Well, Hello There!

Well, hello there. Long time no see.

I take all the blame, so don’t chew me out too badly. It’s one of those things we go through in life, I guess. Changes, eventides. It happens. Sometimes we’re surprised by it, sometimes now.

Anyway, just wanted to drop in and say “Hey.” So, “Hey!” Hope everyone’s doing fine. Things are good with me, can’t complain; nobody’d listen anyway. Trust me. I’ve been complaining for decades, and so far, nobody’s listened. That’s fair enough. I seldom listen when anyone complains either.

Continue reading Well, Hello There!

“Those Who Carry Fire” The Second Lawson’s Peak Mystery

cover2Deep in the back country of the southern Appalachians, a small settlement of Native Americans has existed in self-imposed isolation for three centuries with little contact with the outside world. But when someone, or some thing, burns Madeline Day Star’s cabin, and her with it, Sheriff Gordon Bredenbury searches for a murderous arsonist while desperately trying to keep the secret of that hidden village he’s kept safe for more than fifty years. When the home of Carolina Proud Horse is also burned a few days later, Gordon reaches a horrid realization: there is an Indian killer in Yona County, and it appears to be the resurrection of an ancient indigenous spirit. Gordon pursues a killer, flesh or spirit, and soon learns there are also other fires: the fires carried in the hearts of those he holds dear.

A Place for Everything…

Over the course of dang near 34 years in this sordid business, I have always maintained that if I should criticize, I should be equally eager to commend. This week the St. Mary Parish council on an 8-3 vote denied development of an apartment complex in Garden City. Local opposition likely led to that decision. The developer has reportedly indicated he will sue. Both are within their rights. If you think about the process critically, the very progression of rezoning the property—any property—from agriculture to multi-use residential, then subdividing it, and then submitting a development plan, all require permission of parish boards and finally the parish council itself. Now, I don’t claim to be an attorney, but this more than implies a procedural succession where boards of the parish council approve (if warranted) requests and then pass them on to the full parish council which then votes on the final disposition. That means that the parish council has the right to vote to approve or disapprove. So again, the parish council was within its authority. The developer is also within his rights to file suit. I make no allegations regarding his intentions or credibility; I simply point out that . . . → Read More: A Place for Everything…


Two casts from the bank and I’ve got something: a seventy-foot pine tree. – Nick Lyons, Bright Rivers.

Nearly a month ago I wondered if it was nearly spring. After a brutal winter (by Louisiana standards) it did warm up a bit, but the rain defiantly came late in the workweek, every week, ruining plans for weekend forays into the wilds.

Then came the first spat of nice weekend weather, but that was the Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show, and I was stuck. I crossed my fingers and hoped for as good or better the following Saturday. I got my wish.

I was on the road by six and arrived at a favorite flow by nine. There were lots of people out; people who were as wrung-out by cabin fever as me, so I really couldn’t disdain them.

My fishing bud and I strung up rods and waders. Yes, waders. A quick jaunt to the clear and sparkling creek and a hand in the abundant flow proved it to be toe-bluing cold. This was nearly our undoing.

We headed downstream away from the others, but a family of three had gotten ahead of us. We usually walk until we . . . → Read More: Finally

Almost There?

Is it? Can it be?

Dare I say the word out loud?

I’ll just spell it, like people do when the kids are listening (we even do it when the dog’s listening): S-P-R-I-N-G.

Shhh! Don’t jinx it!

I hope it is. The winter from hades has been brutal. I haven’t been able to do pecan, the definition of “pecan” naturally being “fish.”

But maybe…

Just maybe…

If the rain forecast for Thursday isn’t a gulley-washer, just maybe then I’ll be able to head north. See, there’s a little sliver of heaven waiting for me up there among the low-slung, hog-backed hills. A slice of nirvana.

I haven’t seen it since October. That’s way too long! Been housebound and suffering from cabin fever. Put on too many pounds, too. But I’m pretty sure a fly rod will still fit in my hand.

It may be too early. We always go too early. Early for catching, that is. The fishing is always fine even if the catching is dismal. Don’t matter. We always go too early but we never mind. Sometimes there’s other people there, fellow sufferers of cabin fever but we don’t commiserate with them. We’re aloof in our disease. . . . → Read More: Almost There?


Well, here I sit and the winter has already been far too long!

I asked this question before and I repeat it now out of pure disdain: What is the use of living in the deep South if we have to endure winters like this? I always thought there was some kind of magical force field that protected the deep South from this kinda nonsense. Yes, I know, the bay froze once a long time ago, and there was that nine-degree day in the 1990s that killed my crepe myrtle, but those are the exceptions.

People therefore ask me, “What, you wanna live in the mountains and you don’t like the cold here?” Yes, that’s true, it’s colder in the southern Appalachians, but you know what? I can at least look out my window and see snow-blanketed peaks rather than brown mud-covered roads and road shoulders.

And I don’t intend to live anywhere near Billings, Montana, where it hit -17 degrees last week! No, much as I love the Rockies, that kind of cold is for the bears who have the good sense to find a hole in the ground to sleep until spring. My northernmost line of possible . . . → Read More: Brrr!

Remember My Father

I abuse the privilege of this space and my position to once again ask this favor of you.

It is 14 years ago this week that my father left this world to journey into the next. Many fathers have made that journey, and I don’t pretend my own dad was more important than any other. But he was my dad, and just once each year, I ask your tolerance and your favor.

I ask it, because my father was a champion of his people. A warrior of a different sort. Had his life not been so filled with toxins, it would not be unreasonable for him to still be here today. The things he inhaled in his job, his sideline work, his smoking habit, all weakened his heart and his lungs but in the end, could not curb the valiance of his spirit.

He was not alone in his duties as a warrior. Forty-six years ago, five men united to create a constitution and by-laws for the tribe, securing the final bureaucracy of becoming a sovereign nation. They are all heroes.

In the years that followed, my father took on the call of the sacred flame. It is believed . . . → Read More: Remember My Father

Far & Away

It had been since May that I reached into the wild places.

The spring had passed into summer, the rains soaked the earth and brought bright greens to the horizons; the heat never really became oppressive, not like last year was, so I kept saying to myself that I needed to get away.

But the rains had not fallen on those low-slung hills north of here and I was sure that my beloved creeks suffered. This was verified in late September when a friend passed by one of these streams and sent me a cellphone photo of a mostly dry creek bed, only a few pools of still, dark water visible.

I had not even renewed my fishing license when it expired at the end of June. Lack of flow up north, weariness and a short supply of enthusiasm kept me too firmly rooted to my chair in my living room.

But a couple weeks ago the need for wildness won out. It was the last week of the government shutdown. My pal and I wanted to head up to a creek on federal land, but so far as we knew we might not have access. The shutdown ended . . . → Read More: Far & Away

Sweet Tea

Recently I have become infatuated with sweet tea.

I mean, it should be no surprise, right? The surprise it that’s taken me so long, I guess.

See, I was a Diet Coke addict for years. When finally I gave it up, not only did my acid reflux go away, allowing me to stop that daily purple pill after too many years of taking it, but I got off the hellacious aspartame.

Unfortunately, I am also hooked on having something “bitey” to drink when I get in the office in the morning and after lunch, and most especially after a nap on weekends, which is the slot Diet Coke used to fill. I found I could fill this void with Community Diet Iced Tea with Lemon, but unfortunately, that put me on the sucralose bandwagon, which I didn’t feel was a whole bunch better.

Now, a couple months ago, Community apparently stopped making the stuff in the cans. I was furious! See, Community makes real Southern tea. The others aren’t southern tea, they’re Yankee tea, and don’t give me that green tea nonsense, either. That’s not tea, that’s health food and if you take one look at me you’ll know . . . → Read More: Sweet Tea

This Place in Time and Space


How the heck are ya?

It’s been almost two months since we last spoke. Time doth fly, eh?

Not much to report, really. Life is good, with the occasional bout of irritation. Comes with the territory of living, I guess.

Me, I’m spending too much time indoors and working on my writing and publishing. Getting a little soft and expanded around the midsection. But this heat makes it hard to get out and do anything.

I hear now and then that some of you kind folks have been missing me. I do appreciate that. I suspect others of you are glad I’m gone, and to you I say…phfft!

In fact, if anything, I’ve withdrawn quite a bit over the last couple years and especially the last few months. I’ve gotten kinda reclusive. My favorite times are at home with Suzie and the dog and everything’s just kinda mellow and laid back and quiet. I’m slowly divesting myself of some of the things I’ve been involved with in the community and concentrating on just one or two, though some of them have divested themselves of me, so it all comes around, you know?

I don’t know if it’s some . . . → Read More: This Place in Time and Space