There used to be a great, classic bar/diner in Montrose, Colorado called the Stockman’s. It was chock full of John Wayne memorabilia from the filming of True Grit in neighboring Ridgway, CO – apparently the Duke used to come eat at the Stockman’s when he was in town.
We went there a lot when I was in middle and high school. The fam and friends would pile into a couple of cars (or into one car when Deano had the awesome six-door Lincoln,) for the big trip to Montrose 10 miles away, we would eat green chile cheeseburgers and chile rellenos and bull fries and regular fries, the adults would have mugs of Bud and the waitress would offer refills of soda to the kids, who would be too tweaked from the first glass to concentrate on answering.
The men’s room had a condom machine that we all pretended was linked to the kitchen’s ‘food’s ready’ buzzer: our whole table would turn and stare at the first person coming out of the pisser after the buzzer went off. Hilarious.
We kept going to the Stockman’s during college, and so it was that Brad arrived at the Stockman’s after meeting my sister back East. He was doing a good-humored job of acclimating, and had been in Colorado for a good part of the week when a group of us went to the Stockman’s. Mom, Dad, George, Nan, Deano, John H., Helen, the whole crew. Brad ordered a large combination (chile relleno, enchilada, taco, tostada, rice, beans, and sopapilla,) which was kind of normal for the crowd, but then he ordered a Diet Coke.
This is when John H. had one of those moments of brilliance where differences are highlighted in a way that lets someone know that they’re accepted as part of the pack even though they’re kind of a weirdo: John looked over Brad’s large combination and said,
“Diet Coke?! You’re gonna winterkill, boy.”
And we laughed and we laughed.
It makes me really happy that Deano reads this sometimes, because he was always a part of those you’re-okay-even-though-you’re-weird moments that made adolescence and high school bearable for the freak that I was. Thanks, Deano. I feel about you the way that the Stockman’s felt about John Wayne, so I made the following sign-in so that you could leave comments:
Username is ‘Deano’ and the password is ‘Duke’.
If, in the style of John Wayne, that feels a little too mushy to you, you can always change it to Six Door Lincoln.