The Prince of Nod

I am a young boy, waiting in the reeds. I crouch and make myself as small as possible, trying not to disturb the small creatures. The soft light of my home ripples in the pond as my mother calls me back inside. I’ve been trying to collect bullfrogs in a small inflatable pool; up to my ankles in mud. The green leaves are as fresh as they can be and in the distance, a faint thunderstorm echoes mildly like knocking on a soft, dead tree. The water in the pond has baked in the sun all day and remains warm to the touch while I run my fingers through the tall grass that extends out of the banks.

Up the hill, my family prepares the dinner table out on the porch; a chandelier of candles drips intermittently and the wax solidifies onto the glass table top. I take my time walking up the drive, cool blue and fresh green painting a summer’s night with fireflies sparkling in the valley between our house and the neighbor’s. Nothing could feel more safe.

I have trouble remembering how perfect it was then, my family was whole – no one was sick or separated. This was our castle on the hill and we ate dinner that night in a suspended oasis, covered from the storm by a plexiglass ceiling fixed to the side of the house. I was lucky. I don’t feel that way as much anymore.

Bartending class aims to educate in safety, regulation

It’s not all about pouring drinks and making tips.

For Joei Aragon, who started a bartending workshop this semester at the University with her husband, teaching safety is equally if not more important than some of the more stereotypical benefits of bartending.

 “We have to teach the safety aspect as well,” Aragon said. “You are serving a drug and you need to measure out your drinks … and know how to make them correctly.”

Aragon said she has seen too many bartenders allow people to cross the line, which can have some pretty awful consequences, she said.

“When people leave our class, they can say they know how to do it right,” Aragon said.

Aragon and her husband both have more than 25 years of experience in the bartending business. She started in Cleveland at 18 years old and has bounced around to Chicago and Los Angeles, “working in some pretty high profile places,” she said.

These “high profile” locales have addresses like Rodeo drive.

“With this class, students are getting our life experience,” Aragon said.

The couple has owned bartending schools in California, “In Ventura, right in the hub of everything,” she said.

Aragon said she wanted to continue this service when she and her husband came to Bowling Green.

“This is the one thing we really know,” she said. “We just moved to BG a year ago and wanted to bring it to people here.”

The bartending classes have ended for this year, but Aragon is looking to the future.

“We would love to keep doing it at BG,” she said. “As long as students are interested we will keep doing it.”

Rita Myers, a resident of Bowling Green, frequently attends the bartending classes in Olscamp Hall.

“I have wanted to open a pub since I was young,” Myers said. “This class has given me basic knowledge of the background workings of a bar and helped me to learn the laws, which is important.”

Myers discussed why a knowledgeable bartender is vital in a town like Bowling Green.

“It is important to have a bartender that can cut you off,” she said.

Audrie Veres said she has been friends with Myers for quite some time and also took the bartending classes.

“Rita and I have had a dream to open an Irish pub and work with each other,” Veres said.

She added that she does not want to be the stereotypical bartender.

“I have had so many friends in accidents and I want to make it safe,” Veres said.

The classes have not just been a bartending course, but a tips course with a legal aspect, she said.

“Joei has taught us how to check IDs, what percent alcohol is in each drink … we learned how to do it right,” Veres said.

Veres also had some positive remarks for Aragon’s instruction.

“She is a fantastic instructor,” Veres said. “I’ll be honest I didn’t exactly know what to expect with the class … but it was everything I could have hoped for times ten.”