Many of my readers may be unaware that my wife and I have moved from our beloved home and ranch in Wharton County Texas to Fredericksburg. This is wine country and I must say agriculture finally hit the jackpot here. I am studying the bars and will keep you informed.

I don’t spend a lot of time in bars but when I do I almost always come away enlightened, not to mention emboldened. There is something about sitting on a stool, looking at yourself in the mirror that makes you harbor the illusion that you can educate people on either side of you as well as the guy running back and forth in front of you. Did you ever notice that a bartender is just as busy if you are the only customer or the place is packed like a sardine cannery? Bartenders are supposed to be good listeners according to the old TV show Cheers, or movies, that imply that they have super natural powers to solve your deepest insecurities by giving wise advice. 

The advice is usually something like, “Well, what do you think you should do?” Psychiatrists charge $250 an hour for that kind of advice but you can get it from a bartender for $200…tip included. And the bartender never asks if you hate your mother, or somebody else’s mother.

And once in a while you find one who talks instead of just listens. This was the case with me in a wine tasting vineyard recently. I was looking in that mirror wondering who the handsome guy was looking back at me when I realized it was a poster of Paul Newman. We bear a striking resemblance in that both of us have blue eyes. 

The guy next to me was telling the bartender jokes. He politely pretended to listen while he flew from one end of the bar to the other like a humming bird. I’ve discovered it’s not that hard to impress a wino. You don’t have to listen to the old joke. Just laugh when he laughs and you can’t go wrong. 

So, I was surprised when my unknown companion asked the bartender to tell a joke. Without hesitation the barkeep related this story: A fellow in a small town, Albert, had just learned to drive. An out of town guest came to town and was riding around with this guy. Every time Albert came to a red light traffic signal he ran right through it. 

“Hey, you just ran right through a red light,” said his friend.

“I know. Me and my brother always do that,” he laughed.

“You did it again.”

“Yeah, my brother and I always do that.”

Then Albert came to a green light and he came to a full stop and peered cautiously each way.

“What’s the deal now? Why would you stop at a green light?”

“Oh, it’s for safety. I’m looking out for that crazy brother of mine.”

Doc Blakely is a humorist and motivational speaker who now resides in the Hill Country after living in Wharton 47 years. For more information, visit

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