Thursday, February 23, 2012


We were visiting Neil Glancey, winemaker at Wood River Cellars and met Dave Buich, owner from the Bay Area who's family has owned the Tadich Grill in San Francisco. He loves Idaho for raising his family. Brad Warner, winemaker/consultant who was visiting, had worked at Mondavi for 30 years. We shared tales of the early 70's and got around to the stories recounted by SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen.
I told them the story of my grandmother's exchange with JR Simplot. He must have been about 6 years old when  my grandmother age 20, met him at Blue Lakes Ranch around 1915. His family came to the fruit ranch each fall to glean apples in the orchards. Gleaning is an old term used to describe people who come after the official harvest to pick fruit, vegetables or grains left on the trees, vines, bushes or on the ground to add to their personal larder for sustenance.  In later years, as JR Simplot grew his company, fortune and fame, my grandmother would  tell of meeting him as a youngster with his family.
We attended a Christmas sing-a-long at the Morrison Center in Boise one year when my grandmother was in a wheel chair. The seating area for wheel chairs made a wide walkway for other attendees on their way to their seats. As Mr. and Mrs. Simplot entered through this aisle, I rose and stopped him to re-introduce him to Stella Perrine [Haight] who remembered him visiting her father's fruit ranch. He loudly boasted: "you wouldn't recognize it now, Stella, I own it all" with a wide sweep of his arms. She inquired: "Are the apples any good?" and he replied: "They might be, if I sprayed them." They wished each other Merry Christmas as he went on his way. She quietly told me: "He's grown up into quite a good looking man."
Brad said I should publish this one of many stories we shared!