I have to tell you about my trip to the Buck Horn in Goldsmith Texas.
My first real job, after college, was working for a Very Large International Oil company which owned one of the many natural gas processing plants near a burg called Goldsmith (which I wrote about here and here a few months ago). On the main street, there is a rundown place called the Buck Horn Bar & Grill. Back in 1982, when I first worked in the area, the plant manager told me to never go in there, as “it is a bit rough” and that he would not go in himself. And he was a 6-4″ strapping guy. It’s not one of those old, quaint places filled with character. It’s a dive.
Fast forward 30 years, and I’m once again doing some work in the area, and drive by this place frequently. On weekends, it’s a popular place for bikers to hang out. Seriously, people will drive for miles and miles around to come here and drink beer on Saturdays.
Last week, I was with our company president and a new partner, giving a tour of our plant. One of them related a story about being in the Buck Horn. The owner, a woman called “Big Mama” was tending bar, and her child was running around the bar, wearing nothing but Pampers. When the screen door opened, the toddler would go outside and wander around. The town is very small, but the road street running through town is a state highway with constant heavy traffic – big trucks, service vehicles, trailers hauling drilling rigs. No one paid any attention. But, when the dog approached the door, the woman started yelling “Watch the dog! Don’t let my dog out!” I don’t know if this is a true story, but when you enter the place, you just KNOW it must be.
We had planned to go back into the city after our tour and have dinner and drinks. Eric stopped in front of the Buck Horn and announced they had the coldest beer around, and it was his treat. Four o’clock on a Wednesday, we enter the dark cave.
Two men, one in a summer straw, sat at the bar and did not turn around to look at us. A woman, who must have been Big Mama, sat behind the bar on a stool. A single waitress was leaning against it. All four were watching a movie featuring Kevin Costner. The waitress brought our order (three Bud Lights – and they were VERY cold), but other than that no one spoke or looked at us. It was dark, and as I peered into the back of the place, I couldn’t see any tables and chairs, or other places to congregate. There were two pool tables, one ready to use, and the other piled high with boxes and sacks. The rest of the place was a storage room, dark and forbidding. I think all the action takes place outside. I was too intimidated to walk around and explore.
We had a conversation about our work day and plans for the week, but felt like we were intruding on some private ritual. Dark room, cold beer, TV, silence except for the pop of bottle caps and Kevin Costner’s muted voice. One beer, and we left.
I had been to the Buck Horn. Once. And only.
Imagine this place on a weekend, with 30-50 Harleys and their drivers and Motorcycle Mama, all drinking beer.
- Why Draft Beer Temperature Matters (sprbrewcrew.wordpress.com)
- Sure. They bring in a huge bar 14 years after I leave the place. (apple.copydesk.org)
Categories: General Stuff!