It was a magical, mystical night on Lake Gaston
the first full supermoon of the year promising to
revive enchantment, serendipitous messages of
nature, a culmination of the summer of 2015 before
the Virgo harvest of planting in the earth began in reality.
On this evening when the world gazed at the same
full supermoon at the same time; our moon would
follow the path of the late winter sun and the sun’s
path for six months; a supermoon indeed.
All water vehicles had gone home, hooting as they
passed, not knowing the sacredness of our laden boat
or the independent meditations and ceremonies
planned with great care and anticipation.
Wanting to free my soul of entanglements
ethereal currents ran through me as surely
as passing water crafts created currents to
rock our boat, a way to gain our attention.
Yet it was the moon teasing us by peeking
in and out of the mournfully colored clouds
that caught our thoughts and held them until
we pulled up anchor, quietly, and slowly made
our way home.
Arlene Sandra Bice (C) 8/31/2015
Photos by Lisa Hagan
While tending bar is a lot of work, although good bartenders don’t appear to be working hard, if you like the study of people, it is grand. I love people; our differences, our sameness, and our stories. For as many as we are on this earth, we each have a personal story that is unique. We have reasons, whys, and wherefores that mold us into who we are today.
While Stanley Dancer was a great horseman with a good reputation as an individual, I had met him, but did not know him on a personal level. I did come to know many of the people who worked for him and for other horse trainers in the Plumsted Township area. They were teachers about their professions to me. Working with and around horses was a daily chore; no taking off sick days, or Christmas. The animals must be fed and tended to and these people chose a life style that did not afford them luxuries. I admired them greatly; came to love them for who they were, what they were willing to sacrifice to be where they were, and what jobs they did.
Please enjoy an excerpt from THE HORSEY SET
they came with bruised, calloused hands
coarser than sandpaper
to lift a shot of whiskey chased by a
cold mug of beer,
for hard work done out in the elements,
thanks not given
what they gave themselves;
not a lot of time
to linger; even on
horses had regular schedules
workers were there
to keep ‘em
A bolt of lightning came out of the sky and struck me in the spring of this year. This book is the result of that moment. I have no idea which of my deceased ancestors dredged up these old memories and sent them to me or why it came, but it lifted me out of a gloomy week, filling me with so much laughter while I wrote it and again, when I re-wrote it.
This easy-to-read poetic narrative is of my few years tending bar at the American House Tavern, in the middle of the horse country of New Egypt, New Jersey, in the 70s. I share my take on the people who came into my life at that time, in that place. This is my interpretation of those sitting across the bar from me while I scooted around, pouring beers, mixing cocktails, and playing amateur psychologist, sometimes matchmaker.
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