I was driving way out in the country in Maryland yesterday. I grew up in Maryland, and now live in South Jersey. I'd rather be in Maryland. The Eastern Shore, that is. Lots of other parts of Maryland suck pretty bad.
Anyway, one of my online clients, Bryan, leased some hunting land on the Eastern Shore, and he was telling me about a bar that I would just love.
I just happened to be driving real close to that area and there sitting way out in the country, surrounded by woods and cut cornfields was this bar. It was like... it was basically a tin roofed saloon. Bunch of pick up trucks outside.
I have been in some rough bars in my time. Like this one in South Carolina where there was sawdust on the floor, 1.50 Buds all the time, and frequent stabbings. Easy to sweep the blood up when it lands on the sawdust. I was in a bar in Maryland one time and I was hanging out with this girl and she was like, oh call me tomorrow and then when I did, she had no idea who I was. Turned out she was on some PCP at the time. No, she really was. PCP was big where I used to hang out. Folks called it Killer Weed or KW and there would be a girl with a bad complexion but a killer body and everyone said, she does killer weed man, thats why her face is all fucked up, KW, man." People were jumping off of buildings on that shit, man. Thought they could fly.
I have always been attracted to dive bars. The shittier the better. Like, you go to the bar at Applebee's and it doesn't feel right. But this one bar in Charleston , SC that I was a member of (I had to go to private clubs because I could get fired by the university where I was coaching if I was in a public place drinkng) was cool, just a bunch of Hell's Angel's and cool dudes. That was a good bar. There is one near my house with as sign that reads, "No Colors" on the outside. Which means that motorcycle clubs frequent the place, which means that it will be a good bar. The darker the bar, the better. Dark and cool. Jukebox is a must. Old fucking country, like George Jones, Conway Twitty, Jerry Reed!
So I park my Tundra. Japanese truck. Made in San Antonio and has more parts made in America than Ford and Chevy. I think. Anyway, it's black and has a Hank Williams Junior sticker on the back, so fuck it, I am good.
So I go in and this place is small. Like a big living room. One seat at the bar. I ask the guy sitting there is it was taken. I say, anybody sitting here? And there is like a delay, like a 10 second delay and he tells me he has no idea. Well,you have been sitting here, motherfucker, has anyone sat down here since you came in? But I don't say that, I just sit down. He's talking to some heavy girl in camo which automatically makes her sexy. The bartender sees me after like 5 minutes and notices me and says HEY! how are you doing, like he has seen me before. He hasn't. I order a Big Truck draft, made in Maryland. It's damn good. I look at the bar and and the bar itself has spent bullet casings encased in it. And then the bartender turns around, and his shirt reads, "God, Guns and Beer", and I am like hell yes, because I am a gun rights guy like crazy. And then I look to my left and on the wall is a big SECOND AMENDMENT banner and a life size cut out of my man, Trump! On the jukebox was Patsy Cline and George Jones. Real. Hank Jr., too. None of that sort of country music like Creedence or something. You know the difference and country is also not some guy rapping it. It's steel guitar or nothing. Everyone in there was hugging each other because they were all locals and I was this random guy out of nowhere with a big beard, sorta big and in camo but who nobody had ever seen before. It was a little uncomfortable but not too bad.
Never got offered a menu. Strange. No tv where I was as sitting, just a tv for playing Keno. I stared at it. Usually, the bartender strikes up a convo with a stranger. Maybe they thought I was a cop! Maybe they did. Anyway, most of the people these days in country bars look like that Luke Combs guy. Heavy with the thin beard thing on the sides and big flannel. Baseball cap. That look...
So I looked around some and acted like I was interested in Keno, but I was really listening to conversations. Nothing special, lots of HEY how are you doing? I love you, I'll call you.
Makes me wish I lived near my family and relatives. I don't really have many anymore. And my family was different, all about athletics, and my relatives were like regular people. But, it was always cool to live in a small town like I have on occasion, and everyone gives a shit about you. Or they act like it at least.
Maybe they saw my license, which is New Jersey. People hate people who live in New Jersey. I wanted to stand up on the bar with the bullets encased in it and yelled, I AM FROM MARYLAND, NOT NEW JERSEY!! Which I am, from Maryland. But I didn't do that, I just finished my beer, complimented the bartender on the Trump cutout. He said feel free to take a picture with it. And then I said I would like the bill. It was 15.00 which was 5 dollars a draft which really isn't that bad at a bar. So I took out my credit card and he was like cash only and then I said, OH shit! and he pointed to the ATM. Three dollar surcharge. OK, no problem. I can't find my debit card. It isn't in the compartments. I freak out. I try to get cash on my credit card. It just starts beeping. Then I look to see if I had any cash at all because I usually don't and then I see my debit card where the cash is supposed to be. Relief. Then I hand the bartender 20.00 and tell him that I don't want the change and he reaches over the bullet encased bar and shakes my hand and and says, Thank you Jim.
It was a great bar, the philosophy of the bar made it a great bar. Then I went and had cream of crab soup at a restaurant on the roadside next to a hunting store. It was a good evening.