My Work

Monday, July 25, 2016

An Ode to the Saloon

Ran into a feller the other day that I hadn’t seen in a few years, much to my delight, I might add. Delight, that is, that I hadn’t seen him in a few years. ‘A bit of an ass’ is the best description I’ve heard of him, and he fulfilled his obligation by asking if I still spent time in, as he called it, a tavern. There aren’t many in my crowd that tend to use the word tavern when discussing the pleasures of the partaking of John Barleycorn.

The encounter led me straight to one of my many favorite saloons, and believe me, this old town called Reno has more that a few. It also led me to wonder just how many names we use from time to time when discussing our favorite watering hole. Well, see, there’s one name, and then, we also have cantina, gin mill, and grogshop to consider. Alehouse is rarely used today as is cabaret, but joint? Yes, indeed, and sports bar, nightclub, and pub.

Being a jolly fellow by this time, I found a cocktail napkin that wasn’t yet drenched, and wrote a bit of a poem for the occasion. To wit:

Rhymes With Tune
By Johnny Gunn

These are meeting places, mating places,
Sometimes fighting places.
We go not to glory in the drinking of alcohol
But to glory in ourselves.

We burst forth in song or poetry
Create or destroy politicians
We meet our friends, lovers, enemies
Slap backs and offer sage advice

Ah, the saloon, the name rolls off your tongue
Like the lyrics of a tune
And the local behind the plank
Offers kind words, “What’ll you have, Pard?”

So, my friend Mick stands up and strolls across the grogshop floor and plunks himself down at the piano and serenades us few noontime regulars with Danny Boy, followed by a rousing medley of Irish music, during which most of us either join in the merriment or pretend to. As Toora Lura, Lura, or however that song is actually spelled, comes to an end, in walks Jose Francisco Lopez Garcia.

“I see the cantina is open,” he says, opening his guitar case, and offering Coo Coo Roo Cuckoo, or however that song is spelled. Joe Jingles waltzes into our little speakeasy and wants to act the tough guy, and we let him spout off for a minute or two, and then  tell him to leave the dive, that this was our roadhouse, and don’t forget it.

Amazing isn’t it, that such a simple thing as saying hello to someone you haven’t seen for a long time can bring such wonderful memories to the front. I see an ad in the paper for a new bistro opening, so, must run.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Member, Western Fictioneers
Member, International Thriller Writers
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