Thursday, April 26, 2012


Listen to Tom while I tell you a story.



WISHES {a hope or desire for something}
WILDFLOWERS {a flower that grows wild, meaning it was not intentionally planted or seeded}
WUNDERBAR {a German expression used in English which means wonderful}

For a couple of years I lived in Alma, Colorado. Alma is famous for being the highest incorporated town in North American (sorry Leadville), for more reasons than one. At that time Alma had about 60 residents (mostly old folks and hippies) about 40 dogs and one goat named Hartzel.

While I lived in Alma I was employed as the town clerk. I worked out of my home. It was me and the mayor and town council. On my birthday, one year, we had absolutely no money, so we decided to take a drive up Mosquito Pass (not a real good idea in February). We proceeded to get stuck in a snow bank and had to walk out to the local VFW Post (yeah, it was located on the Mosquito Pass road). The boys at the Post bought us a drink and called “The Alma Hooker”.

That’s when I met Mickey Micek, the owner and operator of ‘The Alma Hooker’ (the local wrecker). When Mickey learned it was my birthday he took us back to the AOB (Alma’s Only Bar – which was located across the street from the other bar in town. Ah, come on there were 60 people in this town,of course, that included small children and babies) and bought us beers while he told his story.

Mickey and his brother had escaped from Czechoslovakia to Austria by swimming the Danube. I think Mickey was about 13 years old at the time. He was one wild mountain man, livin’ the ‘American Dream’, in one wild and wide open town.

A few years later Mickey was killed down in the flat lands just outside of Denver trying to outrun a train. They brought him back up to Alma to bury him at Buckskin Joe, the old time local cemetery. It was winter again (Alma was 10,300 ft above sea level, it was winter there a lot), I had come down to the old town hall to unlock that cold, drafty, haunted building. Mickey was a big horseman, so somebody brought in an old horse drawn hearse to carry him up to Buckskin Joe. They had the ceremonial rider less horse with the empty boots turned back and the whole deal. He was gonna be buried like a true American hero.

I had to run back home for something and was at THE stop sign in Alma when the truck in front of me started to back up. He had a big four horse trailer hooked up so he didn’t see me, actually I don’t think he looked (everyone was pretty preoccupied). I saw him coming at me at the very last minute and couldn’t get my truck in reverse fast enough so I hooked my thumbs around and laid on the horn. He hit me with enough force to break my thumb. That hurt like a @#$%. Anyway…I had to ‘buck up’ and get through this ordeal.

We had to walk up to Buckskin Joe behind the horses. It was cold and the snow was at least three feet deep. Mickey was laid to rest in the hole they had pick axed into the ground the night before. They literally had to cover him with stones until spring. In the spring his grave would be covered with wildflowers once the earth settled. We all walked back to town for a real ’wake’ at the Silverheels Saloon (Alma’s other bar). Everyone decided my thumb was broken, so they kept buying me drinks until it didn’t hurt anymore. Actually, nothing hurt for awhile, not even my heart.

Mickey was finally completely free. Laid down among the wildflowers. I WISH he hadn’t tried to outrun that train.  I WISH he had lived to be an old man followin’ that dream. I WISH I had known him longer and heard more of his stories. He had an interesting accent and used to say some strange things. I can’t remember if he ever said Wunderbar or not but he certainly was.

When I asked a friend with word help for these final few posts, he suggested Wunderbar. That and a post about bars knocked this old memory loose. While it made me sad for a few minutes, it also made me reflect on how much God loves me to have put so many interesting and Wunderbar people in my path. There are no coincidences.

Sorry for the length of this post. I just needed to tell this story. Excuse me while I go and explode.

{definitions courtesy of Wikipedia or Wiktionary}

A to Z Challenge – Want more information? Go right over there to that little A to Z A Badge, CLICK and see what it’s all about. While you’re there checkout some of the other participants. It’s fun. You will like it. Go on now, you know you want to.


  1. That story was riveting. Such life in that small town. Thanks for sharing that part of your life.

  2. Love Wildflowers. Now I know what the title Jacob Wunderbar means.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story about a man who lived to the end of life

    It is wonderful to meet you and share more than a love for writing ---> a love for God

    wishing you the best

    Moondustwriter's Blog

  4. Wow. That post took a lot out of you. Thanks for sharing a deeply emotional moment.

  5. Sounds like living in that town was a real adventure.

  6. I really, Really, REALLY enjoyed that post, NITRO!

    It made me think of Mark Twain's 'ROUGHING IT', one of my very favorite books of all time! It had that sort of rustic charm about it.

    For sure one of your best blog bits during 'A To Z'. (Saving the best for last, like water turned to wine?)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  7. What a wonderful story.

    And you were a municipal clerk? Another thing we have in common. I've been doing it for over 15 years. lol Small world.

  8. Finally, it has been a long time to hear a story I hadn't heard before. You sure love those small towns, with that rustic charm, and even more charming than life people!!

  9. Alma (soul) must have been a miner's favorite name. We had an Alma near us until they damed the area and turned into a reservoir. Now Alma lies peacefully beneath the water.

    I enjoyed reading your story; it made me think about the Wunderbar people in my life. Thanks

  10. Damn, no story I can even make up could equal to that amount of adventurousness.

  11. the world needs more Mickeys. And more people like you to tell their stories so well.

  12. That was great! Sorry I'm late reading it. You know Mickey still lives on in your words - you should include him in story, then he'll never die.

  13. Great story .. loved your telling of it - as Susan says Mickey still lives on in your words -so true ..

    Cheers Hilary

  14. I really enjoyed this story - everything about it - but it just wouldn't have been the same somehow without the inclusion of the word "wunderbar".

    You owe the friend who suggested you use that word in your "W Post" a debt of gratitude.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'