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America’s got talent!

Amelia Brooks played the violin at the Hortonville IOU thrift shop fundraiser, proving that “America’s Got Talent.”


April 17, 2013

Okay, I admit it. I’m a reality show junkie. On the rare occasion that I find myself at home, rather than traversing the countryside in search of adventure, I can be found on the couch, remote in hand. Thanks to the Gypsy weddings, dance competitions and parades of bachelors seeking brides, I am never let down when seeking a guilty pleasure. It seems that any subject is fair game these days, and more than a few people have suggested that my crazy life here in the Upper Delaware Valley is perfect fodder for some Hollywood producer just waiting to turn Dharma the Wonder Dog (www.facebook.com/dharmathewonderdog) into the superstar she is destined to be.

Meanwhile, neither of us is willing to let the grass grow under our feet (or paws), so our search for entertainment right here in the Catskills continues. For years now, I’ve heard about the legendary homegrown talent show that takes place annually in Hortonville, NY, and when Carol Montana (www.thecatskillchronicle.com) called on Dharma to be a judge, I begged to be included. Montana sighed into the phone and acquiesced, mumbling, “if you must,” before disengaging. Choosing to ignore Montana’s blatant disregard for my wounded ego, I made a mental note to be on my best behavior and checked my calendar to see if there were any conflicts with the dog’s schedule.

Noting that I had arranged to schlep her to a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Roscoe, NY prior to the show, I called new business owner Vinny Barbato (www.bigdogarmsonline.com) to confirm. “It’s the little dog we’re interested in,” he barked, “but sure, feel free to come along.” Sigh. Friends picked me up and off we went. Sure enough, Barbato’s big dog Maximus was in attendance, greeting guests and posing for pics with luminaries from the chamber of commerce (www.catskills.com). Guns, ammo and all things “camo” were unveiled and a mob of well wishers showed up to check out the store, share a slice of cake (www.sugarrushli.com) and cheer as the ribbon fluttered to the sidewalk. Big Dog Arms is officially open for business.