On July 22, 1996, Monday, two days after I met my wife Judy in Bolivia, I traveled to Cuzco, Peru where I would take a train at 5:30 a.m. from Cuzco, Peru to Machu Picchu speaking Spanish to a train filled with tourists from Brazil. They spoke Portuguese ; I spoke Spanish (well I attempted as much). Comical and frustrated, there was much pointing and head shaking. Annie Ullrich, a close friend in SoCal, told me that my trip to South America, “would change my life personally and professionally.” It did.
Tonight, February 17, 2014, Judy and I made Pisco sours, a drink I first tasted on that crisp, Andean and ancient evening as I sat outside at a table in the heart of Cuzco, Peru. The air smelled of cobblestone streets, Inka woman dressed in colorful woolen shawls wearing bowler hats, and men scuffling along the cobblestone streets in song and conversation. The taste lifted me back. This was a “clean well-lighted place”where I ended up that night sitting on that iron, green round stool watching people amble through the streets. I took a sip. The distinctive Pisco taste gave a taste to those journeyers and locals before me. Hours passed, I guess. I do not remember how long, but time did not matter. Ancient was all around, I felt it to my core, alive, exciting in my reflection.
It has been 17 years and 7 months since I met my wife and best friend Judy, traveled from Bolivia to Peru, arrived at Machu Picchu that changed my life. Tonight we stepped back in time and place to profound memory.
What power is carried in our palate. Memory of times past, often temporarily forgotten in the bustle of agendas. No sounds are louder than those of ancients past on Inka walls that ripple in wet waves over our tongues, surf of time washing down our throats to drown in memory so rich in color, numbed by experience.
Pisco Sour, you are anything but, you are the sweetness of life.