Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Favorite Birthday Present

     Admit it. Y'all knew it was my birthday Friday, January 11, didn't you?

     When I was seven, my favorite birthday present was a Camelot costume for my Barbie doll. In a box somewhere in my closet, I still have that gown (minus one sleeve) and the beat up Barbie who used to wear it. 

       Since that time, some birthdays have been more eventful than others, but this birthday, you all delivered a doozy of a gift!

     Sometime between 11:30 pm January 11 and waking up on Saturday, January 12, this blog rolled over 10,000 hits. I'm amazed!

Earman River East from
Prosperity Farms Road
     My first article was a post of my very first column for Seabreeze Publications, Inc., a publisher of neighborhood newspapers distributed throughout Martin and Palm Beach Counties. It appeared in my blog on July 11, 2011 and had the simple title, "Earman River'." A story about a man-made river in North Palm Beach, it doesn't even appear on my top ten now. (My column still appears every month and is re-posted here after the monthly paper is published. Next week, we'll find out who Toney Penna was and why a street in Jupiter is named after him.)

     The post that received the most attention is the "Addendum to Jones" post. A follow up to "Just Who is This Jones Guy?" a contest I ran the week before about Jones Creek in Jupiter, there was really nothing to it. Why this one? I have no idea... Perhaps people were Googling "Jones"?

Presidential Bunker
     Second, was "The President and Peanut Island." This was the first time I felt like an official writer-type person. My friend and I headed over to Peanut Island and toured the Kennedy bunker. I identified myself as a writer and asked for permission to run my digital voice recorder. It's a lot easier than scribbling notes I can't see without my glasses. I snapped a hundred pictures (ok, so I exaggerate a little) and was in awe to finally be standing in something that had been off limits my entire childhood.

Monument to the Chillingworths
     Third? "Birth of an Imago." This was posted for a contest I entered in Rachael Harrie's Writers' Platform Building Campaign. Given some impossible words, we were supposed to write a flash fiction piece that contained them. I think there were over a hundred entries and each one met the challenge differently. My entry managed to tie in Palm Beach County history. People who didn't know the story of the Chillingworth murders in Palm Beach County bombarded my e-mail asking for more so I posted "The Chillingworth Murders" in October.

"Dapper Dan"
     My favorite post so far has to be the "Dapper Dan Contest" and the follow-up "A Twist in the Road." A picture found in a box of stamps my grandfather had collected led to an ending I couldn't imagine. Still gives me the chills. These two combined were picked up and published by the Glen Ullin Times, the local newspaper in Glen Ullin, North Dakota where our Dapper Dan actually lived.

     I've continued to edit, revise and hone the research on most of these stories for the collection of short stories that I'm working on getting published later this year, "The Ghost of Sir Harry Oakes and Other Tales of Growing Up in Palm Beach County." You'll hear about publication dates before anyone else.

     You all gave me a terrific present for my birthday, so I'd like to return the favor. Simply comment to this article with the title of YOUR favorite of my posts so far and tell me what it was about that post that made it your favorite. I'll use to find the winner and send an autographed copy of "Betty Tales The True Story of a Brave Bobblehead Cat" OR a $10.00 Amazon gift card. Easy peasy, right?

     Thank you, one and all, for your visits here and spending some of your busy day to read my little stories. You helped make this a birthday to remember!

Picture at beginning of post is from Microsoft. 


  1. I got a chance to tour the bunker in the early 90's as a Boy Scout. We were camping on the island and had special permission from the coast guard. The island was WAY different back then and the bunker was in shambles. I am so happy to see that it has been restored. I really need to take my daughter for a tour.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.