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

Prologue

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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An Attack of the Grumpies

August 5, 2013
It isn’t often that I wake up grumpy, but I did so on Sunday morning. It didn’t help when the microwave went out—it will probably cost a few hundred bucks to fix. It didn’t help when I called my mother and listened to her complain about everything she could think of. If you think the world and everything in it is going to hell in a hand basket just e-mail me and I’ll gladly share my mother’s phone number. Tell her you hate Obama and she’ll invite you to her place and reward you with a sumptuous meal that will include kale.

    

It didn’t help when my wife prepared a marvelous breakfast for me. This was when I realized I had a serious problem and needed a serious cure. I needed to get out of the house. Mrs. C. suggested a mini road trip and I grumbled as I climbed into our car. My grumpiness was too acute to permit me to drive so I dropped into the passenger’s seat and let Mrs. C. do the driving. Road rage doesn’t help anything.

    

It didn’t help when I commented to Mrs. C. that our ride was amazingly smooth, the highway having been recently resurfaced. It didn’t help because it was right around then that I noticed the lanes heading in the opposite direction, the part of the freeway we’d need for a speedy return home, was in the process of being resurfaced and closed to traffic. It would take hours to get home.

    

It didn’t help that I couldn’t work the car’s CD player properly and couldn’t find my favorite tunes. And it didn’t help that the ice cream cones we stopped to purchase on our mini road trip cost four bucks apiece and dripped all over my shirt.

    

What did help was spending time with my Honey. And of course the destination. I just can’t visit this spot without feeling an awe for life and reverence for nature.

    

Here’s where we ended up, at the second highest waterfall in North America, just thirty miles from Portland Oregon, the city where I live. If you haven’t visited Multnomah Falls, the jewel of the Columbia Gorge, add it to your bucket list.

 

    

 

If you’re grumpy when you arrive, the sight of this marvel of nature will help considerably. If the sight of water dropping nearly seven hundred feet from the sky doesn’t cheer you up, e-mail me and I’ll share Mrs. C’s phone number. She can cheer up a plague victim. Tell her you love Obama and she’ll invite you over for a sumptuous meal. It won’t include kale! 

    



Comments

29 Comments
Hundreds of bucks to fix a microwave? A new one goes for $38 at Wal-Mart. I should probably go to that place and then I won't be a Grumpy Bulldog anymore.
By: Grumpy Bulldog on August 5, 2013
I usually feel better after a little road trip too. Had to laugh at your mom feeding us kale (well she wouldn't feed me kale because I like Obama - ha!).
By: The Bug on August 5, 2013
While i love kale, i would probably tell your mother a few things that would have her banning me from her table. Glad you feel better, and you are right, i need to visit that location.
By: mimi on August 5, 2013
I agree with Grumpy Bulldog, microwaves are kinda disposable these days. I try not to get political, I will say that I like Obama better than kale.
By: Cranky Old Man on August 5, 2013
You paragraph about your mom had me chortling already. The beauty at the end and time with your honey is the stuff of life~
By: Shelly on August 5, 2013
i love the opposite women in your life. beautiful falls, too. :)
By: TexWisGirl on August 5, 2013
Grumpiness can usually be remedied by being outdoors with your Honey! My microwave is still functional and is over 20 years old....you can come pick it up down here in Weed CA where we are in awe of the outdoor beauty here every day. It sits in our guest apt unused as the previous owners of our home left a fairly new one. Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on August 5, 2013
I already love Mrs. C. I thought of asking for my mother's phone number and giving it to MY mother. But my mother doesn't make phone calls, so I'd have to hear all about THAT for another half hour. Then on to all the people she no longer has anything to do with because they never call her because they got tired of her not calling them when they KNOW how she is about making phone calls. Anyway, I think I need some Mrs. C myself right now! Glad you're no longer grumpy!
By: Mitchell is Moving on August 5, 2013
Do NOT have your microwave repaired!! Waterfalls & sunsets can cheer me up anytime!!
By: fishducky on August 5, 2013
Yes! I've been there. It's amazing. As far as contacting your mother, I like kale, but not THAT much. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on August 5, 2013
Yeah, what Grumpy Bulldog said. I'm not a big fan of our disposable culture, but $100??? This reminds me of an old joke.... Did you wake up grumpy this morning? No, I let her sleep in. ;-)
By: Al Penwasser on August 5, 2013
I agree with everyone else....just buy a new microwave. They're not worth repairing. It's called "planned obsolescence". Kale is one of those "V" things, right? Not interested. ;) S
By: Scott Park on August 5, 2013
Kale... Obama... Kale... Obama. Please tell your wife to expect my phone call. Lovely spot. A day out in nature can cure most woes. How was the drive back?
By: Hilary on August 5, 2013
When I start a day grumpy, my wife makes me drink coffee, or something caffeinated.
By: David Walston on August 5, 2013
Wow, that waterfall is gorgeous. That surely would knock the grumpies out of a person. Mrs. C. sounds like a lovely person. I am so glad you have someone like that in your life. Everyone should have a person like that.
By: Cheryl P. on August 5, 2013
I think Mrs. C and I would get along really well. Since a trip to Oregon is not in my immediate future, I just have some chocolate when I feel grumpy. Works like a charm.
By: Pixel Peeper on August 5, 2013
It's good that you recognized you were in a grumpy mood. Usually I don't recognize I'm grumpy until it's too late and I have offended someone in a major way.
By: Red on August 5, 2013
Oh, the joys and sorrows of married life. SWMBO and I have at least one furious argument (about nothing important) every day it seems but yet we bond before day is done. So it goes with marriage, and life.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on August 5, 2013
Well, if it helps, your account of a grumpy day made me smile. And that shot of the falls is spectacular. Yes, I want to see it someday.
By: Tom Cochrun on August 5, 2013
Beautiful place Stephen. I too have a place I visit which bings me peace and inspies me and I LOVE IT!.
By: John on August 6, 2013
There's nothing like one of nature's wonders to sooth the soul (and cure grumpiness). I'll add the Columbia Gorge to my list. - it looks awesome.
By: Bryan Jones on August 6, 2013
He he ... altho' I'm surprised you could get Mrs. C to go with you. She must be a saint!
By: tom sightings on August 6, 2013
I do love Obama. Sorry you woke up grumpy. It happens to everyone at least some of the time.
By: Michael Offutt on August 6, 2013
Oh wow! I was worried for a minute that you were going to have an all out terrible day. I"m glad it picked up :)
By: Hey Monkey Butt on August 6, 2013
So glad you found your way from the Grumpy Patch to a state of being awed by nature and your wonderful Mrs. C !
By: Daniel LaFrance on August 6, 2013
No, road rage isn't good at all, Stephen. It caused a man to lose his life one New Years night at an intersection. His girlfriend was a dear friend of mine. I no longer hear from her. A trip away is good! I need one too!
By: Michael Manning on August 6, 2013
It's nice you only wake up grumpy some of the time. Some people are grumpy every morning and not even a waterfall can help them. You're a lucky man in many ways.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on August 7, 2013
Isn't it cheaper to buy a new microwave than to repair one? I'd love to chat with your mom and tell her how much I love President Obama. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on August 8, 2013
if multnomah falls is the cure from grumpiness i think republican rhetoric and kale may well be the cause.
By: lime on August 9, 2013

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