For the past 25 years, maybe 30, we have gone down to Trenton NJ for Christmas. This past year Lillian Palinkas had her 90th birthday. She is living in the same house in which she was born. Her parents lived to 99 1/2, Uncle Tony and 97 Aunt Jule. Tony and Jule moved in as Tony told me “right after the war, in 1919!” They were married for 80 years which I am sure had to be a record.

Lillian is still going strong and has new tenants upstairs, a nice couple from Morocco. They pay $500 a month and have to go through Lillian’s apartment to get upstairs which is fine with all concerned. They have a 6 month old boy.

When we first went down there Tony and Jule were both still alive and Tony was making wine in his cellar. I am posting some pictures of his “cave” where he fermented anything he could get his hands on, mostly grapes which he grew in the back yard but also plums and other fruit.

Tony used any vessel that was handy which brings up another Christmas story. Our then neighbor Brian came over after Christmas one year and spotted a bottle of Southern Comfort. He waxed eloquent about the drink that was the favorite of Mama Cass. He poured himself an adequate amount and marveled at the pure rich golden color. His first swig, brought at best, what could be described as an immediate and rather violent reaction. It seems that Tony had given us a bottle to take home and I had just put it on the shelf. Tony claimed to drink a bottle a day and almost made it to 100 so who is to gainsay it?

Here are a few pictures on the cellar which still has the casks buried behind a door. Someone asked whether I had tried to open anyone of them, but I was afraid to try.

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