Saturday the 18th I decided to take off for a bit of a trip to meet Gary at the Wine Library. I left Scranton around 11 against the Wife’s will to head to New Jersey – it’s only ~100 miles form home. I should have been there by 1 but since I evidently have ADD I missed my exit by about 12 feet and had to go 20 minutes out of the way to make a U turn (I am so glad no one in NJ makes mistakes because it’s nearly impossible to turn around) so I arrived around 1:30. When I first approached my destination I was cautiously looking for what I had in my mind as a liquor store. I happened to be looking on my right when I noticed the numbers were wrong so I turned to look the other way and caught sight of the mall that was the Wine Library – a 3 story building with a dedicated parking lot.
Once I arrived and entered the store I was very quickly greeted by a member of a substantial staff – a person just about anywhere you would need one. I was asked by the first person I saw if I needed assistance but I said ‘No, thanks’ as I knew that I was there primarily to see Gary. Regardless, I was taken back by the store so I thought I would wander around a bit. I met 2 or 3 other staff members soon thereafter, all willing to assist, all denied the option – I didn’t want to ask. Ultimately, after looking around for a bit, I gave in. Upon being asked if I needed assistance one final time I said ‘I have come to believe that anyone who says no to that is lying’. I explained that I was there for my first visit and to meet Gary – none of this was a surprise, of course. He gave me a synopsis of the store layout and took me directly to meet Gary.
Meeting Gary was cool. He’s as real as anyone gets and it’s as simple as that. I have to admit, when I left home all I expected to do was meet the man in person and shake his hand. Honestly, I didn’t feel worthy of more and sadly, i would have been content with that. That was not, however, the way it was. It was like I was meeting him again after a long break rather than for the first time. We chatted a bit, spoke about the drive, the store and other things I honestly don’t recall the details of. We visited the wine tasting on the second floor. He introduced me to the gourmet section where Everett is.
We began to talk about the show and Ustream and he conducted me to the third floor of the building where his office is and we sat in there for a bit a chatted about what he does, what I do and other ideas. He supplied me with the remaining wrist bands to complete my collection, some stickers for http://pleasedressme.com and the Gary V autographed Tru Blood bottle which I didn’t realize at that time does not exist, making that much cooler.
For the most part, this about sums it up. I did talk to Everett for about a half hour and he got me some great cheeses to try. I ended up buying a half pound of a private reserve and a few bottles of wine to accompany it.