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December 10, 2016
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Everything happens for a reason?

Helen K. Garber’s photo-collage pieces, now on exhibit at The Stray Cat Gallery in Bethel, evoke “memories of her childhood summers in the Catskills.”

I had met Anderson before, but not seen his work, and we discussed photography, his use of wax layered over the images, and that his photos are “studies for the paintings” he creates in conjunction with them. (“They [the photos] are like little haikus.”)

Garber’s name was familiar, as an “American photographer known mostly for her black and white urban landscapes of cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris and Venice” (, but as I turned her card over in my hand (and met her husband, Stu), something else niggled at my feeble brain. “Garber?” I asked. “Do you guys know my BFF Hillary Cohen?” Looking at each other and then again at me, Helen nodded her head, and we hugged like long-lost friends. Synchronicity? Here she was, in White Lake (three thousand miles from home) and although we had never met, we chatted away about our shared experiences on Facebook and mutual friends across the globe. Aside from that, her artwork included shredded pages from a story my uncle wrote decades ago (cue Twilight Zone music), and as our worlds collided, I shook my head, wondering what it all could possibly mean.

Sorry that I had missed Mermer Blakeslee reading from her newest book, “When You Live by a River,” ( I chalked it up to being just one man and headed out instead to hear Matthew Horn and Cliff Westfall (The Needmore Bothers) perform their (IMHO) unique, feel-good bluegrass interpretations of country life. “Nope, we have no website, no Facebook page and no business cards,” the fellas reported, “just a couple of T-shirts, which (local artist) William Landau made this morning.” Meanwhile, imagine my surprise to find author Blakeslee in the house ( reading (in between musical sets) from her book, mesmerizing the crowd (and me) with her beautiful prose, wrapping me ‘round her finger, as she entranced the packed house, breathing life into her characters and musing on synchronicity. “I didn’t write this story as an allegory on fracking,” she said, “but it’s amazing [to me] that it could have been… See what you think,” she intoned, as she read part two of the afternoon’s selection. I didn’t have an opportunity to chat with Blakeslee after the reading, but was it really just by chance that I met her at all? If everything happens for a reason, I’m guessing the answer is yet to come.