Occasionally, though, life tosses a watermelon sized slow pitch, a pillow sized softie that homes in on your bat and flies through the air, rocketing past the fence, leaving the outfielders gasping for breath, and the fans of the opposing team accusing you of doping, corking your bat and making a deal with the devil, while you jog slowly around the base path of the day, waving at bleachers full of adoring fans screaming your name and pleading for your autograph.
Templeton Rye is one of the nicest things life will ever throw your way. It is a generous, delightful, delicious drink from a small town in Iowa, appropriately named Templeton, Iowa. What a wonderful coincidence, eh?
We first learned of this wonderful elixir several years ago, my wife read about it in one of the many periodicals she picks up randomly and reads. But, once she read about it, she had made up her mind, and once my wife (delicate little angel that she is) makes up her mind the best thing to do is say "what a great idea," and at least act like you have a say in the decision.
On that trip we looked all over Iowa. We stopped at every liquor and super market between Sioux City and Davenport.
Iowa is a long state traveling from east to west, and while sparsely populated there are what seems to be thousands of little towns along the Interstate 80 corridor. Each with it's own little carryout, and each had the same story, "we get two bottles a week and they are gone in minutes." Hey, this stuff must be good. We even drove to the distillery to see if they had any for sale. "And what did it avail us, it availed us not."
After a long, fruitless day, we were crushed. We retired to our motel room, dejected, and forlorn.
Since we had made it all the way to Illinois we decided to try the local Hy Vee (a chain of food stores, with the a great name, but not quite as good as Piggly Wiggly). But, to save the heartache of walking in and asking hopefully, we called, and asked. "Yes, we have three bottles," the clerk said. "Save me two, DAMNIT," we screamed, leaping into our car, and driving slightly above the posted speed limit to get there while the getting was good, and it was good.
That night when we got home we opened the bottle reverently, and sipped the barrel aged, small batch, golden amber ambrosia. It was smooth, and wonderful, and it burned just enough to remind you it was alcohol. It was worth every side trip, every step into every carryout, every rejection across the whole, indifferent state of Iowa. It was whiskey they would be proud to claim in Kentucky, a state that takes whiskey very seriously.
This year we had no trouble finding a few bottles, production had increased, we found some in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It was still just as good. But, we kind of missed the hunt. In honor of our wonderful vacation I think I will go pour myself a shot, would you like one?