Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Mixed Nuts Part 2 by Linda Bethea


I am so pleased that Linda Bethea is going to share some of her heartwarming and entertaining posts from her archives over the coming weeks. Linda’s family stories always has me in fits of laughter or shedding a tear. I hope you will also head over and buy the books that Linda has published. Here is the link to part one of her mini-series: Mixed Nuts part 1

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Mixed Nuts Part 2 by Linda Bethea

When you are dealing with family, it clarifies things to have a scale. You don’t have to waste time analyzing people when you have a ready reference. This one works pretty well for us.

1.Has a monogrammed straight jacket and standing reservation on mental ward.

2.Family is likely to move away without leaving forwarding address. Has jail time in the past or the future

3.People say, “Oh, crap. Here comes Johnny.”

4.Can go either way. Gets by on a good day. Never has been arrested. Can be lots of fun or a real mess. Relatives usually will invite in for coffee. Likely to have hormone-induced behavior.

5.Regular guy. Holds down a job. Mostly takes care of business. Probably not a serial marry-er. Attends church when he has to.

6.Good fellow. Almost everybody likes him or her. Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Manages money well enough to retire early.

7.High achiever. Business is in order. Serves on city council.

8.Looks too good to be true. What’s really going on?

9.Over-achiever. Affairs are in order. Solid citizen. Dull, dull, dull. Could end up as a 1

My family is as much a mixed bag of nuts as any. As a kid, I was most fascinated by the ones on the fringes. My favorite was Uncle Chester, not because he was friendly, funny, or even seemed to notice me, but because he was the first solid #3 of my acquaintance. (Family likely to move away without leaving forwarding address. Has jail time in past or future.) As a young man in the depression, he started out as a moonshiner and petty criminal, lounging a bit in local jails. He never really hit the big time and made the Federal Penitentiary till he got caught counterfeiting quarters. His technique was sloppy and his product unpolished. He was fortunate in getting caught red-handed passing his ugly quarters. In 1941 he was sent up to Fort Leavenworth for some higher education where he made good use of his time by apprenticing himself to a cellmate who was doing time for making twenty-dollar bills.

Aunt Jenny #5 (Can go either way. Gets by on a good day. Never been arrested. Can be lots of fun or a real mess. Relatives usually will invite in for coffee. Likely to have hormone-induced behavior.) was short-sighted about Uncle Chester’s situation and ditched him while he was imprisoned, but realized she still loved him when he came home with his enhanced earning capacity. They let bygones be bygones, got back together, and had three lovely children. Their eldest son Lynn and daughter Sue were solid #7s from the start. (Good fellows. Almost everybody likes him or her. Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Manages money well enough to retire early.) Uncle Chester was perfectly willing to give Lynn a good start in business, but Lynn was ungrateful, distanced himself from his father’s dealings, joined the military, and avoided the family business altogether, even seeming to resent his father.

One Sunday dinner, when Uncle Chester was dropping names of the interesting people he had been in jail with at various times, Lynn rudely interrupted, “Daddy, you’ve been in jail with everybody at one time or another.” Uncle Chester did step up and keep Cousin Lynn from making a mistake. Lynn came home on leave from the military and met a girl he wanted to marry; love at first sight. She was a pretty as a spotted puppy and even she noticed how much she looked like his sister Sue. Uncle Chester got her off to the side and asked a few questions about her mama and daddy and where she was raised. He was waiting up for Lynn to get home. “Son, I sure hope things ain’t gone too far. I hate it, but you can’t marry that li’l old gal. She looks just like her Mama did when we was running around together. There’s a real good reason she looks just like yore sister Sue, a real good reason.”

By the fifties, Uncle Chester had branched out a little. He did a little research and decided lawsuits paid well and weren’t too much work. He captured some bees, applied them to his leg. When his leg was good and swollen, he got his buddy to drop him off downtown at a trolley stop. As the trolley approached, Uncle Chester carefully stumbled into the path of the trolley, suffering a knee injury in front of numerous witnesses. He collapsed to the ground, moaning and groaning. Suffering terribly, he was transported and treated at the hospital. Now Uncle Chester was set with a fifty-thousand dollar settlement, a tidy sum for that time.

Their daughter Susie turned out real well, became a teacher, and married a Baptist Preacher, lending Uncle Chester a much appreciated touch of respectability. Uncle Chester and Aunt Jenny were very generous toward her church, and the legitimacy of their donations was never questioned. Sadly, many years later Susie’s daughter a bona fide #3, embarrassed them all by stealing from her employer.

Ross, Uncle Chester’s youngest son, was also a gifted #3 (Family likely to move away without leaving forwarding address. Has jail time in past or future) followed in Uncle Chester’s footsteps. He dabbled in moonshine, petty crime, and scams but just never rose to Uncle Chester’s level. He initiated a few crooked lawsuits but lacked the brain power and organization to pull bigger things off. All went well till he got too big for his britches and tried setting up business in Texas. When he got caught moonshining in someone else’s territory, he called the old man for help. Uncle Chester had to admit, “I’m sorry son, but I can’t do a thing for you. I don’t have any influence with the law out there.” Uncle Chester felt bad about one of his boys getting in trouble till the day he died,” but sometimes you just have to let kids make their own mistakes.”

Aunt Jenny was stingy. You would think she got her money in the usual way. Or maybe she just got tired of hearing Uncle Chester complain how hard it was to make money. She even made her own mother pay for a ride to the grocery store. When Maw Maw won some groceries in a weekly contest, she had to share with Aunt Jenny since she hitched a ride to the grocery store every week. Aunt Jenny sold eggs and tomatoes and charged Maw Maw the same as everyone else.

When Aunt Jenny got older, she got dentures. She liked them so well she saved them for special occasions. She wore them when she had ladies over for coffee, church, and Sunday dinner. Being toothless didn’t hold her back a bit. She could take a bite off an apple as well as anyone and could have won a fried chicken eating contest hands down.

More from Linda next week…. if you have some mixed nuts in your family, please feel free to mention them in the comments…..

About Linda Bethea.

Linda Bethea brings humour to her stories that are usually set in what was a dire time in American history in the great depression. There is no doubt in my mind that Southerners are tough, resilient and have an amazing sense of fun.

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

Linda has captured the essence of her family history in her book Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

………...as you fall in love with Kathleen’s family.

Bethea’s style of writing as she recounts her mother’s memories has made her one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Kathleen (Kitten) takes us through her childhood growing up during the Great Depression by sharing her memories, and we find ourselves cheering for the little girl and her family while we get to know them. Vivid descriptions about unwanted house-guest’s habits are hilarious, while stories of sacrifices made by the family for each other brings tears to the reader’s eyes. We find ourselves cherishing the favorite stories Kitten hears from her Mama and Daddy while she snuggles next to them much as she did at the time of their telling. As Kathleen recounts the difficulties she faced as a young adult, we too want to return home to her parents’ warm home, full pantry, and open arms.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda via her blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for sharing her story and please share and leave your feedback. I will check on comments in a couple of days. Thanks Sally

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Music, Language, Honey, Books and Humour

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We got back from the UK on Thursday night and it was a terrific two weeks away. The weather was wonderful until the last couple of days, but we had been keeping an eye on the four storm fronts coming up from the south. These days forecasts are very accurate and we saw that Tuesday when we were due to catch our ferry was going to have waves over 20ft high.. We had a flexible ticket so moved our booking to Thursday which looked like the calmest day of the week. As it happened we crossed in the only four hour window of calm which has to be the luck of the Irish.

It was great to be in the company of a dog again, and Miss Ellie is well used to us as a family. The break and spending a lot off time unplugged did us both good and we are now back with batteries fully charged and ready to go.

I tried to keep up with comments once a day, but apologies if I missed yours. I am very grateful for all the generous post sharing that went on in my absence and also your messages.

We had to stay in a hotel due to the change and if you are heading to South Wales we can recommend The Cliff Hotel… fantastic views and great walks. The Cliff Hotel Gwbert Wales

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Music, Language, Honey, Books and Humour

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Music, Language, Honey, Books and Humour


We got back from the UK on Thursday night and it was a terrific two weeks away. The weather was wonderful until the last couple of days, but we had been keeping an eye on the four storm fronts coming up from the south. These days forecasts are very accurate and we saw that Tuesday when we were due to catch our ferry was going to have waves over 20ft high.. We had a flexible ticket so moved our booking to Thursday which looked like the calmest day of the week. As it happened we crossed in the only four hour window of calm which has to be the luck of the Irish.

It was great to be in the company of a dog again, and Miss Ellie is well used to us as a family. The break and spending a lot off time unplugged did us both good and we are now back with batteries fully charged and ready to go.

I tried to keep up with comments once a day, but apologies if I missed yours. I am very grateful for all the generous post sharing that went on in my absence and also your messages.

We had to stay in a hotel due to the change and if you are heading to South Wales we can recommend The Cliff Hotel… fantastic views and great walks. The Cliff Hotel Gwbert Wales

 

Here are the posts from this week…

In the last of the current series by William Price King, who will be moving to a different schedule, he interviews American composer Mark Bradley about his life, work and the future.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/the-music-column-with-william-price-king-interviewing-mark-bradley-composer-classicalmusic/

Writer in Residence Rewind – Proto-Indo Europeans and the origins of language – Paul Andruss.

In this post, Paul explores some of the assumptions made about the development of our individual languages from a common root many thousands of years ago. He also addresses the question of whether languages were spread by conquerors sweeping across continents or farmers gently moving across fertile plains and establishing communities that fed and watered the nomadic tribes who came after them. I am sure that Paul would love to hear your views and answer your questions.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/writer-in-residence-rewind-proto-indo-europeans-by-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor has been taking a break whilst I was away but will be back this week with a new post. In the meantime….. I have started to reshare our joint series last year with the health benefits of what I consider to be essential foods, and Carol turns them into delicious meals. This week – Honey – Nectar of the Gods.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/smorgasbord-health-column-rewind-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-honey-nectar-of-the-gods/

New series of Posts from your Archives from the amusing and talented Linda Bethea

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-mixed-nuts-part-1-by-linda-bethea/

The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You – Poet and author Dorinda Duclos

If you had intended to participate in this series then can you get your answers to your questions to me soon as I will be starting to get a new series ready for Christmas…..

Here is the link to find out more about Getting to Know You : https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/the-new-series-of-the-smorgasbord-sunday-interview-geting-to-know-you-and-i-will-go-first/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-you-with-dorinda-duclos/

Short Stories – What’s in a Name.

Two stories about people with a name beginning with ‘H’. Both of which share the darker side of life.

Hannah – Finding a Way to Move On.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-hannah-finding-a-way-to-move-on-by-sally-cronin/

Hector – The Homecoming

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/23/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-hector-the-homecoming-by-sally-cronin/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-fantasy-adventure-lost-war-of-nytefall-book-2-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-while-the-bombs-fell-by-robbie-cheadle-and-elsie-hancy-eaton/

Cafe and Bookstore Update and reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-bette-a-stevens-fiona-tarr-and-barb-taub/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-victoria-zigler-d-wallace-peach-and-terry-tyler/

Smorgasbord Health Column

An update on the erosion caused to our teeth by drinking mineral water that is too acidic.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/smorgasbord-health-column-acidity-in-mineral-water-and-tooth-enamel-erosion-update-by-sally-cronin/

An update on the research into the effect of curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, on cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/smorgasbord-health-column-food-in-the-news-turmeric-curcumin-cancer-alzheimers-inflammation-update/

Laughter Lines and Afternoon Video

We all love Lawyers… right?

judge

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-rewind-lawyer-jokes/

A shaggy pirate tale or two and a word from their parrots.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-shaggy-pirate-story-or-two-and-their-parrots/

Thank you once again for all you support and hope you will drop in next week for more of the same.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name – Hector – The Homecoming by Sally Cronin


This weekend I am sharing two more stories from What’s in a Name Volume One.. and it is the time of the letter ‘H’. This is the story of Hector and his homecoming.

Hector – The Homecoming

Hector Gonzalez looked out of the plane window, over the wing and across the bright blue sky. Just in sight, dark clouds gathered beneath them and the captain had activated the seat-belt sign with a warning of possible turbulence. With two hours left of the flight from Mexico City to Las Vegas, and the airline magazine read from cover to cover, there was more than enough time to contemplate what was waiting for him on arrival.

The last time Hector had been to Las Vegas was thirty years ago as a college kid. He lived in San Francisco with his parents who had emigrated from Mexico when he was a baby. His dad had worked on one of the fishing boats that headed out into the bay each day, captained by his Uncle Pedro who had lived in America for twenty years. His mom had worked in his Aunt Maria’s restaurant and he certainly had warm memories of the fajitas and quesadillas that made their way home at the weekends. It was a great childhood and his parents never let him forget how fortunate they were to be living in this city, so different from their lives in Mexico where his grandparents still lived.

In the early days it was tough to keep in touch with the family that remained in Chihuahua, but letters and parcels were exchanged and when his grandparents had a telephone installed it was like Christmas to his mom and dad.

Hector turned to look at the man sat next to him but could see that he was not interested in a conversation. He was staring at his laptop screen; writing what looked like a report of some kind. The seat-belt sign was switched off which triggered the resumption of the refreshment service. Within minutes the attendants had reached his row and asked Hector if he cared for anything. He smiled, refusing politely and turned his head away to stare out across the never-ending sky.

Almost thirty years ago to the day over this holiday weekend, Hector and his friend Cesar had decided to use the break from community college to drive over to Las Vegas, picking up Cesar’s cousin Jorge in San Jose on the way. His mom and dad were not happy with the choice of destination. Las Vegas was a town that might appear cosmopolitan at that time, but whilst there were many Hispanics in the service industries, there were not so many at the gaming tables. However, the two boys promised that they would stay in a decent motel off The Strip and would avoid getting into trouble.

They threw their bags into the back of the car and headed out on a glorious spring morning to pick up Jorge and complete the nine hour trip in time for dinner. They arrived in Las Vegas and drove around the outskirts until they saw a reasonably smart looking motel with both vacancies and cheap rates for family rooms. They booked for four nights and were very happy with the large, clean room with three beds and set about getting ready for a night on the town. Jorge was twenty-one and the other two were big strapping lads; buying beer was not a problem in the bars off the main drag. After a few drinks they made a quick stop at the burger joint down the road then, with their saved cash burning a hole in their pockets, the three boys headed into one of the smaller casinos to hit the slot machines.

Two hours later they decided to move on having won a hundred bucks between them. Enough to cover their motel bill and some left over for food. Delighted they wandered down the main drag enjoying the bustle and lights that brought the place to life after dark. There was some debate about hitting more slots but both Hector and Cesar were tired from the early start and long drive, and they voted to return to the motel, starting fresh again in the morning.

They had just turned around to retrace their steps when they saw a commotion up ahead of them at the entrance to one of the bigger hotels. A man was waving his arms around and pushing a number of security guards who were attempting to eject him onto the street; the boys moved closer to watch the action. Force of numbers eventually ended the tussle as the uniformed men propelled the offending customer out of the big glass doors and towards the spectators who had gathered. There was a certain amount of laughter as the man tripped and fell to his knees but this turned to gasps of shock as he stood and pulled a gun from his pocket. Hector and his two friends froze in place on the side-lines as shots rang out on the now silent street; two of the security guards fell to the ground.

The crowd scattered and as sirens could be heard approaching from the north of the casino, the shooter turned and ran towards the south and right into the crowd including the three boys. For a moment he was face to face with Cesar as the boy stood in his path unintentionally blocking his escape route. He brought the gun up and stuck it into the terrified boy’s chest and smiled slightly as he began to pull the trigger. Instinctively Hector charged from Cesar’s right; punching the man hard in the side of his chest. He stumbled and before he could recover, Hector grabbed his gun arm and they struggled for possession of the weapon.

Hector was oblivious to everything around him. The screams from the crowd, the sirens, even the sound of his own breathing until the noise of the gunshot shattered the silence in his head. He expected to feel pain, but there was none. He expected to fall but he was held in the embrace of the killer who was staring into his eyes. But, suddenly the man’s gaze wavered and he slipped slowly to the ground to lie lifeless at Hector’s feet.

A day later Hector waited in an interview room for his parents to arrive. A detective sat across from him and asked him if he understood everything that he had said. Hector nodded silently. The door slammed back into the wall and his mom rushed into the room, around the table grabbing him tightly in her arms. His father stood helplessly by the doorway, white-faced and unmoving.

Within a week Hector was living with his grandfather in Chihuahua and working in his Uncle Julio’s garage. The house was basic but it was safe and it would be unlikely that the mob would find him here amongst his extended family and their community. His name had not been released but it was always possible that someone would be bribed to provide the name of the killer of the eldest son of one of the most powerful mob bosses in Chicago. Even the police in Las Vegas had not wanted to know where he was going. They were satisfied that it was self-defence and a murderer had been taken off the streets. He was slipped across the border into Mexico having said his tearful goodbyes to his parents and two friends.

It was hard to believe that it was thirty years ago and how much his life had changed. But not as he had thought as he had entered his grandfather’s house for the first time. At that moment all he could think about was what he had given up; having no idea how much he would gain. The family of aunts and uncles welcomed him with open arms and outside of work he found himself caught up in a whirl of fiestas and family celebrations where he met his lovely Maria. They had been married for over twenty five years and had three fine sons who all worked with him in his flourishing garage business in Chihuahua.

His parents had come back to Mexico when his father retired and lived close by in one of the new gated communities. Although so many dreamt of a better life in America; they relished in coming home to the warmth of their extended family and grandchildren.

Today Hector was going to a reunion. He had kept in touch with Cesar and Jorge over the years and this weekend they were going to be staying at one of the brand new resort hotels and casinos. It would be tough for him to revisit this place where his life had changed so dramatically. It had been several years before he had stopped looking over his shoulder and even now he occasionally felt he was being followed. However the mob boss was long gone and the world was a very different place. When he had received the email from Cesar he had almost refused, but Maria had persuaded him to go, meet his old friends and put the past to rest once and for all.

The captain announced that the plane was coming into land and illuminated the seat-belt sign for their descent. After a smooth touchdown the plane taxied to its stand and the passengers filed out of the front door. After passing through passport control and collecting his suitcase, Hector made for the exit into the concourse and into the toilets to freshen up before finding a taxi to the hotel.

A man followed him through the doors into the almost empty restroom. Hector went to wash his hands and turned his head to the man at the next sink. He was surprised to find it was the passenger who had sat next to him on the plane; now wearing a baseball cap and long black coat. The man turned to him and smiled and the next moment Hector felt a sharp pain in his side; looking down he saw his companions hand clenched against his chest. As his vision began to fade he saw the hand withdraw holding a long narrow blade. He clung to the sink as he felt the warm breath in his ear.

‘That’s for my brother Hector.’

© Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

John William Coltrane. (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967)

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Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:
https://twitter.com/MrNegroMilitant/status/779305002124783616 John William Coltrane, also known as “Trane” (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967), was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Dorinda Duclos


It is my pleasure to welcome Dorinda Duclos to the blog, and I look forward to getting to know her a little better. Apart from enjoying her published collections, you can find wonderful poetry on her blog. Here is one of her recent posts: Evening Delight

First here is the official biography…….

About Dorinda Duclos

Dorinda Duclos is a writer of poetry, sharing her life experiences in verse. She is also the author of the blog, Night Owl Poetry, and has amassed a following of fellow poets, writers and artists, and is highly recognized in social media. She is a member of the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets, as well as a guest writer on PoetsCornerBlog.wordpress.com

She was also involved in “Poets for Peace”, a collaboration of poems from poets around the world. This collaboration is now archived in the ‘Stanford University Archive’ of the ‘100,000 Poets for Change’ collection!

A wife and mother of two, Dorinda makes her home in northern New Jersey, surrounded by wildlife, and nature’s beauty, all inspiration for her poetry.

Her books include: #Seasons – Autumn Haiku Book One”, “Dark is the night – A Poetry Chapbook”, “Passages and Paths – A Journey of Life through Poetry” – “How Shall I Dream – A Collection of Poetic Musings” – “A Flight of Imagination” (Realm of Fantasy) – “A Flight of Imagination (Illusion of Fantasy) -“A Flight of Imagination” (Spirit of Fantasy) – “Pieces of Life – A Poetry Collection” – “Marrow of the Soul” and “Night Owl Poetry”.

I will share more about Dorinda’s books after the interview but now to find out which questions she has selected to answer.

Sally, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and my likes and dislikes. I do hope you enjoy what you read.

You are very welcome Dorinda, and perhaps you can tell us what is the one ambition that you still have not achieved?

Finishing my WIP. It has been well over a year, and as some may tell you, I’m a procrastinator. It stems from a lack of self-confidence. I always question myself as to why I’m actually doing something. For those who “suffer” like this, it’s hard to accept a compliment from others without wondering if they’re just being nice. We never seem to realize, or I should say I, that they are very sincere in what they say. But, I am working on that aspect of my life. It’s a slow go at 57, but I keep reminding myself, the turtle won the race. As for my WIP, titled “Devil’s Pond”, I am hoping to finish it up over the summer/early autumn. Then it’s editing time, getting feedback, and hoping for the best outcome any author dreams of. Hearing someone say, “Wow, this is really good!” (Hopefully, I’ll believe them!)

Here is a synopsis of the book:

They were inseparable. Five young friends whose sense of adventure usually got them into trouble. This time was no different. Venturing out into what would turn out to be a stormy night, they headed for an area they were told was off limits. The sand lot was a forbidden place, a place no one spoke of, where no one dared step foot on, until now. Intrigue ruled out over warnings and a game of hide and seek commenced. Until one remained hidden.

As the storm bears down on them, they run, frightened for themselves and their missing friend. Not caring about the consequences that would await them, they quickly gather their parents to explain. But something is wrong. Baffled, the children wonder why Father Tom is the one to arrive first. Why isn’t anyone calling the police? How will their friend ever be found? And what price will they pay for getting too close to Devil’s Pond?

What is your favourite TV show and why?

This is an easy one for me. “Blue Bloods”. I believe the draw is the whole family life. While they are policemen, or prosecutors, or just the children and Pop, they are human. They experience things the same way any other family might. The icing on the cake, the Reagan family dinner!! How I would love to be a guest at that table. The words of wisdom imparted on everyone is inspiring. Yes, I know it’s a scripted show, but someone has these thoughts, right? Plus, I’ve always loved Tom Selleck, from his Magnum PI days, through Las Vegas and now Blue Bloods. I guess you could say I’m a fan! The fact that the show takes place in NYC makes it that much better. Growing up in Brooklyn, then later in NJ, I can relate to the places where the show is filmed.

Sally Here: It just so happens that I am a huge Tom Selleck fan and have watched all the Magnum P.I. series and Blue Bloods… so for both of us here is Tom in action in a film that I enjoyed too… courtesy of Movieclips

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

This is a tricky one. I love the city, the lights, the people, the atmosphere, but only sometimes. I’m not one to go into New York every weekend, jumping from hot spot to hot spot. If I go in, it’s a concert, or the zoo. There is always a plan or specific reason. On the other hand, the country can be quite serene and calming, depending upon where you are.

My ultimate place to be is the mountains, preferably the Poconos. I can’t get enough of the beautiful lakes and mountains throughout. Breathing in the clean air, communing with nature, that’s my kind of life. We, hubby and I, usually spend vacations there, but haven’t been in a couple of years. This just may trigger a desire, or more of a need, to make vacation plans.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

I never was and never shall be a morning person! I love the night. It’s how my blog got its name, Night Owl Poetry. I write in the wee hours. I find I have more inspiration in the night. Shadows grow, and I can always see something in them. It fascinates me to no end. My poetry leans towards the darker sides of life. As a child, I was victim to domestic violence (not physically, but it left emotional scars), and my daughter is a domestic violence survivor. I will draw from that, and become the voice of the so many who cannot speak for themselves. And while I try to find the light in other writings, the dark will always be my best friend. As sad as that may sound, it is also comforting, as it is a way for me to release the demons I’ve kept inside for so many years.

I am also a sky watcher. I look for the planets, the constellations, and mostly the moon. My second love, after writing, is photography. I adore taking pictures of the moon, being able to see the craters and wondering what it might be like to live there. I’d love to visit the footsteps of the first astronauts, and snap a photo of the American flag. Can you imagine being able to look down on Earth, with the swirls of clouds and the blues of the oceans? I envy the astronauts on the ISS. I never gave a thought to becoming an astronaut, for two reasons. I am claustrophobic and I have a fear of heights. So I will remain on Earth, feet planted on the ground, and watch the dazzling night show above me, every chance I get.

Sally here: I found this lovely video which shows a starry night in the skies above Malaysia courtesy of gradient lok

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

Yes! To both. I played the clarinet for 4 years, in elementary school. It could account for being long winded at times. My parent bought me a guitar, so I taught myself, with Kenny Rogers’ “Quick pickin’, fun strummin’” lessons. It was a great feeling of accomplishment, that I was able to do something on my own. However, I can no longer play due to the after effects of Transverse Myelitis. It left me with minimal use of my left hand and part of my right. I can still type, so I can write, but I sometimes lose the feeling, so pressing a chord, as well as letters on the keyboard, is impossible. My only musical regret is that I wish I had learned the piano. My mom and my husband played, and now there are two pianos collecting dust. It’s kind of sad to look at.

In 4th grade, I had a duet in the spring concert with my friend Mary Jane. It was a wonderful experience. I again had a duet part in 5th grade, not as memorable. I was a member in a rock band that never got off the ground due to conflicting personalities.

Now my only singing engagements are in the shower, or in my car, listening to the radio, which recently has died. I’m hoping it’s just a fuse. Otherwise, I’ll really be singing to compensate for the silence. I’m pretty sure my family will be wearing ear plugs! I have tried karaoke, once, but never had the desire to do it again. Now I go to listen to my friends. I enjoy that more. If I had the opportunity to sing again, I would most likely turn it down. This is due to a hearing loss in both ears, but worse in the left. I can’t always hear when I hit a sour note! But you can bet I’m told 😆

My thanks to Dorinda for sharind so much about her life and experiences and I am only sorry that I couldn’t find a video on YouTube of her singing for you……..But, we do have Dorinda’s extensive collection of books to enjoy…

A selection of books by Dorinda Duclos

About Night Owl Poetry

Poet and author Dorinda Duclos shares her life experiences and thoughts, with you, through her poetry. In this book, you’ll find love, life, fantasy, fiction, sorrow and happiness. A vast view of one woman’s vision of the world surrounding us.

One of the reviews for the collection.

I purchased a copy of the Night Owl Poetry for myself to read in the morning time when I am reading on the sofa while also enjoying drinking my vanilla latte. I find that all of the poems inside this book were wonderfully written and the poems focus towards the young adults to adult readers. She has a variety of poetry in her book, but my favorites are “Believe,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and “The Cherry Tree Haiku.” Those poems stood out the most to me and were the most meaningful to me in my life right now. Thank you for writing such a lovely poetry book and I will be sure to share this with others.

All the books including signed copies can be purchased through Dorinda’s website: Book Page

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Dorinda-Duclos/e/B00LE97O5K

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dorinda-Duclos/e/B00LE97O5K

Read more reviews and follow Dorinda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8405193.Dorinda_Duclos

Connect to Dorinda

Blog: https://dorindaduclos.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dorindaduclosauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dorindaduclos
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thenightowlpoet/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I am sure that Dorinda would love to receive your comments and your questions… thanks Sally

THE DAREDEVIL IS BACK!


And another photographer that never fails to deliver spectacular images is Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photography… I had to check up on the eagles.. here is The Daredevil… been salmon fishing but back for a check on home territory… #stunning

Welcome to Tofino Photography

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I was very happy to see my feathered friend “The Daredevil” back from his salmon holiday! He may still head off for another trip.Eagles come back from time to time to check on their territory.

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Living Under the Winter Ice~


I am catching up on posts that I missed while I was away and nothing gives me more pleasure than discovering the images captured by my favourite photographers. One of which is Cindy Knoke who travels the world with her camera. Iceland has an inhospitable landscape and climate for much of the year, but as Cindy demonstrates, there is a warm welcome underground. #recommended


Laufas is an old turf house in Northern Iceland. There are many of these partially underground historical sod houses in Iceland. The house was built between 1866-1870. The houses are very large and multi-level, with one floor completely underground. In this photo you can see the sod brick construction which has withstood the test of time and Iceland’s formidable winters.

Laufas house facades are made of wood which is quite scarce in Iceland.

There are underground passages,

and underground rooms.

These houses are snug,

but quite spacious,

and not at all claustrophobic inside.

20-30 people lived in Laufas House.

The houses give one a sense of communal underground living,

that was heat efficient during Iceland’s unforgiving winters.

Laufas House was a wealthy priest’s house, and some rooms are more polished and finished than others.

This was a working farm, on a gorgeous site, with a church that was originally built…

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Self Care Activity Day 22


It is day 22 of Self-Care Awareness month and each day Annette Rochelle Aben has been posting a positive act or thought to motivate us. After a few days of dealing with banks and Amazon I am finding this one quite hard today…. but I will try, honestly Annette…

Annette Rochelle Aben

Day 22

TodayTHINK WELL OF OTHERS

 Ponder one good attribute about someone. Give them the benefit of the doubt.  See their value and how it impacts your world.


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Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name – Hannah – Finding a way to move on! by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the first of this weekend’s short stories from What’s in a Name – we have reached the letter ‘H’ and both stories show a darker side of human nature!!

Hannah – Finding a way to move on…..

I sat in a corner of the pub nursing my sparkling water and lime juice. The Sunday lunch crowd was growing by the minute in this popular country inn; already there was loud laughter and raised voices of the customers competing with the background music.

We had first frequented the pub to sample their renowned Sunday lunch buffet over thirteen years ago, shortly after our marriage and move to the area. Two years later when our son Michael was born, he had been seated in one of the oak high-chairs supplied by the pub for their younger patrons. I smiled as I remembered the look on his face when handed his first roast parsnip. Distrust swiftly followed by a smile of delight as the crispy outside gave way to the soft sweetness. He was never a picky eater and I loved watching him discover new foods and tastes once he moved onto solids.

It was an ‘all you can eat’ buffet which was highly dangerous, especially for my husband Tom, who could rarely resist the temptation. As he sat contemplating his empty plate; I would run through the desserts up on the blackboard in an effort to move him on from the roast potatoes, but rarely succeeded. He always had room for apple and blackberry crumble; especially with piping hot custard poured liberally over the top of it. Michael was into ice- cream and usually opted for a scoop of all three flavours available. In the early days the evidence of his dessert was clearly seen around his mouth and down the front of his shirt.

As his sixth birthday approached I brought up the subject of a party for his friends and was firmly put in my place. ‘Mum,’ he looked firmly into my eyes. ‘I want to go to the pub with you and dad for my birthday like every Sunday.’

I rang ahead and reserved our usual table and having mentioned that it was Michael’s birthday, the manager offered to have a birthday cake made. When we arrived there had been helium balloons attached to the backs of the chairs and a banner on the wall behind the table. I have never seen such delight on my son’s face as the assembled Sunday crowd sang him Happy Birthday. Most of them had seen him grow into this fine young boy, and it was just the perfect day.

The noise from the bar interrupted my train of thought. The pub had changed hands about four years ago in my absence. I had been surprised when I had walked through the door to see no food being served and a completely different atmosphere. There were few families; just a four deep crush around the bar area and loud music playing discordantly in speakers at each corner of the room. Something had not changed however, and I recognised one tall man who stood head and shoulders over those he was drinking with. He looked like the life and soul of the party, and it was clear that his enraptured audience of middle-aged men were very happy for him to keep putting his hand in his pocket to pay for another round. Raucous laughter created a moat around this particular group as other patrons, excluded from this select few, moved further away towards the tables along the walls.

The man had been here on the day of Michael’s birthday party and had been the only discordant note of the day. Loud and brash he had dominated the crowd at the bar as he was doing today, knocking back several neat whiskies in the space of an hour. In fact it was his behaviour that had encouraged us to leave earlier than usual, having indulged in birthday cake topped with Cornish dairy ice-cream. The staff kindly packaged up the remaining half of the cake, and with one very happy birthday boy clutching the box in his hands, we headed home.

I remember that drive as if it was yesterday. My son strapped into his booster seat behind us still clasping the remains of his cake. My husband humming along to one of the CDs playing some jazz; turning occasionally to smile at me. The weather was not great with freezing rain beginning to coat the dry roads. Tom was a careful driver and slowed down as we navigated the narrow country lanes between the pub and our village five miles ahead.

Suddenly there was a blast of a car horn behind us and Tom looked into the rear view mirror at the vehicle that had suddenly and rapidly appeared around the curve in the road. Tom rarely swore and certainly not in front of Michael so his ‘What the bloody hell….’ both shocked and scared me. I looked over my shoulder to see a long sleek Jaguar sports car almost on our bumper; Tom slightly eased ahead as he approached the next bend. We had nowhere to pull into as a wall of granite stretched up on one side and there was zero visibility ahead. That however did not deter the driver behind us as he accelerated passed us across the solid white line and into the curve.

Tom and I saw the oncoming car at the same time and I screamed as it swerved to avoid the Jaguar and slammed straight into us at speed.

I was in a coma for five days, watched over by my devastated parents. My first words as I regained some form of coherent thought were to ask for Tom and Michael. I remember my father’s ashen face as he held my hand and told me that I was the only one that had survived. Despite my injuries I insisted on attending the funeral of my husband and beautiful son. I did not cry.

I did not cry at the inquest; or the subsequent trial of the man who had caused the accident. I had been able to give the police enough information about the distinctive car for them to track it down to a house at the other side of our village. This was not the driver’s first offence but armed with an expensive and clever lawyer he claimed mitigating circumstances. Including putting the blame on Tom’s slow and careless driving. In the end despite his blood alcohol level and his dangerous driving he only received a seven year sentence and a driving ban of ten years.

I had moved away from our home as I couldn’t live with the memories we had created together. I moved to the city and went back to work as a chemist in a large pharmaceutical company. I lived in a sterile flat with just the photographs of my husband and son and rarely sought out the company of others outside of work. I knew that Tom would be disappointed in me and that he would only wish that I would go on with my life and find love again. But there was no space for another love until I had received justice for those I had lost.

I came back to the present as the tall man at the bar threw back the contents of the glass of whisky and slammed it back down on the counter. He slapped a few of the men on the back and sauntered to the main door. I left my half-filled glass of water and lime juice and followed him out into the car park. I knew which car was his as I also knew which direction he would be taking. Although I had moved from the village my neighbours had kept me in touch with his movements; including the party he had thrown himself when he had been released two years early for good behaviour. It was clear that he had not taken his punishment seriously or the fact that he was still banned from driving for another five years.

I had counted every whisky that he had drunk this lunchtime and as he fumbled for his keys beside his car I approached him from behind.

‘Excuse me,’ I smiled as he turned to face me. He showed no sign of recognition despite seeing me in court every day of his trial. My long dark wig and sunglasses were more than adequate a disguise considering how drunk he was.

‘How can I help you sweetheart,’ he leered at me suggestively.

‘I know there’s a police speed trap around the first bend out of the village,’ I lied through clenched teeth. ‘I thought you might like a spray some of this breath freshener just in case they pull you over.’

‘Thanks babe,’ he held out his hand for the small aerosol. He opened his mouth wide and winked at me as he squirted a healthy dose onto his tongue. He handed the spray back to me and I headed to the car that I had borrowed from a friend. I sat behind the wheel and watched as he too slipped into the driving seat. After a few minutes I started my own engine and as I slid passed the Jaguar I smiled with satisfaction. He was slumped back in the seat clutching his chest and gasping for breath. I carried on driving out of the car-park and onto the road that would take me back to the city.

Two days later the paper carried the story about a local man convicted of dangerous and drunk driving that had killed a father and six year old son; found dead from a heart attack behind the wheel of his car outside a popular public house.

Three months later I sold my flat and moved to the West Country where I bought a coffee shop with the proceeds called Hannah’s. On Sundays I served an ‘all you can eat’ buffet with a wide selection of Cornish ice-creams. At last I could move on with my life.

© Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/