In 1976, my brother lived in San Antonio, about a five-hour drive from here. He taught school, and when winter break arrived, he called me on a Sunday afternoon to ask if I would pick him up at Dallas Love Field Airport.

Since his plane was about to leave San Antonio, he arrived in Dallas before I did. When I picked him up, he stowed his things (including my Christmas gift) in the trunk of my car.

As we often did, we hit the mall the next day to visit the bookstore and record shop. After all, if you have books and music, what else do you need? Every time I selected an album, he offered a reason for me not to buy it.

George Harrison’s Greatest Hits? “You already have most of the songs on the album already.” Electric Light Orchestra’s A New World Record. “There’s really only one good song.” After several selections, I think I finally settled on an album by Heart.

Christmas arrived a few days later. It wasn’t hard to guess he’d given me albums (oh, the days of vinyl), but which ones? Yep, Geroge Harrison’s Greatest Hits, A New World Record, and Fleetwood Mac (their 1975 album).

I already had the single of “Rhiannon” but listening to that album made me a lifelong fan. With songs like “Say You Love Me,” “Monday Morning,” and my personal favorite, “Over My Head,” how could I not be?

While much of the world idolized Stevie Nicks, especially with the 1977 release of Rumours, and the single, “Dreams,” my favorite was Christine McVie. I once desired to be a rock star and Christine epitomized everything I wanted. She could sing, write music, and play the keyboards. (I took piano lessons but can’t carry a tune. Not even in a bucket.)

I dressed a lot like Christine. Not so much because I idolized her, but because it was the fashion in the late ’70s. Once my brother said, “You look like someone in Fleetwood Mac.” I considered that a compliment.

Fleetwood Mac in 1977. Left to right, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham. (Public Domain.)

Christine McVie passed away last week at the age of 79 after a short illness. We’re losing a lot of the “good ones” from those days. I admit to tearing up when I heard the news.

The world will miss you, Christine McVie. Rest in peace, Songbird.

Mysterious Sound #MysteryMonday

Hey, everyone. It’s been a while since I wrote a Mystery Monday post. A few days ago, I was reminded of a mystery that happened right in my back yard. I wrote the original post several years ago. With it being October and nearing Halloween, I decided to repost. Hope you enjoy it.

Goblins and great pumpkins. Trick-or-treats and haunted houses. Bats flying about. Witches on broomsticks. Halloween is always a good time for an old-fashioned ghost story.

My encounters with the unexplained are due more to an over-active imagination. Such as the time I thought I saw a werewolf. Or when my cousin and I convinced ourselves a ghost was after us. Once I was even on the lookout for a headless horseman in the woods near our home.

However, I had one strange occurrence several years ago that I can’t explain. Nor can anyone who was present that night.

In October 1980, my family hosted an outdoor chili supper. We invited friends and neighbors. The following year, we expanded it to include an art exhibit. It became an annual event where my brother and some of his classmates from The University of Texas would display their latest works.

A highlight of these annual events was a Saturday night bonfire. Starting in late summer, we gathered tree limbs and scrap lumber and piled them in an open field. By October, it was large enough for a nice bonfire.

One year, a few days before Halloween, we gathered in our pasture. About fifteen adults were present. We stood around the fire, enjoying the conversation. Since it was in October, I’m sure a few people had a ghost story to share.

The winds were still. The moonless night sky glistened with stars. Traffic was sparse on our country road in those days. The only sounds came from the crackling of the fire and soft-spoken conversations.

We had been outdoors for an hour or so when it happened.

A noise.

A strange noise.

An inexplicable noise lasting twenty seconds at most.

Conversations ceased. Everyone asked in unison, “WHAT WAS THAT?”

“It sounded like a dragonfly flew next to my ear,” someone said.

Another person joked it may have been a UFO, while another thought it was the trill of a nighthawk.

The closest thing I could think of was the sound of a plane’s landing gear being lowered.

No one could agree on the source A single dragonfly can’t buzz fifteen people’s ears at the same time. At any rate, dragonflies aren’t around in late October. Most discredited the nighthawk theory. We didn’t see any strange objects in the sky. (Nor any aircraft.) As for me, to hear the landing gear sound,  I would have needed to be inside a plane.

After a few minutes of speculation, most of us continued our conversations. One person took the opportunity to go inside the house on the pretense of checking on his son. He didn’t return.

Life gets busy. Years passed without us hosting the annual event until my brother and his friends revised the art show several years ago. In 2013, friends gathered at our place. Several of those attending were present on that night in the early eighties.

Times change. Instead of a cookout, we went out for dinner at a local restaurant. A fire pit replaced the larger bonfire. But in the course of the weekend, we discussed the mysterious sound heard long ago.

People often tend to embellish stories such as these. Not this one. Those of us who were there still stand by our original story. We heard a strange sound. No one could identify it. We can’t pinpoint the origin. Although we can’t agree on an exact description, it’s safe to say it wasn’t our imagination.

Perhaps we’ll never know what was behind the mystery at the bonfire, but one thing is certain. It makes a good story to tell while sitting around a fire at Halloween.

Memories #Thursday Thoughts

I’m breaking from the mystery theme of the month today but this was on my mind.

A few days ago, I received a phone call from my brother. The conversation began with something like this:

“I know it was around this time of year…”

He didn’t have to finish the sentence for me to know what he was talking about. “Oh my gosh! It’s been sixty years! Can you believe it? Wasn’t the fiftieth anniversary just yesterday?”

“Seems like it. On the fortieth anniversary, I mentioned it to my students, and they said I must be really old.”

Okay, I’m telling my age here, but it was sixty years ago yesterday, October 9, 1959, when our family left the Dallas area to move to East Texas. I was too young to remember living in the metroplex, nor do I remember the move. But I do have some fond memories of our first home in this area.

My parents purchased property with the intention of building. In the meantime, they rented an old farmhouse. The outside probably never saw a coat of paint. It had only three rooms, but they were large—the living room held both an entire bedroom set, plus a sofa, chairs, television and coffee table.

The old house where we once lived was near this building. I recall playing beneath those cedar trees.

I can’t recall a single Christmas in that house, but I do remember our parakeet, Buddy, and our dog, Prince. I remember the day we moved from there to our new home across the road. I was confused because we slept the first night in the new house and had breakfast in the old one.

The property remains in the family. My husband and I live in the family home, and my brother has a cabin nearby. As you can imagine, we have lots of memories—both good and bad. But they are mostly good. Family visits and reunions, laughter, music.

As a child, I combed through the nearby woods, pretending I was on a make-believe journey. I “acted out” my favorite stories and dreamed of creating my own. I knew I wanted to be a writer at age ten.

Four generations of our family have lived in my house throughout the years. On Saturday night, my brother, his daughter, and great-granddaughter visited. Although she doesn’t live with me, Harper makes the fifth generation. Amazing!

Thanks for putting up with my reminiscing today. I turn to the Beatles again for this week’s video. You can rest assured this tune has been played countless times in this house throughout the years.

Beatles, Memories, and The Week in Review


The Beatles arrive in America, February 1964. Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

I can’t remember the exact occasion when I heard the Beatles on the radio. It was probably sometime in early 1964. My older brother was a big music fan and therefore, I was introduced to several singers and groups from that era. I was a big fan of the Four Seasons – until The Beatles came alone.

Decades later, I’m still a fan. A few weesk ago, Sirius announced they were counting down the top seventy-five Beatles songs from 1962-1966. Fans were able to vote and Sirius broadcast the show last weekend. I streamed it on my computer and listened to the entire 3.5 hours. Brought back a lot of good memories.

Needless to say, I didn’t do any writing that evening. However, I made good progress on my WIP. The end is almost in sight.

But now, it’s time for this week’s writing links.

From Story Empire:

From other great writing sites:

Patriot Day and Another Busy Week

It’s hard to believe that sixteen years have passed since that fateful day in 2001. For as long as I live, I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I first heard the news of the planes hitting the Twin Towers. Sitting in my office at work, I turned on the radio seconds later to listen to the report of a plane hitting the Pentagon. And then I watched on television as newscasters announced a fourth plane had crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

The rebuilt section of the Pentagon. If you look closely, you can see the lighter color in the center of the building. This is the area the plane hit.

My eyes were glued to the TV as every flight in the United States was grounded, kept up-to-date as Air Force One carrying our President made its way back to Washington, and saw the mighty towers fall. Several years later, my husband and I visited Washington, DC and the Pentagon Memorial. It was a sobering occasion for us. Now, each year on September 11, my thoughts turn to the families of those who lost their lives that day and for the men and women who are abroad helping fight the war on terrorism.

On the writing front, it’s been another busy week. I finished a project for AIW Press, and have entered the home stretch of finishing my latest novel. And I can say it’s a great feeling when I’ve completed a long term project. Of course, I’ll still need to review and make some changes before sending it to my editor, but having that first draft done is cause for celebration.

This post is going to be short and sweet, but here are this week’s writing links:

That’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend and remember, we’re only a week away from the official start of Autumn!