Mystery at the Lake

FF92E3BE-AF0B-4762-9013-B6079643B8E9My wife was relaxing by the lake, sitting in a lounge chair and reading about the latest hot young star and what she was into as reported in the current issue of People magazine. My two kids, a boy and a girl, wearing their orange life preservers, were on paddle boats on the lake having a grand time.

I walked slowly from the cabin by the lake that had been in the family for four generations. My wife saw me coming and said, “What’s the matter, hon? You look ashen.” I held up the envelope in my hand. “What’s that?” she asked.

“It’s a Western Union telegram,” I said.

“Get out,” she responded. “A telegram? It’s 2019, not 1919. What is it really?”

“It’s a telegram,” I repeated.

“For real?” she said. “Who’s it from?”

My hand was shaking. “It’s from my grandfather,” I answered.

“Can’t be,” she said. “He died, like, thirty years ago. What does it say?”

I took it out of the envelope, unfolded it, and handed the telegram to my wife. She gasped when she read it.D7138871-7A4D-4B4E-83E8-639EB8085CB2

Written for Paula Light’s Three Things Challenge, where the three things are “star,” “lake,” and “telegram.”

Weekend Writing Prompt — The Merry Month of May

01A8BE92-175B-4B96-8879-5130C31FC11AIt’s the month of May, and much to my delight, the weather is just right.

No need to force myself to go outside and do battle with the elements

When the world is sunny and bright.

So I think I’ll head to the park and simply meander.

(Exactly 47 words)

4E9250FD-6376-4378-8F8A-42C3D27123E0Written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where we are challenged to write a poem or piece of prose using the word “meander” in exactly 47 words. Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (may), Word of the Day Challenge (delight), Your Daily Word Prompt (force), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (battle).


Dear So and So

B9557CA2-C92C-4671-B919-AB003E2964BFDear Reader,

Do you still write letters? Or are you like me? I rarely write letters anymore — even business letters. I mostly communicate via email or text messages.

When you do write a letter or send an email, do you start it off with the word “Dear” in front of the addressee’s name at the beginning? How about “Sincerely yours” (or just “Sincerely”) at the end?

I’m not talking about letters to your close — or even extended — family members, where you might start it out with “Dear Aunt Barbara,” and end it with “Love, your nephew Jim.” After all, you do want dear Aunt Barbara to remember that you’re her loving nephew when she’s preparing her last will and testament, right?

No, I’m talking about letters (and even emails) to businesses, co-workers, friends, or acquaintances.

Terms of endearment

I was taught that opening a letter with the word “Dear” in front of the addressee’s name — even if you’re sending it to a total stranger — is the proper letter writing convention. It’s not necessarily intended to be a term of endearment.

So even if you’re writing a letter to a customer, a business associate, or virtually anyone else, you should, according to letter-writing etiquette, always start your letter with “Dear” followed by the person’s first name.

If you don’t know the recipient’s first name, you should use his or her last name, such as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Dear Ms. Jones.” And if you know neither the first nor the last name of the addressee, you should use “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam.”

“Dear Madam”? Seriously, who does that anymore?

And you should, they say, end the letter with “Sincerely yours.” Even a business letter. Because you want your sincerity in your business correspondence to shine through, right?

Dear Electric Company,

Thank you for sending me the latest monthly bill. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

Sincerely yours,


I never use “Dear” for a salutation or “Sincerely yours” at the close of a letter or an email. I may sometimes end an email with “Regards,” but that is about as sincere as I get.

So, what about you? Do you still use “Dear” and “Sincerely yours” in your letters and/or emails? Or do you consider them to be old-fashioned letter-writing conventions whose time has passed?

Have we, as a modern society, lost something by no longer using them?

Sincerely yours,


SoCS — Chicken Little

CC6A2691-AE74-42C4-A3D0-BE2807C8D44BYou all know the story of Chicken Little, right? She was walking along, minding her own business, when an acorn fell from a tree and hit the top of her head. Chicken Little, convinced that the sky was falling, became hysterical and set out to tell the king, a lion (“The Lion King”?), that the world was coming to an end. On her journey, Chicken Little met other animals, including Henny Penny and Ducky Lucky, and convinced them that the sky was falling. She persuaded them to join her on her mission to warn the lion about the impending disaster.

As they continued on their quest to find and warn the lion, they realized that they were not sure how to find him. That was when Chicken Little and her troupe ran into sly Foxy Loxy, who assured them that if they followed him, he’d take them to the lion.02E32EDC-0ACB-4CA7-9928-19B4D8162D93 But when Foxy Loxy got them to his lair, he, as foxes by nature are wont to do, ate them all.

So why am I telling you this little tale? That’s an excellent question. I told you about Chicken Little because, for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has asked us to “write about anything that falls from the sky — real, imagined, or idiomatic.”

Now I admit that when I saw the word “idiomatic,” I thought “idiot.” And as this is a stream of consciousness post, my mind turned to the idiot in the White House.

When he was running for president in 2016, his campaign rhetoric was all about how the American sky was metaphorically falling. And, like Foxy Loxy, he lured the distraught voters into his lair with his “sky is falling” claims of doom and gloom and his boast that, “I alone can fix it.”

And having lured all of the worried Chicken Littles, Henny Pennys, and Ducky Luckys into his lair, he started the process of eating them in order to satisfy his own unenlightened self-interests. And so the orange fox not only did nothing to “fix it,” he did everything to make sure that the sky was, in fact, falling on and destroying our country.