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  • A few years ago I went to Dallas for a writers convention. While at the convention a publisher I know, Roger Waynick, pointed out to me that “you haven’t lived until you have had a drink at a honky-tonk bar.”

    No kidding?

    So we packed a little party of writers in a car and drove ourselves over to Fort Worth, Texas which is truly the home of honky-tonk. When we got there it was 5:00 PM and hot as hades. A tad early for most people; the crowd was sparse.

    We wandered the streets and found a joint that had bar stools which were real horse saddles. My friend Katie sat on one of those, swinging her legs and giggling the whole time we were at the bar. Roger took a swig of his beer, leaned over and said, “This is why I like her so much – she sees ‘happy’ in the world.”

    Next stop was a honky-tonk bar where an older crowd gathered. Music blared, neon lights glared, smoke hung, and cockroaches the size of chihuahuas scuttled on the floor. At 6:00 PM a group of 60 and 70 year old authentic cowboys were already two sheets to the wind. We laughed hysterically with them and they taught us how to play pool Texas style. Roger laughed the loudest at our poor attempts.

    Finally, after the sun set, we said our goodbyes and left for dinner. We all walked to the car in silence, content with the hot evening. Just as we were pulling out I saw this scene – a cowboy on a white horse on the sidewalk having a conversation with a store owner. It was bizarre and beautiful. Roger smiled and said, “Only in Texas!”

    Sadly, a few months later Roger suddenly died. Perhaps he is sitting on a saddle bar stool in a honky-tonk bar in heaven right now having a beer. That is how I will remember him.
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