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Winter Newsletter, 2014

Howdy Folks,

Since I wrote the last missive, our black cat Sooty has brought in another score of moles. He brought one in a day before Christmas as a present. Such a thoughtful boy! Then the day after Christmas, he brought in a Boxing Day mole. And just before New Year's Day, he brought in his New Year's mole. That puts his yearly tally at close to 100. Cantankerous little feline, but I begin to like him...a little.

If I needed a reminder why I dislike this season, I got it in early December. We had our Christmas dinner for the family. As usual, it was a Cecil B. DeMille production with a cast of thousands: brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, and assorted vagrants and malingerers. Don't get me wrong. I can tolerate family gatherings...once a year...if I drink enough...if I start that drinking several days in advance. But this year not even the advanced drinking helped. Shirl finally managed to get the entire cast to agree to the same December Saturday. No mean feat in itself. But then the Tuesday before the gathering, the newspaper, radio, and T.V. started warning of a big storm that was due to roll into the St.Louis area over the weekend. Now most of my family lives in the boondocks surrounding the city. (They all moved out from St. Louis within two years after I retired and moved back here...a mere coincidence I'm sure.) Anyway, when bad weather comes, they always get the worst of it. I started popping valium to go along with the rum. We had already bought the 50lbs of roast, ten feed sacks of potatoes, and enough green beans to simmer in our 55 gallon drum. Shirl had baked a truck load of pies and cakes.

By Thursday morning, the media was hysterical, gleefully so I thought: "RAIN, FOLLOWED BY WATERMELON-SIZED HAIL, TURNING TO ICE, BECOMING A BLIZZARD WITH A FOOT OF SNOW," "PRAY TO YOUR JESUS!" "IT'S OBAMA'S FAULT!" (That last one was the local Fox station.) The guy on the Weather Channel was weeping and begging for forgiveness. Shirl and I were beside ourselves. Should we cancel immediately or wait? By now I was eating valium like it was popcorn. Shirl thought we should wait. I thought we should cancel the family dinner and open a food bank (for profit).

Well, the storm missed us and the folks showed up, except for Charles and Di whose van was mugged by a deer on Hwy B a few days earlier. The dinner party was a flat bore--no obnoxiousness, no cussing, no fistfights and not even any drunkenness. I guess we are all too old to have fun anymore. Next year, I'm going to leave some hatchets scattered around.

I am sure that Shirl has mentioned that she has posted her 30th novel on all of the ebook platforms. This, as I am sure she told you, is also her first ebook original, never before printed anywhere, a virgin book. LOVING LUCIFER AT MIDNIGHT is the second in the "HOUSE OF DREAMS" trilogy. Now do me a favor--if you read the book and like it, please write a brief review. Of course, if you don't like it, be very quite, shhhh, mum. Over the three years that we have been doing this ebook stuff, we have discovered that reader reviews are absolutely the best promo a book can have.

In any case, Happy New Year to you all, and tell the truth. Aren't you glad that the gluttony, boozing, and short-sleep night (not to mention the shopping torture) is over for another year?


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