Seen at the Pioneer Saloon at about 9 p.m., September 6th, 2013
Old Jesse had always been Old Jesse, even when he was a little boy. There was never any New Jesse or Young Jesse or Extra-Old Jesse--no other Jesses at all, to be precise. The town was too small for two of anyone, unless they were father and son.
Now Old Jesse's name fit his age, at least in looks. He was grizzled and dirty, wrinkled and worn. He was missing a few teeth, and his hearing wasn't as sharp as it used to be. Nevertheless, he was lean and strong, and his smile looked more like that of a mischievous teenager.
Most people chose never to leave town, even with the big city not too far away. It wasn't that they didn't like strangers so much as they didn't like to be strangers. Old Jesse was never one of those people. After Martha died, tragic-young and childless, Old Jesse traveled to the big city and farther besides. He even saw some other countries--China, Australia. He went to Papua New Guinea, too, but nobody believed him; they thought he just made up a funny name.
Some people who traveled so far and saw so much might not have been accepted back into the fold, but Old Jesse was never hoity-toity about things. He never acted like his experiences made him better than anyone else. Mostly Old Jesse just entertained the local kids with what seemed like fairy tales, for reality outside town was just as harrowing and mysterious and magical.
The Pioneer Saloon was AMAZING. A 100-year-old cowboy bar in the middle of the desert. You should read about my evening there on Viva Las Becky.