web analytics
13. December 2017 · Comments Off on Winter Meditations · Categories: Domestic


Bare Footprints in the Snow

The last of our winter market events are done; our season was rather truncated, as the earlier markets proved not as profitable as hoped, and one – for which we had great hopes – filled up with other vendors before we could send payment. And what profits we did gain were dented by a computer melt-down on my part, and the necessity of purchasing a new tire for the Montero on Blondie’s. Even though the economy is supposed to be improving, you couldn’t prove it by the small merchants doing the mobile weekly markets this last quarter. And I am coming down with a horrific cold, and Blondie managed to injure her foot last Friday morning, trying to take a picture of the snow-covered field behind our house … yes, it snowed, seriously in San Antonio last week, much to everyone’s surprise. We were expecting a cold spell overnight, and Thursday afternoon delivered cold-blustery-rainy-water-sodden kind of weather, of a degree that made us grateful to retreat to a warm house, eat supper from a tray in front of the television – and then suddenly there was a horrific ‘whoomp’ sound from outside, and all the lights and the TV went off.

Yeah, power outage. Blondie assumed at once that someone had skidded through the T-intersection at the front of our house and piled into either the light standard, or the tree in the front yard. But no – “It’s snowing!”

Real snow – fat, fluffy flakes of white snow, falling as thick as they ever did on the night of a full moon in Utah, where we lived in the early 1990s. That’s one of those snow-falls where the clouds, the snow falling, and the snow fallen combine to reflect the light and make everything – if not as bright as noon, then at least as bright as twilight. I’m told that in Russia this phenomenon is called a “White Night.” The trees were laden with fluffy white snowflakes, the ground below thickly covered … it was beautiful, it really was. It doesn’t snow in San Antonio oftener than every thirty years or so, and this was real snow! We even took of our shoes and socks, and did what we did in Utah for the first heavy snow-fall of the year, which was to run barefoot through it, barefoot in our front and backyard through the fresh-fallen fluffy snow.

Didn’t last beyond midday the next day, of course – it didn’t even stay cold enough to harm any of the plants, even the blooming Christmas cactus. But it was beautiful, and a bountiful gift of the season. And best of all, it didn’t last long enough to do any real harm to the plants in the garden, which a sudden, rock-hard freeze would have done.

07. December 2017 · Comments Off on Reprise Post – Another Sunday, Another War · Categories: Memoir

Note: This is not of my own writing, but something I clipped from the L.A. Times around 1971 or 1972, and tucked into my paperback copy of Walter Lord’s “Day Of Infamy”. It was written by Jack Smith, who was then and for many years, one of the columnists at the L.A. Times. I thought at the time, and still do, that it was one of the most evocative short pieces ever written about that day—Celia

It was 30 years ago, as I write this at last; a Sunday morning. It doesn’t matter any more, but I’ve always wanted to write it down anyway, while it was still vivid, and before to many anniversaries had passed.
At approximately 8 o’clock on that morning we were standing in the front yard of Bill Tyree’s rented house, out in a valley back of Diamond Head. It had been an all-night party and Tyree was standing in the front door in his pongee Chinese housecoat with the dragon on it, waving us goodbye.
In those days there was nothing necessarily dissolute about an all-night party, especially on Saturday nights. We were night people, and there was always an excuse for a party, always some correspondent on his way out to Manila or Jakarta to cover the war we knew was going to break out in the Far East. The honoree this weekend was a United Press man from New York who was leaving on Monday for the Dutch East Indies.

It had been a good party. We were all keyed up and full of war talk and we envied the correspondent, who would be there when it started. That very morning the banner on the Honolulu Advertiser had said WAR EXPECTED OVER WEEKEND. Japan was expected to attack the Dutch Indies, or if they were insane enough, the Philippines.

We stood in the yard, all quite sober; but drunk perhaps, with a subconscious excitement and a benign fatigue. It was a bright morning. The pink was fading from the sky. There is no exaggerating the beauty of Hawaiian mornings. Sometimes, after these parties, we would drive out to the lagoon at dawn and watch the Pan American clipper come splashing in from San Francisco or Samoa; a flamingo landing in a pink pool.
I don’t know how long we had been standing there in the yard when we heard a thump; one of those deep, distant, inexplicable sounds that make human beings feel suddenly very small and cold.
“It must be the gas works” somebody said, and we laughed. Days later, when we were all together again, we agreed it must have been the Arizona blowing up.

We piled into the major’s car. The major was a press relations officer for the U.S. Army in Hawaii and he knew everything. He and the correspondent got into the front seat, my wife and I in the back. As we drove along Kapiolani toward Waikiki I looked up idly into the sky and saw a silver plane flying high along the shoreline with puffs of dark smoke bursting just beneath it, I was wondering what this phenomenon might signify, when a second plane flew over, provoking more puffs, and then another.
“Something funny’s going on up there,” I said. The major stopped the car and we all got out and stood in the street, looking up into that lovely sky. Another plane came in over Diamond Head and the puffs appeared, futile and somehow comical, like bad stage effects.

The major put his hands on his hips and swore;
“Damn it, I’ve told them not to pull this kind of stuff without telling me.”
We got back in the car and drove into downtown Honolulu, past the quaint old Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in America. The palace air raid siren was going full out. We were no longer frivolous. Things were out of joint but how, we could not guess. The major dropped us off at our apartment.
“I’m going to the fort,” he said, “and see what this is all about.”
In the apartment I started to undress and went out on the balcony in my underwear. A plane flew over. I had no idea what it was; but what the hell, we were making new planes every day. I heard gunfire, but gunfire was not unusual on Oahu in 1941.

I went inside and lay down. “Something funny is going on, “I said, “but I’m too tired to think about it. I’m going to bed.”
There was the sound of someone running up the stairs to the balcony, pounding at the door and shouting; “The Japs are bombing us!”
“I know,” I said, knowing it as if I had never not known it, “You’d better put some coffee on, “ I told my wife. “It might be a long day.”

(And that’s the entire column – one man’s reaction, recollected in tranquility thirty years later, transcribed by me, another thirty years after that – how the world you know ends and another begins, all on a Sunday morning. I don’t know if this column was ever reprinted, or put into a book or anything – but I thought it was one of the best recollections of that day that I knew of.)

04. December 2017 · Comments Off on A Writer’s Work · Categories: Book Event, Domestic

… Is never done. Yes, I have been trying to fill out the note entries on my enormous spreadsheet of the American Revolution, with attention towards events and possible characters for the next Serious Historical Novel … but damn, I have a cat in my lap who is interfering with my typing and page turning … and Big Princess is not even MY cat. She is my daughter’s cat. (Why, why, why does she want to sit in MY lap when I am working at my computer. Sayeth the daughter – Because she wooves you. Not helping, sweetie…)

Tomorrow I expect to hear from a potential client with some extra paid work to be done, transcribing handwritten notes into a usable file. Yes, the book project is all but in the bag, but I cannot term him a client until the contract is signed and return, and the initial payment for work has been deposited. I also expect to hear from an editing client with his clarifications to his manuscript, which I must apply to his manuscript before doing the final pass-through edit and asking for final payment. Fortunately, this client has given every evidence of being pleased as punch with my efforts with regard to his memoir of an eventful childhood, so I have that going for me…

Today was a bit of a holiday between the event yesterday, and the potential work of the week. Saturday I was a participant in the last book event of my somewhat truncated year – the Book Corral in Goliad on Saturday, which went very well, especially in comparison with certain previous years wherein it was so cold that shoppers decamped early, swiftly followed by vendors concluding that there was nothing to be gained from hanging on, save death from exposure to bone-numbing cold. We ourselves packed up from Miss Ruby’s Author Corral at about 3 PM, knowing that once the doggie Christmas costume contest kicked off, that nothing much would be happening elsewhere along the square. This year, the Author Corral was again established in the forecourt of the Mustang Cantina, opposite a lovely little brick building which is set to become a boutique hotel, when interminable construction work is completed. Yes, the shale oil bidness has been good to Goliad; the historic courthouse square is now much spiffier in appearance then it was, back when I first did the Author Corral. Was it 2010, or 2011 – swift consult of my blog archives is inconclusive. One of those years, anyway. I so wish that I had been able to purchase the tiny silver single-action Army Colt with the cow-horn grips that one of the vendors – who had a whole display case of small silver replicas of fishing and hunting gear – all beautifully detailed and many of them workable. Alas, they all a bit pricy, and I never saw him again at subsequent events.

But anyway – I connected up with a good few fans of the books, including the woman who had paid for an advance copy of The Golden Road, and then when I lost her order form the next weekend – left me owing her a copy of my Gold Rush novel. Oddly enough, this time around, we sold two sets of the Luna City novels, which is only fair, since Goliad is one of the prime inspirations for Luna City itself.

And when we packed up and went away to walk the Square vendors, for a bit of Christmas shopping, I inadvertently left behind the bag with the striped bustle dress in it – since it turned so hot late in the day that I simply had to change. When we were about halfway through the circuit of the vendors on the Square, I was bitten several times on my left knee by a stray fire ant – what the hell? And now my knee is red and inflamed, and I kind of hope that I have another day to do my own thing tomorrow…

01. December 2017 · Comments Off on Holiday in Goliad – and Other Stuff! · Categories: Book Event, Luna City, Old West · Tags: ,

All righty, then – the sequel to Lone Star Sons, Lone Star Glory is now available for pre-release order as an ebook. It will be available in print by the middle of the month.

For the remainder of the month, Lone Star Sons is available as an ebook at a pittance – .99 cents, as is the ebook of The Chronicles of Luna City.  The print version of A Fifth of Luna City will be available around the end of next week, for those who prefer to go old-school with books. I probably won’t be able to have either of these books at any author events  I will do in the next week or so,

But in the mean time – tomorrow Santa arrives on a longhorn!

The arrival of Santa, with a spare mount. It’s a long way from the North Pole, you see.


To be available as an e-book by December 1, and in print in time for Christmas! Mark it on your calendar now!

(This essay was originally written more than ten years ago, and is included in the ebook Happy Families; a reminiscence even then of what Thanksgiving was before I left home to join the Air Force. I think I was home with my family for that holiday perhaps four or five years since then. Dad passed away in 2010, Mom is a semi-invalid living with my sister and her family. I don’t know if my sister ever fixes the onions in cheese sauce – I certainly don’t.)

Fairly early on, Mom and Dad reached a compromise on the question of where the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas would be celebrated: Christmas at our house, and Thanksgiving alternating between the grandparents’ houses: One year at Grannie Jessie and Grandpa Jim’s little white house on South Lotus, the next at Grannie Dodie and Grandpa Al’s in Camarillo. Since Dad was an only child, and Mom an only surviving child, all the hopes of constellation of childless or unmarried great-aunts and uncles were centered on JP, Pippy, Sander and I. We rather basked in the undivided attention, even as we regretted the lack of first cousins; there was Great-Aunt Nan, who was Grandpa Al’s younger sister, and Grannie Dodie’s two brothers, Fred and Bob. Fred had been a sailor on a real sailing ship in his youth and had lady in a frilly skirt tattooed on each forearm, who did the shimmy when he flexed his muscles: he also had children, so he was not invariably with us every Thanksgiving. Great-Uncle Bob was married to Great-Aunt Rose, and her sister Nita lived with them. Rose was frail and genteel, and her sister Nita plump and bossy, but they both had neatly marcelled short hair, in the fashion of the 1920ies, and both smelt deliciously of flower-scented dusting powder when hugged.

The menu was unvaryingly traditional, no matter if the table was laid out in the screened porch at Grannie Jessie’s, or set up in Grannie Dodie’s dining room and living room. Both of our grandmothers followed pretty much the same recipes for the turkey and bread stuffing, the giblet gravy and mashed potatoes with plenty of milk and butter whipped in. Both of them preferred opening a can of jellied cranberry sauce and letting it schlorp out onto a cut-glass plate, the ripples from the can unashamedly displayed to the world; at Christmas, Mom went as far as making cranberry sauce from a bag of sour fresh cranberries boiled together with sugar, but as far as the grandmothers were concerned, there was a reason that God had invented canned cranberry sauce technology.

Grandpa Al invariably carved the bird, expertly transforming it into neat slices of white and dark, to the tune of Great-Aunt Nan reminiscing about how he had inherited this marvelous skill from their father, Great-Grandpa George, the maestro of the carving knife and fork. Butler and valet to a wealthy manufacturing magnate, Great Grandpa George parlayed an inheritance into a thriving society catering business. To hear Great-Aunt Nan tell it, he could toss a roast into the air, make lighting-fast passes with a knife and have it fall onto the platter in neatly fanned slices. It was Grandpa Al and Great-Aunt Nan’s mother, though, who had the wonderful, unattainable recipe for the most perfect candied yams, or at least that’s how Dad remembered it.

Every Thanksgiving for a number of years became a running contest for Mom and the grandmothers to try and replicate this marvelous confection. They experimented yearly with yams or sweet potatoes, brown sugar and butter and additions of pineapple, or orange juice, or ginger, a bit of this and a pinch of that, to no avail. Every year, Dad tasted it and said judiciously
“It’s close, but…”
Finally Great-Aunt Nan unearthed a hand-written recipe for this Holy Grail of baked yams, written in Great-Grannie Alices’ very own hand. Mom and Grannie Jessie followed it to the letter, and presented the results to Dad. He tasted it, while we hung on his reaction, confident that we had finally achieved Great-Grannie Alices’ sublime, yammy perfection.
“Not quite…’ Dad said at last, while Mom and Grannie Jessie’s faces fell, and JP and I chorused “To dream the impossible dream…” Later in the kitchen, Mom and I concluded that since it had been by that time about twenty-five years since Dad had tasted those unattainable yams, it was entirely possible that he really didn’t remember exactly what they had tasted like.

There was never any question about the other holiday side dish, the marble-sized baby onions baked in cheese sauce: we all hated it, but Mom fixed it every year for Grandpa Jim, and whichever non-family guests felt adventurous. Grandpa Jim died when I was eleven, and that next Thanksgiving, Mom fixed them again.
“Why?” I asked, as she whisked the sauce one last whisk, and poured it over a casserole filled halfway up with onions. “No one ever ate it but Grandpa.”
“It’s traditional,” Mom said sternly. She scattered toasted breadcrumbs over the top, and put the casserole in the oven.

Grandpa Jim has been gone for forty-some years. Mom has to practically specially order the onions now, for the memorial cheese sauce and onion casserole, of which only Mom and the occasional daring non-family guest ever has more than a spoonful. The elders fell away, one by one: Grandpa Al, and Great Aunt Rose, then Great-Uncle Bob, the grandmothers, and finally Great-Aunt Nan, and the holiday table is now filled with my sisters’ husband and children, with my daughter and my brothers’ wives. The feasting and thanksgiving remain, though… and so do the onions.


19. November 2017 · Comments Off on Reconsiderations · Categories: Book Event, Random Book and Media Musings

The last two weekends of scheduled marketing events, in anticipation of the Christmas holiday season … no, strike that – the last two weekends, and the marketing events in October as well – have just not produced the sales figures that my daughter and I had expected, based on previous leading-into-holiday events. The October events were supposed to fund the November and December events, but those anticipated sales just did not happen; one of them fell to inclement weather, another to plenty of people looking, but darned little buying. So we could not venture into things like Dickens on Main in Boerne, as we had planned, and we were too late for another go at Johnson City for the courthouse lighting, as we did last year. I was even too late to sign up for Saturday in the Author Hall at the New Braunfels Weihnachtsmarkt, and had to make do with Friday instead. While we did at least, recover the table fees and then a bit, it’s a lot of work and energy for very little return.
This is not just our judgement, but in commiserations with other vendors; they also experienced the same bafflement – plenty of shoppers at well-established and well-advertised event, not over-pricing the goods, we worked the crowd and engaged with shoppers, instead of sitting behind the table looking at our Kindles and iPads … but with disappointing results. We speculate that perhaps we have worked the weekly market days dry, after having been profitable over the previous three years. My daughter wants to do more of the art events, specifically in San Marcos, and I’d prefer more book-oriented events and author appearances, where at least people are primed to expect to consider books. The one good thing about book events, is that I am at the point where doing an appearance brings invitations to do others (and bring books to sell!) which is not nearly as labor-intensive as an all day, or a two-day market.
So – a slight rethinking of my marketing strategy, as well as signing on to Patreon, and committing to producing good bloggy ice cream for patrons and backers, while I work on the next book – tentatively entitled When the Lanterns are Lit. Which, if you like, is kind of a circle around to how I went about funding publishing of To Truckee’s Trail – friends, fans and readers made contributions to cover the costs of publishing it through a POD house, when interesting a mainstream agent and establishment publisher in the manuscript for it fell through. What goes around, keeps on coming around, I guess.

14. November 2017 · Comments Off on A Day in the Life · Categories: Book Event, Domestic

We clocked the end of a relatively satisfactory day on Monday, after a somewhat grim weekend. The craft market in Bulverde on Saturday worked out semi-OK for me, but the event Sunday evening New Braunfels was a reminder of why I aged out of the bar-hopping and clubbing scene a couple of decades ago — and intermittent rain which moved the event indoors did not help … but Monday and today made up for it, as far as things accomplished.

One – successfully returning Georgina the Friendly Husky dog to her family. (We found Georgina last thing on Friday afternoon, wandering casually through our neighborhood, innocent of a leash, or any identifying tags, and not recognized by anyone in our neighborhood.) Not able to take her to the veterinarian to be checked for a chip until this morning, but she was the most amiable of canine house-guests in the meantime. House-trained, relatively obedient to the usual commands, clever enough to figure out how to open the latch on the front door, sort of OK with the cats. It turned out that her real name is Elsa, she opened a gate at her house in the next neighborhood over … and wandered. Her relieved owner confesses that she is a really, really friendly dog, as well as a clever one. She is a beautiful dog, much admired wherever we went with her; a sturdy blue-eyed,  black and white husky, wirh incredibly thick and plushy fur. If we had not been able to locate her owner, we already had a good home lined up for her

Second – our friend and neighbor, the Genius Handyman successfully cleaned and repaired a malfunctioning and dirty sensor on Blondie’s Montero, saving us the cost of a replacement item – at least, until the ‘check engine’ light went on again this morning. So, maybe a bit more tinkering, to ensure that the Montero is in fighting trim for next weekend market at Blanco’s old county courthouse — an outdoor market which necessitates use of the pavilion. Which does not fit into my car, although everything else does. If the Montero little problem cannot be fixed by then,  I have a roof-rack for my car, onto which we can load the pavilion.

Someday, when the mortgage is entirely paid and I have sold a great many more books, my daughter says that she would like us to buy a panel van or a pickup truck to use as our market-transport vehicle. That project remains a dream, as the mortgage will finally be paid off in March, 2020 – a little more than two years hence.

I researched certain reports and items relevant as to how the h-e-double toothpicks that the company which does print fulfillment and distribution for the Teeny Publishing Bidness has not sent us a royalty payment for a seriously considerable length of time. Oh, yes — when I called on this matter before, I got the response of ‘returns, sales, clear-the-account-at-the-end of-the-year-blah-blah-blah.’ Monday, I spent time enough on the phone with a representative who went far and above beyond that. And seemed rather nonplussed at how long this state of affairs had been going on. I had to send documentation of certain payments, as attachments … but after spending about an hour on the phone, I do have hopes of getting this matter cleared up, although today I had to spend a bit more time explaining this via email to a higher level of customer service person. We are a Teeny Publishing Bidness, and they are a Huge Corporate Conglomerate, but according to my research, they owe us money, and I am just about irritated about this to keep on them like a junkyard dog.

And finally – have done enough work on Lone Star Glory that I can ask for the cover template, so that is one more thing checked off the to-do list…

29. October 2017 · Comments Off on A Snippet of the Next Book – Lone Star Glory · Categories: Chapters From the Latest Book
All right – the final story for the next Lone Star Sons collection is almost done! Lone Star Glory, the continuing adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his Delaware Indian blood-brother Toby Shaw, should be available in ebook by mid-November.

The Borderlands Beast

“It’s the damnest thing,” Jack Hays mused. “Here I have a letter from our friend Mr. Biddle in Laredo, passing on tales of a strange hairy beast supposedly attacking, mutilating and murdering people – and now I read the same thing in the Texas Register and by a completely different correspondent… Is there some kind of moon-madness afflicting people down along the Rio Grande? Or has everyone started eating locoweed stewed in aguardiente?”
“No idea,” Jim replied, as Jack handed him the folded sheets of the Texas Register. They were sitting at a table out in back of a saloon and beer-garden on Soledad Street, in the oldest part of Bexar. The establishment – narrow and dark, presented a fortress-like aspect to the street and ran down to the river edge, fringed with rushes and shaded by immense old cypress trees. The proprietors of the saloon/beer garden had set out rough tables and chairs under the trees. It was just twilight of a mild spring day, and the oil lamps hanging from lower tree branches cast a pleasant golden glow; just enough between their light and sunlight fading from the pale sky to read the tiny print of the newspaper. At the riverbank, lightening-bugs flashed their tiny brief lights among the rushes.
“… fleeting glimpses of an immense, shaggy black shape, nimbly leaping from wall to tree, leaving the victim, one Augustine Santiago sprawled on the ground, dismembered and hideously mutilated about the face, his throat chewed through as if by razor-sharp teeth set in a monstrously strong jaw …” Jim shook his head. “And his right arm torn entirely off his body. It would take inhuman strength to perform that feat. I’ve heard a lot of stories about what the Comanche get up to when the devil is in them and they have an enemy to torture – but I’ve never heard anything this outlandish. I suppose one of those grizzly bears could mutilate a man in that fashion with their great claws, but the description of the beast moving and leaping sounds like anything but a bear. What does Albert Biddle have to say?”
“Only that this Santiago murder is the latest,” Jack replied, unfolding the pages of the letter from Laredo. “And Biddle is a sensible man, not given to megrims and alarms…”
“Who was this Augustine Santiago?” Jim wondered aloud. He had not gotten that far in the newspaper.
“A Mexican merchant with a large establishment across the river in Nueva Laredo … distant kin to Dona Graciela, which is why your friend wrote to me. There is more than has been put in the newspaper, you see. Biddle writes that several young shepherds in the vicinity have been found dead, and also savagely mutilated in much the same manner. The common folk blame the Indians … but the condition of the bodies is so different from we have been accustomed to see in our various wars with the wild tribes. And it seems,” Jack cleared his throat, meaningfully, “That this murderous beast has likewise been preying upon them as well. Those in Laredo of Biddle’s acquaintance who maintain friendly relations with certain of the Comanche and Lipan and others say that the Indians are frightened as well – frightened almost out of their skins, telling tales of flying death bats and cannibal skulls with wings, and child-sized monsters with a taste for human flesh. And significantly, they blame the white man, or perhaps the Mexicans for bringing the monster into the region. The Mexicans and the Americans, of course, are equally eager to blame some mad renegade amongst the Indians – as if there was any excuse needed to set all parties at each other’s throats. I’d like to put out this little bonfire before it grows any bigger. Since you and Mr. Shaw have the friendship of Old Owl and his Penateka folk, I will task you to go to Laredo and see what you can find out about this monstrous man-killing beast … and if possible, put an end to it. Show off the pelt in the market-place, so that everyone knows the matter is settled.”
“Give us a day or so to pack our traps,” Jim replied. “And plenty of lead… do you know – there was a man-killing wolf which supposedly killed and ate a hundred people in Southern France, in the days of one of the Louies. It was eventually shot and killed by a hunter using a special silver bullet which had been blessed by the local priest. Do you suppose I should take that kind of precaution, Jack?”
“If you chose to do so, pay out of your own purse for it,” Jack replied. “In my experience, cold lead with black powder behind it has been fitting enough to do the job.”

The next day, when Toby Shaw appeared at Jack’s quarters in an old adobe house on Main Plaza, Jim’s Indian blood-brother listened to Jack outline the new mission with a wholly impassive expression on his face. When Jack had finished, Toby shook his head.
“This is a monster, such as the old ones of my people called a ‘wendigo’. This is a very dangerous creature to hunt, according to the old tales. I have no relish for this hunt – but as you say – this is a perilous matter. The wendigo is an unnatural thing, leaving no tracks by which a man might hunt it. But it sounds as if this is a living thing – and living things leave tracks by which they may be followed. Only …” Toby paused, and It unsettled Jim, how Toby’s hand had gone to fiddle with the star-iron talisman at his throat, a piece of unearthly metal the size of a pecan-meat, strung on a thong about his blood-brother’s neck, as it had been since the very first day of their meeting – at the scene of a bloody killing in the Nueces strip.
“Only – what?” Jim said, and Toby shook his head.
“Nothing, Brother. Only this matter has the stink of a great evil about it.”

Three days later, Jim and Toby set out for Laredo, bearing with them a letter on heavy paper with Jack’s signature, authorizing them to make inquiries on both sides of the border. Jack had signed it with an especially impressive flourish, with his official title, and the official seal of the Republic embossed below.
“That should open some doors, in Nueva Laredo, at the very least,” Jack said, as he handed it to Jim on the morning of their departure. “Don’t know if it will impress the Penateka or the Lipan, much – for that, you and Shaw need to depend on your own swift wits and clever line of palaver. Good luck. And when you kill this beast … bring me a souvenir; a scalp, or a set of claws, or teeth; something that I can put on the shelf and brag about to folk.”
Jim sensed his blood-brother’s doubtful thoughts about this mission, although forbore to speak of it, until they were well on the trail towards Laredo, and the ramble of Bexar, punctuated by the blunt dome of San Fernando had diminished at their backs. Spring rains falling on the gentle rolling hills and grasslands had brought forth a bounty of wildflowers – blue buffalo clover, purple verbena, pink wild primrose and yellow tickseed in such numbers that in places, the green grass was overpainted with blossoms.
“This is a dangerous hunt, Brother,” Toby said at last. “More dangerous than any search we have undertaken before. Whether it is an evil of this world, the world of men who walk in the light of the sun, or from the spirit world … we must be very careful. This wendigo has greater powers than any of which I have ever heard.”
“I don’t think that the beast is anything other than of this world,” Jim replied, trying to hearten himself as well as his blood-brother. “Of this world in the here and now. Ghostly apparitions do not appear out of the ether, and tear and rend human flesh with anything other than earthly talons and teeth. Depend on it – this is some animal, perhaps a wild catamount, or a wolf with a taste for human flesh. There is no danger to us, being armed and doubly wary.”

28. October 2017 · Comments Off on Great Moments in Seasonal Merchandise · Categories: Domestic

Spotted at my friendly neighborhood HEB – Behold!

Day of the Dead Lawn Flamingos!