Since I mentioned Kate and Gary yesterday, I thought I would continue with that thought. K&G were quite a pair. I don’t really know much about them, but they were "different." Gary was a big guy – he looked like a St. Bernard with big droopy, red-rimmed eyes, but he was always fun and friendly to me. Kate had this reddish-brown hair that was always styled in a pageboy. Although they were older, I never knew their age until one day I was sitting at the bar visiting with Kate (drinking a diet coke, because I was not old enough be in the bar) when she told me that she had been to her 50th high school reunion. She said, "Those people were old. I’m not going back!" K&G were always hosting some sort of crazy party to bring some fun to town. Their Halloween parties will always be remembered.
One June they had a spur-of-the-minute chili cook-off – no real plan – just do it. Mary Wallace (one of my friend’s mom) and I spent the day making a pot of chili. My different family members came in throughout the day, tasted my chili, and gave their opinion. – not hot enough, more cumin, etc. Toby said it would never win, because I did not put beans in it. Good Grief! I put everything else in it! We carried our pot of chili to the bar along with six other people and their chili. I really didn’t think of it as a contest, but more as a party for the locals. Anyone could put a dollar in the pickle jar and buy a bowl to taste the chili. There were three judges, and to my delight, I won. I won the pickle jar of money, which was $62.50. Tom Brown immediately hit me up for a loan. Toby was really tickled since that was the early days of our marriage and money was scarce. He asked me for some of the money so he could buy a beer, but I said, "Hmm, I remember you did not like my chili…"
There used to be a baseball field in the middle of town where the park is now. The locals would gather there for some fun games of softball. Today the park is green and lush with grass, but back in the day, it was more rock and less grass. It was difficult in the Rocky Mountains to find a large flat area with grass and few rocks. The backstop was up near the road with a couple of large logs for the dugout area. Far out in right field was a creek/sewer that was difficult to see because the ground got marshy and the grass grew taller. It was always a great joke to put "the new guy" out in right field and let him find the creek on his own. One day after work I ran home to get my glove and head to the softball field. Toby was supposed to already be there, but he was not. When I asked where he was, everyone started laughing. They had put him in right field. He had gone home to change clothes. Later he told me, "I was running for the ball when all of the sudden there was no ground beneath me, and I landed in the creek."
One year Gary of K&G decided to organize a girl’s softball team. He bought T-shirts that were French cut – rather low-cut and showed a lot of cleavage – with Summer Hummers printed on the shirts. He also bought hats with "SH" on them. You can guess what some people called us rather than Summer Hummers. Our team was not very good with a bunch of mountain girls that had not really played much softball growing up. There were a few girls like me who had played some at home. I had played both slow-pitch and fast-pitch back in WF, so I played short stop or third base for the SH's. Susy A. was the star, but most of the girls were just there for the fun. We usually played slow-pitch because the girls were not good at stealing bases or trying to stop someone from stealing bases. Besides, our hind-catcher, June M, was not always sober. Gary would usually donate a case of beer to the games. If you knocked someone’s beer over, you were automatically out. Here is Gary watching the game and talking to Joel Fontenot.
Usually, we just played the locals in friendly games, but one time Gary organized a real game for us with a team from Questa. They beat our socks off. It was very frustrating. Questa had a pitcher that resembled a backstop. She did not use a glove and few balls would get passed her. Our pitcher was not great. At one point, Questa was batting and they popped up a fly. Both the pitcher and I called the ball and went to catch it. We collided somewhere between the pitcher’s mound and the shortstop’s area rolling over backwards when she stepped back on me going down in a tangled pile. She was taller and had caught the ball, but when we went down, she let the ball roll out on the ground. Ralph Gill caught the whole thing on tape. He showed it later at the bar – in fast motion, slow motion, forwards, backwards, etc – everyone laughing each time much to my chagrin. The film was the hit of the evening at K&G's Bar.
We had one other organized game over in Angel Fire at Cow Patty Field. We brought shovels to clear the field before playing. The other team did not show so we played the guys for a while and drank the beer that Gary had provided. Two hours later, the other team showed up without any baseball equipment asking if they could share ours. Most of our team was slightly inebriated by then. We got our socks beat off again.