Friday, June 24, 2005

The End of an Era

Incredibly sad news today from San Antonio that Ramiro "Ram" Albert Ayala, the owner of famed local bar, club, and institution Tacoland, was fatally shot last night inside the place of business that he created in 1965. The San Antonio Express-News reported that:
Details of the shooting were sketchy, but San Antonio Police Department Sgt. Matt Podwika said two men were inside the bar when words were exchanged and at least one of the men opened fire.

"We don't know exactly what was said between (the victims) and the suspects," he said.

Ayala was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center with a wound to the left side of the chest. A 40-year-old woman who was shot in her abdomen, and a 54-year-old man shot in the side, were taken to University Hospital, according to Podwika.

It appears the two suspects fled in an unknown vehicle with the money in the bar's cash register, the sergeant said.

Anyone who has ever been to Tacoland has fond memories of the foul-mouthed Ram shouting good-natured, friendly obscenities at his friends--and everyone was his friend, even if they were there for the very first time. He was a true character, and if there was ever a bar with "character," it would be Tacoland: The outdoor beer garden/patio with picnic tables and a gigantic tree that dwarfed all the other trees and was difficult to move around; the cheap, cold beer; the dark main building with the almost frighteningly low ceilings and the loudest sound system ever created, and all the ram-related paraphranalia covering the walls; and, of course, Ram himself behind the counter, yelling "P***ies!" at everyone within earshot--it all made for a unique and unforgettable experience. It was one of those places that could only exist in San Antonio, Texas, and it was a great place because of Ram.

A little bit of the heart and soul of San Antonio is gone now, and it is a terrible loss for all of us, everywhere.

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