scene 6

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)(scene 4)(scene 5)

To make sure the sheriff and his four-armed pal didn’t notice us, we pushed the truck in neutral for a couple of blocks before I turned on the ignition and we hopped inside. And I didn’t turn on the headlights until we were a mile away.

We didn’t say anything for a long time. Then, as I slowed to make the turn toward my place, Stella said, “No, not yet – we need to get to Pete’s. I have to tell him about this.”

“Pete? Why?”

“Just drive, Hank.”

It didn’t make sense, but nothing else was making sense that night, so I drove.

“Should we call ahead?” I said and immediately realized how stupid it was to ask that.

“Pete’s off the grid,” she said, stating the obvious at the same instant I said, “Never mind, how dumb am I?”

And then I finally pulled out of the shock enough to blow up. Continue reading scene 6

Remembering The First Dog There Was

remembering-the-first-dog-there-was

It was the evening of Feb. 7, 1959. Dad took me and my two brothers for a ride in the car. I don’t remember the pretext or where we went. I just remember when we got home, Mom was sitting in the living room and a dog was sitting in front of her.

Lady was a good dog – a medium-sized, brown and white mutt with maybe a beagle’s face but a stub of a tail. She ran like the wind playing keep-away with a dishpan of all things. For most of the next 10 years she was an integral part of the family, joined eventually by a succession of cats.

There was only the one dog while we were growing up, but the three boys became men and keepers of other dogs.

When I write and share photos of our lovely companions, Willow The Best Dog There Is™ and Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars, I sometimes remember Lady, the patient and loving canine who introduced my family to the joy of dogs.

Three dogs through the years have especially seized my heart – Poppins, the little collie mix who appeared, abandoned, at the door of the radio station one summer day; Tucker, the undersized German shepherd who arrived in my arms (hands, really) as a tiny puppy; and Willow, who melts my heart daily (Yes, Dejah, you’re a special dog, too, but Willow got there first).

It all began with Lady, though, whose coming was so momentous that it’s the first event in my lifetime to which I ever affixed the exact date.

Amazon.com review of The Other Side of Everything

other-side-of-everythingThe plucky New England regional magazine Riverboro Rocks is hanging in there – barely – as most plucky print publications are these days. Plucky owner-editor Piper Hadley Hammond starts a blog to chronicle daily life in her small town and perhaps increase interest in the monthly magazine.

Author Linda Spitzfaden weaves the blog posts and their comment sections together with the narrative of that crucial November in Riverboro. When an unexpected (except to the magazine’s mysterious Weather Oracle) early winter storm raises the river banks and knocks out power to much of the town, an ashram of six monks takes shelter at Piper’s ancestral home, adding to the magazine staff, family members and friends who always seem to be dropping by. Continue reading Amazon.com review of The Other Side of Everything

Stop the car! It’s Christmas

Kris: You see, Mrs. Walker, this is quite an opportunity for me. For the past 50 years or so I’ve been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we’re all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.

Mrs. Walker: Oh, I don’t think so, Christmas is still Christmas.

Kris: Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.

(Now there’s a sentiment that seems more relevant than ever.

Miracle on 34th Street is an updating of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as the main character is/characters are in need of a dose of the Christmas spirit. Edmund Gwenn’s performance as Santa Claus is second only (in my humble opinion) to Alistair Sims’ immortal turn as Ebeneezer Scrooge. And Natalie Woods’ job as the Scrooge-like little girl is an all-time tear jerker. I love this final scene. (Do not click if you haven’t seen the film – go see it from the beginning!)

The Monkees at 50

“Back in them days,” TV prime time started a half-hour earlier than it does now, so at 7:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific/6:30 p.m. Central, The Monkees debuted Sept. 12, 1966, on NBC-TV. For their 50th anniversary I thought I would mine YouTube for a few post-Monkees numbers …

Micky Dolenz – I’m A Believer

Davy Jones – Rainy Jane

Michael Nesmith – Propinquity

Peter Tork – Higher and Higher