, but the beams were original. He emphasized such strength to these beams.

Unprovoked, the man unlocked the door and led me into an open space with a high ceiling. Massive wooden planks stretching in cardinal directions and a well-kept dirt floor. He proceeded to point out the lengths of wood and smile with admiration.

The pride in those beams.

I was entwined in his story to the affect that I have no images to corroborate my story. I have no pictures of the man. No pictures of the beams. No pictures of the farmhouse interior or of the doors.

No pictures of the bottle of wine that he gave me.


His history lesson now complete, the boisterous educator began to give me a glimpse of what the building was now being used for. Simple storage of machinery, a resting place for corrugated squares, and a newly stocked refrigerator.


He raised a finger to induce a pause. He reached and opened the door to the makeshift cellar and removed a portion of its contents. A bottle of white wine.

I grabbed the bottle and gave it a look. My head cocked askew like a dog who can't hear.

"Is this ... is this wine from here?"

He nodded.

I examined the label and stumbled the enunciation like a professional tourist. We had a chuckle and I found myself surprised that a botanical garden would have a reserve of wine. I went to hand the bottle back and it was reciprocated with head shake.

I look at him with absolute confusion.

"Are you giving this to me??"

His smile once again became wide. He moved to grab ahold of a support railing and tripped over his feet as his excitement provoked him to stumble. Composure regained, he nodded in confirmation.

I just started at him.

Then I looked at the wine.

Then I looked at him.

Then I looked at the wine.

Then I looked at him.

Then I opened both my arms and we hugged.

I thanked him countless times before departing the garden and taking the train back into the city. I have regrets of not getting his name or a picture of him. There's no information that I can find about any wine that the botanical garden ever produced, let alone stocked. It's like it didn't happen.


I drank the whole bottle that night.

I don't have a single image of it to look at.

I don't have a single notation of it to read.

I don't have any recollection of it's name, nor do I have any remembrance of its taste.

But what I do have are these shots of a rooster and hen that I took next to the garden farmhouse.

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