These wetlands aren’t on the lake as such, but are just off one inlet of it. They are remarkably beautiful and very little-known, even here in Waco. Click on the photos for larger versions.
T. S. Eliot and his sister Marion, during Eliot’s 1958 visit to the U.S. with his new wife Valerie. At one point in the trip they visited Dallas, where Eliot was named an honorary sherriff and received both a badge and the Stetson he’s sporting here.
Just enjoying my usual tableside refresher here as Teri returns from H-E-B, where she bought another case of this life-giving substance. When she was grabbing the case an elderly man next to her said, “I had my first Topo Chico in Mexico. In 1972. Been drinking it ever since. Mama and me don’t drink sodas, but we have some Topo Chico every day.” Teri noticed that he was slim and trim and had beautiful skin. “Can I introduce you to Mama?” His wife, of course. She beamed at the mention of Topo Chico. “We met on that same trip,” he said.
I love living in Texas, I really do.
My former student Gabriel RiCharde is now working for the pride of Waco, Balcones Distilling, and today he gave me a tour. It was really fascinating. I have read a bit over the years about the process of distilling spirits, and I knew that it is complicated — but when you actually get walked through each stage … wow. At every step of the process complex science is involved, but also decisions that require artful intuition.
Here’s a closeup of the door to the mash tun, which was bought from the Speyburn distillery in Scotland, and which has been used to make whisky for about 75 years:
And here’s one of the amazing new stills, just arrived a few weeks ago from Scotland:
And this steampunky thing is attached to the stills — I don’t know what it is, but it looks super cool:
Here’s the tasting and blending room, where I could have stayed for quite some time:
And here the aging process, in barrels made variously of American, French, and other European oak:
And finally, after all that hard work of listening and gaping, I had to take a couple of presents home for myself: