Manuel Galván and his World… A Life dedicated to Cooperage
Hundreds of thousands of staves have passed through his hands. First chestnut. Then oak ... His eyes, measured in the exact curve of the "scratching together" and the perfect "hoofsmithing", look straight ahead, but when speaking they are lost in infinity.
To shake his hand is to feel the surprisingly soft touch of a tool polished by time. Only the dust from the stave dryer overshadows the “old-fashioned smoothness” of a skin tanned by years. And it is that in his fingers toasted by the fire of the "shipyard", there are scars refined by time. The tight-fitting English cap gives him purity of style, while the aroma of burnt oak gives his “workman” the soul of cooperage in the old-fashioned way of eternal Jerez.
At twelve o'clock o'clock an "Angelus" sounds, of fine wine "dripped" on a shaking glass, which offers you with the frank smile of someone who feels part of something too important, not to explain it. He speaks of barrels sometimes larger than a standing man, hand-beaten in that "almost bad weather" of the "batideros" of the old cooperages of a time, in which working hours were marked by the start and the setting of the sol.
Just to learn a new word about the eternal science of Jerezana cooperage, every second spent in your company is worth it. He drinks the glass in two sips without holding it by the stem and returns to work with the slow gait of a solemn parliamentarian from the late nineteenth century. He goes off happily to the "boot" that he had started and after "anchoring" it with care, he finishes "branding" it "putting it on his feet" definitively, with his old "crown slope".
Roll the “boot” across the cobblestones. There it was ... Go back to the staves, eternal and sublime work that in Jerez de la Frontera is regulated by the regulations of the municipal council chapter acts since October 10, 1513. More than five hundred years of exact science. Jerez-born glory of a profession that continues in the children and grandchildren of Don Manuel Galván Pérez. God save you many years.
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