Major's Blog

What God Has Made

I was reading my Bible this morning and God sort of thumped me on the head…like he seems to have a habit of doing now and then. Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That sounds rather elementary and most people pass right over it without stopping. But if a person slows down and pauses at this verse, they might discover a treasure waiting to be discovered.

First of all, the author of Genesis does not argue with the reader that God does or does not exist. He simply states that he created . What did he create? The heavens and the earth. The author doesn’t argue as to whether God exists or not. He doesn’t say if God used union angels to do the construction, or what pay scale the workers received. One is led to believe God didn’t use any angels at all. The author simply says “…God created…” What a great promise to remember as we go about our daily tasks, whatever they may be. No matter how in or out of control the day may be, the God I serve is the same God that created this old world and everything in it. When my world seems to be falling apart, he will be there to catch me before I fall.

God bless.


Lessons from Molly

Here are some things I’ve learned since being adopted by my human parents.

  1. It is important to find a good hiding spot, like the one in the picture. This is important for several reasons. It helps you win games in the back yard, but it is also important when you forget and do something that makes your humans angry, like digging up the flower bed.
  2. It’s important to use an inside voice in the house when you are trying to tell or explain something to your humans. This one is really, really hard since I don’t have an inside voice. I haven’t made them understand this one yet.
  3. Eat all the snacks your humans give you, because they taste good and are good for you. Sometimes your humans might ask you to perform a trick like roll over or shake paws, but they are always worth it.
  4. Don’t eat snacks from the gutter or that are thrown away when you take a walk. I tried this and they don’t always taste good, and sometimes they are covered with ants. Ants can sting and bite you.
  5. Always take your bath when your humans want to give you one. First of all, they are always going to win. You can run and hide, but they know all the hiding places and will find you. If you can remember to be good while getting bathed, you’ll get a treat in the end.
  6. Enjoy little children when you can. Little children grow up to be obnoxious teenagers and won’t want to play with you. Also, remember to check on little children when they spend the night. Do this several times during the night to make sure they are alright.
  7. Don’t climb into people’s laps, even when they tell you to. My humans don’t like it when I do.
  8. Enjoy your walks and exercise time outdoors, especially when you live in California like I do. You’ll never know when the governor and his friends in Sacramento will want to let the forests burn up.
  9. Be careful when hunting blue-bellied lizards. They can release their tails if you catch one, and grow a new tail. It can freak you out.
  10. Don’t bug your humans when they are sitting at the desk working, even if you do want to run and play with your toys. It can cause you to be put inside your kennel.
  11. I’ve learned other things also and will share them later. It gets hard to type when you have paws instead of fingers. Goodbye.


Planes, Trains and Pterodactyls

We arrived home from the Western Writer’s convention in one piece, but totally exhausted. Our exhaustion, however, had little to do with the convention, which was well organized and well-run. The authors in attendance were gracious and willing to help folks who were looking for the room they were supposed to be in, or simply had a question on their mind. Our confusion and exhaustion came from simply trying to get to Loveland, Colorado. Let me explain.

Judy had made our reservations with both the WWA and the hotel with plenty of time to spare. We discovered our plane would be landing at Denver, so she reserved a shuttle from Denver to Loveland, which is 40 miles away. We were supposed to arrive at the hotel around 2:00 in the afternoon. Plenty of time for checking in and wandering around shaking hands and meeting folks. Well, somewhere between Oakdale and Sacramento we entered the Twilight Zone. We got an email informing us our flight had been cancelled. Not a good sign to start a journey. Then we got another email saying our backup flight had been cancelled, but they were trying to place us on another plane. We arrived at the terminal and Judy tried to check our suitcase at the counter. She was told it was too early to check our luggage and we would have to come back later.

Judy emailed the shuttle service and told them our predicament. They were sympathetic, but told us told us it didn’t matter too much, since they wouldn’t be running another airport shuttle until the next day. No, we couldn't get Uber, and didn't want to rent a car for four days in order to go 40 miles one way.

About then rumors were going around that the Southwest computer had been hacked, and someone was playing with the flight reservations. There was also a hint of them demanding a sizeable payment. It made me wonder why no one’s ever discovered someone doing something like this and beaten the pee out of them, but that’s another story.

Southwest placed us on a brand new plane (seriously) and we arrived in Denver in one piece. We were then packed into a tram that shot us across the airport like a bullet then slammed on the brakes to stop. Those that survived collected their luggage and began a four-hour wait. The baggage department at the Denver airport really isn’t passenger friendly, and wasn’t designed to be. Collect your luggage and be on your way. That’s good advice, unless you have no way of leaving. People of all ages were sleeping on the concrete floor. We spent the next four hours with me trying to sleep sitting in an upright position, and Judy futzing around trying to find a way of getting us out of there.

  The shuttle, when it did arrive at 4:40 a.m, looked like an ark of safety when it parked at the curb. Judy and I were somehow the first ones on board. I felt like giving the driver a hug when he parked in front of the hotel, but settled for a handshake and a tip. The sun was rising as we checked into our room. We ordered scrambled eggs, bacon and hot coffee before crashing on the bed.

We joined the convention the following day and enjoyed every minute. That’s where we learned from one of the attending publishers that we are doing exactly what we should be doing to sell books and need to do more. We also discovered from John Boggs that Pterodactyls are still alive and well in parts of America. (The man could make a good living as a comedian.) The only question is, would we do it all again? Yes, with a few changes like driving, I believe so.


God bless



Have you ever made plans and knew for certain that things were going to take place according to the way you had planned? Your plans were so perfect that it couldn’t take place any other way. The book you’d written, or photographs you had taken, were so remarkable that everyone would love them and in turn love you for thinking of them. Then you would be called upon stage to receive the Pulitzer Prize. Well … Maybe not quite that far. In fact, few people would admit to going that far, but all of us do make plans that benefit us personally, and that’s really not a bad thing on the surface. But what if there’s a monkey wrench tossed into the middle of our planning that’s going to require us to depend heavily upon the talent and willingness of those around us just to get by.

Last January I was walking my dog in front of the junior high school and slipped off the curb. I felt my left hip snap as I hit the pavement. The school was closed due to COVID-19, but there were several people who saw me fall and came to my rescue. Our dog, Molly, came and sat quietly beside me, knowing there was something wrong. One of the good Samaritans called for an ambulance while I called Judy on my cell phone. She brought the car to take the dog home while I was carted off in an ambulance, and a crazy period of life began that I’d never planned or thought would happen to me.

First of all, I have to admit I never felt a lot of pain during the whole process. How much of the pain-free process was due to my body’s ability to reject the pain or some nurse pumping drugs into my IV, I don’t know, but thank God either way. On the downside, once you’re admitted into the hospital, it’s just you and the doctors and nurses. Judy and I couldn’t see each other due to COVID-19. Conversations were over the phone. The closest we came to a real conversation was to stare through a window while talking on a cell phone.

One of the things I learned was when you break a bone your body rushes a great amount of blood to the break to start the healing process. The amount of blood depends on the size of the bone. The problem was, I lost two units of blood and began to hallucinate. I can remember not knowing where I was or what was happening. Needless to say, at this point Judy was beside herself. I do remember at one point that I thought I was in the middle of a shopping center looking for a men’s room so I could urinate. The nurses had trouble keeping me in bed, so I naturally fell out of bed. I don’t believe this helped the placement of the steel rod they inserted into my leg, but it’s good to know with the amount of steel they used, I’ll never break that hip again.

To shorten a rather long story, they finally decided my body was not going to replace the blood on its own, so they gave me a transfusion and I began to recover some sanity during the process. Judy gave the nurses a bag with extra clothing and my razor to make me feel a little more at home. I did learn the value of a good nurse during the process, and thanked God for our daughter, Debbi, who is an R.N., and our granddaughter, Lisa, who will graduate from nursing school soon. They are very good at their jobs. I was finally allowed to go home and I quickly learned the value of a good mate. Judy had not spent her time twiddling her thumbs. Our bedroom was pretty much a hospital room, with a walker, shower bench portable toilet and many other things designed to make me comfortable. The healing process has taught me the value of the words “yes, dear.” I hope none of you ever have to experience any of this. But if you do, treat the ones nursing you back to health with love and respect.

Today, I’m walking with or without a cane and have developed a pretty fair gait. The only painkillers I take are two Tyrol when needed. There are some things I believe I can do, which I don’t, because either the doctor or Judy tells me not to. But the therapist has given us the green light to attend this year’s Western Writer’s conference, so I do know my time will come.

A Little Humility

Have you ever run across what should have been an easy fix, but no matter what you did, it seemed to refuse to be fixed. I had one of those experiences over the weekend. For some unforeseen reason, our kitchen sink stopped draining. Normally, a clogged sink is something relatively easy to fix, especially for someone like me, who spent over thirty years in the construction field. While I was a painter, I had for a short period of time, worked as a plumber’s helper, and had seen enough clogged drains fixed that I knew my way around.

I went to the tool shed and retrieved a few tools and started right in. First step, remove and clean the p trap. “Yes, I thought.” The p trap was clogged so once it was cleaned; I put it all back together. To my surprise, it still didn’t drain. Okay, onto the next step.

I went to collect the snake and began cleaning the lines. When your snake had fifty-feet of line, why stop at twenty-five feet? Use the whole fifty-feet. When that was done, I put it all back together confident that I had solved the problem. Guess what? It still didn’t drain.

Okay, this was starting to get irritating, but I pulled it back apart and re-snaked everything. I was determined that I was going to win this challenge no matter what. I snaked all the cleanouts not once but twice then put everything back together. Then, I stood there like an idiot staring at the water coming from the faucet as it ponded in the double sinks without draining.

Judy finally got tired of watching me trying to clean the lines and called a plumber that one of our pastors recommended. I on the other hand took a break and walked to our mailbox to collect our mail. I told a couple of our neighbors what I had been doing for most of the day, and got more advice … which I followed. What good is advice if you don’t follow it? I pulled the drain on the garbage disposal. Guess what? It was clean and had nothing to do with our problem. At that point I had to admit I was beaten. I waited for the plumber to show up around ten Sunday morning. He saw the problem and went to his truck to get an old fashioned plunger and fixed the problem in five minutes. He was a real nice guy and Judy paid him sixty-dollars instead of the fifty is asked.

Me? Yes, I learned my seventy-five year-old body isn’t in bad shape, but it still doesn’t work as good as it did thirty years ago. And, regardless of what I might think, I really don’t know everything. Next time I run into a “fixit” problem, I’ll call an expert and watch them fix it in five minutes, after I’ve wasted several hours trying to fix it first.



The Rose of Sharon

Have you ever noticed how things seem to get better the harder you struggle? Take something as mundane as a glass of cold water. If you happen to be really hot and thirsty, that single glass of water might make you think it is the best glass of water bar none. Or a really good sandwich. If you are really hungry, that’s the best sandwich ever. I’m sure it has always been that way.

Thirty-four years ago Judy and I spent a week in Maui on our honeymoon.  We both enjoyed our time there to the point we considered moving. The main reason for us to return to the mainland was the thought of leaving our first grandchild and our children behind. We’ve returned to Hawaii since then, and while we still had a blast, it didn’t quite measure up to the joy we felt the first time.

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is pretty much that way. A cancer patient finishing their treatment would have a hard time telling what hearing the words cancer-free feels like to someone who’s never had cancer. Or, trying to explain what watching a loved one slip away into eternity feels like to someone who’s never had to face that reality.  Lucky for us, we do have someone who’s faced it all and come through every trial without faltering.

Jesus was approximately thirty years old when he entered his earthly ministry. The first half must have been a blast. He drew Donald Trump-sized crowds, turned water into wine, raised the dead, cast out devils, and taught thousands. And while some Jewish leaders hated him, he basically had things his way. It was the second year and a half that got rough. There were several attempts on his life and he was mocked. Finally, he was executed by crucifixion, while his disciples fled. But, lucky for us, it doesn’t end that way. He walked out of his tomb and offers free life to us.

Working in our flower garden this morning, I made a discovery by the waterfall. Several Rose of Sharon flowers were pushing their heads above the rest toward the sun. They came from a plant we planted by the waterfall, and the ground was next to some volcanic boulders. Not the best to say the least. But the flowers that struggled to reach the sun are beautiful. Kind of like our Lord. There isn’t a battle or struggle he has not faced, and he’s eager to join you in your fight, if you will let him.

Collecting Ideas

Yesterday I was asked by a fan on Good Reads where I got my idea for my next book. I truthfully said I didn’t know. It was just there.  That’s the way it has always been, from the time I was a small child to now.

I was the youngest of eight children. My older sister and brother got married young and started having children, so the house became small when my mother started babysitting their children while they went back to work. If I wanted any peace I had to go somewhere and hide. That meant I spent a lot of time alone. I quickly became a day-dreamer and made up a ton of stories inside my head. And because the local theater mostly showcased westerns, a lot of my stories were, of course, westerns. I took the place of John Wayne or Roy Rogers. I always killed the bad dudes and got the girl.

The town I grew up in was a ranching community, so it was nothing to see real working cowboys downtown. Most of the kids in my classroom at school lived on ranches and had 4-H projects raising cattle or sheep. Living within the city limits, I raised a pen full of chickens which I chose not to enter in 4-H. We did get fresh eggs and ate a lot of chicken dinners though.

One of my favorite spots was an old chinaberry tree that grew beside our house and had a perfect sitting area about halfway up into the foliage. On nice warm days I’d climb the tree with a fistful of comic books and spend hours alone with my comic character friends. Other times, I’d strap on my Red Rider cap pistol and wipe out a den of rustlers. It became serious when half the kids in the neighborhood grabbed their cap guns (girls included) and we’d have an old fashioned shoot-out in the middle of the street. I learned a lot in those days.

Where did I get my idea for my next book? I’d have to say from life. While my books are more serious, and wordier, a lot of them came from the games we played. I was able to study the actions and reactions of the other kids on the block. I perfected daydreaming to an art while inside the classroom. What was going on inside my head was a whole lot better than the words coming from my teachers. Yes, my next story came from life.

Bad Data

Bad Data


There’s a line out of Zane Grey’s novel “Riders Of the Purple Sage” that stuck with me when I first read the book some years ago. Lassiter is telling Jane Withersteen  that  the older he got, the stranger life seemed. I am finding that is certainly the case with me. Life, or people around us, can act real strange, especially when things get tough to deal with, such as buying all the toilet paper and paper towels inside the store. Now, I hear on the radio that we’re in a serious meat shortage. So, I guess if you have a large freezer you’d better buy all the meat you can ‘cause you never know when you’re going to eat your next pork chop or hamburger. I’m just waiting to hear what new thing I’m supposed to be in a shortage of and how worried I’m supposed to be.

It really is strange the way people react when put under a little pressure. Just the mere prediction of the devastation the virus could inflict on humans for instance, causes some people to act as though the end of the world is at hand. I caught a little of this on the radio. Only in this case they were trying their best to explain why the number of sick and the dead was so much lower than what they had been predicting. Really? That’s not hard to explain, unless you’re not telling the truth in the first place. The truth is they fed a bunch of bad data into their computers and got a lot of bad data back. Those numbers were what they based their predictions on…bad data. Try telling the public the truth once in a while and see what happens.

I’m not saying we should throw all caution to the wind and live like nothing’s wrong. There is a virus and it’s making some people very ill and killing others. But I am saying that most problems could be solved by allowing people to reopen their stores and run their business without going to jail or being fined. After all, this is America and most Americans are pretty good at solving problems by themselves when left alone. Maybe we should give it a try.



While I’m a fairly easy guy to deal with on most things, I am not so easy to get along with on a few issues. I don’t like being told that I can’t go to the post office or store, or be given a long list of things I have to do in order to take the dog for a walk. And it doesn’t make much difference knowing those telling me what and what not to do are doing it for my own good. I received a telephone call from one of my doctors saying they were postponing one of my tests due to the current virus. During the telephone conversation she asked how I was dealing with being at home. She said the picture Kaiser has on file shows me with one of my wide-brimmed western hats and she believed I love the outdoors. She was concerned that I wasn’t taking being sequestered at home very well. I lied and told her I was okay. The truth was that I caught myself sniping at my wife and yelling at the dog. Not a good combination.

It is strange to think that a little thing like staying at home can change you and the situation around you so quickly. I could yell and curse my wife and dog both but what would it change? I would have a hurt and angry wife, and a dog that only heard me yell “bla, bla, bla” and not understood a word. And to top it off, I’d still be required to stay at home. It is sort of like Mary Magdalene the day that Jesus was resurrected from the tomb. She saw the open tomb with no body inside. Now admittedly, that would raise a few questions, so God sent two angels who plainly told her Jesus had risen. But that didn’t stop her crying. Then she saw Jesus, who asked why she was crying and she mistook him for the gardener and begged him to show her where his body was and she would take care of it. Jesus had to call her by her first name to get her attention.

Sometimes, while we are riddled with grief or angered, we fail to see all the wonderful things around us. Mary almost missed the events of the most blessed day in the history of the world. Likewise, I can choose to snipe at my wife, yell at the dog and act like a fool. Or, I can grab all the free time I can to write and promote my books. Actually, it’s not a real hard choice to make, when you think about it.




A New Project

I’m sitting in my recliner inside my living room, staring out the window during my self-imposed quarantine. No, I don’t have the virus and don’t expect to contact it anywhere in my small circle of friends. First of all, it’s kinda hard to contact or spread germs or viruses over the internet, and I don’t expect to lick any handrails anywhere. The best place I go to contact a virus is the gym, which I attend three times a week, but being a guy, inside a guy’s world, we wouldn’t think of touching another guy for any reason inside the gym or anywhere else. You’d more than likely get tossed out on you rear. Now, I understand the gym is off limits until further notice. So, here I sit, staring out the window.


I will admit to keeping one small habit. I do give the dog a walk early every day, and say “good morning” to the same two or three people who are doing the same. I guess I could catch the virus walking the dog, except for the fact we are a safe distance from each other in order to keep the dogs apart. And no, Molly wouldn’t start a fight, but she will bounce all over another animal wanting to play.

I’ve completed several home projects, like helping our son Mark install recessed lighting in our kitchen and replacing the light switches and plugs. But those take up a small amount of time, and after today, I’ll be looking for something else to do. I was kind of anxious about staying busy until yesterday afternoon. That’s when I ran across a story outline I had written some time ago. Bingo! Now I know what I’ll be doing.

So, now I’m sitting in the same recliner staring out the window with a fresh cup of coffee and my laptop writing a contemporary mystery. It should keep me out of trouble.


God bless.



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