As we traveled our broken path to dawn, we were barreling down the highway at unfashionable speeds, driven by a manbun I was admittedly slightly jealous of, following our personal hero’s journey we came upon our next place on this booze cruise. A bar the Lion said would be “my kind of place”. I was wary as the uber driver dropped us off and I felt like a child unburdened at a mall by a parent that just wanted to have their house quiet for a minute to masturbate or watch “bad” television or enjoy a book for a moment. I could hear a din of voices and the hint of twang as the stylistically out of place angry looking hippie was guarding the door and I flashed my driver’s license as I barged through the door with no objection from the half man at the door as if he could have stopped me on this mission to hear what the open door was already inviting me towards.
We walked in as the smooth sounds of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s (Solid Country Gold) washed over the newly anointed lords of classic country and western music looked at my companion and I as if we were outsiders without having gauged ear holes or full sleeve tattoos or long smelly dreaded locks (I’m not against the idea of following these trends, perhaps I’m just not trendy enough for these folks, I thought) was inherently against what country and music was all about. I laughed to myself but upon further investigation I saw that these neophytes to the church I was praying towards since long bus rides on dirt roads that I had as a child, that these people were in fact the real deal. While no one was wearing any Nudie Rodeo shirts and the air didn’t smell like stale cigarette smoke and the ground of chew spit and dirt, this room might be the closest I might ever get to meeting my Grandfather at my age, riding horses into bars to get a drink, getting almost trampled to death by big cows because he didn’t know what a stun baton was and chasing women all over until he found my Grandmother. This is the church of his youth. These people weren’t the freaks of modernity but rather the revival of the old mixed with the interesting parts of modernity. These people were of the cloth. The dirty Appalachian poor cloth of which I was born into in a trailer in Springtown, Pennsyltucky, these were my brothers and sisters and might every hobo still looking for that Big Rock Candy Mountain bless them all!
The 4-piece band had 2 vocalists one guitar one on standup bass, one male and one female a steel guitar player and a drummer rounded them out as I remember it. The Female vocalist could drown my heart in sorrow like Sara Carter or take me walking after midnight like Patsy Cline or take me back to the coal mines that my great grandfather toiled in like Loretta Lynn. The Feller was equally as talented going from Hank to Hank and back again, to Marty Robbins to Johnny Horton. I don’t remember him as much as my loins were burning that night for some nice southern woman, but it was not to be.
I walked to the bar and ordered two doubles of Larceny Bourbon on the rocks for me and Jack and we found a booth in the back occupied partially by the person who Jacob would become friends with as I would be soaking up as much as I could about this place so as to not forget one detail, which has already proved to be fruitless. I returned to the table after a foray into uncharted territory near the dance floor The Lion’s new companion let it be known that they had a shrine to the great Hank Williams SR. by the bathrooms. After hearing this, with a mixture of enthusiasm that can only be described as a dog in heat and a child with ice cream, I almost knocked a few people over in my rush to go and see. It was a jumble of pictures, roses and cigarettes. A few people had even thrown in some change or a few dollars as a way to ask for help on their own journeys. I threw in a precious dollar more out of respect then because I believed that the troubled ghost of a troubled man would help me live untroubled. I left the bathroom area after emptying the tank and sat down in a reserved grace to take videos of the music and the people dancing without being seen not because I enjoy voyeurism but rather because I didn’t want my observation of the night to be observed and thus change something and in my review, our conversations can be heard. Planning the rest of the night, talking about how much I love this bar, And Leo’s enthusiasm for me, my wish to never leave and on top of that the music. “I was still in love with Mavis Brown, On the night” The Bear and the Lion came to town….
We decided to move closer to the band so we could get a better look and to see what we could see. Slowly it became apparent that we both wished to dance with one of the beautiful women on the outside trading turns with the few men who were courageous enough to ask but as our mental fog and fuckery had already led us down a conjoined solitarian path we neglected to get up and do so and were resigned to sit where we were in strange darkness which we sometimes knew and sometimes didn’t. At this point the Lion was hankering for the next bar so after I cried silently to myself, I left home for the second time and back onto the road and into the cold unknown.
Thank you for reading this far, I look forward to seeing you all in two weeks