Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Dad Goes Solo: Conclusion

April 28, 2017
Miss Part One? Check it out (here).
Valuable time ticked by as Dad fiddled with the plane’s flight instruments. When he’d finished tapping and adjusting every device in the cockpit, he contacted the tower on the squawky radio and we were told to proceed to the runway. With my heart beating like a hummingbird’s, I looked over at Dad. He appeared fully ...

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Dad Goes Solo

April 26, 2017
I was inspired to post this reworked piece from 2012 after discovering this photograph among my late mother’s things. It was taken after Dad soloed, earning his private pilot’s license. I’m the little grinning dork in the copilot seat, although I waited on the ground during the solo.
Whenever Dad saw a picture of Amelia Earhart, he’d get a wistful faraway ...

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Kids Say the Darndest Things!

April 24, 2017
People of a certain age will recall Art Linkletter and his television shows in the 50s and 60s pointing out that Kids Say the Darndest Things. I was thinking about Art and his wonderful interaction with children a few days ago at the gym where I work out.
The gym is actually an old school high school, and the men’s locker room is situated off the gym area housing the auditorium/basketball court. ...

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April 21, 2017
On Monday I published a post about Ginger, the pet who tugged hardest on our heart strings. If you missed it, check it out (here). There was more to the story. I wasn’t present when the events of this tale unfolded, but Mrs. Chatterbox filled me in on the details.
It was 1997. Our beloved pet Ginger, who’d lived with us for nearly ten years, had been put to sleep when her organs shut down two years ...

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Line By Line

April 19, 2017
In order to be a successful illustrator, I found it necessary to wear a lot of hats. Clients often wanted portraits of CEOs for corporate reports, authors of newspaper columns and local politicians for editorial pages. Budgets were often small so color portraiture was out. I needed to create an inexpensive black and white product for images often destined for newsprint, which isn’t the best paper for reproduction; ...

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A Very Good Dog

April 17, 2017
I once saw a cartoon speculating on what dogs think. In the cartoon, owners were talking to the pooch but all it was hearing was, “Blah…blah…blah…Ginger,” poking humor at the millions of dogs forced to live with the ubiquitous name.
Years ago while I was toiling in retail, Mrs. Chatterbox and CJ went to the pound the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the ...

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Tulip Time

April 14, 2017
Oregon’s weather is much like that of the Netherlands, which means tulips grow exceedingly well here. And once again, tulip time has arrived. It’s much anticipated because tulips bloom sooner than other flowers around here. Other than a few daffodils, nothing much is happening, except in Woodburn, Oregon, a sleepy agricultural community about thirty miles south of Portland where the fields have once again ...

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Freshly Brewed Hype!

April 12, 2017
I always look forward to posts by Rick Watson, a talented author/columnist, blogger, and singer/guitar player. Rick’s blog, Life 101, is extremely well written and always uplifting, and we can always use more of that. I mention Rick because he recently posted a piece about his love of coffee. His initial experience with this brown elixir, which he refers to as “…love at first sip,” was ...

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