From April 27, 2009
When we left the VFW in Kalispell, we started down the highway to Bigfork. It’s a twenty-minute drive, though, and Miller time happened halfway home, so we found ourselves at the Tall Pine Saloon, where an old biker was tending bar. The guys were ragging on him because he’d just gotten his bike out the day before and the snow was falling was like December.
The barmaid was in her 50s, pin thin and she had a head of huge, teased, curly hair. She was wearing bottle-thick glasses with frames that took up most of her rouged face.
The guy sitting next to us tried talking to us, slipping into the conversation a few times that he was a “one-hundred-per-cent disabled veteran.” The Aunts, who spend their days going from one VFW to another, were unimpressed.
“I like it when it snows like this,” he said.
Aunt V snorted at him. “Well, you did say you’re disabled.”
We had to backtrack about a mile to Grizzly Jack’s. The bartender there greeted us in Spanish and so Aunt V answered him in Spanish.
“Uh, I just used up all I know,” he said sheepishly. “It’s my one line. I’ve got no follow through.”
She was going to let it pass till she saw the poster on the bar fridge. “CINCO DE MAYO – MAY 4.”
“May 4? You really don’t know Spanish at all, do you?”
He took a pen and wrote right on the poster, between Cinco de Mayo and the date: “Pre-party.”
We only wanted to tease him because he was so beautiful. We would have listened to him speak gibberish, just to watch his lips move. The food was amazing, too. I had a pepperjack cheeseburger with bacon and jalapenos. The meat was so thick I didn’t even try to eat the bun.
Aunt L and I lit up while we finished our beer and cutie-pie barkeep came over. “I don’t really care,” he said, “but you’re not supposed to smoke in here while the kitchen’s open.”
“We’ve already eaten,” I said. “Are you going to kick us out?”
His eyes got wide and he started laughing. “Did you just say ‘ewwwtt?’ Are you Canadian?”
I’m pretty sure I blushed.