Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jude Burkhauser and the Cranberry Tapestry

Jude Burkhauser and her tapestry on the Indian legend of how the cranberrys got their color.

This tapestry and others based on the Lenni Lenape Inidan legend of the Walum Olum are on display at the Upper Township Library in Cape May County, NJ

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jeramiah Was A Whooumper!

Slimetime – The Art of Fishing
By Robert “Barnsie” Barnes (aka the Cave Man)

Jeramiah Was A Whooumper!

My 51 Ford pickup coasted to a quiet stop. The lights had been shut off a hundred yards back as we needed to slip into the swamp without alerting the quarry. Plenty of bug spray applied liberally above the waste, a couple of flashlights with extra batteries, plenty of smokes and extra matches in a plastic bag, and back in those days, there would be a couple of sixpacks of Bud hanging on me like handgrenades.

We picked up our weapons and stepped into the cool water. I was with Frank and we were two of only the six people I met who were fortunate to engage in this great sport – bullfrogging.

There are many better restaurants which feature these fine eating criters as a delicacy and they sell on the street for $30 a pound. At those prices I could capture about $600 bucks worth on an average night. But I’d rather eat them myself.

I’ve never encountered anyone else in the swamp. No crowds, no Shoobies, no competition, no hassles, maybe another crazy like myself, and a hell of a lot of fun. A calm night, a small boat, or maybe a sneakbox, a burlap bag ad plenty of bug spray.

I don’t take small ones, cause the big ones have a lot more mean and are easier to detect. Amid all the other noise that about at night in the swamps, the unmiskabable sound of “Whooump, Whooump, Whooump,” tells me where the big ones are. They don’t “croak” they “Whooump!” I catch them and then they croak.

The stalk begins. They don’t just sit there and let you pick’em off. And even a small wave will send them to the bottom quick. I’ve don’t the best I can, I’ve ignored a couple of turtles that I’ve stepped on. I’ve ignored a dozen snakes and zillions of mosquitoes. He’s sitting on a Lilly pad, looking at the bugs, getting ready to strike.

Quiet, move slow, don’t move at all, then move quick, the hand is faster than the eye, and he’s in the bag. I’ve got my limit. I’ll be pigging out soon. A nice salad, maybe some fries, corn on the cob and bunch of frogs legs.

From The Native Guide Vol. 3 #4 April, 1999

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kelly's Lagoon off Mirror Lake, Browns Mills NJ


Browns Mills. Before the Jersey Shore it was always Browns Mills for the summer, and usually a late Friday afternoon when my family and friends would pile into my father’s car, leave our home in Camden and head for the small community nestled next to Mirror Lake in the middle of the Pine Barrens.

I knew every landmark on the 40 mile route from the city to the country, having traveled it so many times, and couldn’t wait for that roller coaster pitch in my stomach that would come when we got to the “hills,” actually just bumps in the road, not far from the Pine Barrens Commission headquarters that signified the entrance to the town that held some special magic for me.

Not far from Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base, Browns Mills is now famous as the home of Deborah Heart and Lung Hospital, but those institutions don’t reflect onMirror Lake, which you can’t see until you leave the main part of town and turn the corner past the bus station.

There was the Pig N’ Whistle Inn, a colonial era tavern and stagecoach stop, on one side of the road and a house on a hill that was Kay’s Gift Shop. Down a bit further there was a pizza restaurant next to the damn that flowed into a stream that, by canoe, would eventually carry you to the Delaware River.

The inn burned down years ago, and there’s a McDonald’s there today. The bus stop is gone too, and the gift shop is now a bank. But the lake is still there, and the places that meant something to me growing up haven’t changed all that much.

The road still winds around the lake that was once lined with private docks belonging to families with homes nearby. Most, like ours, were vacation homes, country retreats for those who wanted to escape the city in the summer. Our white stucco house, which my father and my uncle built with their own hands, brick by brick, is the last of a few small cottages at the end of a dirt road. It has a fireplace and a picture window facing the Little Lake, the small lagoon off the big lake, Mirror Lake, at the other end of the street.

In the winter, when there aren’t many leaves on the trees, you can see the house across the little lake where my Aunt Jane and Uncle Jack lived in the summer and holiday weekends. You could walk across the 100 yards if the lake was frozen, as it was much of the winter. My father was the biggest so if the ice would support him, it was good for everybody. A fire in the barbeque pit was good for hot dogs and marshmallows.
In the summer you visited them by row boat or canoe, or walk around to the bridge my uncle Babe built along the path through the woods they used to get to the dock on the big lake. You might pass aunt Jane on the trail, heading for the dock with a towl and a bar of Ivy soap, the kind that floats.

Uncle Jack always had something going on. He was either oil painting ships, putting up the hammock, tether ball pole, or badminton net, but always took a break to take us in his little Porsche to the bus stop market for ice cream and a ride around the lake. I don’t know how six cousins fit into that little car.

Then he’d drop us off at the dock where we’d dive or cannonball into the lake, driving Aunt Jane out of the water, and race to the neighbor’s floating pontoon platform out in the deep part. As we’d pull ourselves onto the bobbing float I’d swallow the brownish cedar water, and then lie in the sun until dry.

There were drownings all the time, and you thought about it when you heard an ambulance screaming around Lake Shore Drive, but they were usually city slickers out of their element. We had been baptized in this lake when we were born and felt invincible. But we did practice the buddy system, wouldn’t go swimming alone, and if you wanted to swim across the lake you had to follow a row boat.

Power boats weren’t allowed on the lake, so it was often filled with rowboats, canoes and sailboats in a soft breeze, gently floating nowhere.

We would take a canoe to explore the swampy source of the lake. Catching frogs and turtles with your bare hands is a patiently crafted skill, and dusk is the best time to catch fish. Rolled up pieces of wet bread make good bait for catfish, and you only feel squeamish the first time you learn to grab the flopping fish from behind the gills to remove the hook.. No matter what the size of the catch, the fish are thrown back to be caught another day.

Sometimes, on really dull days, we’d cast off a plastic model ship into the little lake, a toy that took hours to build and only a few minutes to sink with a BB gun.
Then there was the time a state Fish, Game & Wildlife agent came out of the woods behind our house and gave a ticket to my father for fishing without a license. Dad had his day in court, explained how he was teaching my brother to cast a line, and besides, the agent had to trespass on our property in order to catch him. Not guilty.

Breakfast with Uncle Jack meant blueberry pancakes, wild berries you had to go pick yourself.

After dinner we’d meet at Uncle Jack’s to play flashlight tag in the dark while the older folks played cards on the porch.

If you stayed overnight at Uncle Jack’s house, which was usually crowded, and didn’t get a bed, you had to sleep on the bathroom floor, which would earn you name painted in oil on the bathroom wall.

There were seven brothers and sisters in my father’s family, so there were always a lot of cousins running around, and their names are all on that wall.

We would sleep either in the bunk beds in the side room, or in the attic, where the stars would shine in the window through the pines, and we’d fall asleep to the sounds of crickets and frogs croaking into the night.

In the morning, a woodpecker would wake us up and we’d go outside to pick blueberries that Uncle Jack would put into the pancakes.

Then we’d have to wait for an hour before we could go down the path through the woods to the big lake for a dip in the lake, because one of the rules was you couldn’t go swimming on a full stomach.

We didn’t put our shoes on until Sunday, when we went to church – St. Ann’s in the Pines.

It went that way every day, all summer, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, for years, until we became teenagers, discovered girls and rock & roll, and started going down the shore where the action was.

And now I find myself sitting across the table from Uncle Jack, drinking his iced tea that tastes just like the big lake, saying how every time he runs into a cousin they say, “Browns Mills. Let’s go back there because they were the best days of my life.”

And Uncle Jack said, “We still go up there for weekends in the summer, but nobody comes to visit us anymore.. You’re welcome. It’s still the same. You can get everybody back there if you want to, but that was a special place at another time, and it’ll never happen again. That, I think, is what Thomas Wolfe meant when he said, ‘You can’t go home again’”

[Originally published in the column Kelly’s People – The SandPaper, Friday, Dec. 16, 1988]

Pittsburgh Paul on Kelly's Lagoon, Mirror Lake

Pittsburgh Paul at Mirror Lake

Pittsburgh Paul in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hal O'Leary

I met Hal O'Leary at Winterpark, Colorado in the winter of 1977 when I drove into town with Brien O'Keeney in his red TR7. We drove cross country from our winter rental beach house in Ocean City and had made stops in Pittsburgh to visit Marc Connally and in Boulder to visit Marc's sister Mary, and then headed into the Rockies.

Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" was playing on the radio, which mentions the Rockies, as we drove past the original Hard Rock Cafe and then turned off the highway and through Beaver Pass to get to Winterpark, a major ski area.

Brian pulled into a spot that was reserved for the handicapped and there, on the first door it read: Handicap Ski Office - Hal O'Leary.

Brien had come to America from Ireland with a friend, John Hassen, and they worked as house painters in Ocean City for awhile until one day when Brien was riding his motorcycle to work and an old man pulled out in front of him and hit him hard. He went down with his head hitting the sidewalk and putting a big crack in his helmet but it was his leg that was damaged. They didn't amputate right away and it got worse, and eventually they took it off, and he now walks with slight limp with a false leg prothesis.

I followed Brien in and we met Hal, who asked Brien if he was AK or BK - which means an above the knee amputee or below the knee amputee, and Brian said AK.

"Want to ski?" Hal asked.

Right now? Brien wanted to know.

Yea, right now, said O'Leary.

He handed Brien two outrigges and told him to go into the locker room and take off his prothesis, as he wouldn't need it to ski.

In the locker room Brien met another handicap skier, who was a double AK, double amputee above the knee, a Vietnam war vet who had stepped on a land mine.

Within the hour, Brien and Hal O'Leary were on the lift going up to the highest point on the mountain and they skied down together. While Hal is a normie, like me, he invented the three-track ski with two outriggers so one legged people can ski.

I waited for them at the bottom of the mountain and when they skiied up to me Brien had the biggest smile on his face that you wouldn't believe.

We ended up staying at Winterpark for awhile, and then returning after a trip to California, and spent St. Patrick's Day there, when the locals ski down the hill for the last time naked and end up in a big pool of water at the bottom of the hill.

We went back the next year, and learned that the International Handicap Ski Tournament was going to be held at Braniff, Calgary Canada, and with nothing else to do, drove up there for the tournament and met handicap skiers from all over the world.

Then the following year, while we were at Aspin, Brien was skiing Aspin Mountain when he came across another handicap skiier whose outrigger had broke - a young 17 year old Irish American, and helped him down the mountain. Teddy Kennedy had lost a leg to cancer, but that didn't stop him from skiing, and he wanted to know how Brien could shift gears in his TR7 with one leg. Brien showed him, and also showed him how to make a 160 degree in lane turn using the handbreak. That got the attention of the Aspin sheriff's deputies, who just said that we were on their radar and not to act up.

Teddy then met us at Winterpark one season and also met Hal O'Leary, a legend to all handicap skiers, and author of the book on handicap skiing.

He has also been recognized by Canada with a rightly deserved achievements award.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Belly Busters Bar Menu

98 Lakehurst Road, Browns Millls, NJ
(609) 893-7779

Kitchen Open 12 noon – 8 pm.
We Deliver – from 4pm

Now delivering to JBMDL – Fort Dix & McGuire

Chicken Packs

1) Snack Pack – dark meat 1 leg, 1 thigh, 1 roll, 3 potato logs - $4.49
2) Snack Pack – light meat 1 breast, 1 wing, 1 roll, 3 potato logs - $5,50
3) Lunch Box – 1 breast , 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 rolls, 6 logs - $7.69
4) Dinner Pack – 2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 legs, 3 thighs, 4 rolls, 8 logs - $13,75
5) Crowd Pleaser – 3 breast, 3 wings, 3 legs, 3 thighs, 6 rolls 12 logs - $16.99
6) Party Pack – 4 breats, 4 wings, 4 legs, 4 thighs, 8 rolls, 16 logs - $19.75
7) Chicken Fingers (4) w. fries - $ 5.29

Chicken Wings
(Buffalo Wingettes, BBQ)

6 pack $4.99
12 pack $6.49
18 pack $9.99
24 pack $12.99
30 pack $15.99
50 pack $27.99
100 pack $53.99

Xtra wing sauce and blue cheese $.50 and $1.75 and celery $.50


1, Ham and Cheese $4.95 $9.99
2. American
(Bologna, ham & cheese) $5.75 $9.95
3. Bologna & Cheese $4.25 $7.95
4. Italian $5.99 $10.99
5. Roast Beef & Cheese $6.50 $11.95
6. Turkey w/Cheese $6.25 $11.25
7. The “Belly Buster”
(Roast Beef, turkey w/Cheese) $6.99 $11.99
8. Tuna Salad $5.75 $9.99
9. Chicken Salad
(all white meat) $5.75 $9.99
Extra Meet $ .95 $2.25
Extra Cheese $1.25 $1.75
Extra Peppers $ .95 $1.00

(Make any ½ sub n a Hard Roll)

All subs include Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, our Secret Spices.
Request Mayo, Mustard, Oil & Vigegar

HOT SUBS Half Whole

Sausage $5.50 $9.99
w/Onions & Peppers $ 6.75 $10.49
Sausage Parm $5.79 $10.49
Meatball Parm $5.79 $10.49
Chicken Parm $5.79 $10.49
Chicken Steak $5.50 $8.99
w/Cheese $5.99 $9.99
Buffalo Chicken Cheese Steak $5.99 $9.99
Belly Buster Chicken Cheese Steak $6.49 $10.00
w/Letuce, tomato, onion, mayo
Philly Steak Sandwich $5.50 $8.99
w/Cheese $5.99 $9.99
Belly Buster Cheese Steak $6.49 $10.99
w/Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo
Pizza Steak $5.99 $10.99

All burgers and dogs served w/pickle and chips

Plain Burger $3.99
w/Cheese $4.49
Belly Buster Cheese Burger
w/lettuice, tomaton, onion & mayo $5.99
Pizza Burger $5.99
Jumbo Hot Dogs $2.50
Cheese & Chili, Sauerkraut $ .50

All sandwiches served w/pickle and chips

Grilled Cheese $2.95
Pork Roll w/Cheese $3.49
Fish Sandwich $5.99
BBQ Pulled Pork $5.95
Club Sandwich $5.69
Roast Beef Club $6.29
Reuben $5.95
Corned Beef Special $5.95


Two 12” slices w/One Topping - $3.50

Extra cheese, sliced tomato, onions, ham, hot peppers, green peppers, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, additional toppings $1.50


Small Large
Soup of the Day $2.00 $3.00
Chili $2.00 $3.00
Potato Logs $1.50 $3.00
Collard Greens $2.00 $3.00
Mac & Cheese $2.00 $3.00
Potato Salad $2.00 $3.00
Macaroni Salad $2.00 $3.00
Cole Slaw $2.00 $3.00

Chicken Fingers (5) $5.29
Onion Rings $1.69
Garlic Bread $1.49
Cheesy Garlic Bread $2.49
French Fries $1.99
Cheese Fries $2.99
Poppers $4.99
Mozzarella Sticks (6) $4.99
Pepper Shooters $1.10
Deli Pickle $1.29




Egg Sandwich (2 eggs) $2.25 w/cheese $2.75
Eggs, Pork Roll w/Cheese $3.95
Pork Roll w/Cheese $3.49