beer, loneliness, men, small town, Texas

A One-Hour Vacation

Red Gap Brewery is the only place within fifty miles of my house where you can buy a craft beer or eat from a food truck. Yesterday, after finishing a home improvement project that I started on July 4 (I don’t recommend hiring me if you want it finished quickly), I decided to celebrate by driving over. It is an easy ten miles down a state highway that runs through hay patches and range land stocked with cattle and goats, like most of rural Texas.

For the lone ranger, Saturday is the day to go to the Rio Gapo, as it is never busy nor crowded—just a few scattered, bearded, men. Depending upon the time of year, they’ve often just left their hunting lease from the morning’s hunt. This was the case yesterday; one man I spoke to had been filling up deer feeders, and the other had been on an unsuccessful dove hunt.

The brewery is at the main intersection of a West-Texas town of less than four thousand. Like most West Texas towns of less than four thousand, downtown consists of old west looking architecture, mostly built a century ago—the old bank building (now a coffee shop), the old five and dime, the old drug store, the old feed mill. The newer business owners have been wise to preserve the original look by restoring the high ceilings of aluminum tile, the original flooring, and the old look in general.

The brewery has a covered porch in front with tables and, if you really want to kick back, couches. Parked in front is usually a food truck from Abilene or Fort Worth offering things you can’t normally find in such a town. Lamb street tacos, for instance.

Inside is rugged, as you’d expect from a Texas brewery. You could dress up if you wanted, but you wouldn’t feel out-of-place in your hunting or fire wood chopping clothes, either. I did brush the sawdust off myself before going.

Yesterday I stopped at the truck, chatted with the worker there, and ordered my steak and cheese sliders before sitting at the end of the bar with a pint of amber, as far away from anyone as I could get, but not far enough to be safe from Mr. chatty who had finished more than one or two porters. I learned that the doves were not flying this weekend, which I always like to hear. I try to keep them all in my back yard during dove season. Chatty only saw one, which he shot but could not retrieve. I hid my disdain for irresponsible hunters from the city behind my tall glass of beer.

The female bar-tender drew me into a conversation about whether or not an eight second stare constitutes sexual harassment. This, we decided, was not black and white. If it is a mutual stare, which party is the victim? Does it count if you don’t know you are being stared at? And does it have to be a consecutive eight seconds? We didn’t solve these problems, as the lady had to leave her shift to participate in a ranch rodeo, where she was to do the milking part of the wild cow milking event and be stared at much longer than eight seconds.

A man I know and like came in for lunch and sat down near me, taking a break from his day’s ranch chores. We said hello, but he spent the rest of his time staring at his phone, which is a curse I guess we’ll have to get used to, even out here where city hunters go to “get away from it all.”

I had my second amber with my fries; I’m a large-ish man, so two is fine. It is also my limit, though, when I’m driving. The second, along with the fries, was an act of rebellion, as the perky young nurse told me the day before that I need to lose a little weight during my yearly check-up. Here’s to that, you perky young nurse. I’ll be damn sure that I weigh ten more pounds next year. That’ll show you.

When I turned my pickup back east to head through the only light before leaving town, I realized that, although my belly was full and I felt like I’d been on an adventure, I’d only been gone from home for an hour.

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About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemmingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.

Discussion

26 thoughts on “A One-Hour Vacation

  1. Simple pleasures are Life’s Treasures!
    Glad you enjoyed your break.

    Posted by nrhatch | September 16, 2018, 10:24 am
  2. Great post 😁

    Posted by theitinerary1 | September 16, 2018, 10:59 am
  3. Cheers to your seasonal “dove sanctuary” and to your act of rebellion. 🍻 Made me smile. I’m picturing the truck ride home with a window down, elbow perched on the edge and something playing on the radio…but, it’s still hot out there and ac can be awfully nice. Well done. 😊

    Posted by ellie894 | September 16, 2018, 11:50 am
  4. Good reminder to me why I avoided bars, back in the day when I allowed myself to drink. I don’t know if you enjoyed your experience or not, but I never liked bars. They seem like sad, lonely places to me, and a big waste of time. You conveyed that atmosphere to me well in your writing, though I’m not sure that’s what you intended to do.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | September 16, 2018, 12:10 pm
    • You picked up on the feeling behind the story, whether I had intended to convey it or not. The little micro breweries are much more touristy and family friendly than the old traditional bars, but yeah, it is a little sad. My main purpose was to eat from the food truck, though, and I accomplished that.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | September 16, 2018, 12:33 pm
  5. I enjoyed this. I like your writing. My mind wonders how a place like that brewery stays in business? When is their busy time? Just curious.

    Posted by pkadams | September 16, 2018, 1:23 pm
    • Hey, PK! (That has a nice rhyme.) Thank you. The little brewery is owned by two young couples from Fort Worth. They all have good jobs there in Fort Worth (one is an attorney), and this is their hobby. It is only open Thursday and Friday from 5-9, and Saturday from 12-5. Thursday and Friday nights are packed; people even bring their kids. There’s often live music, and it’s very rare to see anyone drink too much. The owners have them leave if they do.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | September 16, 2018, 1:41 pm
  6. “We didn’t solve these problems, as the lady had to leave her shift to participate in a ranch rodeo, where she was to do the milking part of the wild cow milking event and be stared at much longer than eight seconds.”

    That part cracked me up. I like the photo. I can visualize it better. And don’t we all need to lose 10 pounds at our age???

    Posted by Michelle | September 16, 2018, 8:13 pm
  7. Having amber ale and some sliders with fries at a pub sounds like a great afternoon for me. Especially if it’s hot outside. I haven’t drunk much lately though, but got a new batch of craft beers to try that I’m looking forward to.

    Posted by TheCovertAtheist | September 16, 2018, 9:56 pm
  8. The simpler things are the most amazing.
    P.s
    I like your about page and feel the strive to like the neighbors 😂

    Posted by ortensia | September 17, 2018, 1:48 am
  9. Much different from the college bars I’m used to. I like the laid-back atmosphere you describe. I might even prefer it to the assaulting music and aggressive dancing. I bet working on home improvement projects burns a lot of calories and that perky young nurse wouldn’t approve of you being underweight!

    Posted by Shayne | September 17, 2018, 9:11 am
    • There is no assaulting music or any dancing at the brewery; it is very laid back. And about that weight–you are exactly right. Who likes a scrawny guy anyway?

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | September 17, 2018, 9:31 am

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