The cars whizzed past Waldo Miles as he tried to make the left turn across Highway 99 at Avenue 17, the airport, and his new job as the first bartender at Lee’s Motel. It was the early 1960s and Lee Holman needed a mixologist for his new cocktail lounge.
Waldo settled in, quickly learning the nuances of the back bar to be able to serve his customers quickly and correctly. In addition to the travelers staying at the motel, the barsoon became a favorite hangout for farmers and crop duster pilots, loaders and mechanics from the nearby airport.
Soon after Waldo started, the owner walked into the bar with country singer Tennessee Ernie Ford. He was introduced to the legendary voice of “Sixteen Tons.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Ford, I recognized you right away. What would you like to drink?” Waldo asked. “Early Times and soda,” replied Ford...