Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tossing tortillas

            Waco, Texas, owns a lovely suspension bridge in the heart of downtown, next to giant outdoor sculptures of cowboys and longhorns. The 1870 bridge was the first across the Brazos River and once part of the Chisholm Trail.
             Walk out toward the middle of the bridge and you’ll find an old concrete pillar off to the side, situated in the water. It’s just close enough to be a challenge for bridge pedestrians to throw something on top.
             And that’s exactly what Baylor students do — as well as others who want to join in on the tortilla tossing fun. People stand on the side of the bridge and try to toss tortillas on to the concrete pillar. Which isn’t easy. There’s a definite art to flinging tortillas — apparently it doesn't matter if they're flour or corn — through the air and having them land in just the right spot, kinda like tossing a Frisbee. Once these Wacoan tortilla tossers have exhausted their supply, they tie the plastic bag that the tortillas came in on to the spokes of the bridge.
             Some say that if a Baylor student manages to plant a tortilla on to the concrete marker, they will graduate from Baylor in four years.
             Like so many college traditions, it’s all in fun, although many don’t favor tossing tortillas into the Brazos River, nor defacing an historic bridge with plastic bags. You can read more about the tortilla tossing in the Baylor Lariat here.
            One thing’s for sure, the grackles sure love having the tortillas thrown their way. On the day we visited, there was a group of these birds enjoying a feast.
             Want to learn about other Baylor weird traditions? Click here.



Cheré Dastugue Coen is a food and travel writer living in South Louisiana. She is also the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

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