How Wild Can the West Be…I was just making moccasins

DISCLAIMER: People, Places and particulars have been somewhat changed to protect the guilty:

This sounds like a dream but I’m gonna tell you how wild the west can be..

EVENTS in no particular order: tooth pulling in a bar, horses, sewing machine, ex’s, pretty girls, a Bar Band, stolen wagon load and I think I said pretty girls. Well I think they were pretty.

Here we go, hold on tight, this load is a movin’: I was in Siloan Springs, also known as, “Shy Springs” due to the fact that it’s a pretty sleepy town, and bed springs don’t squeak too much. Most people go up there for three things:
1. Get away from the rat race in the city.
2. Bath in the Ayurveda hot sulpher springs. (stinks like rotten eggs – people love those springs)
3. The occasional rendezvous for lovers incognito.

Other than that, it’s a sleepy cow town where men work their asses off and women do just about the same. There is the occasional bar beating, however, it’s usually the same two Alberta sisters fighting over the Gavacho Siloan twin cowboys who could have been models in another time and space. Now they’re just local hicks who run more of their mouths than cows or pastures.

I like the place. It’s like where time has stood still. The best thing for me is that there aren’t too many people that know who I am up there. Even if they did, they don’t give a damn about some Indian, and those kinds of places are just right with me.

It has the vibe of a classic western town, and many films have been shot there. The main street is set on a hill. The mercantile and the old antique stores and crystal shops, still to this day, have that old timely feel.

The Springs main drag North to South is about a good stones throw from one end to the other. What makes the dusty town interesting is how the old timers made it hard to make deliveries. Coming from the South is an amazing hill that leads you to the top, kinda like a San Francisco hill, and on the top is the town. However, this story isn’t about the top. It’s about the side streets going down hill  where all the hotels and bars are; actually in all the times I’ve been here, I have never seen another hotel or bar, there’s only one. Makes you feel like the oldsters didn’t want anyone to bring in modernity to the hill.

With my luck and rock-star curse, I didn’t make it up there on a quiet night. It was one of the only wild, wild nights that this sleepy buffoon town brags about. The only weekend when the so-called preacher man leaves town and the farrier in the town turns his shop into a tattoo parlor (I’ll get to him later). Out of 365 dead days, I choose the two days when this sleepy town wakes up in wild vengeful frenzy.

They call it, “The wild wild west nights of something, something or another”

The original Fast and Furious.

It’s like a re-enactment/cattle drive/harvest/rodeo. Just a typical day for them. However, this time they got town folks to pester. They really don’t need to act out anything. They all look and live the part.

A few years ago, it started getting some attention, and so one year, the town fathers decided to take an ad out in the New York Times to draw some much needed economy to the town.

That first year I think Brooks and Dunn played to about 76 crazy, insane farmers and cowboys. They never came back even though they were told that they would set up the classic chicken wire curtain for them, and that they would ban one of the Alberta sisters from the show, (she got drunk on grandpa’s corn whiskey and never looked back that night).

I can’t remember, however, I think even Papa Legba doesn’t venture too close to the area on that weekend.

The reason I went up there was to meet a friend of mine, J.B. I hadn’t seen in awhile. Also I went to see an old cowboy feller about an antique sewing machine that he had advertised in a horse magazine. I recently started sewing up some ideas for some new Moccasins. However, my old machine wasn’t cooperating so I thought I would make a weekend of it. Little did I know what was in store for me. I also heard that maybe Brooks and Dunn might show up.

 Elk Hide moccs.

Elk hide moccasins, one of a kind beauties  ‘specially made for your sole/soul.
Cowboy Bob's machine that his uncle owned.
The Ole cobblers prize possession from the late 1880’s.

I drove up the hill to the top and followed directions to a little casita. The old guy looked like Ronald Reagan before he became President. Big smile and a roll-yer-own cigarette that dangled off his lip; “I’ve been told I look like him although I don’t think I’m kin to the som-biatch…” All this with bad-ass swagger from the cigarillo. Seemed he was part coyote looking slyly out into the valley with a Clint Eastwood squint. Timoteo Bernal had a Mexican accent with a touch of Southerner thrown in.

The machine was an ole-one that belonged to his uncle, who was a tool salesman in the 1930’s, traveling from town to town selling railroad parts. He would repair shoes and saddles when he wasn’t on the road.

He didn’t talk much. He was just amazingly cool like the machine. I bought the machine for a good price along with a couple shot’s of Patron. “I never had such smooth to-kill-ah…”he said, “probably sneaks up on you huh?” He just smiled, walked down into the cottonwood trail with a mild Tequilla buzz.

I drove back down to the main part of the town and down the hill to get a room. I checked into the last room in the romantic looking hotel. It was pretty much completely sold out and I had to use the bottom community shower…


26 thoughts on “How Wild Can the West Be…I was just making moccasins”

  1. You are so great storyteller. Thanks to your beautiful stories I can find a way to run away from my difficult life. I get on with all my losses, at least for a second, owing to your imaginativeness.Blessings from Split, Croatia..

  2. I can’t wait to hear the rest. i have said it before but you have a unique talent of making someone feel like we are right there with you as everything happens.I am sure it is a dozy !


  3. Oh, Mirabal Man.
    Don’t you know you’ve got all the girls checking their braids?
    Little rhyme we from the Latin culture’s sing about tequila.
    One tequila, two tequila, three tequila – floor.
    Can’t hardly wait for more.

  4. Mirabal,

    Great blog,

    I felt like I was watching an old black and white movie while I was reading it…loved the picture of the Moccasins and the original fast and furious lol. Thanks for lifting my mood today.

  5. The moccasins are very nice… but that machine….. be still my pattering heart! You are one lucky man to score that prize! If it ever needs a new home…. it has one here!

  6. it does sound like the beginning of a good book, will wait patiently for the next page. Loved the moccasins, they look quite comfy!

  7. Wow! I’m hanging on till the next installment. You can really capture a moment and take us for a ride with you! Gotta love the machine you scored, nice!

  8. Okay…you’ve got my attention…sorta. Not much for cowboys…or small towns that remind me of one of those “Twilight Zone” episodes. Just trying to figure out where this is all going.

  9. I know that town. Could see the street & people as I read along. Spent a day there many years ago. Interesting people. Gracias for sharing.

  10. Robert – Once again, great storytelling and I can’t wait to hear more.. Love the moccasins. And believe me when I say all the girls notice you – we just have the good manners to not go too crazy because we respect the real thing that you and Dawn have. It is truly something to be admired in this day and age.
    One old adage – all the girls get pretty at closing time! Tequila will do that to you.
    Blessings to you and yours,

  11. And so it begins… the story unfolds… the tale unfolds… the script is set… all it needs is the complete caste…
    And a few shots of Tequila…

  12. I look forward to reading your writing ,its a break from my busy life ,I love the way you write it just keeps pulling me in so I need to read it to the end ,Thank you for your storys and some time together ^j^

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