It’s Terry’s Turn

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 262020

As I wrote the other day, except for a persistent cough, I think I’m about over my cold. Now it’s Miss Terry’s turn. She has been fighting it off for several days now, but Monday night she started feeling bad, and by yesterday morning it had hit her hard. Having just experienced it myself, I know what’s she’s going through and feel sorry for her.

The Hampton Inn in Vicksburg, Mississippi is right across the street from Vicksburg National Military Park and we could see a portion of the old Civil War battlefield from our room’s window. Looking at such a pretty place, it’s hard to imagine the suffering that went on there. Over 19,000 soldiers, Union and Confederate, were killed and wounded, not to mention the deaths and injuries suffered by the community’s civilian population.

After breakfast at the hotel, we checked out and then drove across the street to the Park to pick up some reference books from the gift shop in the Visitor Center and watched a video on the Vicksburg Campaign. The Visitor Center also has a small museum with displays on the 47-day siege that took place there.

As I mentioned above, the town’s citizens were caught in the crossfire, and many fled their homes and lived in crude caves during the siege to escape the shelling and gunfire.

Since we have toured the battlefield before, we skipped it this time around because we wanted to get back on the road. But I will post a blog about Vicksburg and the events that took place there once we get back home.

We were on the road by 11 a.m., headed east on Interstate 20. Terry has driven most of this trip since we left Arizona, but she just didn’t have it in her yesterday, so I took the wheel for the 230-mile trip to Tuscaloosa. We arrived around 2:30, after a stop for gas along the way, checked into the Hampton Inn (where else?), then went to my son’s house a short distance away. Travis and Geli welcomed us with lots of hugs and kisses and we visited a while before going to Pyro’s Pizza for dinner.

Backed at their house, we talked for a while longer, but between Terry’s cold and my back, we were both feeling pretty crappy so we called it a night and came back to the hotel so I could get the blog written and we could get to bed.

We’ll be here a couple of days before we head home, and as much as we love seeing my son and his wonderful wife, Terry and I both are really looking forward to being back home again. It’s been a long trip.

Thought For The Day – If my grandfather were alive today he’d be trapped in a box underground. Horrible to think about, really.

Feb 252020

I have always enjoyed driving and I usually do most of it when we are on a trip. But after this trip, I may never drive again.

Back on February 8, I was getting tired when we were about 100 miles from Phoenix and Miss Terry took the wheel. She is an excellent driver, whether in the Pacifica, our Ford Explorer, or our motorhomes and MCI bus conversion when we had them. Since my night vision is bad, she always drives once the sun goes down.

While we were in the Phoenix area for her family reunion, she did all the driving, except for a short visit I paid on an old friend while Terry and her mom ran some errands. Then I came down with the crud and she drove us to Show Low to visit my daughter and her family, and we have just continued with her behind the wheel on our journey back east. I spend my time napping, checking email and Facebook on my phone, snapping a few pictures, and enjoying the scenery. I kind of like being chauffeured around.

We left the Hampton Inn in Denton, Texas yesterday morning and traveled east on U.S. Highway 380 for about 60 miles to Greenville, home of the excellent Audie Murphy Museum, which I will have a blog post about in the near future. From there we took U.S. Highway 69 south about 70 miles to hook up with Interstate 20, which we followed all the way across the rest of Texas, all of Louisiana, and across the mighty Mississippi River into Vicksburg, Mississippi, our destination for the night.

After several weeks of brown terrain in the Southwest, it sure was good to see green grass and trees again.

Just before 5 p.m. we crossed the Mississippi, and a few minutes later we pulled into the Hampton Inn, with 410 miles behind us for the day.

This is the first hotel I have ever stayed in that has a cannon out front. Actually, two cannons. I was afraid to ask for a wake-up call in the morning, fearful they might use those things to do it!

The hotel is within a stone’s throw of the Vicksburg National Military Park, which honors the men and women who suffered here on both sides during the 47-day siege that wrested control of the Mississippi from the Confederates and gave Union forces the upper hand. The North’s victory at Vicksburg was pivotal in the defeat of the Rebel cause.

As often happens at Hampton Inn, they gave us an upgrade, this time to an executive king suite on the fifth floor. I guess that’s pretty exclusive, since we needed a key card just to make the elevator go to that floor! But what the heck, I guess when a man’s being chauffeured by a pretty lady, they must automatically think he’s a VIP, and I had no intention of disabusing them of that belief.

Once we were settled in our room, we went out to dinner at a place called the Gumbo Pot, which had some decent Yelp reviews and which the locals think is really good. I’m not sure we’d go that far. The food was okay but nothing special, the service was slow, and the lemon slices they brought for our iced tea were brown and ugly. We’ll avoid this place the next time we’re in town.

After dinner we drove downtown and walked along the mostly deserted Washington Street for a bit, just soaking up the history.

We have been to Vicksburg before and have seen a lot of things here, but there is so much to see and do that nobody could cover it all in one trip. We’ll make a couple of stops in town this morning to see some things we missed in earlier visits before heading out for Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend a few days with my son Travis and his wife Geli. And from there, it’s back home. By the time we get there we will have spent a month on the road, and home sure sounds mighty good to both of us.

Thought For The Day – Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.

Feb 242020

After a comfortable night at the Hampton Inn in Roswell, New Mexico, we were relieved to wake up and find that the little green men that seem to hang out on just about every street corner in town had not abducted us in our sleep. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, though. I mean, like, am I not pretty enough to take home to their planet as a specimen?

I was still under the weather so Terry drove east across the rest of the state and into Texas on U.S. Highway 380. It’s a good highway with some interesting landscape along the way to break up the boredom from miles of brush and not much else.

Texas was more of the same. A few scattered farms and ranches, and as many old abandoned places that someone finally gave up on or were pushed out of.

I would love to know the story of this once-beautiful old home. Obviously, whoever had it built was well to do at the time. What happened? Did they lose everything in the Dust Bowl? Was it some other calamity that made them abandon it? They say every place has a story, and I get a lot of story ideas from things we see in our travels.

We passed through several sad little towns where most of the storefronts were boarded up and wondered how people there make enough money to live on.

And what’s a small town without a grain elevator? I think every rural town has one.

I remember small town movie theaters like this from when I was a kid. Back then a quarter would get you in to see a double feature, with money left over for a bag of popcorn and a soda. These days even multiplex theaters in big cities have to work hard to make a profit. Everyone thinks they must be raking in the bucks hand over fist for what they charge at the snack bar, but I have known several small theater owners and with what it cost to get a movie, they are all lucky if they can break even on ticket sales, and quite often they don’t. It’s the overpriced candy, popcorn, and sodas that make the money to pay their expenses and keep the doors open.

Other businesses that have a hard time making a profit are small family run farms and ranches. More and more of them are being forced to sell out to big corporations every year. But there may be some help, literally, on the horizon. More and more of them are leasing land out to big wind farms to erect huge windmills that generate electricity. A USA Today story about windmills said the average farmer can receive $3,000 to $7,000 annually for the small area a windmill occupies, roughly the size of a two-car garage.

Now, I know everything is supposed to be bigger in Texas, and I guess this bull proves it, even if it’s not real.

We stopped in Throckmorton to admire the handsome Throckmorton County Courthouse. It was definitely worth getting a picture of.

The County also has a memorial to its veterans on the courthouse grounds.

This is our favorite way to travel, along the two-lane roads, far from the interstate highways and big cities. And even in what some might think of as barren landscapes there are photo ops and things to admire along the way.

We covered 460 miles before we stopped for the night at the Hampton Inn in Denton, Texas, which is far from a small town. We had planned to go south to Livingston from here to visit our dear friend Bonnie Bellomo, who lives there. Bonnie and her late husband Sal were among the first subscribers to the Gypsy Journal, and over the years they became close friends, helping us with parking and guest registration at many of our early rallies. But I didn’t want to give Bonnie this crud that I can’t seem to shake, and as it turns out, she has been sick, too. So we put that plan on the back burner until our next trip west.
Today we plan to make it to somewhere around Vicksburg, Mississippi. I love the history of that historic old river town and would like to spend some time wandering around exploring it before we go on to Tuscaloosa to see my son Travis and his wife Geli.

Congratulations Kevin Cauley, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Like mystery series. We had 69 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – I am somewhere between the young and the restless and the old and the senseless.

Feb 232020

The hardest part of any visit with the people we love is saying goodbye. Especially as we get older and realize that any goodbye could be the last one. And so it was yesterday when it came time to leave our old hometown of Show Low, Arizona.

We were up and all packed and had taken advantage of the free breakfast at Hampton Inn by the time Tiffany and her kids arrived about 9:30 to see us off. There were lots of hugs and kisses all around, and some tears shed, too. We look forward to getting together with Tiffany and her family the next time around. Last October she flew to Florida to visit us and fell in love with the area. She says she needs to bring her husband Kenny next time and get him to see it, too, and then move there. I guess only time will tell.

We left Show Low about 10 a.m. and took State Route 260 east through Pinetop-Lakeside and onto the White Mountain Apache Reservation. There was a mixture of rain and snow coming down, and a lot of snow in some places alongside the road.

We stopped at the Big Lake turnoff, and I kind of wanted to take a detour and visit with Sheriff Weber, Robyn, Parks, and the rest of the folks from that wacky little mountain town, but then Miss Terry reminded me that they aren’t real, they just live in my mind and my books. Well darn it anyways!

In the twin towns of Springerville and Eager we stopped for a potty break at McDonald’s. The restaurant is next door to Western Drug, one of my favorite stores in that part of the state. It’s like an old-time general store, where you can pick up a post hole digger, a bolt of fabric, some snacks, a rifle and ammo, and fishing gear, all in one place.

Leaving Springerville on U.S. Highway 60, we soon crossed into New Mexico under a heavy sky, and saw more snow alongside the road for miles. We passed through Pie Town, where I never have timed it right to get any pie, past the Very Large Array (VLA) of radio telescopes, and eventually made our way to Socorro. After another potty break we turned south on Interstate 25 for a short distance before getting onto U.S. Highway 380 eastbound.

I was still feeling puny from my cold, so Terry did the driving while I tried to keep her company but kept dozing off. In Capitan we made a quick stop at the Smokey Bear Historical Park, then continued further east in Lincoln County.

Any fan of the Old West knows about the bloody Lincoln County War in the latter 1870s, where gunslingers like Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett made names for themselves. Today, the small town of Lincoln is a time capsule from those violent days. Seventeen buildings in town are all part of the Lincoln Historic Site, including the Old Lincoln County Courthouse, which has exhibits on the Lincoln County War and its participants.

Maybe it’s the writer in me, but whenever we pass an old ruin like this anywhere in the country, I wonder about the people who built it and lived there. What were their lives like? Did they endure extreme hardships? Were they fortunate to be blessed with health and happiness? And what happened to them? Why did they move on, leaving what once was their dream behind?

About six hours after we began our driving day, it ended in Roswell, made famous by a supposed UFO crash back in 1947. Government authorities have claimed the fable began when a weather balloon came to earth on a local ranch, but one should never allow facts to interfere with a good story, and the folks in Roswell have built an industry around UFOs and aliens. The Visitor Center is UFO themed and many businesses incorporate flying saucers and aliens into their décor.

This little fellow was on hand to greet us when we checked into the Hampton Inn.

I have always believed that if a UFO really did end up here, it wasn’t a crash. No, I think the aliens committed suicide when they realized that they had traveled through so many galaxies only to end up in Roswell.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – Taking time to do nothing sometimes brings everything into perspective.


I Lied

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 222020

You may remember that in yesterday’s blog I said I was over the worst of my cold. As it turns out, I lied. Even though I was very tired when I went to bed Thursday night, I just could not seem to get to sleep. My back was hurting and I could not get comfortable, so I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours. But apparently I did drift off at some point because I woke up in the early hours of the morning with the same sore throat, cough, headache, and clogged head.

My daughter Tiffany said maybe I’m just going through withdrawals from sunny Florida beaches and our comfy home. If so, I will be remedying that very soon, because we will be on the road today starting our homeward journey. But it won’t be a fast trip. We have some stops to make along the way.

While we have been here in the Show Low area, we have spent some time driving around some of our old haunts. Terry’s house, the house I owned in nearby Pinetop-Lakeside before we got married, the building that once housed my weekly newspaper, and just seeing what is new, what is old, and commenting on what we saw. And we both agreed that while it’s okay to come for a visit, neither of us would ever want to live here again.

While we were at Tiffany’s house she asked if we had ever watched the drama series Call the Midwife. While we had never seen the program, which is about midwives working in the slums of London in the mid to late 1950s, I just purchased the book from Amazon a few days ago. I bought it because I thought Terry might enjoy it, and because a midwife will be a recurring character in the new family saga series I am planning. We watched three or four episodes and were definitely hooked.

Last night we took Tiffany and her family out to dinner at a place known locally for their Friday Night Fish Fry. It was cod, and tasted delicious, but I guess I have become a bit of a snob since living on the coast for the last 3+ years. You just can’t beat freshly caught seafood!

Here is a picture of our family dinner group. From the left there is son-in-law Kenny, who stands about 6’5” give or take a foot, then Miss Terry, grandson Travis, Tiffany, granddaughter Britni, some old fat guy who calls himself a writer, and then granddaughters Destiny and Hailey.

We have loved spending time with our family here in Arizona, and we look forward to seeing them again before too long, either here or at home.

Be sure to enter our a latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Being old is like being a dog. The high points of the day are scratching, peeing, and waiting for the mailman.

Feb 212020

Get your mind out of the gutter. The title of today’s blog has nothing to do with one of those “gentlemen’s clubs” where guys go to be anything but gentlemen. I’m talking about being surrounded by beautiful girls here in our old hometown of Show Low, Arizona.

This is me with my daughter Tiffany, and no, I’m not a giant and she’s not a little person, as the weird perspective of this selfie might lead you to believe. This is the same girl whose heart suddenly stopped almost three years ago, and who we thought we might lose. As you can see, she made a full recovery and is now healthy and happy, thanks to a lot of prayers, an excellent medical team, and a defibrillator implanted in her chest.

This young lady is granddaughter Britni, who just turned 14 the other day. She says she wants to grow up and be writer someday, and I keep telling her that one does not have to “grow up” to become a writer. After all, I still haven’t grown up, and I’m not sure I ever will. Britni reminds me of myself when I was a kid. She is never happier than when she’s got a notebook and a pen in hand, creating stories of worlds that I think if she keeps at it we will see in print someday.

Now these two, they are what is called double trouble. That’s Destiny on the left and her big sister Hailey on the right. How did an ugly old fart like me get so many beautiful girls in his family line?

Someone asked me how our Consumer Cellular service is up here in the White Mountains, where any kind of cell phone reception can be hit or miss. We don’t have any problem making calls in some places, and a few blocks away we will get nothing. But folks who live here and have ATT and Verizon complain about the same thing. What we have noticed is that even when we have good voice service, data is nonexistent unless we are connected to the WiFi at Tiffany’s house or here in the hotel, and then it’s not all that great.

There is never enough time when we come here to visit, and so it is with this trip. This is our last day here; Saturday we will point the van east and start our journey back to Florida, with a few stops along the way.

Before I close, I appreciate so many of you who sent emails and text messages hoping we recover quickly from our colds. I think I am over the worst of mine, and either Miss Terry only caught a passing glance at it, or else she is tough as nails and won’t allow herself to get under the weather. I’m betting on the latter.

Be sure to enter our a latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – It’s normal for married couples to fight. The trick is for you and your spouse to find a couple you can easily beat up.

Feb 202020

We spent eight days at the Superstition Springs La Quinta in Mesa, Arizona while we were in town to celebrate Terry’s parents’ birthdays, which included a family reunion with relatives coming in from as far away as New York for the festivities.

We also spent some time browsing the local antique shops, me looking for badges to add to my collection, and Terry looking for Aladdin lamps. It’s always buyer beware at antique shops, and while most of them are reputable, there are some out there that will sell you anything, claiming it’s old and valuable while in truth it’s crap or a reproduction. I see a lot of “Old West” badges that are cheap junk you can order online by the dozens for a couple of bucks apiece, but some shops ask $25 or more for them.

One shop we visited had these two revolvers, which the vendor selling them claims are a matched pair of original 1851 Navy Colts, not reproductions. I was born at night, but not last night. You’d have to add some more zeros to get to the price of two real Colt’s like this. Not to mention that the word Colt is spelled Cotl on them! He said that the typo made them even more rare!

After stopping at Terry’s parents’ for a quick lunch and last round of goodbyes on Monday, we headed east on U.S. Highway 60. Most of the way to Globe it is a nice two-lane highway through the high desert.
As you climb higher the road gets curvier, but nothing even a big RV can’t handle. There are frequent passing lanes going in both directions.

We passed through the Queen Creek Tunnel and several beautiful rock formations on both sides of the highway. Over the many years and the many, many times we have driven this route, we have seen a lot of rock climbers doing their thing and wondered why. I mean, even if you get to the top without killing yourself, you still have to climb back down. What’s the point?

We made a potty stop in Globe, 52 miles into our trip, and then the highway turned and we began the climb toward the high country. As we drove along, the terrain started to change and scrub oak and cedar trees replaced the desert cacti. Much of this is four-lane highway, all good road.

About 35 miles north of Globe we started the five-mile descent down into the Salt River Canyon. Folks here in Arizona call this the “other” Grand Canyon. The scenery is awesome, with amazing multi-colored rock formations, but you have to be careful because the road is a series of switchbacks and hairpin curves, some with a 15-mph speed limit. As long as you gear down at the top and pay attention it is no problem in a big rig, but in my time publishing the weekly newspaper in the White Mountains I covered a lot of fatal accidents in the canyon.

There are plenty of pullouts and viewpoints on both sides of the canyon. Take the time to get out and enjoy the views. If you’re lucky you may spot an elusive mountain goat or bighorn sheep.

It’s 47 miles from the river at the bottom of the canyon into Show Low, climbing most of the way. Before long, you enter a vast Ponderosa pine forest that stretches for over 100 miles across central Arizona.
This is the Mogollon Rim, where there are dozens of lakes, and more outdoor activities than you could ever want. There are herds of elk and deer, black bear, mountain lion, and the trout fishing is excellent. Sunrise Ski Park on the White Mountain Apache Reservation draws powder lovers from across the Southwest, and cross-country skiers, hikers, and kayakers love the Rim Country. It is also the setting for my Big Lake mystery series.

We arrived about 4:30, checked into our hotel, then drove to my daughter Tiffany’s place. It is a lot colder here than down in the Valley of the Sun. It’s several thousand feet higher in elevation here and a lot of flatlanders have problems adjusting to the elevation. Since we live at about ten feet above sea level back home in Florida, I guess we are now official flatlanders, too. But it’s not the elevation that started kicking my butt once we arrived, it’s a nasty cold. I’ve been sucking down cold meds since we arrived, and hopefully I’ll start to come out the other side soon. As for Terry, she is always stoic, but does allude to maybe having a headache.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I wonder if clouds ever look down and say, “Hey, look. That one is shaped like an idiot!”

Feb 192020

Did anybody get the license number of the truck that hit me? If you did, please let me have it. Because that darned thing whooped my butt!

Sometime early Sunday morning I woke up with a sore throat, which seemed to get worse. I still wasn’t feeling great when we left Mesa early Monday afternoon for the drive up to our old hometown of Show Low. By the time we got here I knew I had a nasty cold coming on.

We visited with my daughter Tiffany and her family for a while, then we all went out to dinner at Pizza Factory. As we were driving there, Miss Terry said that we’ve been gone for over 20 years and that in the unlikely event we were to bump into someone from when we lived here, they probably wouldn’t recognize us, and we wouldn’t recognize them. So, of course, as soon as we went to the counter, the woman working there said “Terry? Nick? How are you?” It was Christina Baca, whose husband Freddie worked for Terry for many years at the glass shop she ran before I married her and made her run away with me. We had a quick reunion with Christina, and we are going to try to visit her and Freddie while we are in town.

After dinner we went back to Tiffany’s for a while but I was feeling worse by the minute, so we went back to our room, where I was just too washed out to write a blog.

By the time I woke up yesterday I felt like somebody had tied me up in a blanket and beat me with a broomstick. We made a run to Walgreen’s to stock up on cough drops, Nyquil, DayQuil, Airborne, and other supplies. Miss Terry is just now starting to cough a bit, so I think we’re both going to get it. We both had our flu and pneumonia shots, so hopefully we’ll escape the worst of whatever this is.

But I wasn’t too sure about that last night when I saw this coming at me! For a minute I thought my body had gone floating off to Roswell, New Mexico, and one of those aliens was going to kidnap me or something. But as it turns out, it was really my granddaughter Destiny, who isn’t a space cadet or anything like that.

Thought For The Day – Don’t bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Instead, spend 30 seconds inside my head. That will freak you out!

Feb 172020

Note: I have always been a bit of a prankster, and I do believe this one tops them all, spanning several years.

There was a time when Arizona had cactus cops, whose duty was to enforce laws protecting native-plants, especially saguaro cacti, which could be worth thousands of dollars to landscapers. Cactus rustling was a real thing, and an accomplished cactus rustler could uproot and haul away a 30-foot saguaro worth $15,000 in a matter of minutes.

A friend of mine, named Mike Howard, was a cactus cop working out of Kingman, in the northwest part of the state, and the two of us had been like brothers for many years. Somewhere along the way we started stealing things from each other. And not just little things like a book or a tool or a nice Stetson hat, but also things like guns, expensive binoculars, spotting scopes, and such. I really don’t remember how this prank got started, but by unspoken agreement, neither of us ever mentioned or acknowledged it.

Now, Mike was a great guy, but he was also rather obsessive-compulsive. He once had three weeks comp time coming and had to use it or lose it. I had visited him at his place in Kingman, and a few days later he was going to come and stay with me in Tucson for a week or so. He had just purchased a very nice canvas vest that I fancied, so when I left to go home, I stole it. At the time I did not know that his badge was in one of the pockets.

This was in the days before cell phones, and when I got home there was a message on my answering machine from Mike saying I could keep the vest, but he needed his badge back. I called him and said it would be at my place when he arrived in a day or two, since he was on vacation and didn’t need it. Mike, being Mike, insisted I overnight it to him by FedEx. I didn’t really want to go to all that hassle and told him so, but he insisted that he really needed it and gave me his FedEx account number (don’t ask me why he had a FedEX account, he never said and I never asked) and said to send it at his expense.

I called FedEx and asked what the maximum weight I could ship overnight was, and while I don’t remember the exact amount, I seem to recall it was somewhere around 50 to 70 pounds. So, I got a reinforced shipping box with a wooden floor and filled it with red bricks to the weight limit. I also included his badge and a letter from the Brick of the Month Club, informing him that we had goofed and failed to send him his bricks from the last two years or whatever, so here they were, and he would continue to get another brick every month thereafter. And I sent it to be billed to his FedEx account.

Mike never said a word about it, and every month for the next several years I dutifully shipped him a brick, all billed to his FedEx account. When Miss Terry and I got married years later, I took her to meet Mike, and he showed her the brick carport he had made with a shoulder high wall around it, using all those damn bricks. I think if I had kept it up, he might have ended up with a two-car garage!

Congratulations Dorothy O’Dell, winner of our drawing for a copy of an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. We had 51 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – If I was a plastic surgeon, I would 100% put a squeaky toy in every breast implant.