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South Texas Living

The reason Henry doesn’t drink wine

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April 16, 2014 | 4,541 views | Post a comment

A little over a year ago when I wrote about my “wine-drinking” days, I wrote that Henry never touched my Mogen David wine and that there was a reason for that. I like to quote Paul Harvey -- “and now for the rest of the story.”

As you know, Henry grew up with his Grandpa Castro and his uncles and Aunt Mila. One of his brothers, Reynaldo “Quate,” also spent a lot of time on the farm, especially during the summer months. He was 16 months younger than Henry. When they were 9 and 8 years old, Henry recalls that one Sunday afternoon Grandpa, Mila, and the uncles were getting ready to leave to go visit a family in Cañada Verde. They were leaving the boys by themselves. How trusting they were! There were two barrels in a shed. Cristobal took one of the barrels and laid it down, propping it up on one side. They saw him fill up two jugs using the spigot on the top of the barrel. He didn’t bother to set the barrel upright again. He just threw a cover over it. Henry says that if he had set it upright they would not have been able to get to it. After the others left, the boys decided to check out the contents of the barrel. When they poured themselves some and tasted it, they liked it. Henry says that they didn’t know it was wine or what it could do to them. (When they got older they learned that Grandpa knew how to make wine with wild grapes that grew abundantly around them.) Those two barrels had been sitting there for a very long time. Most likely it was aging.

When the others got home nobody said anything at all to them, even though they knew what the boys had done. Their actions showed it. They were stumbling all over the place. Next morning they woke up with a very bad headache! Then Grandpa gave them water to drink, even though they told him they weren’t thirsty. He told them to drink it, and they knew they had better do what he said. Did you know that if you drink a good amount of water after having gotten drunk on wine, you get the feeling of being drunk all over again? Henry says that’s what happened to him and Quate. The worst part was that they still had to get up and do their farm chores.

And that’s why Henry says he never touched wine again. Now that’s not to say that he never drank something even stronger -- and for many years. Notice that I said “drank,” past tense. Like one song says, “but miracles still happen.” And so, now those days are long gone. Seventeen years and counting.

“The Lord is kind and merciful.”

Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is

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