Bessmer, Mich., is a small town about 10 miles east of the Wisconsin border, and in 1973 I moved there to replace a guy who had quit the part of El Gallo in a production of 'The Fantasticks.' For real money, I worked in The Abbey refurbishing it as a ski lodge. More on that later.
But then I got a second job as a bartender at this fancy supper club just over the border in Hurley, Wis. It was a fill-in gig -- mostly so I could help out the rest of the staff on New Year's Eve -- and I only got a couple of shifts beforehand to train.