A Place Where Faith in Humanity Still Exists

A few weeks ago, Cindy and I were out exploring the vast Nevada desert and pulled into Crystal, a small unincorporated town without a store, gas station or even a post office but is home to two different brothels and the Short Branch Saloon. Saddling up to the bar, we discovered we were the only patrons there and so we took some time to acquaint ourselves with Miss Kathy, the 70 years young owner of the Short Branch and one hell of a firecracker of a woman.

It was only until after we ordered up some whiskeys along with a couple of her famous meatloaf sandwiches that I realized I may not have any cash. Knowing that a place like this most likely didn’t take credit cards, I quickly scanned the room for an ATM machine and as luck would have it, there was one over by the door, although, it didn’t appear to be working. When I ask if I could have it turned on so that I could withdraw some cash, Miss Kathy began telling me about how the County made her shut it down due to the fact that it didn’t have braille on the keys and therefore was inaccessible to the blind – “as if blind people would come all the way out to Crystal, Nevada and need to get cash, right”? Just as she was finishing her story, she paused for a moment and asked – “exactly how much money do you have”? Embarrassed to open up my wallet, I revealed two wrinkled $1 bills tucked inside of it and upon seeing this, she folded up her arms and said with a enthusiastic smile, “you can pay me the next time you stop by”. When I explained how I might be able to run back to the closest town, get some cash and then come back… she just laughed and said, there wasn’t any need for that – she “trusted me.” Me – a guy she just met, someone who’s never stepped foot in her establishment before, someone she had no clue as to where I lived or when I would be back in the area if ever again – she, “trusted”.

Leaving us speechless, Miss Kathy began humming a tune as she made her way back into the kitchen and as we sat at the bar feeling a little silly, a new guy walked in and sat a few stools down from us. Returning with our sandwiches, Miss Kathy began exchanging pleasantries with her new customer and after placing his order, he asked the proverbial question that I think we all saw coming, “do you take credit cards”?

In a day and age where it’s all about ME and trust in others is in short supply, it’s hard to believe there’s still a place where faith in humanity still exists. It’s even harder to believe that it’d be found in the middle of the desert, in a town of debauchery and inside a watering hole known as, the Short Branch Saloon.



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