I am convinced everyone has at least one nonsense song in their head from childhood. For one of my best friends, it is the relentless jingle from a toothpaste commercial. For me…it is the theme song from Bozo, The Clown. This is the song in its entirety. I do not know whether this is the official national theme song for Bozo or simply the local version from Flint, Michigan when I was six and my brother was two. Baby brother, Donny, this one’s for you:

       Hello world, every boy…every gal!

       This is Bozo, The Clown.

       Yes, this is your old pal.

       I’ve brought you a bag full of rootin’ tootin’ tricks!

       One, two, three, four, five, and six!

        The funniest man in the whole human race

         is going to put a smile on your face.

         So just keep laughing and don’t you ever frown…

         cause Bozo is back!

         The one and only Bozo, The Clown!


I would have included a picture, but I am afraid of clowns.


Hawaii is supposed to be everyone’s dream vacation. Not for me. I have rational thought behind my non-desire to visit Hawaii.

  1. Tom Selleck doesn’t live there anymore.
  2. It takes WAY too long to fly to Hawaii.
  3. Most importantly: ALL of the land in Hawaii is surrounded by ocean. In other words, Hawaii is entirely made up of islands. AND, there are volcanoes on those islands.

I know…I know…people claim the volcanoes in Hawaii hardly ever spew lava. Sure. These are the same people who believe the twelve foot alligator floating in the Bayou near the dock is simply taking the afternoon sun. I have no desire to run for my life from an erupting volcano only to be stopped up short because the state of Hawaii ran out of land. I have no doubt that the islands in Hawaii are beautiful. Toast tastes good too; but, it is still just burned up bread.


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Cool Dad


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My father’s name was James Vernon Huddleston. He was a non-athletic, bookish sort who worked in an office for the State of Michigan. As a small child, I wasn’t all that impressed with my father. He was a nice man. A funny man. However, he wasn’t very flashy nor did he have the sort of job a kid could brag about to her friends. The coolest thing he had was a vehicle with an emblem of the State of Michigan on the door. One night each week my father would dress up in a U.S. Naval uniform and drive off to “the navy station”. I remember telling kids in the neighborhood that he was a cop one night a week. A sort of super hero all dressed up in his official looking uniform in his official looking vehicle.

When I was around seven or eight I was racing another child on the sidewalk in front of our houses on bikes. Being the third of three daughters mine was a hand-me-down bike…the sort of bike where the chain was constantly falling off and such. During the race the brakes on my bike locked and I went soaring headfirst over the handlebars to land flat on my back on the sidewalk. I was stunned. I remember raising my head from the sidewalk and watching my father leap from the cement porch…clearing all three steps in a single bound. It was like a slow motion movie reel. I don’t know whether I said this out loud or not, but I know it went through my mind.

“Cool, Dad.”

In that instant my father had shaken off Clark Kent and flown to his child’s side as Superman. Unfortunately, I lost my father one month after I turned twenty. I miss him and all of the stories he never told me; about his years in the Navy during World War II…about what really went on at “the navy station”…about the dreams he had for himself and for his family. I regret all the questions I never asked. He was a nice man. A funny man. Kind of nerdy. James Vernon Huddleston was a cool dad.


jurassic parkI am woman…hear me roar…unless there’s a spider on the floor.

In that event I flee in search of a hero or a flamethrower. Recently I was working late on one of my authoring endeavors in the computer room. It was around eleven when I shut down the computer, swung around in the chair, and inhaled like an extra in a horror movie. Stomping across the floor and headed right for me was a spider the size of one of the creatures in Jurassic Park. I ran to the side of my own personal hero, my sleeping husband, Fred. 

Jostling a foot I croaked, “I’m sorry to wake you. But…seriously…there is a humongous spider in the computer room. I’m surprised the trembling earth didn’t wake you.” Fred is well aware of my out-of-control terror whenever I encounter an air-breathing arthropod. He did not hesitate. He leapt from the bed and went into the bathroom for spider slaying equipment. I huddled in the bedroom doorway quaking with fear.

 Fred came out armed with a can of hairspray and one little dinky shred of tissue. I shook my head, “That’s not going to cut it. You could slap a saddle on this thing.”

Undeterred he asked, “Where is it?”

I crossed the house heading for the still-lighted computer room. I managed to point through the doorway. The beast was as I had left it; hulking and leering from the middle of the room; its shadow twice as large as the creature itself. Fred blasted it with hairspray. It bucked and staggered. I shrieked. A couple of stabs at the floor with the tissue, and the hairy beast had been slain.

 If I ever have to battle one of these eight legged foes alone, that unlucky spider is going to go into the spider hereafter sprayed as solid as Lot’s wife ever was; unscented, of course.


Peter Pan

mary martinWhen I was eight years old and my brother, Don, was four, we watched Mary Martin as Peter Pan on our black and white television set. It was 1960. To this day it is one of the most magical experiences of my life. For days afterward Don and I would zoom about the living room and front yard of our small house in Flint, Michigan…arms straight out to our sides screaming:


Fortunately my brother and I were imaginative but we were not delusional. We didn’t climb up and jump off the roof or anything. My entire life I have been cursed with a short attention span. I adored the opening act of Peter Pan with Mary Martin as Peter flying through the large nursery window in search of his shadow. When discovered by the children, Peter charmed them with flying about the room singing that wondrous song. This is where my attention span problem came into play. Once Peter and the children flew from the window and across the night sky to Never Land, I pretty much lost interest in the story. I do want it known, however, that I did clap enthusiastically for Tinker Bell. I have a short attention span, but I’m not heartless.

 I can’t speak for my brother, but I didn’t give a flip about dancing with Indians, fighting pirates, or following ticking crocodiles. All I wanted to do was fly.



An educated, professional woman-friend of mine recently went on vacation. She had one glorious day. She caught a nasty virus and spent the rest of the week sick and miserable. She came home and spent two more weeks recovering from having been sick and miserable. Pay attention people…I don’t normally travel…but when I do, Lysol is my best friend. I don’t walk around with a can of Lysol strapped to my head like a minor’s helmet…because such technology does not yet exist. I’ve come pretty close, however.

Follow this closely…I am using a motel room as a mind-walking example: Mind-walk yourself into your hotel/motel vacation abode (pricey vs. cheap is irrelevant) and see yourself…touching stuff. Holding a can of Lysol firmly in one hand, stiff-arm, point, and spray the following (note: this listing is not all inclusive because different people touch different stuff):

  • All door handles. Including the little bitty one on the little bitty microwave and the little bitty refrigerator.
  • All light switches. Including the lamps.
  • The telephone. Receiver and buttons.
  • Those stick things that dangle from the drapes to allow you to jerk the drapes opened and closed.
  • All faucets.
  • Definitely saturate the toilet handle.
  • THE BIG ONE: The remote control. You have no idea where that thing may have been. Better yet…spray it and then push the buttons with the non-brushy end of a toothbrush (you may want to pack an extra toothbrush).This has been a public service announcement and applies not only to hotel/motel rooms but is equally relevant to time sharing abodes or even when visiting the home of a family member. Familial germs can still pack a punch. However, do be discreet. Unless your goal is to never be invited back…in that event, strap a can of Lysol to your forehead and go for it. DSC00041


It is my belief that my local Dollar General store is the portal to an alternate dimension. The entrance lacks the science fiction flash of the pulsating goo of Star Gate and there is no magical quirkiness as in Harry Potter’s train station. However, when I wrestle one of the too-large carts down the crowded aisle beyond the entrance, all meaningful relationships with the outside world cease to have meaning.

Short, maze-like aisles that feel as though the store was designed with hamsters in mind are crammed with stuff. I poke around and read the ingredients in meaningless items. When I move into a new aisle and encounter another customer, I flinch and retreat to the previous aisle until the rude interloper has moved on. I inventory the socks to learn whether a different brand has been introduced. I check to see whether the shower curtain display has been refreshed with any new patterns. I am never in the market for a shower curtain, but I always check.

I watched the news last night. The world is on fire and my government has neglected to assure that there are functional batteries in our smoke detectors. When I need for my world to be simple and safe, I go to Dollar General. They have an entire section stocked with batteries. When I am preparing to check-out, it doesn’t matter which counter I approach because there will inevitably be a sign advising me to go around to the other counter. I suspect this mild irritation/disappointment upon exiting the establishment is intentional; a gauntlet of preparedness upon re-entering the outside world. I have to go back, and I’m scared.

I’ll come back tomorrow and see whether Dollar General carries fire extinguishers.



On Saturday, February 21st, I awoke to a power outage. I decided that the prudent thing to do was to go back to sleep; my favorite coping mechanism. I awoke again one-half hour later and stumbled into the kitchen croaking, “Coffee?”

“No coffee,” replied my stoic husband, Fred. “The power is out.” He, of course, had been up for two hours already wandering from room to room and window to window verifying that the power was out in the entire neighborhood. We stood side by side staring at the ice encrusted window screen at the kitchen window.

“There’s no coffee?” I persisted.

“No.” We stared at the crystalized fairy wonderland beyond the window. “Crap,” I muttered. We’re from Michigan. Ice storms are the worst. We are way past marveling at the wispy beauty of ice. We lasted four nights and five days in the alien landscape that used to be our house repeating the same three words to one another, “Where’s the flashlight?” We spent the next three nights at a motel one town over.

I have lived in this house for ten years. Suddenly it was like I was on the moon and there were shadowy craters everywhere. It has been one week since we returned to our powered-up house. I didn’t trust it. It is my usual routine to go to bed, not go to sleep, get up and wander about my house for about an hour or so before returning to bed. Last night is the first night I resumed my wandering. Opening the bedroom door I grew weepy noting that the nightlights which align the hallway like a little mouse runway were all aglow. I moved through room to room turning on and off the lights, wrote for a little while, had a snack, and went back to bed.

I know this place again. This is my house. Fred promised to buy a generator.


Hi Res Daredevil Final (2)LESLIE’S TAKE ON DAREDEVILS: (dialogue)

An excerpt from my newly released eBook, “Daredevil”; a Leslie & Belinda Mystery. Two sassy, senior sleuths, Leslie & Belinda are on the hunt for a missing girl; and it leads them on a crazy chase through a dark graveyard with Leslie’s eight-pound-dog, Riff-Raff, right in the middle of all the action.

… “Roy’s nephew, Eric, is lost in the Idahoan wilderness.”

… “I’m sorry, but I have never heard anything about Idaho having a wilderness. Alaska? Yes. Alaska has wilderness. Borneo probably has wilderness, but Idaho? Seriously?”

… “Roy said his nephew is a trained survivalist. That means…”

“I know what a survivalist is, Belinda. Those are people who store gallons of water, cans of tuna fish, and jars of peanut butter just in case there is some major catastrophe and they are the last people left on Earth. Why would one of those survivalist types wander around in the wilderness with their stash of survival supplies?”

“Belinda sighed, “Leslie, Roy’s nephew is the kind of survivalist who is trained to survive out in the…well, the wilderness. Sort of like a super Boy Scout. He was supposed to check in at the ranger station two weeks ago, but he never showed up. Roy said the poor guy’s wife is worried to death?”

I don’t have much patience for this sort of thing, but I tried. “So, this Eric guy went out into this wilderness that you claim exists in Idaho, alone, depending solely on his wily survival training: starting a fire by knocking stones together, building a shelter out of pinecones, stuff like that?”

“Well…yes. I guess if you put it like that. Don’t you see how dangerous that would be, Leslie? Going out there alone like that? The poor guy could have been attacked by a mountain lion or a bear or something?”

“Mountain lions and bears live in the wilderness, Belinda. People are supposed to live in houses. If a mountain lion or a bear attacked this man, it certainly isn’t the fault of the lion or the bear. Now, if a lion or a bear attacks my mailman right here in civilization that would be a matter for concern. That being said, this is the United States of America. In America it isn’t against the law to have a stupid hobby. If he is a good survivalist, then he will survive. I wouldn’t worry too much about it if I were you.”

. . .


The following in a snippet from an interview I did with an author buddy of mine. Check out the entire interview at

“Conversation with Linda S. Browning, Mystery Writer” (1/31/15)


Q. I understand you’re working on a novel, IN-BETWEEN REFLECTIONS. What challenges have you faced going from short stories to a novel?

I don’t like to write in third person. Too much “he said…she said”. How many different ways can you say it? I find writing a novel-length story to be outside of my level of talent. I get bored with myself. I’m in a hurry to tell the story. I’m usually done at around 53,000 words. I’m not big on writing descriptions of…say…what the wallpaper looks like. If I spend any time talking about the wallpaper, it is probably because there is a body behind the wall somewhere.

Note of interest (or not): The photograph doesn’t have anything to do with the interview. I just like it