I’m too idle to create a survey this morning so I’ll just solicit your advise on a matter of less importance than it is of curiosity and protocol.
I have a friend. My oldest friend, in fact. We’ve been friends since grade 5.
We live 700 miles apart and we did not see one another very often but we’ve always kept in touch, picking up from where we last left off. When I was going though my divorce and in the process of moving out of the house I shared with my ex, my friend called me saying he was in town and that he would like to drop by for a visit. He had no knowledge of my plans to move and up to the moment that he called, I had no idea how I was going to get the sofa from the basement into the moving van by myself. I guess the universe took pity on me that day. When people say a good friend helps you move and a great friend helps you hide the bodies - I know he’d do both without a question asked.
All to say, he’s been a good friend my whole life. So when he asked me 12 years ago to hold some wine for him that he’d been collecting but could not bring across the border (to Canada) without having to may duty, I agreed to do so without hesitation. It wasn’t a lot of wine. About two cases all combined. I understood back then that it was somewhat rare and moderately expensive wine - $60 - $120 per bottle. We agreed that he’d visit from time to time and take a few with him to bring home or that I’d bring a couple when I’d visit.
Not long after that he completely vanished from my radar. This was not unusual. He’d always had issues with respect to what I believe was depression and various other demons from childhood which are irrelevant to this OP. We never discussed it. He didn’t want to and I respected his privacy in that regard. We had an understanding and it never got in the way of our friendship.
But for the past 10 years, the only contact I’ve had from him was a one line email wishing me a happy birthday. He’s never forgotten it except for this year. I’ve never forgotten his either and I try to reach out to him several times a year, though less and less so because he’s never sent me a reply. He has no telephone number that I know (the old one was disconnected years ago). I stopped by his apartment a few times when in town and his name is still on the building directory in the lobby but he never answered the door and I have no idea if he was home at the time.
I’m not giving up on him. I’m going to continue to try to connect with him. In the mean time…
What do I do with the wine at this point? Is there a status of limitations on this kind of thing? I don’t believe so. Others encourage me to give up and either sell the stuff to another collector and hold the money for my friend, or just drink the stuff to his health and apologize later, if the opportunity ever arises. What say you?