Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dirty Sally and Crazy Woman

It was about 9:30 a.m., and I saw a man belly up to the soda fountain at Dirty Sally’s and order a chocolate shake for breakfast. But, while I was hungry, it was way too early for me to want a chocolate shake.

"You folks (that's us) from the East--I feel sorry for ya, too many people. That's why you came to Wyoming--all this space--right?"

Now I (Chuck) will admit to feeling sorry for the folks in small towns in the West that are miles from major stores and the benefits of the marketplace, but today was one of those days that are becoming more numerous--I could only reply, "Well, this is sure a beautiful part of the country."

"Y'know, this place is for sale, if you wanna move out here. $250,000--and that includes all the inventory," the cook-clerk-owner said in her most persuasive manner.

Now this would have been the perfect time to ask who Dirty Sally was, but before I could ask, "Are you Dirty Sally?" (which would have been the most impolite way to find out the history of Dirty Sally), the customer at the counter required her attention.

So, I was left with my thoughts. Let's see: The store is located on Highway 16, a Scenic route to Yellowstone Park from the Black Hills via the Big Horn Mountains. It's is an old fashion store with old fashion malts and hard ice cream. Merchandise ranged from handmade crafts and souvenirs made by local crafters--quilts, kitchen and baby gifts, afghans, and many unique Wyoming items to the usual tee shirts, mugs, and caps. And hunting and fishing gear is also available. AND the rustic building has history--originally built in 1918 as a bank, it had served as a Post Office, Drug Store, Ice Cream Parlor and Gun Smith Shop.

But . . . , $250K? In spite of the message on this sign implying a daily rash of visitors converging on this tiny town, the price seems a bit high.

We left without learning whether or not Dirty Sally was anything more than a curious name for this store.

Given that with the help of a Google search, I (Kate) could only find four restaurants in town (pop. 304) and that the only one of these that appeared to be open was the Crazy Woman Café, it was to the Crazy Woman that we escaped.

Like the town of Ten Sleep, WY, the café is small with three tables on the patio, what looked to be a small bar toward the back on one side, and the main inside dining room. I conjectured that only a couple of diners were locals and that most were tourists like us.

We were preceded by a couple of bikers in full leather,

and soon after, arrived two very large men – one of whom was wearing a doo rag – who, immediately after being seated, began talking on their cell phones. Could they be talking to each other?

The first thing I noticed when opening the menu was the slogan printed on the top: “West of Worry, East of Envy, South of Sorrow, North of Normal.” Is this Ten Sleep’s unofficial town motto?

As for the name of the cafe (and a nearby creek and canyon), we have come across at least five "legends" or "myths" that explain the name. In these legends, the "crazy" woman is either white or Indian and refer to events in the 1840s to the late 1860s.

Chuck, having eaten breakfast before our departure, decided to eat light and ordered two eggs over easy with a thick smoked ham slab, hash browns, and sourdough toast. This is eating light? I didn’t taste the eggs. Eggs are eggs. But they looked to be well-cooked. The ham slab was lightly smoked and tender.

With some apprehension, I ordered the half order of biscuits and gravy with hash browns. Why apprehensive? Because I have been served some not so good (a nice way of saying bad) biscuits and gravy lately, with bad biscuits spoiling a decent gravy. These were a pleasant surprise with good peppery white gravy covering two light fluffy biscuits. We asked our server if the cook was from the South – the only region of the country that really knows its biscuits. “No. She’s from California.” was the reply.

The hash browns were made with large shred potatoes – almost like a thin egg noodle. While I asked that they be cooked crisp, they still were not as crisp as I would like. I know that crisp is a subjective term, still these came nowhere near.

Not a bad breakfast (3.5 Addies), but I certainly wouldn’t drive over the mountains to eat here. But if I am ever again in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, I would consider returning and then crossing the street to Dirty Sally’s for a chocolate shake.

Two women, who may or may not have existed, have made a lasting impact on Ten Sleep, Wyoming. And the legends are probably far more intriguing than . . . "the rest of the story" as the late Paul Harvey would say.

1 comment:

efarrow said...

Dirty Sally was the name of a character on Gunsmoke who the store was named after.