Pax Vobiscum


Pax Vobiscum
Sherrie, the first Red-Headed Capricorn. News came through the last weekend that Sherrie passed away not long ago. I missed her in El Paso last month.

I’ll always recall her, recanted elsewhere, as the first in a long line of Red-Headed Capricorn women in my life.

It was the old Chuy’s in the Dallas West End, the storefront had the old Tango Frogs on the street side, as art. Or as a sign. Or in keeping with what was Chuy’s then reputation as an edgy company from Austin.

Sherrie was drinking margaritas, as was her style, and my Scorpio date tried to keep up with Sherrie, which turned into a handful of Scorpio I couldn’t handle. White girls, other than Sherrie, really shouldn’t drink tequila. Just an un-asked answer to a question.

Half-way through the meal, that night, Tex-Mex in Dallas, Austin Tex-Mex in Dallas, I was asking Sherrie about business, and I can’t recall the question, but she looked, maybe leered, at me, my Scorpio date and then Sherrie said, “I’d tip my hat to the that.”

She lifted up her long, flowing mane of gorgeous red hair. It was a wig. Or hairpiece. It was matted red, fire-engine red underneath the netting, but the long, flowing locks were an attachment.

I most near fell out of my chair laughing so hard.

Amazing woman. In the 20 years or more that I’ve been working in El Paso, what started as a joke became a long line of Red-Headed Capricorn women who were players in my life in one capacity or another, and I’d like to think Sherrie was the first. Might’ve been one in Austin, near the same time, but it’s a close call.

Outside the venue in El Paso, Sherrie would light a green “More” cigarette, menthol 120, extra skinny smoke. She smoked until the end, as near as I know. She loved her boys and ponies in Ciudad Juarez, and one time, she asked to borrow some pain medicine, as I had some generic oxy leftover from carpal tunnel surgery. I loaned her two tablets, and I was faithfully repaid them on my following trip. I’d rather get antibiotics from across the border, but that’s another question.

Lived to a ripe old age, smoked, drank, probably propped up with dubious legal narcotics from questionable sources, loved ponies, little dogs, and had a history of good marriages to bad men.

As a legendary drinker, and at some bar, someplace in the Borderlands, there’s a dim spot where she used to sit, cigarette, martini, margarita. It’s not quite as a bright, now.

I never have forgotten the “I’ll tip my hat to that” comment, and the way I felt, laughing so hard it hurt.

Pax Vobiscum, Sherrie.