New Jersey Cowboys – Try this one with either a glass of Blessington (if you like it sweet) or Classico (if you like it dry…)

In 2004, what is now the Enoteca was still just a barn – dirt floor, holes in the roof, big sliding doors on either side, and the south side completely open to serve as horse stalls and on the far side, a huge bull pen.   At that time we rented out the horse stalls and the pasture behind it to a New Jersey Cowboy named Clay.  Up to that point I had not known that there was such a thing as a New Jersey Cowboy.  But, sure enough, there was.  He had a big white cowboy hat, chewed tobacco at 7 am, wore boots and spurs and the whole deal.  Clay was in the business of buying wild horses, breaking them and making them safe to ride and then selling them.  He asked if he could rent the pasture and the stalls for a while and, loving the idea of having horses on the farm and being fascinated with the idea of the very existence of New Jersey Cowboys, I readily agreed.   

Plus there was an added benefit – Clay was a rodeo cowboy.  He performed with all sorts of other cowboys, the New Jersey variety and otherwise, at Cowtown Rodeo every Saturday evening in the summer.   If you have never been, you MUST go to Cowtown.  It is truly an amazing place.  It was especially so for a city boy like me.  But what was great was that we took the boys to the rodeo one Saturday and there was Clay standing inside the ring along the fence, waiting his turn.  We walked through the crowd down to the fence and said hello and talked to him for a few minutes.  We were at the rodeo and we knew one of the cowboys!  Not only did we go to the rodeo, but we got to be cool at the rodeo!

Clay kept horses at the farm throughout the summer and I don’t remember actually collecting any rent, but that didn’t matter.  It was still cool.  And besides, he did leave me a goat tied to a tree for a present once.  I wasn’t sure it was a goat at the time.  But I called our friend Ross Field from up the road and described this thing tied to the tree and Ross assured me that it was in fact a goat and that, no, goats were not dangerous but were actually very smart animals and good for cleaning up weedy places.  Well, we had a lot of those so I put Goaty (which is the name Luca gave him) to work.  After a week or so, I told Clay, thanks but no thanks.  We had way too much on our hands without becoming goat herders as well.    Clay seemed disappointed.  So was Luca.

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