They have held the weight of conversations about Boley exchanged by their occupants.
About the school closing three years ago.
About how to help people feel safe even when there is an occasional prison escapee in the area.
About whether Willie Williams’ bucking bull will be of such quality to draw a premium price at sale, and how they need good counselors at the substance abuse treatment center down the road.
About how the history of their community is best told by some of the oldest, and how they wish those elders were present to talk about Boley instead.
About how good last year’s rodeo was, or about planning the next one.
About their town’s dwindling population, and “what kind of ideas can we come up with” to encourage the “young folks to move back and raise their families.”
Those bar stools have stood as silent witnesses to heavy conversations, just like the decades-gone-by portraits hung on the wall in the back dining room at Pookie’s. Conversations about their town. Their history. Their people. And their hopes.
Yet all that weight has not yet bowed the steel of the bar stool posts.
And all the concerns, regardless of whether or not they can be solved, have not bowed the steeled resolve of those who remain as residents in Boley.
Pookie, Willie, and Tyrone are still there. And they shared with us their hopes of one day seeing life poured back into their community. The life that comes with new businesses, with new families, and with new ideas. The life that lifts the weight off the shoulders of concerned citizens.
They want their young ones to come back home.
And now, so do we.
Kelly Roberts (Red Dirt Kelly) and Rachel J. Apple