Veronica Mixon's Blog

November 23, 2019

Teens, Dark Chocolate, and Surviving Writer Limbo

Writer limbo - the time between your pitch/query being sent and an agent or publisher's response.

I'm smack in the middle of writer limbo. And yesterday, after talking to my agent, I had a meltdown. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it's because I delivered two completed manuscripts within four weeks. My agent immediately went into full-fledged pitch mode with both books, and after a month, we've heard nothing, nada, zippo.

I'm in writing limbo, stuck playing the publishing waiting game.

And I'm also suffering with Phase IV Chocolate Addiction. For those who don't know, one reaches phase IV after consuming two pounds of decadent dark chocolate within twenty-four hours.

I couldn't help noticing my reaction to the dreaded publishing silence was eerily similar to my teen self when my parents announced the family would be moving to Brazil during my senior year of high school.
"Brazil?" I cried. "What about my boyfriend."

"He's not invited," my dad deadpanned.
I inhaled ten pounds of peanut M&Ms that afternoon.

Since being stuck in writer's limbo, my brain has seized on the idea of going back and having a chat with my teenage self. I can't seem to let the concept go. Must be the chocolate. Yesterday, I finally gave in and made a list of all the things I'd tell my awkward, hyper-hormonal, clueless soul.

*The bill for basking in the sun to achieve a skin color ten shades darker than your normal comes due at forty.
*Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes.
Even you.
*Chocolate with seventy-five percent cocoa is not a good substitute for green vegetables.
Note: Exception granted when dangling in writer's limbo.
*The quote, "It is okay to be a little cracked, that's how the light gets in," is true.
*Chill out, girl, Brazil's going to be a blast.
I remember seventeen as an exciting, turbulent, and scary year for me. Seventeen was also an especially rocky year for my now therapist daughter. After one particularly combative morning during her senior year, I sobbed my maternal angst to a neighbor who'd successfully raised three college-educated, productive members of society. I had high hopes she could steer me into the lane of super-mom-dom.

On that sob-fest morning, my neighbor patted my back and gave my shoulders a sturdy get-a-freaking-grip shake.

"Do you know the number one misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder?" she asked.

I gripped the kitchen counter, my head spun like I was half-drunk. "You think my daughter is—"

"Hormonal imbalance," she clarified. Her husband was a psychologist. I took her at her word.

I grabbed a dishtowel from the kitchen counter, wiped my eyes, blew my nose. "I don't understand—"

"Your daughter's hormones are raging," she said. "Think of her as having a clinical disorder for the next five years. Be understanding and ignore her histrionics. By the time she's twenty-four, maybe twenty-six, you'll recognize her again. Until then, feed her chocolate."

Again, her husband was a doctor who was I to argue. And her plan appeared sound. As a teen, I must've eaten a hundred pounds of Peanut M&Ms.

I followed my friend's advice and fed my daughter a full menu of patience and chocolate. And sure enough, at twenty-four my she miraculously morphed back into a human.

But as in marriage and parenting, we learn as we go, and navigating our tumultuous teen years can only be done when we're teens.

And so it goes with writing. As writers, we have to discover our unique creative process. What works, what hinders our inspiration, what fosters imagination.

But this idea of talking with my teen self is stuck in my brain. And I've spent most of this week madly searching for other things to occupy my time. Here's how I've distracted myself and my brain.

*Eat pounds and pounds of dark chocolate.
*Scour the internet for the best diets.
*Check my email every ten minutes.
*Commit to one promising lose-ten-pounds-in ten-days internet diet.
*Spend a fortune on food I don't usually buy.
*Start checking my email every five minutes.
*Recommit to an exercise routine, walking, rowing, zeugma.
*Consider joining a gym vs. splurging on a million-dollar Peloton bicycle.
*Check my email every three minutes
*Buy an air fryer--(Okay, that needs an entire blog).

Finally, my exhausted brain spewed out an interesting thought, a story idea.

And when a story idea settles in my mind for more than a few days, I figure it's a sign. I jumped on the premise like a teenager to a new iPhone, opened a file in Scrivener, and disappeared into story land.

So, if like me, you find yourself navigating the publishing waiting game my advice is:

*Feed yourself chocolate
*Be gentle with yourself
*Ignore your meltdowns
*Remind yourself daily, hourly if necessary, you have no idea who's currently reading your story, loving your story, pitching your story in an editorial meeting.
*Remember, as when you were teens, we don't know what we don't know.

And in the meantime, should an idea dance in your brain and refuse to shut-up, stop, and listen. The little yapping nugget is a gift.

Write down the idea. Create a story. Build a world only you know — a place where you are in complete control, and you make all the decisions.

But don't forget the chocolate.
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Published on November 23, 2019 09:51 Tags: changing-tides, dark-chocolate, fiction-university, teenage-angst, teenagers, veronica-mixon

September 16, 2019

Cool vs. Engineer

The other day I was thinking about our family, the differences, and the similarities. We have our cool family members, and then we have the engineers. The engineer members might not be professional engineers, but they could be. They share the same personality traits. Even some of the grandchildren still in grade school fall into that camp.

Once I asked my oldest grandson his favorite color. “Black,” he said.

I laughed. “Okay, what’s your second favorite color?”


His major might be Business Finance, but that child falls squarely in the engineering camp.

But here's the thing about the engineer types-- they’re smart enough to snag cool wives or girlfriends. All the sons, except for Brooklyn reside in the engineer-world. All the wives hang-out in the super-cool camp.

Our engineer types take Boy-Scout-preparedness to the tenth power. I'll give you a couple of examples. My husband is an engineer by profession. He focuses on a problem, looks at the obstacle from every possible angle, and then looks at it one more time. Then he takes one more pass at his dilemma, you know, just to make sure he hasn't missed ANYTHING! When he makes a decision, he’s rarely wrong or caught by surprise.

That sounds great, but it’s freaking exhausting. If you don’t believe me, tag along when he buys his next car. That’s a two or three-month process by the way, so take a sabbatical from work and pack a few lunches.

My daughter came home for a visit the other day, and I casually mentioned that the previous week, her father and I had a home fire drill and the week before that we’d practiced what we’d do if our security alarm went off in the middle of the night. I should probably mention, my daughter’s a marriage and family therapist, so she’s trained to stare at you without emotion, even when she’s in the LMAO mode.

“So,” she deadpanned. “How often do you and dad practice these routines?”

“Oh, about once a month.”

"That’s interesting.” Which is code for, ‘I can’t wait to get back to work and tell this to all my therapist friends.’

“It’s a good idea to be prepared,” I said for no good reason. And because I’m a mother and have a college degree in Guilt Management, I added, “When’s the last time you thought about what you’d do in case of a fire?”

She pursed her lips as if she were seriously considering my question. “Second grade.”

I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure three out of five of our children conduct regular home fire drills—guess which ones don't.

I never read the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, but I’m thinking of buying a few copies and handing them out at our next family function.
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Published on September 16, 2019 07:50 Tags: being-cool, changing-tides, engineer, engineering, kids, siblings, veronica-mixon

August 29, 2019

A Case for Reincarnation

When I think of reincarnation, defined as the rebirth of a soul in a new body, one of my granddaughters is my personal case study. While DNA, our inherited characteristics such as blood groups, or hair color, or eye color, might be interesting, it's not mystifying.

Mystifying is the granddaughter my husband calls Precious. Her emotional bond with my husband, her grandfather, is so complete that I figure they must’ve been married in a past life. I started noticing her infatuation with her papa when she was three years old and we picked her up from preschool. She climbed into the car, and I asked if she’d had a nice day.

“We colored,” Precious said.

“What’d you color,” I asked

She opened her backpack, pulled out a purple cat’s head. “This is for you, Papa.”

I waited.

Precious pulled out another multi-colored cat picture. Her eyes rounded to roughly the size of a bread plate. “Wait.” She snatched the first picture out of my husband’s hand and handed it to me. “That’s yours, Nana.” She handed her papa the second cat picture. “Papa, yours is a picture of the whole cat.”

Precious tilted her head, smiled, came close to batting her baby blues.

After that incident, I began to take notice of the little things. Precious would arrive at our house with a present for her papa, but not one for me. A wrapped rock or a chipped cat's eye marble, once a picture of her and her papa she thought he might want for his desk. She insisted on sitting by her papa at dinner, sitting in his lap when we watched TV, sleeping between us when she spent the night. Actually, she suggested I might be more comfortable sleeping down the hall. Precious was relentless.

At first, the mini-love affair was cute; then it started to hurt my heart. I was the one who took her shopping, cooked her favorites for dinner, baked her birthday cakes and braided her hair. But in Precious's opinion, I teetered somewhere between babysitter and domestic help. Her heart was all Papa's.

Back then, my husband and our oldest three sons worked together in our family business. I’d arrive at the office and find a drawing on my desk that Precious had sent in with her dad. My pictures were usually painted with one crayon and half-finished. Precious's paintings for her papa were more in line with the Monet garden series.

When Precious turned five she discovered email. She’d send me a short five-word message. “hi nana write me back.” My husband would get a rambling love letter spouting her devotion. And just to stick that serrated Bowie knife a little deeper in my heart, she'd attach special effects to her papa's email worthy of New York City’s 4th of July fireworks display.

When she was six, my husband and I retired, sold the business to our three oldest sons, and moved three hundred miles away. One day, the phone rang and I recognized Precious’s voice.

“Oh sweetheart, I’m so glad you called,” I said. “Nana misses you so much. Do you miss Nana?”

“Well,” she said. “I really miss Papa.”

“Okay, then.” I thrust the phone into my husband's chest. I'm not proud of this, but I actually stalked out of the kitchen, went to our bedroom and polished off his Godiva Valentine candy.

Our Precious is in college now, but her long-term boyfriend understands he comes in a distant second to her papa.

A couple of months back, my husband took out the trash and came face-to-snout with an eight-foot alligator snoozing in our courtyard. I stood on our porch and snapped a photo, then posted it on Facebook. Precious's response, “Don’t let that vile reptile near my Papa.”

You think she was kidding, but I know this girl. She expected me to launch my body like a human grenade at that gator and protect her papa.

Now that I think about it, maybe she wasn't his wife in another life. Maybe she was his mother!
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Published on August 29, 2019 09:47 Tags: alligators, changing-tides, color-books, dorian, family-ties, florida, grandparents, love, savannah

August 25, 2019

There's Cool and Then There's Circus Cool

My husband and I live squarely in the world of blended families. He had four sons when we married, and we have a daughter. Add in eleven grandkids and when our gang gets together we have twenty-one unique personalities in the same house. And we're an animal-loving group, so we also have the nine dogs, a couple of cats and one rabbit, each with their own sweet little ADD and OCD personalities. Oh, yeah, that’s fun!

But we have a lot of “cool” in our family. Each family member has some level of cool, something exceptional and unique, something beyond their DNA that makes him or her spectacular.

But most people would say the highest-ranking cool member in our gang of twenty-one is our Brooklyn son. I mean just living in Brooklyn is cool, right? And Brooklyn has the whole Johnny-Depp-bad-boy-vibe-thing going on.

He works hard to give the impression he’s oblivious to the level of cool that swirls around him like Zorro’s cape. But I’m not buying it.

Once, he and I were standing in line at an airport Starbucks behind an attractive middle-aged woman. She casually turned, took one look at Brooklyn with his shoulder-length black hair, riveting dark eyes, and reared back. The blood drained from the poor woman’s face, and a second later her eyes morphed into hungry-predator. She licked her lips and whispered, “Oh, my God.” Yeah, that happened.

Even though Brooklyn is six-foot-two, lean and muscular, I wanted to throw my one-hundred-thirty-pound flabby self in front of him and use my body as a human shield against the hussy-cougar. But instead, Brooklyn flashed his box-office Oscar-worthy smile, and the pouncing cougar turned tomato red and went mute. I took pity on her, laughed, and said, “He is pretty, isn’t he.”

I used to refer to Brooklyn as my little vagabond because he loved to ramble. And just so you know, you’re not a true vagabond if you stoop so low as to make a hotel reservation, use a map, or heck, even have a rough idea of where you’ll be three days from now.

Brooklyn is one of those guys who’ll decide to go clubbing at midnight and end up dancing the night away with Gwen Stefani. Yes, that also happened. He’s just that cool.

Our therapist daughter and Brooklyn not only love each other, they like each other, and they often go out when she visits him in NYC.

She complains that clubbing with her brother Brooklyn is exhausting. Evidently, all the single females in the club experience the pouncing-Tigger-syndrome and vie to become her bestie. But The Therapist isn’t fooled.

What these women really want is to make eye contact with Brooklyn. They want an introduction, they want a phone number, they want to fall in love and have his baby. The Therapist says it’s worse if the club has a decent band because Brooklyn-boy can dance.

Next on the list of the coolest family members is our granddaughter, Dancing-Beauty, who dreams of flying in the circus. In my opinion, circus cool ranks at the very top of the family cool meter. I mean really who doesn’t love the idea of walking a tightrope, or swinging on one of those trapeze bars in those cute little outfits?

Our little Dancing-Beauty is content to navigate the lanes of life on her own, and frankly, you're not invited on her trip. After all, she knows where she’s headed and if you don’t see it, well, that’s your short-sightedness. As a three-year-old, she walked into my kitchen after sleeping until eleven o’clock one morning announcing she was aware the early bird captured the worm, but, she asked, who likes worms anyway? Yep, she views our universe with a different set of rose-colored glasses. Her lens is more of a kaleidoscope.

And our Dancing-Beauty not only dreams of being in the circus, she works her butt off training. She’s in her last year of college, and I have no doubt next year I’ll be in Vegas, popping Xanax, watching her fly, swing, and balance on razor-thin bars thousands of feet in the air.
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Published on August 25, 2019 12:24 Tags: adult-children, changing-tides, circus, coastal-ga, family, ga, grandkids, kids, savannah, vicki-mixon

August 7, 2019

Karma, Koi and Kindergarten

I’ve always loved the idea of karma. It seems fair and just that our future is determined by our past actions, good and bad. The nicer you are, the better your life. But what if someone inadvertently does something horrible? What then? Are they still destined for a terrible fate?

This conundrum awakened me at three AM last Thursday--that and a thunderstorm and one too many glasses of merlot that stretched my bladder to the size of the Goodyear blimp. As I pondered this baffling dilemma, one of my grandsons came to mind.

Early on we nicknamed this grandson Angler. The child had a fish-fetish. His favorite toy was his collection of plastic fish bait, and he'd spend hours separating and categorizing hundreds of slimy, squiggly worms into colors and sizes and place them in separate compartments in his fishing box that was roughly the diameter of my double-oven.

When Angler was five-years-old, his aunt gave him a beautiful cobalt blue Beta fish. Angler named his new friend Oscar, placed his fishbowl on his bedroom dresser, and told him all his five-year-old problems--his mom never made pizza anymore, his baby sister broke his favorite GI Joe action figure, Toy-R-Us filed for bankruptcy.

Angler loved Oscar. Loved to feed him, loved to help clean his bowl. One Saturday morning Angler's mom walked into his room and noticed Angler reading to his stuffed animals. He’d carefully placed each furry friend and his GI Joes in rows simulating his kindergarten class set up. Angler stood in front reading his favorite Dr. Seuss book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Mom smiled, turned to leave and noticed Oscar’s empty bowl. Just as mom was about to pop the obvious question, she saw Oscar, dead center, on the front row.

School ended early that day, Oscar received a proper shoebox funeral, and a broken-hearted little Angler learned the difference between lungs and gills and why fish lived in water.

Angler’s aunt replaced Oscar the next day with another shimmering blue and orange Beta fish. Angler named his new fish Oscar. A few days later, Angler asked to take a tub bath, and at some point, after his mother settled him in the water and left to check on his sister, Angler decided "Hey, Oscar ought to expand his horizons, swim in a more prominent bowl." After another shoebox funeral, sad little Angler understood that Beta fish, like Oscar, could only live in cool, fresh water and didn’t need bubble baths to stay clean.

Angler cried himself to sleep, and his dad, feeling somewhat responsible for his son’s misunderstanding, came home early from work the following day and carried Angler to the pet store to pick out another fish. Angler chose a glistening yellow and blue Beta fish with a long sweeping fin. Angler named him Oscar and begged to have Oscar in his room. After a stern reminder that fish only lived in cool fresh water, his dad relented.

On Saturday, dad cleaned the pool and Angler took the opportunity to go for a swim. Ten minutes into Angler's swim, dad noticed Oscar in the deep-end not doing so well. After the third shoebox funeral, mom and dad explained to a heartsick little Angler that he’d best wait a few years before getting another Oscar.

That same year my husband and I bought a house with a backyard pond that was home to five beautiful koi. I’m not sure who was more excited, Angler or I. I added three different types of water lilies to give my new fish more shade, added one additional pump for the waterfall for more water oxygenation, purchased the best color enhancing fish food, and added snails to control dreaded pond algae. Every morning I visited my new happy place, enjoyed my coffee and gave thanks for the serenity and beauty of my peaceful surroundings.

Several years later, my husband and I booked our dream vacation, a three-week European cruise. My next-door neighbor graciously offered to feed my koi in our absence. Upon our return, our pond resembled the home of the Lake Neck Monster on a Saturday afternoon Creature Feature. Long, slimy, strings of algae floated on top of the water, and I couldn’t even see the fish through the pea soup green water. I maxed-out my credit card and purchased a gallon of liquid gold disguised as a chemical safe for lilies and koi and strong enough to kill algae and carefully administered the solution into my skimmer. The next morning, I poured a cup of coffee, walked out to my pond and stared at five-bloated koi floating in green sludge.

After my engineering husband dug a hole large enough for five shoeboxes, he explained that I’d added a zero to my calculations for the amount of liquid I needed for a two thousand gallon pond.

I mourned my fish babies every day for six months. But a backyard pond needs more than water and lilies, so four months ago I ordered koi from a certified, disease-free farm in California. Five three-inch koi arrived the next day, via overnight FedEx delivery.

After carefully reading the proper instructions, I released my babies, one by one, into their new environment of waterfalls, rock ledges, and artificial caves designed to protect them from hungry predators. I diligently added pellets to the food ring every morning and searched for any evidence that the fish had acclimated to their new home.

Not once in the next six weeks did I spot a fish swimming in my pond, and the pellets remained untouched in the food ring. Beyond sad, I attributed the disappearance of my koi to the raccoons who often visited my bird feeders at night and vowed a moratorium on raising fish.

Last Thursday, while cutting back a bed of dead Agapanthus planted near the pond, I caught a flash of shimmering white and orange. I stood mesmerized as a six-inch koi darted in and out of the two caves. My heart zoomed with joy, then a stab of guilt seized and squeezed. The little guy must be starving.

I ran to the storeroom, measured out pellets and poured them into the food ring. How had he survived for two and half months with no food? Maybe the snails? I didn’t know, but he looked happy and healthy zipping around.

I called Angler to tell him the good news. We decided to name him Oscar.

Now about that karma thing…
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Published on August 07, 2019 18:25 Tags: changing-tides, coastal-ga, garden, karma, kindergarten, koi, koi-pond, mystery, savannah

May 3, 2019

The Only Good Snake is a Dead Snake

Living in Florida guarantees slithering squatters will take up residence in your yard now and then. I’ve never known anyone who liked snakes. Well, there was this one guy I knew in high school named Roger who had a pet snake. Roger was cute, but even if I could get past the fact he willingly slept in the same room with a snake, my mother wouldn’t have allowed that boy to cross our threshold. Snakes, my mother was fond of saying, were evil. God said so in the Bible.

Which got me to thinking and Googling, and according to the Internet there are indeed forty-four passages referencing snakes in the Bible, not one described serpents in a positive light. Once again, my mother was right.

One day Mom stopped by my house on the way to her exercise class for coffee and a chat. As she was getting ready to leave, I glanced out of my kitchen window and spied a snake sunning on the sidewalk.

Knowing my mother’s conviction—the only good snake is a dead snake—I said, “Maybe you should go out the back door.’

“Back door?” Her brow morphed into one large wrinkle. “My car’s out front, why would I go out the back?”

Keeping a close eye on the slithery reptile, I said, “Well, there’s a snake between the front door and your car.”

“A snake?” She threw me against the refrigerator and glared out the kitchen window. “Well, call somebody.”

Massaging my shoulder, I picked myself up off the floor and rejoined the snake surveillance. “Who do you want me to call?”

“The police!”

I dragged my gaze from the slinking serpent. “The police?”

“They’re paid to serve and protect.”

“Mom, we’re inside the house. The snake’s outside.” I tipped the blinds to get a better view. “And besides, I think it’s just a bug snake.”

My mother shot me an iceberg-melting glare. “That’s a rattlesnake if I’ve ever seen one.”

I cupped my hands over my eyes to block the glare and scrutinized the long, skinny, green reptile with a yellow strip. “I’m pretty sure rattlers are brown, and…,” I threw in a tidbit Roger had mentioned in biology class, “…they have light brown buttons on the end of their tail, one for every year of their life.” I pointed to the bug snake. “That guy isn’t brown, and his tail doesn’t have the rattling buttons.”

Mom turned. Her eyebrows had shifted into her hairline. “You can’t see that snake’s tail from here. And rattlesnakes are shifty. They change colors to blend with their environment.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s a chameleon. Chameleons are lizards.”

Mom squinted, her baby blues shooting daggers through the window. “I’m not leaving here until that snake is dead. My granddaughter plays in this yard.”

That much was true. My three-year-old daughter loved to play outside. It was getting late, and I had a meeting in less than an hour, so I picked up the phone and called animal control. The nice lady who answered explained her department didn’t handle the removal of snakes from private residences, inside or out. And no, she didn’t know any department that did. She didn’t laugh, but I heard her eyes rolling. I hung up, turned to Mom. “They’re not coming.”

“I told you to call the police. They have to come when you call.” Mom’s gaze seesawed between the sunning snake and me. “That’s the law.”

I checked my watch. I could take my broom, go outside, and sweep Mr. Slither away, but the mere thought sent my heart racing like a Chihuahua after a Doberman. In his desperation to get away Mr. Slither might crawl over my foot. I shuddered and dialed the city police. The dispatcher snickered. “Honey, we don’t do snakes.”

“Look,” I said. “My mother is petrified of snakes, and the snake is between my door and her car. Can you just send someone?”

“Okay. I’ll see what I can do.”

Five minutes later, a patrol car pulled into my drive. An officer, a newbie somewhere in the vicinity of sixteen, who’d evidently drawn the short stick, ambled up the sidewalk. He sent the snake scurrying in the direction of my front door.

I answered the bell. “Hi.” I glanced down. No snake. “Sorry to bother you but my mother’s terrified of snakes.”

He smiled. “He’s gone now.”

Mom shoved me aside, peeked around the door. “Where’d he go?”

“In that hole.” An answer that proved the officer was indeed a newbie with zero experience in handling a hysterical pre-menopausal woman.

Mom scowled at the hole, nodded knowingly. “I knew it. He’s taken up residence. You’ve got to get him out of that hole and kill him.”

Newbie shifted as if his shoes were two sizes too small. “Ma’am, he’s just a little ol’ garden snake. He won’t bite or anything.”

“Young man, my granddaughter plays in this yard. You have to kill that snake!

“It’s a harmless garden snake, ma’am. I don’t want to kill him.”

Mom inhaled a deep navel breath. “My little nephew is a police officer. Maybe you know him?”

Her little nephew was a strapping six-two, two-hundred-pound man who could pass for a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Bucs. “Mom, he doesn’t care about Eric.”

“You call my nephew. He’ll tell you to kill the snake.” Mom’s voice bounced off the foyer ceiling.

I made a mental note to call my cousin and apologize for dragging his name into our morning drama.

Newbie rolled his lips together to keep from laughing. He turned his gaze to me. “You have a shovel?”

“This is a townhouse,” I said. “The association takes care of the grounds.”

“A rake? Anything with a long handle?”

I shook my head. “No, sorry.”

Newbie looked at his feet, then the doorjamb, then Mr. Slither’s hole, everywhere but my mother’s face. “Look, I can’t do anything more if you don’t have a shovel.” He turned to leave.

Mom grabbed his arm and pointed to his belt. “You’ve got a gun. Shoot him.”

Newbie’s face drained to one shade lighter than sheetrock. “Ma’am, I can’t discharge my weapon without cause.”

“You have cause.” She thrust her finger toward the hole. “A SNAKE!”

“Wait! I think I have something that might work.” I ran to the garage, grabbed my old rusty hedge clipper and hustled back to the front door. “Will this work?”

Newbie glanced at Mom’s crossed arms and determined face and sighed. He quickly ferreted the snake from the hole and snipped off his head.

Mom flicked her fingers at the snake. “Take that thing with you.”

The officer carted the carcass to my outdoor garbage can and left before Mom or I could assign another chore.

Mom slid into a chair. “I’m dehydrated. I need a glass of water.”

I slapped a bottle of Dasani in her hand and escorted her to her car.

I went to my meeting, then retrieved my daughter from preschool, and drove straight to Cypress Gardens. I paid thirty dollars for admittance and dragged my three-year-old to the snake exhibit where she happily played for an hour with a wide selection of garden snakes. Determined to rid myself of my closet-fear of slithering reptiles, I shut my eyes and let the green garden vermin crawl up my forearm. And I’m happy to report that a person can survive their heart racing a thousand beats a minute.

On the way home, I explained to my daughter that our after-school field trip was our little secret and she must NEVER tell Nana we played with snakes.

Are you an ophidiophobian, a person with an abnormal fear of snakes, or as my mom would say, a person with good common sense? What’s your favorite snake story?
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Published on May 03, 2019 11:27 Tags: changing-tides, family, fear, police, protection, snakes, writing

April 10, 2019

On the Beds

I grew up in a family in love with the outdoors. From hunting to gardening, we each had something we were passionate about. Here along the Ga coast, the saltwater is teaming with the activities of new life. Fish are 'on the beds', meaning eggs are being laid and fertilized in the marshes. Shrimpers are preparing for the season closer to shore. Thanks to my husband, Gerald, I also have a love of fishing. He is a talented fly fisherman and has taught me his craft. Though, of course, his fish are always bigger!

It is the glory of the outdoors that inspires a lot of my writing. Thanks, Mother Nature!
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Published on April 10, 2019 04:35 Tags: fishing, fly-fishing, inspiration, low-country, passion, salt-marsh, writing