Longform

Whine capital of Texas

Page 9 of 9

But the history books aren't likely to reflect the collective headache the industry is now creating in the minds of Grapevinians. That much was certain on June 17, when the foundation's board members gathered for their monthly meeting.

Instead of meeting at their usual spot, inside the elegantly restored Wallis Hotel on Main Street, the board gathered inside a modern City Hall conference room. The location seemed appropriate, as this was the day that the council's new appointees to the board would be sworn in.

Roger Nelson, McCallum's replacement, was there, and so was Clydene Johnson, the new city council liaison. Bryan Klein, the shot messenger, Mark Maness, the resignee, and Marian Carpentier, the CPA, were not there. In their place were newly appointed members Linda Oliver and Jerry Pittman, an accountant who, bankruptcy records show, once provided his services to the mayor.

McCallum, the other new board member, was not present. Ron Emrich was long gone.

Having arrived late, Pittman took a seat at the table and scanned the room, which was packed with an unusual number of spectators. Turning to Nelson, Pittman growled, "Who invited the press?"

Once the new members were sworn in, the first item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes of the last meeting, which was, of course, the controversial May 12 meeting where the sour grapes really hit the fan.

Marion Brekken knows that the history of anything doesn't have much value if significant events, either good or bad, are omitted from the official record. At this meeting she was about to learn another truism--the winners write the history.

Brekken spoke up when she noticed that six pages of discussion had been cut from the minutes that were up for official adoption. Although the new minutes reflected the events of the foredoomed meeting, all of the board members' complaints about McCallum and the way that he has used the foundation to promote the wine industry were missing--excised in a sort of Stalinist historical revision.

People shifted uncomfortably as Brekken began to speak.
"We are a historic organization," Brekken began. "And I've always appreciated the fact that anyone could look back and see why we made our decisions. I feel that something was left out."

Brekken had evidently known that the minutes would be altered, because she quickly suggested that the board create a committee to examine them to determine what had been deleted. The motion was hastily seconded.

But Brekken and the other history purists on the board were now out-numbered, and it was clear that Tate had successfully reined the foundation in. The motion failed, and the board moved on to other business.

In "Grapevine, Texas. A Future with a Past," the future was going to be clean of any past harsh words about its hometown hero, wine-contest fixer P.W. McCallum.

"We are trying to put the past behind us," Brekken would say a while later, "but it's been very hard.

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Rose Farley
Contact: Rose Farley