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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Lurking on Our Christmas Tree

December 23, 2012


First posted last year:


I'd just poured myself a cup of hot chocolate and was settling down to enjoy our beautiful Christmas decorations (mostly the work of Mrs. Chatterbox) when my attention turned to the beautiful tree ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Mrs. Chatterbox and I try and purchase one each time we go on vacation and these remind us of the wonderful places we’ve visited. In addition to travel reminders, we have handmade ornaments that were given to us as wedding presents thirty-seven years ago. I even have a rubber ball (from a ball and jacks game) painted silver with toothpicks in it. I made this in the first grade. I think it was supposed to be a snowflake but it looks more like Sputnik. While I treasure all of these ornaments, over the years two have remained my favorites.


The first is a Star of David our son CJ made when he was in the first grade. It was created with Popsicle sticks and glitter, although the glitter is now mostly gone. I have no idea why he made a Star of David since we aren’t Jewish, but this ornament is proudly displayed on our tree every year.


The other ornament is…well it’s…questionable. Mrs. Chatterbox and I have no idea how we acquired this piece. It’s a little bear sitting on top of a child’s reading block, the type of blocks designed to help youngsters learn the alphabet. This ornament dangled on our tree for years, probably decades, before I got around to noticing the two letters on the block: F and U! Was this a coincidence? These two letters out of twenty-six? Where did this darn thing come from? I doubt I’ll ever find out.






Now, whenever I see that little bear, I imagine him flipping me off. I should have gotten rid of him a long time ago but now it’s too late. He’s part of our Christmas festivities. Like the Star of David, he’s managed to make a permanent place for himself on our tree.


Do you have any curious ornaments on your tree? Care to share them with us?



Merry Christmas


Oh, love it. There are soooo many ornaments on our tree that have become part of our holidays and so many that I have no idea from where they came - but love them just the same. Merry Christmas, Mindy
By: mindy on December 23, 2012
Took you awhile to get to the letters one that block didn't it? Bwahahahahahaha. I keep both of them too. We don't have any memorable ornaments. Never was one for collecting them. We've been given ornaments, but they have never been all that special. Have a terrific day. :)
By: Comedy Plus on December 23, 2012
We have too many special ornaments to mention, from those made by our kids when they were small to the angel on the top--which happens to be a duck with angel robes & halo. None as funny as the FU bear, though!
By: fishducky on December 23, 2012
Inspiring blog- here are my slightly odd ornaments-but nothing beats the FU Bear! Maybe it's short for Kung Fu?
By: Kathe W. on December 23, 2012
ooops here's the link : http://katheworsley.blogspot.com/2012/12/its-blizzardy-day.html
By: Kathe W. on December 23, 2012
Loved seeing the special ornaments. I have one that was my grandparents from when they first married in the 1930's. It's very simple, but my favorite one every year.
By: Shelly on December 23, 2012
When I was a kid, my favorite ornament was a multicolored bird with a tail that looked like fiber optic cables. It clipped on the tree branch, and wobbled up and down if you ran by or shook the tree. It was like this one: http://img3.etsystatic.com/006/0/6026543/il_fullxfull.385936987_ki69.jpg
By: Val on December 23, 2012
The little bear on the fu block is really funny. I have a lot of those little homemade ornaments as well. We put up a couple of trees at our house and one is strictly the "kids" tree with fun ornaments. Some old and some new. While the big formal tree in the great room is beautiful...it doesn't have the charm of the one with the ornaments that little kids made years and years ago.
By: Cheryl P. on December 23, 2012
That ornament is too funny! Years ago, I subscribed to some kind of club that sent me Disney ornaments--one every couple of weeks. They are beautiful, but I can't believe how much money I spent on those!! Oh well, water over the bridge now.
By: Eva Gallant on December 23, 2012
I can sometimes empathize with the little bear. Although it wasn't a tree ornament, I did have an ornamental mug....it looked as if it had gone into the kiln slightly squished and that's just how it baked. On it was written "Bah Humbug!" I say "had" because K threw it away the first Christmas I pulled it out. S
By: scott park on December 23, 2012
We don't have anything that interesting, i promise you!;)
By: messymimi on December 23, 2012
I love that little bear on the block!!!!!!!!!! I have several relatives that I would love to give that ornament to!!
By: Linda Makiej on December 23, 2012
I love that Star of David ornament and the history behind it. I think my favorites are the ornaments we inherited or those Lana and I have had for many years. Many years ago we purchased glass ornaments that slip over lights depicting the characters of Dicken's Christmas Carol. I love placing those on the tree each year. God Bless you and Mrs. C.
By: Tom Cochun on December 23, 2012
LOL! That bear is so funny! I'd have to hang it every year just for the letters! Merry, merry Christmas!! :)
By: Rita McGregor on December 23, 2012
One of my former co-workers has been posting pictures of various Christmas tree ornaments that she acquired on her travels. She's posted a picture each day, along with the story of the trip. She, however, does not have an "f u" ornament. Too funny about yours!
By: Pixel Peeper on December 23, 2012
No curious ornaments here just a vast collection of the gaudy and cheap with some genuine hand made. Oh yes we have some of those kid made things. Considering our kids are 41 and 43 , they are ancient reminders of a younger day.
By: Red on December 23, 2012
our tree is full of those handmade kindergarden ornaments....I always want to get a pretty tree with sparkling ornaments that match...but my husband and kids still like those hand made ornaments... Merry christmas!
By: momto8blog on December 23, 2012
⥠Merry Christmas! â¥
By: Lexa Cain on December 23, 2012
have fun..:)
By: izdiher on December 24, 2012
Should I dispel it for you.. the blocks, I mean? Yeah, I will. Well at least I'll tell you why I think those two particular letters went together. A is paired with Z, and each pair from there on in, come closer to the center of the alphabet by the one letter from each end. F is the 6th letter from the front, while U is the 6th from the end.
By: Hilary on December 26, 2012
You have a beautiful tree. I don't put up a tree because I have so few friends that actually come to visit and my family is so old they're almost dead that Xmas is just not a really pleasant time of year. But I hope yours is wonderful and that you have a happy New Year!
By: Michael Offutt on December 26, 2012
Nothing of particular interest on our tree, just the standard baubles and a twinkling star on the top. As a child I recall being fascinated by a fairy, in an off-white dress, stuck on the top of the tree.
By: Bryan Jones on December 27, 2012

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