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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Mary's House

April 18, 2014
 Although I don’t write about religion, I think this post from our trip to Turkey in 2012 reflects the spirit of the season.
Is this really the house where the Mother of God spent her last years? Like so many things, it all boils down to a matter of faith. Although I work hard to contain my cynicism, faith isn’t my strong suit. But I am painfully ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Monument

April 16, 2014
First posted April 2012
Flowers are starting to bloom here in the Northwest and folks are ignoring the drizzle to prepare their yards for warmer weather. At this time of year I always think of Mr. Melcher, a celebrity in the Bay Area neighborhood where I grew up in the early Sixties.
Mr. Melcher was famous for having the best-looking yard in the neighborhood. His nickname was Mr. Mulcher ...

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Tulip Time

April 14, 2014

I’ve been enjoying the many Spring photos posted by my fellow bloggers, especially those featuring wonderful skyscapes and blooming flowers. I’ve resisted bemoaning the fact that Spring seems to be avoiding Portland. On Saturday Mrs. C. and I decided to get in the car and find Spring. We found it.
Twenty miles south of Portland is the town of Woodburn, home of The Wooden Shoe Tulip ...

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CJ's First $50

April 11, 2014

My mother came to Oregon for a visit when our son CJ was ten. As many of you know, my mother is a firecracker who doesn’t suffer fools easily. It was tax season and Mrs. C. was working overtime at an accounting firm. One evening after CJ had finished his homework, he walked through the dining room and saw his grandmother playing a game of solitaire. I couldn’t help overhearing their ...

 + photos!,  read more

Color Test

April 9, 2014

A few days ago Mrs. Chatterbox was engaged in one of her favorite activities, filling out a psychology quiz posted on Facebook. She completed the test and asked what color I thought she was. I had no idea but said, “I hope it isn’t pink because with your pink complexion you look a bit washed out when you wear pink.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “It isn’t a test to ...

 + photos!,  read more

Enough With The Depression Already!

April 7, 2014
Once again the nice folks at Retirement and Good Living have invited me to contribute to their site. I’m honored they think enough of my writing to have me back, and I credit my success there with the flood of responses these posts generate. Thank you in advance for supporting me through your comments. I hope you’ll once again follow this link and leave a comment there. ...

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The Accumulator

April 4, 2014
The townhouse Mrs. Chatterbox and I currently live in has more square footage than any of our previous homes. I remember walking through it before we made our purchase; cabinets and storage space were plentiful and I figured it would be great having so many drawers that we could afford to leave a few empty. Six years later all of the drawers and cupboards are choked with stuff. How did this happen? Sometimes I feel like ...

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All Too True

April 2, 2014

What happened when one of the world’s greatest painters set out to portray a man who was powerful, vain, nepotistic and suspicious, someone who also happened to be the Pope? In 1650 after leaving his native Spain and traveling to Italy, Velazquez impressed Rome with a brilliant portrait of his assistant Juan de Pareja. He then positioned his easel in front of Innocent X. Velazquez’ encounter with ...

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Juan de Pareja

March 31, 2014

There was a time when I owned scores of books filled with art reproductions and biographies of the artists who created them. I didn’t care for many of these artists but I wanted to learn as much as I could about their creative philosophies. Eventually, I returned to those artists who time and again made my spirit soar by touching my heart instead of my brain. I’ve written many posts ...

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Writer's Blog Hop

March 28, 2014

Val the Victorian at Unbagging the Cats is one of my favorite bloggers. She is an excellent writer with a penchant for Jerry Seinfeld and the ability to endlessly amuse me with stories about her high-energy family. Val claims nobody wants to read about hillbillies going about their wacky lives in backroads U.S.A., but she couldn’t be more wrong. She recently participated in a blog hop where ...

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Phuket Island

March 26, 2014

Mrs. Chatterbox and I planned our trip to conclude back in Thailand on Phuket Island.  We looked forward to unwinding and relaxing on sunny beaches before the grueling trek home. Of course we couldn’t have imagined the entire world would soon be focused on this part of the world due to missing Malaysian flight MH 370.
Aside from lying on a few pristine beaches, I wanted see ...

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March 24, 2014
Mrs. Chatterbox and I have toured with busloads of people, but we were surprised when we discovered our trip to Thailand and Cambodia would be different. At three of our destinations (Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Siem Reap)  we would have our own private guides. At first we were hesitant but it worked out wonderfully; our guides were knowledgeable and personalized our excursions. Kong, our Cambodian guide, was exceptional ...

 + photos!,  read more

Tonle Sap Lake

March 21, 2014
Since I hadn’t given our excursion to Cambodia much thought before departing, I was surprised when Kong, our guide, told us he was taking us on a tour of Tonlé Sap Lake to visit a floating village. I didn’t know what to expect but a boat ride seemed a pleasant way to spend time after a day of scorching heat climbing temples at Angkor Wat.
The modern thoroughfare cutting through ...

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