Piano Pat and the Sip ‘n Dip Mermaids | Local Legends | Atlas Obscura

Piano Pat and the Sip ‘n Dip Mermaids | Local Legends | Atlas Obscura


– There was a guy playing
here at the Sip ‘n Dip and he decided he wanted to
go on a vacation, so he came and asked me if I would
play his two-week vacation, and his two-week vacation
ended and he didn’t come back. He blew town. And I’ve been here ever since, for 56 years. Oh, I love Montana. They come from all over the world, and they say that they
don’t know of a state where people are any friendlier. They’re strangers when
they walk into the bar. Before they know it, everybody’s
talking to everybody else and visiting, and they
haven’t even known each other, you know, but… I play everything. I’m an Elvis freak, and people have a fetish for Johnny Cash, and so I do two, three from him. But nothing new lately,
because my eyes have gone bad and I can’t read my music anymore, so mostly from memory. The old boy up above,
he’s been good to me, giving me my health and
letting these fingers work, that I, you know, didn’t get arthritis. When I started, I worked
six nights a week. The guy that built it, he went all over, to islands, and got all
kinds of statues and stuff and that’s why the lounge is what it is. How it got popular, we don’t know. They’re trying to make a
celebrity out of me at my age. God, I walk in a store and
then some guy will recognize, “There’s Piano Pat,” you know. I have to have my picture
taken with them all. You know. It goes on, and on, and on. I don’t know how real movie stars do it, because it’s a drag. It is. If it happened when I was
younger, eh, you know, but, it’s just what can happen in life. You don’t know. – So 10? – 10. There’s 10 merpeople. – Yes. – So we have 10 merpeople. – [Belle] My day job is, I’m a LPN at the local hospital. My friends are always the ones that are saying, “She’s a mermaid.” – [Saoirse] Mm-hmm. – [Belle] And I’m like,
“Okay, let me get my phone out and show you the photos,”
’cause they’re like, “No you’re not.” Like,
“I don’t believe you.” – [Saoirse] Yeah. Yeah, I
work at the university here in Great Falls. I’m the assistant registrar, so at our commencement, there
was a family from out of of town discussing, like, this place where you can go see mermaids. And so my boss snuck in and was like, “We have
our very own mermaid,” and they’re like, “Oh my god!” And I’m just like, “Hi, yeah.” – [Belle] Makes you more unique. – [Saoirse] Mm-hmm. – [Belle] Makes things go quicker. – [Saoirse] Yeah, my husband’s in the Army and he lives in Texas, so I got a nine-month
deployment to get through, and you had a six-month? – [Belle] Yes, uh, this kinda
just fills the extra void when they’re gone, and lets you get out of your shell a little bit. [Saoirse] Mm-hmm. When I swim, I feel more beautiful. Putting on the wig and the lipstick, and the tail, you know, just kinda, you get to be someone that you aren’t. – [Saoirse] When you get the
compliments people telling you, “You look so graceful, it’s
so natural, it’s so pretty,” it’s nice and it’s kinda humbling that you can do something that, you know, not a lot of
people can, and you didn’t really know you could do
until you started this job. – [Pat] I had a kid in his
twenties not too long ago and he says, “Well who’s
going to play when you, you…” You know, I
mean, he can see I’m 84. He says, “Well, you better
start teaching somebody. You better give them lessons.”

11 thoughts to “Piano Pat and the Sip ‘n Dip Mermaids | Local Legends | Atlas Obscura”

  1. Sometimes you just find where you fit and when you do it's a beautiful thing…I only wish everyone could find those things that make them feel so happy and at home for work

  2. I love small town characters. The region where I live in nw Michigan is full of them. We have a fellow named Joe who lives in an itty bitty shack with no electricity or water who is a one-man town beautifier. Six days a week, he walks up and down our mile and a half Mian Street picking up every little piece of trash he can find. He's been doing it well over 20 years. Thankfully, he stays in on those freezing temp days like those we experienced this January but even at 30-35 degrees, he's out there.
    Over the years, folks have tried to put him in more adequate housing but he refuses. The gas station attendants and grocery store clerks keep an eye out for him, making sure he gets his fill of hot coffee or cold water and a donut or hot dog. I think he's one of the best humans I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

  3. Mermaids in Montana and the coolest lady too?!! I love it! I'd love to go to see this place.
    This is why I love this channel. 😜👍❤️

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