Friends’ Blog

Three writer friends just launched an outstanding new blog.  Be sure to check it out!


The Egg Hunt


I wake with my mom hovering over me.  Before I can protest, she picks me up and carries me to the prison chair.  Once my legs are locked into it, I can’t escape.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  Why is she trying to shove food in my face before I’m fully awake?  The small bosses wander into the room and sit.  I presume they are my siblings, but I’m still learning the language and so haven’t figured out all the details.  Nevertheless, they do periodically amuse me.

The larger boss with short hair rubs his eyes and stares into his multi-colored num-nums before dumping the white juice on them.  Why does he drown them?  They are perfect the way they are.  Each one fits my hand and mouth.  Because he drowns them, he has to dig them out with a shiny shovel.  Silly.

After I finish eating my portion, I cast the rest away from me to obtain a clear surface.  I’ve not been diagnosed with OCD, but I’ve noticed the tendency in me.  Perhaps I’ll have that checked later.  For now, it’s time for my sponge bath.  I take these in stride.  They aren’t fun like a real bath, but at least they’re better than when my mom spits on a rag and wipes my face.  That always leaves me feeling kissy faced.  Nevertheless, as long as I’m in the prison chair, I comply.  Resistance is futile…for now.

I’m hoisted from the chair and carried into my room.  Mom puts me into my cage while she gathers my garments.  There appear to be more than usual today.  This will require some patience on my part.  I am not a fan of getting dressed.  It seems unnatural to cover my body.  After all, naked is the original wrapping in which I came.

My mother tucks my arms into a white shirt.  To further annoy me, she puts a vest over that, then a coat.  Really?  Is this necessary?  I attempt to run away in protest, but her strong hand pulls me back and forces me down on my back.  Only her raspberry on my belly keeps me from releasing my wrath.  She shoves on pants and shoes.  I look like David Niven, whoever that is.

After grunting in her foreign tongue to the other bosses, my mother carries me to the car where I am once again imprisoned.  In protest, I kick off my shoes.  That’ll show her.  The little boss beside me has something yellow in his hand.  It looks like a birdy.  He bites off the head and chews.  I want some, so I open my mouth and look at the boss.  He pulls his hand away and glares at me.  This is wrong.  Food is for me.  You can’t eat food and leave me out.  I cry out my righteous indignation until my mother reaches back with a bird of my own.  Immediately, I cease my protest to feast on the spongy delight.  It’s big and hard to shove all the way in my mouth.  Several layers remain on my cheeks, but it’s worth it.  The sheer delight of soft, gooey sugar sends me into ecstasy.  Never before have I known such joy.

I’m not sure if it was the bird indulgence or the vibration of the car, but the last thing I remember, I was nodding my head.  My mother yanks me from the car, holds me until she shuts the door, then sets me on the ground.  Her hand seizes mine.  She appears displeased by something.  Oh no, out comes the tissue.  She spits on it and rubs my face.  This woman has cleaning issues.

I look to my (this hand) and see the church.  This is the yard out back it seems.  We stroll into a crowd of giants, small bosses and actual people.  The actual people wear too many clothes like me and seem to have mothers that imprison them too.  There’s a huge scary white thing over on the side.  It looks like a very tall bunny.  As long as it stays over there, we won’t have issues, but if it comes over here, my mom needs to kill it.

This is all very exciting.  I have no idea why, but this crowd of real people makes me happy.  Each of us is handed a basket.  The two small bosses head over to a group of small bosses and march away.  They’re probably in training for something.  Now it’s just moms and people.  The large woman shows us a plastic egg.  It is shiny but doesn’t smells like anything.  Evidently, there are several of these in the field.  We are told that the bunny put them there.  That giant creepy thing bounces towards us.  I hide behind my mother’s leg and cover my eyes.  If I can’t see it, it’s not there.  If I can’t see it, it’s not there.  But it is there, I can feel it.  When I remove my hands, the giant monster is in my face!

I scream and fall backwards.  All these clothes make it impossible to run.  “Mother, destroy the monster!” I bellow.  She doesn’t do it.  Instead she picks me up and holds me.  She forces me to be still while the monster pets me.  Inside the monster, I hear my father’s voice.

“It’s just daddy,” it says.  “Don’t be afraid.”

I snap from my fear and study the beast.  It must be OK if it has father’s voice, but I’m not going to trust it.  As long as mother has me, I’ll remain calm.

When the monster walks to the side, my mother places me on the ground and the woman yells “Go!”  All the other kids run into the field to find the plastic eggs.  I follow and begin to search.  I spot one, but another kid takes it.  There’s another, but it’s snatched too.  I stand and stare.  All the other people have four or five eggs and I don’t have any.  This hardly seems fair.  I begin to search for one that no one else can see.  I wander to a tree and look in a hole.  There’s a plastic egg sitting between two roots.  I pick it up and hold it in the air.  I found one!  No sooner do I hold it up then another person snatches it from me.

“Hey, that’s my egg!” I cry.   Surely someone saw the infraction.  First I’m sent out to find eggs I don’t want.  Then I have to compete for them with trained professionals.  Now I have the one I find ripped from me?  This is injustice at its worst!

My mother comes out and picks me up.  Other moms pat me to let me know it will be fine.  There better be some egg justice and not just a bunch of touchy feely stuff.  The woman has all the children dump their eggs in a big basket.  Then she distributes them evenly among all the people.  This share the wealth approach seems reasonable to me, but the kid that took my egg is howling that they are all his.  Obviously, he comes from a different socio-economical viewpoint.

Anyway, inside the eggs are chocolates kisses, M and Ms, Skittles and other brand names I’m not going to place here.  All in all, this is a worthwhile adventure, but I’m curious as to its meaning.  A giant bunny with a voice like my dad laid candy filled eggs in a pasture by our church.  Personally, I think Santa’s got this beat, but that’s just me.

Terminology of Endearment



“Hi there, Sweetie Pie.”  Sounds like something a grandma would say, right?  “Give me a kiss, Sugar Lips.”  Perhaps we’ve heard that phrase in an old movie.  “Sweet Cheeks,” “Honey,” “Baby Cakes” and “Sugar Dumplin’” spring to my mind when I think of terms people use to express endearment.  But what makes one term more appropriate than another?  What kind of food product is off limits and why?  Is there some science to all this or is it strictly hit and miss?  Someone had to invent the first phrase.  Why is theirs better than another?

Why not say “Infant Pastry” instead of “Baby Cakes?”  Is it any less endearing?  Why?  The song “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” could very easily have been “Chocolate Soufflé Bee Hive” and be grammatically accurate, or?  The complexity of sugary foods is baffling at times.  So tell me, my appetizing readers, what is the secret ingredient to making a proper term of endearment?  Is “Affectionate Scone” not a proper response to “Love Muffin?”  Why not?

Fist Shaking at Death


Saturday, I buried a friend.  She was 41 years old, married with a five year old son.  I’ve know her since she was five.  Her cornered smile and cheeky dimple brightened any room.  I’d never known her to be spiteful or hateful.  On the contrary, my friend was kind hearted and graceful.  She traveled to 29 countries as a nurse for various relief efforts.  After a flood or earthquake, she always tried to go and help.

So why is this young woman gone?  Liver cancer killed her.  Doctors diagnosed her with it this past summer.  How did she get it?  My friend didn’t smoke or drink.  She exercised and ate whole foods.  It didn’t make sense. 

She went in for an operation, but it didn’t work.  So many people were sure she’d be healed.  We all prayed and fasted.  Late into the night, groups groaned calls to Heaven for the eradication of her cancer.  But healing never came.

When I heard she’d passed away, my heart sunk. With a fist I yelled at the ceiling.  “How could you let this happen?” I cried.  “What about her little boy?  Don’t you even care?”  I was mad…mad at cancer and mad at God.  I still believed in spite of the tragedy.  Otherwise, who was I shaking my fist at?  The little boy cries for his mother to come home.  Her husband mourns her loss and feels like he’s lost direction.  Where is the comfort?

As much as we miss her here, our only comfort is that she’s been called home.  She’s not in pain, no longer suffers and has regained her glow.  God healed her with the ultimate healing.  I’m happy for her, but it feels like a hole has been torn in the fabric of our lives.  My tears are not for her.  My anger is not because of her.  It’s for us.  For we are left to carry on now that she’s in paradise.  I understand why we need comfort.  There is no other answer other than this is not the end nor is it our home.  Still, it stretches the boundaries of my faith to see one like her taken from us.  Two words come to mind: Oh help.


Facebook or Falsebook?

I spend a lot of time on when I go to Facebook.  We see something. It touches a heart-string or enrages us.  So, we share it.  Unfortunately, many of the claims I see are false.  Remember Pepsi cans with “under God” taken out?  What about the guy with the winning lottery ticket who was going to share a free million?  Political stuff comes out that didn’t even happen.  Quotes that were never made become talking points.  Mass emails go out with special information about government conspiracy by “_insert_politicians_name_here_”  Most of the videos are staged, a lot of the cute and adorable photos are Photo-Shop creations.  Reality gets skewed when we buy into unsubstantiated claims.

Just today, I saw a story about a Marine who stood guard outside an Elementary school and is now facing a fine of 10,000 dollars and 5 years in prison.  The only problem is, he is not who he claims to be.  Craig Pusley never served overseas and was in the Marines for less than a year (July 2007 until April 2008).  But his story will be shared for the next year on Facebook.  Guys like him are the ones from whom we need protection.  He’s delusional.  I don’t want him guarding my kids.

What I hope for is that people will check things out before they post.  Just Google the information, check the facts, see if there’s anything on sites like Snopes.  Is it so hard to verify the truth before opening one’s mouth or hitting share?

A Reminder that Publishing Isn’t Dead

Perhaps we give up without knowing the full story?

Christmas Comatose


The baby’s in the manger

Lights upon the tree

Cookies placed for Santa

We wrapped the shopping spree


Our kids are safely nestled

Dreaming of their toys

Saint Nick has gone high tech it seems

For nerdy girls and boys


We endured the throngs of shoppers

And strove for jubilation

Now that all the bustle’s past

We need a strong sedation


‘Twas the Christmas in the Trailer

‘Twas the evening before Christmas
And through the trailer house
Not a varmint was itching
Not even a louse

The stocking were stapled to the paneling with care
In hopes that ole Santa would get his tush there

The kids were all sleeping still wearing their clothes
While thoughts of electronics their dreams did compose
And mamma in her nightgown and I in my briefs
Had just finished fighting and sorting our beefs

When out in the yard I heard such a racket
I grabbed for my gun off the living room bracket
Away to the window near the old propane tank
I flipped up the shade and turned the big crank

The moon on the glow of my Ford pickup truck
Gave me plenty of light for some sitting duck
When what to wondering eyes did appear
But some crazy old man bringing me some deer

With a short little driver, so quick and so funny
I knew right away ‘tweren’t no Easter bunny
Faster than a Harley his twelve points flew down
And he actually named them, that crazy old clown

“C’mon Dasher! Move it Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
Get going Comet, Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen!
Get up on the porch and climb up the wall!
I thought, “What a moron, those deer will all fall!”

And then in a moment I heard overhead
The scratching of metal. That’ll cost some bread
As I gathered myself and was turning about
Through the vent shaft came Santa tearing up grout

He was wearing a fur, from his foot to his head
I knew that PETA would want this man dead
A bag full of toys was hanging on his back
He looked like a bum, or someone on crack

He was chubby and plump, a right crazy old coot,
And I laughed so hard, it made me poot
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Made me kind of nervous, but there was nothing to dread

He never said a thing, but went straight to his work
He filled all the stockings, I felt like a jerk
And laying his finger right beside his nose
And giving a nod, out the vent shaft he rose!

He got in his sled, to the deer gave a whistle
And off they flew like a rocketed missile
He yelled, “Merry Christmas!” as his image did dim
I guess he was Santa.  I’m glad I didn’t shoot him!

PJ Casselman


Christmas Pontiac (Part 4)


“Rash would presume something not seriously contemplated.  Would it not?” he replied.

“And what have you been contemplating?”

 Santa set down his coffee and fingered the rim of the cup.  “That there’s really no point to continuing in a life that was meant for the two of us now that she’s gone.”

 “But you’re still alive.  You can go on and meet someone else.  Many people have found love after tragedy.”

 “But they have something I don’t.”

“What’s that?”

“The desire to go on with their life,” he replied.  “I have no yearning to trudge forward with some new woman by my side.”

“Yes, but then cancer wins,” I insisted.  “Are you going to let it kill your wife’s memory as well as take her life?”

 Santa looked at me curiously.  “My dear man, I sold my home and car and gave all the money to cancer research.  The only thing I have left is that old Pontiac and the clothes on my back, ragged as they may seem.”

“And now you’re going to kill yourself?”

“Kill myself?”  He smiled wryly.  “Yes, I die a bit more every day, but there’s a much larger picture to consider.”

“And that is?”  I couldn’t decide if he was purposefully confusing me or had some grandiose delusion that suicide was noble.

“The man I mentioned, the cabinet finisher, inspired me to do something.  He and his wife ran that motel for years, but when she became sick, they closed it down.  After she died, he had nothing left.  When he lost purpose, he lay down and died.  I lay down to live again.”

“What on earth are you talking about?”

“There’s so much work to be done in this world and so few to do it.  I travel from town to town to mend the tattered homes of those too poor from illness to do anything more than feed me.”

 I stared into the eyes of the grand old gentleman and saw his sincerity.  He had become a hobo in memory of the woman he loved.  “So you’re living out of your car to help the less fortunate?  How long will you keep that up?”
Santa sipped his coffee and smiled.  “As long as there are those who need it, I’ll give what gifts I have to bring some joy into their lives.”

“How do you pay for the supplies you need like wood, nails, and paint?  Where do you get the money?”

“Donations from a select few provide all the materials.  I simply ask strangers to help and they always do.”

“Do you ever get the door slammed in your face?”


“People never do that?”  I found that rather odd considering his shabby attire and the state of giving in the world.

 “They go to the project, see the need, and buy the supplies without my ever touching the money.  It works that way every time.”

“But how do you find people who’ll donate so willingly?”

“Quite simple, dear man…I merely ask the One upstairs to tell me which home to park in front of.  We usually settle the matter over coffee.”

(The End…But a New Beginning)

Christmas Pontiac (Part 3)


“Who was inside?” I asked.

“You enjoy rushing things, don’t you?”

“Sorry, please continue.”  I brought Santa a cup of coffee and watched as he shoveled four teaspoons of sugar into it.  He took a sip before adding one more spoonful.

“When I saw the light, I presumed there must be some vagrant on the premises.  So I crept to the window and peered inside.”  He paused and looked at me expectantly, then tilted his head.

“Who was there?”

“Thank you,” he replied with a slight grin.  “It was an old man, sitting on a bed with no sheets.  He listened to Christmas music on the radio while putting a coat of polyurethane on a restored old wardrobe.  Realizing he was no threat, I knocked on the door, startling the man.  He sprang to his feet and peeked out the window, holding his hands around his eyes to get a better look.”  Santa took another sip of coffee and glanced at the fruitcake on the counter.  Noticing this, I offered him some.  After all, I had no intention of eating it as mahogany never appealed to my palate.  He gratefully accepted.  Santa dipped the cake in his coffee and I saw his eyes brighten at the taste.

“Then what happened?”

“Hmm?  Oh yes, the story…The man opened the door and asked who I was.  I told him of our predicament and he graciously invited us inside.  I fetched my wife and daughters who entered the motel room with a slight apprehension.  After all, we knew nothing of this man.”

“Yes, he might be a serial killer or something.”

“Really?  Does that seem the most logical conclusion?”

“Well, no, not really.”  Santa smiled at my backpedaling and took another bite.

“The man told us that he was finally restoring the cabinet for his deceased wife.  I found that most intriguing.  When I asked why he was doing it now, he told me that she rarely asked for anything, but when she did, he often did not act on her wishes.  For years he took her for granted and now that she was gone, his life lacked meaning.  Fulfilling this one wish became his purpose since her passing.  I admired his honesty, though I did not see the point of completing it with her gone.  At least at the time, I didn’t.”

“Yes, she wasn’t there to appreciate it.”

“Precisely.  What was really the point, right?  The man then did a very gracious deed.  He allowed me to borrow his four wheel drive vehicle to drive to the gas station and call for help.”

“Why didn’t he drive you?  That was very trusting.”

“He said he needed to finish the cabinet or it would not be evenly coated.  Therefore he loaned me the truck.  I drove to town with my family, phoned for a tow, and returned with the truck.  When we arrived, the cabinet was finished and the man lay on the bed.  He was dead.”

“Dead?  How did he die?”

“The coroner said it was a massive heart attack– the ‘widow maker,’ if you will.  There was no foul play involved.”

“How sad.”

“I thought that at first, but then it occurred to me that the man lost the one person around whom his life had meaning.  With her gone, he lost his will to live.  Perhaps it was more romantic than sad.”

“I suppose that makes sense.  So, if I may be forward, how does this bring you to our town?”

“My wife died of breast cancer a year ago.  I tried to go on without her, but nothing made sense.  The house was hers.  All of the things I worked for all of my life were for her.  I simply didn’t see the point in continuing without her.”

“But what of your daughters?”

“I was constantly working.  My life was about providing everything except time.  Neither of my daughters feels close to me.  I was the stranger who lived in the home in which they grew up.  No, life loses purpose when we’re alone.  I know that now.”  Hearing this, I grew nervous.  He’d obviously come back to end things.

“You aren’t thinking of doing anything rash, are you?”

(To be continued)