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”
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.
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…
TO BE CONTINUED