Travel: The Rosebud Saloon

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So, we’re about an hour and a half outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico visiting the ruins of the Salinas missions. The National Park Service visitor’s center that is related to the three missions of Salinas is located in an ant-size (and I mean teensy as in population: 200) town called Mountainair. Across the street from the visitor’s center is the Rosebud Saloon, established in 1929 during Prohibition.

As soon as we came into town we spotted the Rosebud Saloon and were drawn like moths to the flame.

“WHAT is that place?” we asked, “We gotta stop there!”

Our guide Bob said, “That’s the orneriest saloon in Torrance county. It’s a chalk line saloon.”

“What’s a chalk line saloon?”

“If you get into a bar fight you can pretty much assume that you’re going to end up a chalk line on the floor.”

“Oooooooooooh. Cool. Let’s go.”

So we went.

The shelves behind the bar were filled with pints, half pints and tasters of all kinds of booze: Jack Daniels (my preference), Jim Beam (meh), Southern Comfort (too sweet), Jaegermeister (cough) … to name just a few. I’d never been to a bar where you could just buy your own bottle and be done with it.

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I’m just a simple gal. I’m used to ordering shots, not pints. So I ordered a shot of Jack Daniels. After all, we’re in a SALOON. Ordering anything but whiskey just seemed wrong. Beer was for pansy asses! C’mon people!

Here’s the shot he gave me. Now THAT is my kind of shot. Before we left the Rosebud (I wasn’t driving, thank ye Lord) I had a caminero—”one for the road”. And it seemed impossible, but Murph—the bartender/owner—filled the shot glass until the Jack clung to the lip of the glass and I had to slurp it to start off. I liked Murph. And I kinda think he liked me too. Eventually.

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It was a quaint little dive bar. In the tradition of dive bars, it had interesting art.

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Yeah, we spent quite a long time examining this painting and hypothesizing her holes. Ahem.

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Here’s Murph (below). He’s the eighth owner of the Rosebud and he’s had it about 15 years. It took a little while for him to warm up to us, but eventually he bent to the force of my cheerful pestering. I was rather like a horsefly on a horse’s patoot. For the first 15 minutes he did not smile. Nope. No way. No how.

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Eventually he just resigned himself to me and then we got on quite symbiotically. And he finally smiled. I felt like quite the champion. I made Murph smile.

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And then he had me write something—I could write whatever I wanted—on a dollar bill and he taped it up above the cash register behind the bar. There were only five other bills taped up there. Mine was number six and it said, “MIC WAS HERE!”. Just to be a brat I dotted the “i” in Mic with a big ol’ heart. Murph rolled his eyes. But he taped it up there anyway.

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When you go to the Rosebud Saloon in Mountainair, New Mexico, look for my dollar will ya?

And say hey to Murph for me.

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