August 24 2010

The Last Chance Saloon is neatly nestled on the outskirts of a rather large city in Arkansas, just before you reach the mountains. Of course, this means that the mountains are within site.
On a cloudless day high over the Last Chance Saloon, the thinning veil of darkness fades into shades of pink, purple, yellow and blues while the dawn begins to erupt. On rainy or snowy days, one can see darker shades of the same hues, that sparkle magically as the sun tries to emerge.
The Last Chance Saloon isn't really a saloon at all. In fact there is no alcohol around, unless of course someone crosses the county line. It is located in a dry county. Billy lives at the Last Chance Saloon. He is neighbors with Beth, who suffers from a cerebral hemorraging problem that affects her eyesight, and several others that are mentioned in this story.
The Last Chance Saloon is not a home for the senior population, nor is it a home for people with disorders. It is not a hospital or Hospice facility. It is simply a home for weary people who travel, and for those who can no longer afford their one time big houses, or to pay their seperate bills. Therefore it is a motel. Just a motel. It is rather small, doesn't have a swimming pool, but it does have it's own laundry facilities. Many of the people who stop in at night are awed by the place. It isn't quaint, nor fancy, but it is clean, and the occasional drug user or prostitute doesn't hand around for very long. They do not find what they are looking for there. In fact they find just the opposite. They find poeple like Billy, Beth, Callie, Paula, who attends daily AA meetings in the town, and has suffered from abuse since the day of her birth. However, Paula isn't abusive, except to herself when she goes on a drinking binge. Even then she would give the shirt off her back to someone who was cold, or give her last bite of food to someone who was hungry. They find Bruce, Callie's husband who supports her to the best of his ability because she suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and social security figures she will just probably die from it before they cut the check she has been waiting for.
Beth and Callie have several things in common. They collect things. Beth collects ceramic birds and Callie collects frogs. Both living and non living. The living of course she turns loose in the creek bed nearby, where she likes to spend a lot of time during the summer. They both use walkers and canes and both write a lot. Bobby says he's a collector also. He collects dust. Therefore he pays housekeeping 10 dollars a week extra. He not only gets social security, he also gets a retirement check. Then there is Shayna. No one is sure if that is really her name or not. She is in a wheelchair and can't talk very well. She suffered a massive stroke after a pile up on the highway during a snow storm, yet she loves the snow and watching the sunrises and sunsets. She adores hard candy. Even tho the doctors have told her not to eat hard candy because the event of chocking could occur, her answer to them was "Chock on your words." It took a while to get it out, but she managed and continues to eat her hard candy. She not only hands out but collects something of the utmost importance. She collects smiles and then hands them out. She perhaps is the mainstay of almost everyone who resides at the Last Chance Saloon. After several weeks she succeeded in getting almost everyone up one morning to watch a particular beautiful sunrise, by doing wheelies in her chair up and down the sidewalk. While she can not talk very well, she can belt out a whistle that is unbelievable loud. These people share their lives, their stories and their love of life. They share recipes for cheap meals, coffee, tea, cigarettes, if the need arises. They share tears, and smiles, with whomever wants to share something. But the most important thing they share is common bond of living the life they have. They all believe that if the Creator gave them a life, then they should lead it. It doesn't matter to them if they live in kitchenette apartments. They aren't on the street corners, under a bridge or living a cardboard box behind a dumpster in some dirty alley. They believe that life is a minute to minute chance we are given and that we should take every breath of it we get with as much intake as possible. They have worked in medical fields, have been truck drivers, or restuarant workers. They range in age from 18 to 80ish. They wake up each day, thankful that the Last Chance Saloon, aptly named for them exists. That name of course was dubbed by Billy. It was his last chance for a life before living under a bridge. So therefore you won't find the motel should you go looking for it. What you will find if you do go looking for it, is places like The Last Chance Saloon all over the country. You just have to look. Yes, it is just a motel. A motel where people reside daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly. Their bills are all paid. They even have enough money left over for food. You see, there are motels, then there are other motels, and then of course there are hotels. But in places like the Last Chance Saloon you will find passion for life, and you just might find a friend or two.
You can call the Creator whatever you wish. The Creator of this universe is the ONE who had the idea to make all of this place in which we reside. The people at the Last Chance Saloon know that whatever path you are on might be the last steps you take. They have seen life at it's worst and at it's best, but they still believe that no matter what, you live that life you have been given, until it's taken away by the one who gave it to you. If that happens to be done by someone who shoots you in a drive by, or by someone who blows you up because of his beliefs, or because an ancient civilization predicted the day by studying the stars or however they got the information or some unknown asteroid or comet hits the earth, then it is meant to be. Who knows? No one knows how or when. Just live it and don't worry about it, for tomorrow may never come, and when or if tomorrow does come for you, be thankful to whatever you call YOUR CREATOR.

(c) A.J. Angerstein,
Tuesday, Aug. 24th, 2010
Article views: 5435

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