The Coastal Post - June, 1996

For The Good Times

Mike Flint Remembered

It all started in the early '70s when my then-husband Mike Hawley and I owned the Old Western Saloon.

Dick and Jackie MacFarland, Mom and Pop, were the bar's stability by day and Mike and I took turns running the bar at night.

The locals that hung out there in those days were quite a motley crew. Rough and tumble as they appeared, we shared many a good time that led to some great stuff which memories are made of! Classics each and everyone of them in their own rambunctious way.

Conjuring up those most memorable times of yesteryear led me to the fact that most of the antics performed (in youthful exuberance, of course) were done when Mike Flint ran our back bar and pool room, which he referred to as "The West Western."

Mike possessed such a gregarious personality that he captivated raucous audiences. Many times he put more money on that back bar till than we put on the front bar, which was quite amazing because all he sold was beer and wine back there. You had to come to the front bar for the hard stuff.

In those days times were looser and we were wilder and woolier. The crew that hung at "The West Western" were his brother Dave, Marty Shoemaker, Bruce Stevens, "Bear" Tony Morris, Tom "Tree" Kent, Nick Whitney and Ben Johnson, Jr. Each and everyone could have played a character in an old western movie. If I were rich, I would have cast them myself, and we all would have been rich and famous by now. Dave Flint could have taken Jack Elan's crusty and dry sarcastic parts in those westerns and made Elan bland by comparison. Marty Shoemaker with his moth-eaten black cowboy hat and slow, witty country drawl would have buried Billy Clyde in "All My Children."

Brewster "The Rooster" Stevens with that mischievous elfin look in his eye and his flair for off-the-wall behavior such as stealing the wooden Indian and putting it in the window of the Grandi Building to see if we'd notice, made him a definite Academy Award winner.

Mike Flint had a razor sharp wit and could impersonate Leroy Martinelli better than Leroy, He would entertain us with his renditions of a chain-saw, birds of paradise lost, and Jack Nicholson was never done better.

A lot of pride went into the way Hawley ran his "West Western." Pool tables were constantly brushed, pool tourneys were run constantly and efficiently, the bar was spit and polished. He talked us into putting the Old Western Saloon-girl manikin back in his room, until the guys literally danced her arms and legs off and he had us put speakers in the back room so he and his captivated audience could hear the tunes from the jukebox with greater volume.

One evening round about midnight, I was bartending the front bar while Mike was holding court in the back when all hell broke loose. It seems Ben Johnson Jr. had made a few comments to two silage truck drivers who had just returned from the Point after hauling all day and they didn't take kindly to whatever was said.

Well, locals will back up locals, and it looked like a John Wayne donnybrook center stage. Fists were flying, tables were being tossed along with chairs, and Mike warned me, "Don't get out there and try to stop it, you'll get decked." I heeded his warning and went to the phone to call the sheriffs. The line was dead! I locked up the till and told Mike I was going across the street to the Two Ball and have George Ball use his C.B. and radio the law. After sipping a Grand Mariner on the rocks across the street waiting for the sheriffs to arrive, I noticed the brawl had landed outside on Main Street. What happened next made this encounter an epic in bizarre proportions. Fisticuffs stopped abruptly and the brawlers were scattering and running for cover. It seems Waldo Giacomini's cows had cut loose and were stampeding straight on down Main Street at full muster. When they reached Cheda's Deli, they turned around and came bounding back. The sheriffs had their hands full ramroding the cattle back to safe haven. When I finally worked my way over to the Old western, all my local cherubs were on their stools as if nothing happened, except for a few black eyes and bloody noses. Mike Flint had put in about three foot stations, whole bottles of booze out on the bar. I ranted, "What the hell are you doing, Mike?" He came back at me in his best Jack Nicholson style, "Don't worry, Miss Kitty, the boys needed to be calmed down, and since the till was locked up, I passed my cowboy hat and I bet we've got over a hundred dollar in it!" Well, you couldn't beat Mike Flint ingenuity and that night was the greatest show on earth and it could have been a Cecil B. DeMille with Mike Flint in the starring role.

Mike, wherever you are, and I'm sure you're with Brother Dave, we will always love you and treasure your memory.