I was talking to Jack on the phone last Thursday when he gave me some really bad news (I think it is anyway). It seems one of the icons of our youth has been bulldozed. He suggested I write about it and it has been on my mind all weekend. I don't really now where to start or what direction to move in. I'm not sure I can do this story justice.
The place used to be called "The Armadillo Run". It was a seedy little bar set back in an older lower middle class neighborhood along the river. There wasn't any view of the river so it wasn't really prime real estate. It was across the street from a church which resulted in numerous feuds over the years. There is a little known Texas law which states that a bars front door cannot be within 500 feet of a churches front door, so both establishments were always building on, or moving their doors to another part of the building.
Over the years the bar changed hands and changed names several times, but it will always be "The Armadillo Run" to Jack and I. At one point in time it was famous for having the largest painting of a Texas flag. The flag was painted on the ceiling right above the dance floor. It was the kind of place that you could see daylight through the bullet holes in the walls. The clientele consisted of bikers, hippies, cowboys, rednecks, cousin lovers, and every kind of social scum imaginable. It was run down, unsafe, and always in a general state of disrepair. I had some of the best times of my life in that place.
A lot of the "firsts" in my life happened at "The Run". Here's a short list.
First bartending job (under paid)
First bouncing job (I'm not a violent guy)
First time I saw I guy get beat with a car antenna (wait that's MY car antenna)
First time I saw a guy get beat with a claw hammer (not mine)
First time a girl ever asked me to dance (that's right the Trashman can 2 step with the best of them)
First time I danced with an ugly girl so she would buy me drinks (I danced with her all night)
First time I said no to sex (see above, same girl and I was really drunk, hardest thing I ever did in my life)
First time I had sex in the FRONT seat of a car (she was too fat to get in the back seat)
First time I had sex on the hood of a car (she wasn't fat, no dents)
First time I had sex on the tailgate of a truck (again not fat, that only happened once....and a while)
First semi public blow job (bartender was a coke whore and she needed money for some blow, so to speak)
First time I smoked weed in the broad daylight in a car (smoke too thick to see out the windows)
First time I ever saw a lawn and garden garbage bag full of marijuana (HOLY SHIT)
First time I ever stole a girl from a friend (he was the drummer and I used the opportunity to dance her right out to my car)
First time I fell in love (once again the drummers girl)
First and only time I wore an adult diaper (Halloween party and I won third place)
First time I won the football pool (Dallas beat somebody insignificant)
Jack even had one of his "firsts" there. It was the first time he had a drink in a bar. He was underage (16), I was there. It was all his idea, I had nothing to do with his corruption.
Now I know this doesn't mean anything to some of you, but to me it's the death of an era. When Jack told me about the bulldozing I actually got a lump in my throat. It wasn't but a month ago I drove by the place to show Jen where I learned a lot about life. It was still in business, it had a new name but there were cars in the parking lot and the doors were open. It was one of those places that you know will always be there. I haven't seen my old friends from there in years but all weekend their faces played through my mind like a movie. It's been 20 years since I walked through the doors of "The Run" and now I'll never get to do it again. I wonder what other doors I'll never pass through again.