Yesterday I received an email from an old friend. She said that recently they had taken their 19-year-old daughter to Red River for fun and relaxation. Although they used to live in RR, their daughter had not lived there since early childhood and now knew no one her age there. She said that her daughter did not have fun going to the Bull of the Woods like we used to do. My friend then reminded me of the days that my dad would take us all dancing.
It was pretty normal for parents to take their kids into the bars in RR for dancing and fun. The age limit was actually 21, but if you were with parents, no one cared. It was just pretty family friendly. On one occasion Dad took me and about four of my friends to the Bull (back then it was called Kate and Gary’s). We were all about 15 years old and there was no one to dance with near our age. Dad then went out on the street and started getting young men to come in and dance with us. He stopped several jeep drivers whom he knew since they worked in RR. He flagged down another jeep with three young men – one of whom he knew and the other two were from Philmont Scout Ranch. In all, he brought in about ten plus young men and told them all that if anyone asked, there name was "Barker". Technically, anyone under 21 had to be with a parent – not just any adult -so Dad was to be their dad too. The bar was full of young people under 21dancing and having a great time. At one point, I turned to the guy sitting next to me and asked him his name. In all innocence he looked at me and said, "Brian Barker", and in all innocence I replied, "Hey, that is my name too." Brian was studying to be a preacher at Hardin Simmons and confessed that he had "never been in a place like this!"
That night actually started a tradition of going dancing with Dad. Dad often said that he raised his own dance partner. My friends were all impressed with my dad who would take us all out on the town. My friend Anny was a part of those days and those were good times.