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Lunch at Dolly’s

Lunch at Dolly’s

Lunch at Dolly’s

STORY BY Ben O. Williams
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Illustration by John Denney

Lunch at Dolly’s

STORY BY Ben O. Williams
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Illustration by John Denney

Lunch at Dolly’s

STORY BY Ben O. Williams
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Illustration by John Denney
‘‘

An excerpt…September, 45 years ago in the town of Twenty Mile in Powder Basin County (okay, not its real name), and I’m standing on an unpainted, planked floor, facing the bar with four stools arrayed in front of it. Atop the bar sit a gallon jar of pickled eggs and a small wooden barrel of pickled pigs’ feet. Over the bar, just beyond arm’s reach, bags of potato chips are clipped to baling twine. Beyond that are a large upright cooler, a two-burner stove, a half dozen bottles of whiskey, and a cash register open as if waiting to be filled. Above the register is a chalkboard on which is handwritten “Burgers Only.” The other three walls are covered with cardboard prints of the “Enchanted Northland” from Hamm’s Beer with the slogan “From the Land of Sky Blue Water.”

I’m at Dolly’s Sagebrush Oasis. This is not the original bar but a smaller building put into service after an electrical fire gutted the original Twenty Mile watering hole. Now seated, I’m waiting to be served. Next to me is a weathered Basque sheepherder who I know lives mostly in solitude and tends nomadic sheep on open range; he’s holding a half-empty beer. There are two other customers against the wall seated at a small table having coffee. Both men work for the state highway department, maintaining the only paved road through Powder Basin.

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Lunch at Dolly’s

An excerpt…September, 45 years ago in the town of Twenty Mile in Powder Basin County (okay, not its real name), and I’m standing on an unpainted, planked floor, facing the bar with four stools arrayed in front of it. Atop the bar sit a gallon jar of pickled eggs and a small wooden barrel of pickled pigs’ feet. Over the bar, just beyond arm’s reach, bags of potato chips are clipped to baling twine. Beyond that are a large upright cooler, a two-burner stove, a half dozen bottles of whiskey, and a cash register open as if waiting to be filled. Above the register is a chalkboard on which is handwritten “Burgers Only.” The other three walls are covered with cardboard prints of the “Enchanted Northland” from Hamm’s Beer with the slogan “From the Land of Sky Blue Water.”

I’m at Dolly’s Sagebrush Oasis. This is not the original bar but a smaller building put into service after an electrical fire gutted the original Twenty Mile watering hole. Now seated, I’m waiting to be served. Next to me is a weathered Basque sheepherder who I know lives mostly in solitude and tends nomadic sheep on open range; he’s holding a half-empty beer. There are two other customers against the wall seated at a small table having coffee. Both men work for the state highway department, maintaining the only paved road through Powder Basin.

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