Vintage Wine

Autumn officially arrives this weekend, and at this time of year I always think of my father. ย One of his favorite songs was Frank Sinatra’s rendition of It Was a Very Good Year. When I was a young woman, Dad would tell me he was in the autumn of his life, and it made me sad because all I could think about was winter was around the corner for him.

Now that I am in the autumn of my life, I don’t find it sad, though I have to admit to occasional wistful longings for days of my youth. I understand Dad more. It is a contemplative time of life. Finally, we have time to ponder. We are not busy raising families, building our professions, saving for houses. Though many of us are still working, we know our careers are winding down. We no longer think about “getting ahead” but “staying the course.”

It seems like only yesterday I was wishing for warming days of spring and the hot days of summer. I turned around, and fall is on my doorstep. It seems like only yesterday I was a young woman wanting to get married and have a houseful of children. I turned around and that marriage took place nearly 42 years ago, and those children are long grown and gone.

This autumn season is a wonderful season of my life in many ways. But it is also short, and winter is indeed ready to knock on my door. So I want to savor it like vintage wine. I want to sip each day and find something good in it. Like the glorious colored leaves that will be on the trees in a few weeks, I want to adorn my place in this world with a burst of color, a burst of passion. I want to make this a very good year.



When I was seventeen, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stairs
With perfumed hair
That came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We’d ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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28 Responses to Vintage Wine

  1. Amy says:

    Hi Susan, Are you still in Chicago watching the morning sunrise? I’m a morning person, please take a few more shots for me. You might like this one ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Coming East says:

      We are back now, Amy, but I’m missing that beautiful city. I’m ready to go back! I only got to go since my husband had a conference there, though, and who knows when that will happen again.

  2. Pingback: Early Winter | Older Eyes

  3. oldereyes says:

    I agree. As I’ve aged …. now pushing seventy, I relate to my Dad much more. Ans I also agree that autumn is better than summer in some ways. Many ways. Although lately I feel like it’s early winter.

  4. Jiawei says:

    Beautiful post Susan! Autumn is my favorite season of the year, a time for contemplation, a reminder that we should all make this a very good year.

  5. I always enjoy the change of seasons though it takes me a while to adjust my clothing!

  6. gaycarboys says:

    the song was used for a toyota ad in the mid 70’s here in OZ. It still brings a tear to my eye and I still think of that ad. I never knew what the original words were. Thanks:) your a peach as always

  7. beautiful post, my dear friend. I ponder the autumn also and want to stay the course, and leave something, anything that will impact people. I read this post and thought of your years as an educator and now, writing. You have impacted lives in so many ways. I am grateful that in the autumn of my life, I have discovered you. Seriously a thought provoking and wonderful post. Thank you. DAF

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, DAF! When I wrote it, I just wanted to get something out there because I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. I didn’t think it would click with anyone, but I guess there are a lot of us in this boat.

  8. dorannrule says:

    What a beautiful post Susan. The line from the song and your last line, “I want to make this a very good year” say it all for those of us preparing for another fall and winter of our lives. I have been married 54 years and still anxious to make this a very good year too.

    • Coming East says:

      Wow! 54 years! Fabulous! It is so easy to let minds dwell on our past with longing. Nothing wrong with thinking of the past and enjoying the memories, but too many times I find myself getting teary-eyed, and that’s not a good thing. Mall I have is the here and now, and I want to work harder on enjoying what I have, not what I had.

  9. pattisj says:

    All this talk of fall and that W word makes me think of preparation for hibernation! I guess I’d better get outside for a walk on this glorious SUMMER day. Tomorrow! I’ll see you tomorrow! YAY!

  10. Robin says:

    I want to savor these days, too. All of them. Lovely post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Coming East says:

      It’s really up to us, isn’t it, Robin? I just took a few books on meditation out of the library and want to make that a goal this year— I mean a goal to meditate, not just to read the books! LOL

  11. Al says:

    Wow, you are very contemplative today. Beautiful thoughts, though.

    I’ve always felt that was one of the best songs about life’s passages ever written and/or performed. I was 21 when it came out and remember hearing it for the first time like it was yesterday. I can even remember where I was when I heard it. Very few songs affect me like that. Guess I’m a nostalgic old fool.

    • Coming East says:

      Yes, that song means more to me the older I get. Interesting that the song ends with the autumn and doesn’t venture into the winter of our lives. When we get old, we can write that verse.

  12. Amy says:

    Yes, we finally, we have time to ponder… While we contemplating, let us make this a very good year ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the beautiful post, Susan!

  13. adinparadise says:

    I love that song, even though it’s rather sad. Good thoughts on this autumn day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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