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So, this happened in July!  A reading of Tablecloth Nights,
sponsored by the Golden Notebook, an independent bookstore in Woodstock, NY 
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And a book signing event at the 90th Annual Woodstock Library Fair, at the Woodstock Arts table. Lucky me!
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And published in September's issue of Chronogram Magazine
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Betty’s
There’s a place up Saratoga way you may want to check out
tucked north of the grey and pink houses
where east-facing windows stare bleakly
at the lake shoreline
sprinkled with the skiffs of summertime.
Drive past some long-haired cows, once white,
now the color of old men’s teeth,
sprawled contentedly in lumpy mud on straw laced fields,
bovine leftovers of yesterday’s farms.

Stumble on into Betty’s …Sunnyside Café
Crack a Molson and sit, rest your bottle on the red vinyl tablecloth,
where gingerbread men prance gaily across, 

remnants of Christmas past.
You may feel unwelcome at first as you notice the farmers’ backs,
behind a blue curtain of smoke at the bar on red leather stools,
solid and unyielding,

…a stranger with a notebook is a foreign sight
 

The knotty pine walls are thickly coated a

with the stink of sixty years of beers,

displaying a crooked canvas of neon-lit clocks,

Budweiser, Miller, Schlitz, Beck’s

Soon you’ll feel warm and safe, watch the fat black stove rocking,

stuffed with snapping logs


Betty serves up the brewskies and kicks open the door behind her

to shuffle in a sliver of hard March air.

The water doesn’t reek at Betty’s

like the miraculous springs of sulfur past and

blue linen towels unwind endlessly in the bathroom dispenser
 

Walls whisper of pool hall hustlers and farmers with a week’s pay from their grain.

A tractor-wide man with big black suspenders

parks his John Deere outside

and a young farmer with a wedding band approaches your table

to quote Shakespeare

a twinkle in his eye born of boredom and boondock daydreams.

Stumble on into Betty’s …Sunnyside Café

—Fern Suess

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Tablecloth Nights, a Memoir,

 Available at Amazon.com Paperback and ebook.

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Fern Suess writes, snaps, and makes art. Tablecloth Nights, a Memoir, can be purchased in paperback or e-book at Amazon.com. She's most happy with a book, a paint brush, or palette knife in her hand, and has learned to love her phone, because of the ease of taking photos. 

kfernsuess.com is listed as a Guest Blog on the Art Times Journal website. Check out creative opportunities, cultural events, gallery listings.