The Livestock Show and Rodeo are in town. Ft. Worth, Texas that is. I met a friend down at the Stockyards, a historic part of Ft. Worth that is kind of touristy but it’s filled with local color and a fantastic restaurant called, Lonesome Dove. That was our goal.
I could just smell the grilled steak and tasty libations from our hotel room. We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of everything so we could walk. Starting at The White Elephant Saloon, the country music spilled out into the street drawing folks in from the cold night. Inside, the ceilings are covered in cowboy hats that are identified with names of the owners next to them. Shelves and shelves of white elephant figurines behind glass, cover the walls and sitting to the side of the room was Wild Bill Hickok. I would have recognized him anywhere.
A flattened and dirty hat, handle bar mustache and tall black leather boots, the long-haired gambler sat sipping a beer and checking his pocket watch. “What’s your hurry, Wild Bill” I asked him. “Got somewhere you gotta be“? He looked up and smiled a toothy grin. “Not now“.
“May I take a photo of you” I asked. “Preferably, pistols showing“. I could see some heavy-looking, ancient pistols peeking out from under his long coat. “Sure little lady, but this is how it works. I’m working for tips, just what ever you think is fair“.
“Five bucks“? I bent down to speak into his ear because the music was getting louder on the stage. “Well, sure! For that I’ll take a picture of you and your husband if you would like”.
I turned around and motioned for my friend to come over. She smiled and started to gather our stuff. ” How about one of me and my friend”? I asked. He smiled, “Even better”
After about every pose we could collectively think of, we shook his hand and moved on down the street. “Don’t wait too long to come back” he said. “You know I’m 175 years old”!
We got to Lonesome Dove and tried to open the door. What! It’s closed? During the Stock Show? You have got to be kidding. Bummer.
We whined all the way back down the street and stepped into Booger Red’s for a steak. The play offs were on the TV above the bar. The Raiders were drawing a few hollers from the Dallas Cowboys fans. I swung up onto one of the saddles that is a bar stool and we ordered. The guy next to us was getting drinks for his wife and friends. “I’m from Baltimore” he offered. “We brought the kids down for the Stock Show” Really? The girl next to us chimed in. “We came out from San Fransisco” she said. “We have always wanted to see the Stock Show and Rodeo in Ft. Worth”!
They were getting ready to leave for the evening performance. Wow. I had no idea anyone outside of Texas even knew about this AND were so excited they made it a vacation.
Well, between Wild Bill, the rodeo and the cattle drive we watched the next morning, I guess I can see why Ft. Worth is our kinda town.