She's one of the friendliest faces at one of Socorro’s most popular watering holes, El Capitol Bar. Linda Hedgeman has been working behind the bar for more than 16 years. She took time out of her busy evening to speak with El Defensor Chieftain.
Question: What brought you here to the ‘Cap’?
Answer: My boss Joanna DeBrine who is also a very good friend outside of here said that she was looking for a bartender and so I thought why not.
Q: What are your main responsibilities day to day?
A: Pouring drinks and making sure that everyone coming into our facility leaves both safe and happy. We try to make sure customers leave the right way. I am a referee if you will.
Q: What is the atmosphere like at a place such as ‘Cap’?
A: Very good. During the day I do not get busy until the workers get done and then it is hopping. I have my older crowd which keeps me going myself. They’re much more patient than the younger group because for one, I’m old and two, I’m slow. I used to be able to bop all over the place but when you age your mind just is not as fast.
Q: What are your responsibilities from the beginning of your shift to the end of your shift?
A: You have to stock up just like any other bar. Make sure your lemons and limes are cut up, wipe down tables and fill the ice. Basically you are making sure yourself, as well as the next bartender, is prepared for the next shift.
Q: What is it about bartending that you enjoy?
A: My customers. They are, for the most part, the sweetest people in the world. Plus they tip well (laughs). It also keeps me moving around and my life going which is very important. To be honest there is no down side for me personally.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at ‘Cap’ in particular?
A: I can’t tell you. There is no worse part. Occasionally you have to throw out a drunk person or a homeless person who take bathes in the bathroom. But that is evened out with say a lot of my Tech student visitors for example which are always great to see. I also do something I call “Weenie-Wednesday” and we get an influx of people in town and they love it. I cook my hotdogs in Guinness and people can’t have enough. The visitors for the Festival of the Cranes for example love it.
Q: Is there a particular customer that has given you serious issues in the past?
A: Obviously there have been your rough characters at times. But it is rare in my experience. But for the most part I try to make the most of it because 90 percent of our customers are excellent people.
Q: In all of your years working in this industry, how have you evolved as a bartender?
A: It’s my way or the highway. I’m at the point now where everyone trusts me and once I come in then it is “Linda’s ship” if you will, which is very humbling. I do what I can to please customers in anyway possible but if you get too aggressive you are gone. I treat every customer with respect no matter what and hopefully they treat me the same.
Q: A few questions about your past. Are you born and raised in Socorro?
A: No I was born in Florida then quickly was brought to upstate New York. I came out to visit here with my mom and it was about 70 degrees and the weather alone had me hooked. Plus it was ironic because when I came out here at first there was a two day snow storm. Of course. It melted very fast. I came out for my children Andrea, Chris and Michael.
Q: What was it about Socorro that made you want to make the move from upstate New York permanent?
A: I loved the people. I loved the weather as I said. Besides the wind there is nothing that I do not enjoy about this community.
Q: Now that you are settled, what is your favorite thing to do here in Socorro?
A: To be honest for my sentiment there is not a ton to do here in Socorro so some of my friends and I will take off to say Deming or Madrid which have the best food near us. An afternoon trip for lunch is my go to.
Q: A few random questions. What is you favorite movie and why?
A. “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts. The idea that there is always a fairytale ending just speaks to me. You always have a chance at that which is an idea that I very much enjoy.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: I am definitely a country girl. I like old classics. If I had to name one it would be Patsy Cline. That has always been what I grew up with.
Q: If you could live anywhere, and money is not an object, where would that be?
A: My first thought is New York City. You walk out of the door and there is the world hitting you.
Q: If there was something that you could change about Socorro, what would it be?
A: More restaurants. I love the local ones we have. But after that it ends there. It would be great to get for example a nice Italian place. Our town needs to grow more. I know it is a small town, but we need to provide more