Have you ever known a place that, in your memories, takes on a dream quality?

It can be almost any place. I have lots of them.

But one that shows up in my dreams quite often is this really greasy spoon in Las Cruces. A college hangout. Oh did I have some fun times there, and the tasty green chile cheese burgers that still haunt me.

That place is called Dick’s Cafe.

It’s a place with plastic windows covered with a greasy film. It has torn vinyl seats and ugly formica tables. The desert sun pours in through those windows, lighting up the room and the grimy linoleum floor.

And there is a jukebox. Oh that jukebox. I used to ask cute cowboys for their pocket change and they would give it to me. My best friend and I would play our faves. And we smiled, and laughed, and told stories and picked on each other and occasionally picked up on each other. It is genuinely the stuff of my dreams. All the individual memories blended together into one beautiful and happy amalgam.

When visiting Las Cruces, my pulse still quickens driving past Dick’s. Back in the day, we would drive by real slow and survey the pickups parked out front. My best friend and I had a game, how many could we recognize. She was always better than me at that, but if we saw a good one, one belonging to a good friend or a particularly cute boy that needed to be flirted with, we’d turn in to the dirt parking lot and grab a coke and some fries. The days went by slow and easy then.

What’s great is that Dick’s has been around since 1959. My best friend’s parents, my surrogate Mom and Dad, have just as fond memories about Dick’s as we do. THAT is an institution, people!

Why am I waxing rhapsodic about Dick’s today?

Because I just read in the Las Cruces Sun News that they had a fire overnight. Article here.

If the physical place is gone, it can live on in my memories. But it would be a sad day for me to have to say goodbye to the actual place.

Just writing this, remembering the days, makes me smile. Fridays at Dick’s were especially fun.

An urgent email went out to my best friend who still lives in Las Cruces for some on the scene reporting…

About Author