Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Meeting Missoula - The Ox part 467B - Larry

The more I experience Missoula, the more I find that what I suspected was true,  No one sits alone in this town.

I stepped down to my favorite low key hangout the other night, the legendary Oxford Saloon and Cafe, the joint was dang near empty.  Once the University gets on summer break, a good deal of the student body heads on out of town and the city gets a little more sparse.  

Since there was no one around and the place was so quiet I stepped over to the jukebox, dialed up $5 worth of John Prine, Jimmy Buffett, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel and a bunch more and steped outside for a smoke.

As I said, the entire bar was empty when I went outside, but when I got back, Larry was perched on the stool next to my post.

We introduced each other and Larry said he liked my music picks.

I learned that Larry was retired and divorced, had sold his home down the Bitterroot and had a little place here in town.

Larry's main theme of conversation was, as a Viet Nam vet having been home for nearly 50 years from his tour, he was still stuck on "Why the hell were we there?".

He wasn't militant or political about it, he was just a kind old man that was still troubled...no, I'll say sad not troubled, about why our government sent a bunch of boys half way around the world to shoot and get shot at by a bunch of people that had nothing to do with us.

We talked about how the military industrial complex of our country depends on a steady stream of young people to keep getting shot just to fil the billionaires pockets,

Like I say, he wasn't worked up about it.  He was past being angry about it.  He was just sad.

And the music I picked on the jukebox made him not so sad, so he came over to say "hi".

He was separated from people he knew by a gun.

And he felt connected to people by the poetry and songs of Hank Williams and the rest.

Two sides of America's GNP.

Talk to you soon.


  1. Actually, I am quite glad that seven decades ago the US sent a bunch of boys half way around the world, to Germany where I live and work now (as an illustrator, incidentally).

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