January 01, 2016

In from the Cold

Many from my hometown of a certain age remember The Little Vigilante and his pup 'Bandit'
with a favorite story to tell. Book 1 of my children's book series now has some enthusiastic supporters
among those who bore witness.

GSL has come in from the cold.. I made it into my hometown late Christmas Eve surprising my delighted mother. The weather was disappointingly balmy but otherwise I had a very nice, albeit far too short visit.

On Boxing Day, I put the word out I was hoping a few old friends would join me for a pint at the local. I was astonished at the turnout on only 2 hours notice.

As Den readers (across 6 continents and counting) are well aware, GSL is a hopeless Romantic and likes nothing more than a great love story. Among those well-wishers arriving on such short notice were 4 couples that were high school sweethearts, married soon thereafter, still are happily married, and have wonderful kids setting the world on fire. I met several of these fine young people for the first time.

At left is 1 of the 4 couples that joined me for Boxing Day drinks who were high school sweethearts and still
happily married. That handsome young man in the ballcap is their son and graduates from West Point this Spring while starring on the baseball team and then begins training as an Attack Helicopter Pilot. At far right is B....

....who is married to S; GSL had a pivotal role in their courtship...

3 of my buddy Chasmo's beautiful daughters who were also very charming.
Nipsy is based on my boyhood pup Bandit.

Everyone showing up, or their parents, knew that little boy (pictured up top) who co-stars in the children's books series causing a buzz in my hometown. They also knew his pup, Bandit, whose rambunctious nature is the inspiration for one of the puptagonists. Back in high school on weekday mornings when I was awaiting Jimmy Trojan to pick me up in his yellow Opel (with Porsche racing clutch he insisted), the school bus went by carrying the elementary school children to their first bell a half hour prior to us old timers. Over the din of the school bus, thru closed windows, and the telly giving me weather and sports scores, I could hear the thunderous roar from the young kids cheering on Bandit as the bus zoomed by. Bandit had a morning routine of handling his business, swinging by the Parish's 4 bedroom ranch to let their cute little Bichon know that he still carried a torch for her, and then back home to bid those elementary school kids adieu with a quick wind-sprint next to the bus just in case anyone doubted that they haven't yet engineered a vehicle Bandit couldn't overtake in less than 60 yards. Bandit was known far and wide as the fastest pup in the land.

My buddy Jimmy Trojan had this same yellow 1974 Opel Manta...with Porsche racing clutch he insisted. When Jimmy T picked me up in the morning, Bandit gave him a snaggletooth snarl that let Jimmy know he was dead meat.  Jimmy & his Opel retired 0 & 237 lifetime versus Bandit in the 60 yard dash as a Bichon watched her dreamboat from the window across the street.

On Sunday, the 27th I raced down to the Sandhills at Estella's postcard of a horse farm to do research and spend a little quality time with her Darling Mother (actually an exact opposite of the Miss Havisham her daughter's alias implies) who is now a permenent resident of Estella's home and while enduring some challenges in physical health with full time nursing care, her mind is still steel-trap sharp and one immediately is reminded not to question her minute detail recall when viewing slideshows well over 40 years ago. You may remember my introducing Thoroughly Modern Millie over a year ago.

They all loved my first book in a series that will feature, in a very meaty supporting role, an extremely bossy and headstrong young lady often referred to in out-of-adult-earshot whispers as 'Mean Mel'. Estella had so hoped to have her likeness in a starring role but GSL had to break the news that those 2 protagonistas have already been cast but bucked up her spirits with how there will be a few scene stealing 'Mean Mel' incidents that will strike many as a Scarlett O'Hara prequel that will hit close to home.

Mr Estella's idea of leisure time activity is doing chores. GSL, always the dutiful guest,
gives a supportive wave from the window while cradling a tumbler of  his best bourbon, eating that last leftover
porkchop he had his heart set on, and getting the latest dish from Estella & Mille.
Another of Mr Estella's hobbies is as a woodcarver with several awards in international competition.. He carved and painted that duck.
That Chuckwagon model on the left was something I sent Estella's father years ago. He & Estella descend from the inventor of that icon of the Old West. I've often told Estella she is hardly worthy of such a celebrated forebear known as The Father of the Texas Panhandle
Estella's brother Eddie was a worthy successor of their families' great ancestor.

Estella circa 1968. A grown-up must have had the audacity to tell this little banshee she can't
ride her pony until Daddy gets home. A children's book supporting character named
'Mean Mel' will bring her overbearing tendencies to a vast audience.

This is what that hand-on-hip little vixen grew into with only the gestures becoming more subtle.

This is Millie with Estella a few days old and brother Eddie..
We had a delightful visit and only wish it could have been longer.

Estella and some poor guy she just rolled in negotiation. He's now wondering how he is going to get a 3rd shift staffed and trained and what concessions the Elf Union will demand.

Millie on her wedding day. She even resembles old family friend and neighbor Ava Gardner.

Post-Modern Millie suggested Fashion Forerunner Mod Millie might be a nice addition....? while shooting GSL a Coquette in Winter glance that even old family friend Ava Gardner in her prime would have a hard time matching in force and efficacy. What I haven't told either Estella or Millie is that I have a couple of surprises that go well beyond what either could imagine,,,and they will be quite pleased by.

I assured Millie that she was going to love what this little book series becomes, where it goes, and how it gets there, and I need her to be around to give me the great joy of creating something that honors and pleases her so please Millie, that physical therapy, we need diligence and consistency....I'll keep my promise but I need you to keep yours....

GSL has promises to keep and miles to go before he sleeps...

I had several Manhattans with Terry Drama New Year's Eve afternoon and was
out of harm's way before amateur hour set in.
2016 is going to be special.
Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year Moss! It was great having you back in NC, wish you would come back for good.

    1. I'll be a far more frequent visitor from now on.

  2. It looks like a wonderful time!! Wishing you the Happiest of New Years. I love your book. My grandson is s bit young to appreciate it, but we read it aloud on Christmas morning and the adults all loved it! So in a few, I'll be reading it to him. Thank you so much for the personal inscription. It means a lot to me.
    xx Jennifer

    1. Thank you Jennifer. Yes, your charming grandson is a bit young now but soon I do hope you 2 can share a giggle Nipsy and Timzy...that would mean a lot to me.

  3. Lovely post! So happy about your new book. So funny because when I was a 17 year old exchange student in New Canaan, the family dog was called Bandit too, And he looked like the drawing done by your friend.
    Your old friends look so lovely and happy, again with the NC connection, the two couple (homecoming king and prince etc.) were married and stay happily married.
    Must order your book for a youngster.
    Told Helena to tell me if she'd ever in Chicago.

    1. Loved those pics and dispatches of your New Zealand visit!

    2. Thank you, hope you're having a wonderful start to 2016!

  4. My second-favorite photo in the world of a little blondie in a striped shirt, ca. 1968? The Grown-Up HE was just here for a few days, with his lovely wife, and we had a wonderful gathering of brothers and sisters and GRANDS all over the house.

    I hope your Christmas and New Year celebrations were all joy and love, with warmth and BRIGHT and all those good folks to be with. All the VERY best on your whirlwind of books and tours and sharing the stories of those two captivating scamps and their adventures.

    a warm Grandma hug for the cold,


    1. Thank you Darling Rachel; it's nice coming in where it's warm.

  5. Happy 2016 my dear GSL! Love these old photos, they are always so good. I'm excited about your forays into publishing and now that the blood-letting of Christmas finances is over I will order a copy of your book this month! Re your comment about my future as a cat burglar, I tell you, Lookin' ain't buyin'. I love looking at high jewelry because there is never any chance of an accident. There's never any, Oh honey, I just got carried away and bid at auction on this necklace that ultimately sold for $905,000! Whee! xx

    1. How 'bout we take a Cracker-Jack ring by Tiffany's for engraving...my Huckleberry Friend.

  6. Dear GSL
    What are we, halfway through the first month of the year, and I am already running late, running behind. Regardless, despite being a wee bit tardy, I want to wish you a heartfelt and hearty Happiest of Happy New Years. I hope this New Year brings you more than your fair share of peace, love, and happiness.

    1. Thank you Gentle Farmer and a very healthy and prosperous 2016 to you and fellow Totem Hall family and friends.

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