Friday night I blew into El Paso on the tail of a Blue Norther, a rare phenomena where the sky suddenly becomes dark blue and the temperature can fall below freezing in just half an hour. It had been a harrowing journey in time and space. I was plum wore out. Several men were holding a Necktie Social near Boot Hill, the cemetery for bad men. Three possums were hanging, from a single branch, but they were huge, like five feet long. I’ve been to three state fairs and a goat ropin’ and I ain’t never seen nothing like that! Welcoming committee it weren’t.
Meanwhile back in town, it was time for a drink. Down at El Rancho, the only saloon in 200 miles, lazy cowpokes and slim ole boys of 20 were getting tight as Dick’s hatband. Because women were scarce they were dancing with each other at the hurdy-gurdy dance hall. Fortunately I am ugly as mud and can pass for a man, it offers a degree of safety. Raucous noise and rambunctious activity in the saloon sucked me into the door. It was then that I witnessed a quaint drinking ritual being practiced on that 63 foot maple bar. A slick man with a mustache was behind the bar sliding beers to customers spaced like fence posts along the bar. Lined with gutters, it was, to collect the spills.
I caused the accident and I’m not sorry.
The incident that follows has made up for all the pain suffered from my sorry face. There was an abdication of vigilance as I entered the room. A lapse of attention on the part of one of the homesteaders who was supposed to reach out and grab a hold of the hurdling glassful of golden liquid. The glass continued off the end of the bar and smashed the entire inventory of whiskey bottles stacked there.
Slick got all het up. Guns were drawn and knives were brandished. Redfaced, Slick took a shot at one of the patrons. My yell was identified as a woman’s voice. I was solemn., absolutely edified and anticipated being run out of town. Then, somebody whooped a little whoop. Another woman’s voice. A mink-eyed hussy sidled up to me and exclaimed, “What a Calamity!”
Well, I can tell you the whole thing caught on like a bush fire. But since glassware was only obtained from New Orleans, after a period of 3 to 4 months, those whiskey bottles and beer mugs were replaced with more durable wooden carvings. Directly, it became the raison d’
étre (the main thing) and a new bar was built in the corner.
That’s why there’s a bar in nary every bowling alley in this proud nation. You can take the bar out of the alley, but you can’t take the alley out of the bar.
Thus ends the story of how I became involved in the legacy of Wild West Bowling and was elevated to my present status. Thank ya kindly for listening.