Of Monstrous Mistakes and Frightful Fridays

Three days before my 56th Birthday, I made the dumbest mistake. It almost cost my life. My Birthday celebration could’ve just as easily become my Funeral.

It happened Friday evening near sunset. I was sitting on the cliff near Camel Rock, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while waiting for my friend Charlene to show up. But for some reason, Charlene never arrived and I got bored.

I peered over the precipice. I’d heard that a car had recently been shoved off the cliff and I was curious to see it. Soon I found myself wandering down the path leading to the bottom of the cliff.

It must have been my preoccupation with finding the smashed car that made me careless. Either that, or I was drunk on the Elixir of Life…the gorgeous day. The tantalizing spray of surf. The rays of the setting sun. It was intoxicating, and I soon found myself laughing as I ran along the bottom of the cliff…Laughing at the surging waves.

“You can’t catch me!” I shouted. “I’m not afraid of you!” Those were the last words I remember saying.

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My Hubby is a Reel Catch…


It was soon obvious I didn’t know what I was doing…like when my scarf got tangled in the fishing reel… Or when I tripped over the picnic basket and nearly fell out of the boat.

But I think it was most obvious when my normally patient husband began shouting at me: “Turn around and face the fish! Your back is to him! No one brings in a fish that way!”

Ah yes…The day had started out well enough. The breeze on the river was brisk, but I’d come prepared. I had on a sweater, jacket, hood, a pink-striped scarf, and an old sunhat perched on top my head.

In my pocket were a pen and a scrap of paper. A writer’s emergency kit.

We’d forgotten only one thing—my life-jacket—however, a fair substitute was soon found. We tied an empty gas jug around me with a rope. A bit clumsy, but it would keep me afloat in case of shipwreck. Continue reading

Of Angels and Strangers


People-watchers…That’s what writers are.  We’re not nosy, of course.  We just see life-stories unfolding about us, and then we have to try to make sense of it all.

Recently, I had several odd encounters…Three, to be exact.

The day began normally enough.  I was driving past a Nursing Home when I saw an old lady in a bathrobe climbing over a locked gate.  She almost fell.  I jumped out of the car in time to catch her.

“Oh, thank God!” she cried. “The Lord has sent an angel to help me!”  She clung to me tightly. “You are an Angel from heaven, aren’t you!?”

Her name was Evelyn.  She smelled old and tired—but she was precious.  I held her ‘til she stopped shaking. “Evelyn,” I said. “You have to go back inside.”

“Oh no!” she said. “It costs too much to stay here. I need to go home to my own house!”  Evelyn was one determined old gal, but I finally got her back inside. Continue reading

Of Vinegar, Varmints, and Valentines


With a bottle of vinegar in one hand and a drumstick in the other, I chased my departing husband down the driveway.

“Wait!”  I shouted after him.  “You’re a sick man with a terrible cold… And now you’re running off without your chicken and vinegar!  You don’t even have your coat on!”   I was fuming.

I managed to overtake Michael at the end of the driveway.  I gave him a dose of vinegar.

“There now!” I said.  “Vinegar will kill every varmint in your throat!  That’s what my Granny always said.”  I handed him the drumstick.  “Eat this when you get hungry, Mr. O!  It’ll kill those cold germs—you hear?  Oh…but wait! I forgot your hot tea!”  Running back to the house, I fetched his Thermos.

I kissed Michael goodbye—reminding him to put on his coat and his seatbelt…Reminding him to get well before Valentine’s Day.  Reminding him to cheer up.

“At least,” I said,  “It’s not as bad as the last  time I gave you vinegar…Your buddies weren’t looking on, today!” Continue reading

Serendipity in September


Nobody is sure what it means, but Webster’s says:  It’s the “gift of finding something valuable that you weren’t even seeking.”

September is full of those kinds of things…Discoveries.  Adventures.  Serendipity.  And strange little surprises.

One day last September, I stumbled on some serendipity in the midst of insanity.  I thought I’d tell you about it.

My husband and I were on an autumn road trip, enjoying the splash of color across the landscape…Two middle-aged honeymooners out for a spin.  We stopped at a hotel, and Michael decided to go on a six mile jog, as is his custom.  I decided to go on a little jog, as well—to the nearby McDonalds a block away.

On the way there, I discovered something sitting on the curb.  It was a stolen handbag that had been rifled through.

Being a naïve country gal, I wasn’t thinking about purse snatchers and identity theft…I merely thought some lady had lost her bag.  But then a seedy looking car pulled up next to me.  The man, inside, stared at me and the bag intently. Continue reading