January 24, 2016 · 11:00 am
If you are planning to cozy up with a good book after a day of creating snow sculptures, here is a brief excerpt from THE AFTERNOON CROWD.
THE HORSEY SET
Arlene S. Bice © 2016.1.24.
they came with bruised, calloused hands coarser than sandpaper
to lift a shot of whiskey chased by a cold mug of beer, a reward
for hard work done out in the elements, thanks not given, except
what they gave themselves; not a lot of time to linger; even on
Christmas Day horses had regular schedules to keep and these
workers were there to keep ‘em
they came from all parts of the country, from Canada, and the
Caribbean, landed here in the center of New Jersey, to work on
one particular horse farm or another; how did they find us,
some from the west or mid-west; wasn’t that a
reversal of history?
They came as owners
more on the list
of guys & gals
no shifting duties
either you were good
carrying your own weight or you were out
the owners came more often in the evening, for dinner
when the daytime bar folks did not; or they came for a
few celebratory drinks after the races were over
who I happened to like above others
usually a pleasant fellow
a common sense guy
never nasty or stupid
always came in alone;
this day he came in, dragging
he carried the look of the lonely on him
I knew he was married and I knew not happily
and I knew this day that his trouble was the
wife, not the horses;
a man has a certain look about him when it is
a woman that weighs on his mind; my heart
went out to him as my ears just listened, that
was all he wanted and couldn’t get anywhere
else to go along with his shot and beer
a year later, when he came in our positions were
“good god, you look terrible!” he said, “what’s
happened to you?’ etc. etc. etc.
October 9, 2015 · 6:31 pm
Warren Food Works 108 So. Main Str. Warrenton, NC252-257-1239.
In the worst of times, a barroom can be a dangerous place, in the best of times it can be fun, educational, and a good source of income. My few years tending bar at the American House Tavern, in the middle of horse country in the 70s, were the best of times. Some of the people I met became dear friends, some were dark horses, and some just had plain old good stories. I love a good story.
A tavern, with their daily regular customers and the newbies that walked in for the first time, is like a small neighborhood. You get to know some very well and others only their façade. But people reveal more than they realize when they are in public. Many stories didn’t get into the book. I’ll talk about a few of them.
Come out, bring your book to be signed, or you can purchase one for $10, or just come to hear the stories.
October 5, 2015 · 9:08 pm
Author Arlene Bice in Colonial garb.
Come out to hear the unprinted, inside story of The Afternoon Crowd at the American House Tavern program, written by Arlene S. Bice dressed in colonial garb. The program is hosted by the Vance County Genealogy Society during their monthly meeting on Monday, October 12, 2015 at 6:30 P.M. in the Farm Bureau room of the Perry Memorial Library in Henderson, NC.
This is a fun book as well as recording the history of the 70s, set in the middle of horse country. Bring in your book to be signed or purchase one there for $10. Please plan to attend this informative meeting. All VCGS meetings are open to the public.
September 17, 2015 · 9:58 am
Bill-the owner, Roger the hoagie man, Mike-former owner, and The Candy Man Bill
Scenes from the American House Tavern-the subject for The Afternoon Crowd. Bill-the owner is a basic who threads in and out of the stories. Roger, the hoagie man-who made the best hoagies ever, ever, ever, will appear in another volume. Mike will appear in the next volume, too. Bill- the candy man has his bit of story in the book.
Every town and every house has its own stories to tell. Taverns are the best places for learning about human nature, how people think, and sometimes why they think the way they do. It was a job between careers and I loved it!
Signed copies of The Afternoon Crowd can be found at Randy Now’s ManCave at 134 Farnsworth Ave. or at the Old Bookshop at 200 Farnsworth Ave. in Bordentown, NJ. Or, you may order it from me if you want an inscription, or from Amazon.com. $10 wherever you buy it. Enjoy!