Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chapter 5 – Ricky

Good Morning and Happy Monday Blog!!

I hope you’ve all had a great Memorial Day weekend so far and are remembering and honoring our heroes and their gifts to all of us—Where would we be without them?! Let’s be mindful of this, not just as this new week starts off, but forever, and let’s hold our heroes dear to our hearts and pray for their families and loved ones. Amen.

As this new week begins to unfold, I’m excited to see what it brings to us. So far, for me each Monday for the last several weeks now, has been another “awakening.” I had no idea that reliving each one of these chapters of my book would have such a profound effect on me, but it has. However, this time around is quite different from the first time I wrote about all this stuff—my lonely childhood, if you will. That’s how I see it now; that is, now that I can see it. And it was lonely when you consider the fact that I pretended most of my life didn’t even happen…not the way it actually happened, anyway.

So, I’m finding that as I revisit these chapters each week, I can read the written words without all the pain, grief and tears. I truly have survived my childhood. I can be honest and authentic now— the very opposite of my former self, “The Great Pretender” — Yes, that is profound!

I have one great superlative for me: HALLELUJAH!!


Chapter 5—Excerpts and Thoughts

“The Lord gives and someone else takes.”Author unknown

“Hey, the way I look at it, after forty, a woman has to choose between losing her figure or her face. My idea is to keep the face and remain seated. It’s a no-brainer since my profession requires that I spend way over fifty percent of my time sitting. You know, actually, skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like, ‘You know sometimes I just forget to eat.’ Now I’ve forgotten my keys, my mother’s maiden name, and my address, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat, right, Maggs?”

“That’s probably true. However, since you’ve always been a skinny little thing, weight has never been an issue for you. You just wanta get outta here ’cause ole memory lane’s getting to ya, huh, Doc?” I teased.”

“Oh sure, Maggs—that’s it, sure. Don’t forget that I’m the one with the big brain when it comes to the brain. Remember, I’m the fixer. Nothing scares  me, Magg Pie, but that’s not to say that ole memory lane’s not pretty scary. Just let me run in and check my emails, and we’ll head out for some dinner. Then you can get back on that scary road, and we’ll see who screams first, okay?” She concluded with confidence as we both walked back inside the office from the patio.”

“It was about eight o’clock in the evening, and Paula had long since left for the day. I amused myself by browsing around the oh-so-Lizzy office. It was beautifully decorated—very spacious yet warm, inviting and quite disarming. I guess that’s what a psychiatrist’s office is supposed to do— disarm one, right? As I looked around at the walls, I studied several pieces of art that I had done for Lizzy over the years.”

“Before I knew it, we were pulling into the parking lot at the restaurant and up to the valet parking sign. The young man opened Lizzy’s door and I got out on my side.”

“She insisted we order a fabulous meal, way more than we could eat, but vowed nothing would go to waste because she would, of course, request a doggie bag for leftovers. “Okay, that’s fine, Dr. Frued—I mean Frugal—but you’re paying, ” I said. She just sipped her wine and ignored me.”

“As usual, Lizzy told me about her latest most interesting and challenging patient. This practice was something we had done since she first opened her practice several years ago. She would give me the specifics surrounding the case—using code names, of course—and then I would come up with my own diagnosis.”

“This new case was different, though, and Lizzy was busting to tell me about it. She was quite intrigued and knew I would be also, and once again, I must admit that the Lizzy-Girl was right.”

“Do you remember when we were in the first grade and had just met for the first time at Grace Chapel School?” she asked.

“Yes, dear, of course,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Okay, do you remember that little boy who was kidnaped and on the army base in that little community next to us that same year?” she asked.

“Oh gosh, yes, I do remember, because he was or age, wasn’t he?’ I answered.

“He was actually my age almost to the day! Remember, you’re six months younger than me, little baby!” she mociked in her usual bossy tone, as she stuck our tongue out at me. See what I mean—older, wiser?

“They looked for him for years, Maggs, and to this day, they’ve never found a trace of him or who took him,” she explained.

“So what does that little boy have to do with your new patient?” I asked.

“Well, my dear Watson, my new patient is his mother—her code name is the Mother—and I’d say she’s about twenty years older than us, Maggs.”

“So in 1950, her husband was reassigned from New Jersey to that army base not far from us in Grace Chapel. They had one child, Ricky, who was three at the time, and then three years later, when Ricky was in the first grade, same as us, he was abducted. They had just celebrated his sixth birthday, and a few days later, the day before Valentines Day, he just disappeared. The Mother relived her horror story for me in our first meeting.”


Here’s me, sending you heart-felt thoughts and prayers for a wonderful week—Do good stuff.

God is Great. God is Good.



“People who shine from within, don’t need the spot light.”  – The Free Verse


Chapter 3 – Tornadoes and Tears

Happy Monday to everyone and welcome to my Monday Blog!!

This is going to be a great week! I can just feel it!!

I hope you all had a great weekend and that you told someone you loved them…or at least, gave out a few compliments along the way— it’s just a small but very thoughtful gesture and takes only a moment of our time. Actually, if I don’t get a compliment over a given period of time, I just go and stand in front of the mirror and say…you know how it goes: “Mirror, mirror on the wall…”. Of course I give myself the right answer and it makes me smile. I figure I’m worth it—God loves me and I love me… just one of the ways we can honor Him…by loving ourselves and being the best selves we can be.


Chapter 3 – Excerpts & Thoughts:

 “If you can’t make up your mind, ‘what the hell’ is usually the right  answer”                                             – Ellen Reid Smith, businesswoman  

“Wonderful, familiar smells twirled around my head. Oh, yummy bacon, eggs, and coffee and probably biscuits too! I loved those smells. I was too little to drink coffee, but I sure loved the smell of it. Mother would let Lu have coffee sometimes but not often.  

I slipped out of bed and peeked out the door and down the hall. The coast was clear. I could hear voices coming from the kitchen. It sounded like Mrs. Brown and Danny. Where was Mr. Brown? I took a few steps down the hall and stuck my little head in the next room. I saw someone lying in the bed with the covers pulled over his head, the way P. C. always slept. Oh, that must be Mr. Brown, and I better be quiet, I thought. I then noticed what looked like a whole mouth full of teeth sitting in a glass right by the bed. I gasped and thought, Gosh the tooth fairy will never believe this! ”  


Over time, Maggie would come to realize that Mr. Brown and her daddy had nothing in common. Nothing. Thank the Lord!!

Mrs. Brown made breakfast for all the kids and after breakfast, Lu came to retrieve her three little sisters who were known as “the three least ones.”  Lu had baby Fay on her hip, Maggie held Lainey’s little hand and they all made their way back across the main road to what they called “the big house.” When they arrived, there were two sheriff’s cars parked at the old well where the Chevy had gotten stuck in all the rain the day before. Everyone had been looking for the monster and That Melvin Bray. The house looked like a tornado had just blown through and it was a total wreck. One of the sheriff’s deputies was overheard gasping as he entered the house saying, “What the hell?” Maggie was only five, but still old enough to understand the deputy’s shocking statement, as she, also looked around the horrific scene, and silently agreed with him. As Maggie stood there looking at what used to be her home, just the night before, she realized she still had one thing going for her…her little biddy, and she and Lu took off to find her in all the debris.

I dedicate Chapter Three to Mrs. Brown & Little Biddy – both small but courageous.

God is Great. God is Good.


Note to us all: We have another great opportunity before us this week –
“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer grows you!”
-Inspirational Women




Chapter 2: That Melvin Bray

Hello friends!

Welcome to my Monday Blog – But first, I hope all the wonderful Mothers visiting me here today were recognized & honored properly yesterday and that a whole lotta lovin’ was going on!! Happy Mother’s Day, indeed!

Today, we’re going to learn a little more about the one and only Melvin Bray and why he became the title of my book.


Chapter 2 – Excerpts and Thoughts:

“The first rule of holes: when you’re in one stop digging” – Molly Ivins, columnist

“He was quite shy and pleasant. He seemed more comfortable out on the front porch and seldom came inside. He must have felt Mother didn’t like him. Well, I say, who could blame her? The only time she ever saw him was when he came to the house with Daddy, and of course alcohol was always involved. I never heard Mother say an unkind word to “that Melvin Bray,” as she always referred to him. One of Mother’s great lines was “You’re judged by the company you keep.” My Mother knew my daddy quite well and so did everybody else in town, so it was no wonder she had her doubts about That Melvin Bray—Like why on earth would he hanging out with my daddy?! There was just something about That Melvin Bray that made Mother a little uneasy.”


As a little child, observing adults can be confusing and in some cases just down-right scary at times.  Maggie can remember how confused and scared she was that Easter weekend (Chapter 1), when she first discovered that her daddy was actually a monster. So why would That Melvin Bray want to be friends with a monster? But then, That Melvin Bray didn’t act like Maggie’s  daddy, the monster. He was always nice. He didn’t say very much, ever, but when he did speak, he was very nice, and even a five year old knows nice. So, if he was a monster too, he hid it very well—from everyone!

That Melvin Bray met Mr. Chillton, aka Chill, Maggie’s daddy, at the textile mill where they both worked. Mr. Chillton would pick up That Melvin Bray each morning for work and take him back home after work each day. Mr. Chillton didn’t mind one little bit, since That Melvin Bray didn’t have a car; of course the real reason he didn’t mind was that this way he had himself a drinking buddy every other Friday night on payday. That Melvin Bray was about ten years younger than Maggie’s daddy though and that’s the main reason Maggie’s Mother didn’t approve of their friendship—Daddy was a bad influence on him. Maggie’s Mother was forever saying “Oh, That Melvin Bray, I’m afraid something bad is going to happen if he doesn’t stay away from your daddy.” It was always, That Melvin Bray this, that and the other…”if he doesn’t stay away from your daddy…oh, That Melvin Bray.”

Many years later, when I decided my story was to be a book, I knew I had my title.

So, on that Saturday morning after Maggie’s daddy had gone on is drunken warpath destroying everything in sight the night before, That Melvin Bray was no where to be found. Maggie’s Mother told the sheriff that most likely he had headed out to the main road in the pouring rain to hitch a ride home, since the old Chevy was still stuck in the mud. Probably a good thing too, since the sheriff and his deputy took Maggie’s daddy off to jail for a little visit that morning. I’m sure That Melvin Bray didn’t want any part of that since his uncle wouldn’t be too happy about having to bail him out of jail.

While ole’ Chill was in jail, Maggie’s Mother her eight children and her devoted sister, Aunt Lucy, would begin the familiar process of rebuilding their once-again torn lives and wrecked home, forcing upon them the need of much help and charity from friends and neighbors.

I dedicate Chapter 2 to That Melvin Bray—He deserves it!

Here’s to a week of great accomplishments – Be the BEST version of YOU!!

God is Great. God is Good!



“Be more concerned about what God thinks about you, than what people think about you.”  -anonymous




Chapter 1: My Little Biddy

Monday, April 17, 2017

Welcome to my Monday Blog, dear Friends!

Since we celebrated the meaning of Easter, the incredible resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, just yesterday, I felt good about sharing the first chapter of my novel, That Melvin Bray. The connection to Easter is paramount to me, as my story begins on Good Friday, Easter weekend, 1953.


Chapter 1 – My Little Biddy

“Remember to look though the windshield and not the rearview mirror, because you’ve already been there.” – Lee Shiver, an ex-Miss Texas

The scene: It’s Good Friday afternoon, April 3, 1953—Easter weekend. I start the story at this time in the life of the main character, Maggie Chillton, aka, Magg Pie, because this marks the terrifying week-end and first memory of her father under the influence of alcohol. She is now forty years old, but is speaking as a five year old child reflecting on her scarred and guarded past with her closest childhood friend “Lizzy”,  professionally known as Dr. Lizabeth Benis, who is now a psychiatrist. Maggie takes Lizzy back to that Good Friday when she was at home with her Mother and two younger sisters and her Daddy arrives home from the mill with his buddy, Melvin Bray. They had stopped off at the liquor store on their way home. By the time they arrive at Maggie’s house on this dark, rainy afternoon, Maggie’s Daddy is anything but sober:

Chapter One

                                                             My Little Biddy

” Daddy and his buddy Melvin Bray left the mill on that Good Friday afternoon about three o’clock and with the ink on their paychecks barely dry. First stop was Charley’s Place. The local liquor store known as Charlie’s sat about twenty miles over the county line and just “one toke over the line, sweet Jesus.” The county we lived in was still dry and would remain so for another fifty years. 

It had been raining for three days, making the long dirt’n’gravel —mostly dirt —road leading up to our old two-story rented farmhouse even more challenging. The road was dotted with holes and deep ruts as a result of time, weather, and neglect, so the rain just made it worse.

I was standing on the front porch with my two little sisters, Lainey and Fay. It was a special day for lots of reasons. Mother worked six days a week in the textile mill about five miles from our house. Sunday was the only day we could actually wake up with her and spend all day long enjoying the full extent of her wonderfulness. She worked Monday through Saturday from 3:00p.m. to 11:00p.m.; they called that the second shift back then.

During the school year, Aunt Lucy would come over about noon each day and stay until four thirty, when my five older siblings would arrive home from school courtesy of the county school bus. Daddy was supposed to be home by three thirty each day, but Mother didn’t trust him to come straight home from work. Aunt Lucy would never leave until my  oldest sister, Lu got home with the rest of the kids. Then Lu would pretty much take over the duties of both Mother and Daddy until Mother got home each night.

Lu was short for Luverta and boy did that aggravate her! She hated the name Luverta with a passion. Who wouldn’t? She never told any of us why, but I figured it out as I grew older. Anyway, Lu was fifteen years old, there was nothing she couldn’t do and she wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody. She loved Daddy very much and he was the only one who could make her cry. And sometimes he did.

The reason that day was so special was that Mother had the day off because it was Good Friday. Having been taught the Easter story, I sort of understood what the word “good” meant in that context, but I had my own meaning: it was Good Friday because my mother was home with me, not at work; the Easter bunny was coming to my house the next night; and I had a brand new baby biddy, which, as you know, Lizzy, was slang for a baby chick. The Easter bunny had dropped the biddy off at my house early just for me while I was sleeping the night before! As Mother told me, this was very unusual for the Easter bunny to do, but he knew how much I wanted and needed that little chick. She told me it was my responsibility to take care of that tiny little biddy and make sure no harm came to her. I guess I was just about the happiest little girl in the whole wide world!

I felt the rain on my sweet little face as it blew off the huge, old oaks nearby onto the porch, where I stood watching Daddy and his buddy Melvin Bray. They zigzagged their way up the dirt drive, attempting to dodge the muddy holes. When one is drunk, one may zigzag naturally. However, when you pile on rain, mud and deep ruts, and a somewhat large automobile, to the one who is inebriated, the driving part may become impossible, and that’s what happened. They had just made it to the old well, when the Chevy became mired and stuck in the mud. We called it the old well because we had a new well much closer to the house, and Mother had asked Mr. Jennings, our landlord and owner of the property, to close up that old well. He had dismantled all but the brick and mortar that stood above the ground, but he hadn’t quite ever finished the job. 

I saw Daddy get out of the car, his arms waving up an down—probably cussing like a sailor, as Lu would say. He got back in the car, and then Melvin Bray got out and went behind the car to push. Daddy had his window down so he could look though the review mirror and yell instructions to Melvin Bray at the same time. It didn’t take long until the two of them gave up and started walking up the muddy dirt road toward the house.

Mother, who was a notably handsome five-foot-five woman in her early thirties with a complexion as pure as her heart and naturally wavy golden-brown hair that rested comfortably on her proud but weary shoulders, stood there observing all the commotion as she held the good-natured fat’n’sassy baby Fay on her hip. Watching her as she planted kisses on baby Fay’s  little head full of of soft ginger-colored curls. I sensed a change in Mother’s playful spirit as Daddy approached the screen door. Mother moved away from the door and guided the sweet and innocent three-year-old Lainey and me back into the kitchen, and it was wasn’t long before Daddy was marching through the door. Once inside the kitchen, it was obvious he was dripping wet and swearing at Mother. Melvin Bray stayed outside on the porch as if he were enjoying the rain. I think he was.”


This is not a good thing, by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, what happens over the next twenty-four hours at the Chillton house, will change Maggie’s life in a very psychologically compromising way. That short, but nightmarish twenty-fours hours and it’s aftermath, will take Maggie and the Chilltons forty years to recover. Sadly though, some will not.

I dedicate Chapter 1 to my little Biddy and all my siblings. It was a hell of a weekend. Hallelujah, it’s over!! Thank you, Jesus!!

Have a great week— Do something thoughtful for someone and do the same for yourself, and please, don’t live in the past—Embrace today and look forward to an even better tomorrow!

God is Good! God is Great!! Always!!!

 I love you,


“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” —2 Timothy: 1-7

“If you have done something meritorious, you experience pleasure and happiness; if wrong things, suffering. A happy or unhappy life is your own creation. Nobody else is responsible. If you remember this, you won’t find fault with anybody. You are your own best friend as well as your own worst enemy.” —Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras