This is a little off my track, but it’s Friday, after all!

I got to thinking about a bar we visited once; I think it was in Texas or Oklahoma somewhere.This place was kind of a gritty, beat-up bar, where they smoked wherever they pleased and some people had holstered pistols, open carry. Must have been Texas, then.

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Well, the band played a few sets and they did good country and a few people got up and danced, Cowboy Cha Cha and so forth and they looked nice. There is something very pretty about a waltz, or country swing or Texas Two Step. Kind of mannerly and romantic, because nobody was drunk yet.

By and by the rhythm guy did an intro, and the lead guy stood up to the mic. He had on scuffed roper’s boots with rounded rowls. Spurs, but not the bitey kind. He was a little bent in the back, as if he had just got off running cattle and now this. Looked weary, like he had seen better days, too. His face had that resigned, run-over look that people from hard times sometimes have, but graced with humility, a hard learning. Played a 12 string, and he slid his cigarette under the open B string, which I would think would muff it, but I guess not.

I will say, I have played the song he sang countless times, but I never had his reach. His voice had the sweet, blurred sound of tears, the sad, slow drift of the empty plain, of too many cigarettes, too many nights in the rain. At that moment, soon as he opened his mouth, he picked up and carried all of our heartache. The old woman hunched over the bar, crying in her beer to remember. The young lady with the pony tail, sitting all alone at a wobbly table, drinking whiskey to forget. A man sitting way back in the shadows, with his feet up on a stool…. no one knows what he wanted…….and me. He said it for all of us.

Did you ever see a night so long, when time goes crawlin’ by,

The moon just went behind a cloud, and I’m so lonesome I could die.