I started stopping at Boxer's Lounge ( not our Boxer I don't think but maybe? She can confirm.) this past summer. Went in there in July on a non-North Dakota trip for something different. Well it turns out that a lot of guys I know in Belgrade stop there on Wednesday so I would pop in on occasion and tip a few with them. My banker, a couple of guys I play golf league with, people I know. Anyway, its always a nice evening.
I didn't have the best of days today. Don't want to say anything about that right now but will at a later date. Anyway, the guys at Boxer's were knee deep in the hoopla when I arrived at 5:45. Usually its just the guys talking about life, their day etc. When I arrived tonight, everyone was already drunk. Baxter had had a heart attack and died this morning. I didn't know him. The few times I had gone to Boxer's I had not met him.
I made the comment to Ron that he was already in the bag. "You're drunk? It's not even six." Ron, "Didn't you hear? Baxter died this morning." Me "Sorry, didn't know him." Ron "No shit? Well by the time you usually got here, he was already playing poker" Here in Montana, we have poker machines that you can play for money. It's why I never met the man.
No one was weeping. There wasn't a lot of sorrow. Just guys saying "Here's to Baxter!"
Let me get on with this. As I've said, I go here on occasion. It's a quaint little joint and Wednesday is the day that everyone meets. Of all the Wednesday's that I have attended, the jukebox never played. Not once. Tonight it played constantly. Evidently, Old Baxter was a regular. A retired guy who went in about 2, drank till 7 and went home ( God Love you for that Baxter ). He had all these songs he always played so the guys were playing them all. When this particular song came on, the entire bar stopped and sang with all their might. I'm assuming it was his favorite.
As I was leaving I told the guys that they were giving him quite a tribute. Now let me say this, at Boxer's I drink Canadian Mist because it's a buck cheaper than Crown. I like all Canadian whiskey but a buck is a buck. I said to Ron " Well usually I drink Crown but here I drink Mist. When I go, I want everyone to drink Crown all night. The beer drinkers can nut up and just drink whiskey." Ron "You drink Crown? That's what Baxter drank. We all had three shots before you got here. Joe (my former banker) almost puked. Baxter would have love you."
I can hardly imagine the party after the funeral.
Baxter, I didn't know you. I know the men who are heartbroken at your loss. I promised Ron I would post about it and put your favorite song on my blog. Ralph, remember this at Stines?