Friday, February 19, 2010

In Memory of a Dear Friend...

Dear Reader,

I bring you sad news - truly a tale of terror fit for a noir thriller. It is the story of a dear friend of mine, Frosty. You may be familiar with Frosty, many people are. He's a happy soul - some might say jolly with his dark eyes and button nose and ever-present pipe caught in the corner of a happy smile. Frosty was a fellow who could almost magically lift the spirits of a room when he walked in. He'd doff his silk and in that way of his, ask the ladies to dance - soon all the worries of the world vanished.

Even children loved Frosty. Those who know me will be aware that I'm not particularly fond of the little cusses. They make me nervous and generally run amok given even the shortest span of leash to run with. Not Frosty, though. He saw them as windows into his own childlike spirit, muses sent to bring out the playful essence that lurked within. Yes, put Frosty in a room with a flock of kids and soon they'd all be running and romping together. In a way I envy his comfort with the younger set.

Well, late last year Frosty met a lady and fell hard. Immediately I was concerned - she didn't seem his sort. I'd always pictured Frosty as the sort of guy who'd go for a jolly, well-rounded lady who shared his cheerful disposition and mischievous streak. Knowing that, you'll understand why I was taken aback when he showed up with a wasp-waisted brunette in a tight red sweater. I told myself the unease I felt was more due to my preconceptions being shattered than any real gripe or concern with his choice of companionship. Every man is entitled to be happy and the Frost-man certainly seemed to be just that. Happy.

So, I played along when he traded in his old top hat for a porkpie and his fine clothes for trendy garb. I ignored the fact he spent more time at the track than with his old friends. I didn't even say anything when he started drinking - bourbon on the rocks, I should have realized he was on the downhill slide. We all ignored the changes in his personality, his clashes with the police, and his public acts of indiscretion. If a man wants to trot about the square, that's his own business - right?

Then, one night with spring on the cusp of breaking, he disappeared. He left the club, muttering something about having to hurry. The last I saw him he waved jauntily from the doorway and then disappeared. None of us could have imagined he would be gone from our lives so soon.

The police were summoned to the Frosty residence on a call from the mysterious brunette. His body was discovered in the freezer and, though I find the explanation ridiculous, the coroner's report would say he fell in and the door shut behind him. The police say his blood alcohol level was so high that it's likely he never felt a thing. The brunette, sole beneficiary in Frosty's will, soon disappeared - moved to Florida I hear tell.

I will try not to think of Frosty's springtime demise but I have to say, whenever the calendar turns and the temperatures climb it will be hard not to think of my dear friend. I'll look out over the snowy hills, wipe a tear away, and I'll remember we'll be together again some day…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Snow, More Validation

Dear Reader,

Another night and Mother Nature has provided another storm. This one is more of a show than anything serious - three or four inches of snow through the day and as the sun set the wind began to moan through the bare cottonwoods outside my office window. Before night fell I watched snow blowing up from the reservoir and across the road, forming drifts when it met any obstacle that couldn't easily be circumvented. Sitting here, warm and safe, I'm reminded again of how much I love winter. Of all seasons, winter seems to be the most mysterious - the most untamed and unmanageable.

I heard that the east coast is getting more than two feet of new snow to top up the two-plus feet they received over the weekend. It's possibly because I don't have to deal with that kind of snow that I sit and wistfully dream of feet of fresh powder slowing the city to a halt. I find many times my fancy for certain things is governed by having no experience with them.
Another thing that has my heart feeling fine this evening is the fact the publisher's preliminary contract came through today. With my reply I should receive a copy to sign in short order. Thus another hurdle in selling my first novel seem real has been cleared. Validation (like all happiness) comes in small servings and should be savored!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Dear Reader,

The storm arrived for brunch. It started with tiny flakes that disappeared as soon as they touched the relative warmth of the ground and by noon the air was filled with big, sloppy clusters that splattered juicily like overripe winter fruit when they encountered any obstacle. Through the day the storm lingered and the city’s inhabitants gathered at windows to assess and fret over road conditions and traffic tie ups. By two o’clock the office had virtually shut down and when I found my way to the parking lot my car had been thoroughly encased in a frosting of snow and ice.

I’ve always had an affinity for snow. Maybe it comes from growing up at the tail end of an era when every winter meant at least one hefty snow would grace our city and that there’d be the off chance school would be canceled. As a grade school boy I benefited from the last true blizzard to hit Indiana. In 1978 I woke to find that all the world had been turned to winter. I remember watching from the picture window of our little suburban ranch house as a drift slowly built until it nearly reached the eaves. I’ve never outgrown the feeling that school might be cancelled due to inclement weather and it’s for that reason I’ll never want to move to some tropical paradise where temperatures never dare drop below fifty.

Snow turns the world silent – if only for a moment. It eliminates the world of deadlines, schedules, and expectations and slows everything down. From my window I see pines frosted with fresh snow and a landscape that rolls like a down blanket. It won’t last but while it does I feel a lovely sense of peace.