When I first moved to Colorado and started work at HP in Fort Collins there was a certain amount of culture shock. Just about everyone I worked with was much older that I, and they have been working together for many years. They would remanence about the good old days when HP had culture and a family like atmosphere. Before It became a dysfunctional family that voted its own members off the island.
After being there for a month or so I got to be exposed to one of the old family traditions, a meeting at building 7. There were only six buildings and four modular at HP, but I was new and maybe there was another building that I haven’t been to yet. There was talk about car pooling and people were asking if I liked sea food.
It turned out that the meeting was just a way to get out of work early and go to a bar. The bar was in Severance Colorado, about 10 miles away from HP and only about 5 miles from my house.
40°32′7″N, 104°51′3″W for thoes with a GPS and a lot of time.
After parking on a dirt parking lot, we went inside. I was the only one that looked at the menu. Most of the old timers that I worked with just ordered a Budweiser. Some ordered a plate full of “the special”. I was not interested in ordering the special, I knew what it was.
Rocky Mountain Oysters.
I felt uncomfortable ordering it. Not because it was gross or I was bothered by where they came from, but because my new coworkers may see me as desperate to be liked, and a suck up. So I ordered a burger and a fat tire beer.
Bruce’s is a great place. The people behind the counter seem to have the attitude that they would be there even if they didn’t get paid. Not through a love of the work, but a love of the people. Like if they left, Severance would fall off the map. Its an interesting atmosphere in Bruce’s. Its like when you were a kid, and you were forced to go to your Aunts house. She is strange and everything smells funny but its interesting and she always has strange things to eat.
Anyway about once every few months someone would get the idea that we needed a meeting at building 7 and discuss something or another that was important. Then the family started to disintegrate, and soon all talk about building 7 went away. Years went by and I never got back to Bruce’s. I got over my culture shock, not due to familiarity with my co-workers. But through making friends elsewhere and loosing my coworkers to layoffs. I got to know them well enough to miss them a little but not enough for it to hurt.
The original owner for almost 50 years Bruce Ruth recently died. Everyone loved Bruce. And to add insult to injury the bar had to close. You see when a business changes hands it has to be brought up to current fire safety code. Apparently the new owners can’t afford to complete the required work.
So Bruce’s is dead and may never come back.
And another memory of a small bar in a small town will go away.
I am going to keep my eyes open for other little islands of eccentricity.
The Bisons Breath saloon in Ault.