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 wellβ€”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.

β—Š

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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It's All Who You Know

March 18, 2015

 

Sometimes, avoiding a ticket comes down to who you know.

           

I haven’t received too many traffic violations (I don’t enjoy driving and do so as little as possible) but recently I remembered a time when I was pulled over by a cop—in 1982. Mrs. C. was working as an executive assistant at the time, but I was unemployed and on my way to a job interview. CJ was two years old and at the peak of his cuteness. With his mother’s rosy complexion, curly golden hair, long eyelashes and bright blue eyes, he looked like a living, breathing Hummel. He was belted in the front seat and I was about to drop him off with a sitter.

           

We hadn’t gone more than a few blocks when the long arm of the law appeared behind me, flashing red lights. I pulled to the side of the road, rolled down my window and watched through the rearview mirror as the cop approached. In typical fashion, he asked for my driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. I handed over the documents.

           

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” the cop said.

           

“No officer.”

           

“Your tags have expired. Were you aware of this?”

           

I considered lying, but the cherubic face of my son compelled me to be honest. The truth? With money being extremely tight, I’d let the registration lapse. “Yes, officer, I knew about the tags. I’m unemployed and on my way to a job interview after I drop off my boy with the sitter. I intend on renewing the tags as soon as I can.”

           

The cop wasn’t moved by my plight and opened his ticket book.

           

CJ chose that moment to flash a megawatt smile and blink his velvety lashes at the cop. Just as the officer was about to write the ticket, CJ chirped, “I luuuve you, Mr. Policeman!”

           

The cop hesitated, his pen midair. He stared at CJ for a moment, and then burst out laughing. “Back at you,” he said.

           

He closed his ticket book, and lost the smile when his attention returned to me. “Get those tags updated as soon as possible. Have a good day.”

           

He returned CJ’s wave as he walked back to his squad car and drove off.

           

Later, the interview went well and I landed the job. Soon after I replaced the old tags with new ones.

           

Sometimes it’s all who you know. On one particular day in 1982, I was fortunate to know CJ.

 

 

 

 

An acrylic sketch I painted of CJ back in the day

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

30 Comments
A story with a happy ending :) My favorite. That is a cute youngun" R
By: Rick Watson on March 18, 2015
Perfect timing. It is almost like you had been coaching your darling son all along.
By: CiCi on March 18, 2015
now isn't this a great way to start my day- what a cutie pie and happy ending! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on March 18, 2015
Great story! Love it.
By: Cranky on March 18, 2015
Nice one, CJ! Love the painting, Stephen!
By: The Broad on March 18, 2015
I thinks he has a resemblance to your mom, Steve. I have not seen him grown up, so maybe he outgrew it. You are so lucky that CJ said that right at the opportune time. Did you train him on what to say if a policeman walked up to the car?
By: Linda on March 18, 2015
what a sweet story!
By: TexWisGirl on March 18, 2015
Love it! CJ deserved a treat for that, i hope he got one.
By: mimi on March 18, 2015
Cute! He saved you that day.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on March 18, 2015
A great story, as a parent our heartd nearly burst when we think of these special moments!
By: John on March 18, 2015
At the right place at the right time with the right people. I echo the other persons comment and hope CJ was rewarded with some type of treat.
By: Daniel LaFrance on March 18, 2015
Just the opposite for me: I was driving with my 3 year old daughter & infant son in the backseat. I drove through an intersection & was pulled over by a policeman. I asked him why he had stopped me & he told me I had run a red light. I honestly told him that I hadn’t—that the light was amber & changing when I went through. My helpful (?) daughter piped up, “No, Mommy, it was red!” It’s always nice to have a witness--however, I would have preferred one who was on my side. I got the ticket.
By: fishducky on March 18, 2015
When I first glanced at the painting detail, I thought, "That looks like a Hummel." So, you are yet again a success as an illustrator. I've had two tickets in my lifetime. Wish I had had CJ with me. I don't think it would have gone over as well had I said, " “I luuuve you, Mr. Policeman!”
By: Mitchell is Moving on March 18, 2015
Great story.
By: Catalyst on March 18, 2015
Well done, CJ. If the police had stopped me, The Hurricane would have yelled at me about what a bad driver I am. She would have yelled at me when she was two, and she would yell at me now. The last time she visited, I needed something from my bag, for which I started to search as I pulled out of my airport parking place very slowly. The Hurricane yelled at me to quit "fishing" around in my bag while I was driving. You would have thought I was on the beltway and applying make-up while I did my hair at 80 mph. (The Hurricane can be a little fussy.) Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on March 18, 2015
There must be a million stories about getting away from tickets. I like this one.
By: red on March 18, 2015
Aww- that is a great story. CJ was a cutie, and who could resist an I luvvvve you!
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on March 18, 2015
Such a doll! I'm surprised the cop didn't offer to pay for your tags!
By: Val on March 18, 2015
Lucky break! Knowing my kids, they probably would have said something not very helpful about Mom being from Germany and always driving fast...
By: Pixel Peeper on March 18, 2015
Nice story. Last time I was stopped by a cop, B was sitting in the passenger's seat. She peered out the window at the cop and said, "I know we rolled through the stop sign. We're really sorry, officer." I got the ticket ... because she'd testified against me!
By: Tom Sightings on March 18, 2015
So sweet.. who could resist? However I can remember a similar statement from my younger son at aged 3 or 4. He was having trouble with his L sounds.. and they came out more like Ws. (I don't wike wemnonade). We had him at a speech therapist who gave us some homework to do with him before the second session. Turned out he was a really quick learner and within a few days, he had those L sounds down pat. We arrived at our second and last session with the speech therapist. Alex was proud of his accomplishment and greeted her with "I don't wuv you... I LOVE you!" It went right over her head. She smiled uncomfortably and said "I like you too, Alex." Clearly CJ's declaration was more effective. ;)
By: Hilary on March 19, 2015
You're never told a more delightful story. I'll have to remember to try that myself next time.
By: Snowbrush on March 19, 2015
Steven, I so enjoyed the comment by Catalyst that I wanted to pay her a visit, but you have it so that no one can click on another person's blog. This makes me feel isolated from your community.
By: Snowbrush on March 19, 2015
I'm glad it turned out like it did. He melted the cop's heart, and your great picture shows that anyone's heart could be melted by that sweet boy.
By: Shelly on March 19, 2015
Snowbrush, I'm aware of this limitation on my site; it's one of many I had to accept to move away from Blogger. I also wish I could have a Google Friend Connect feature but Google has made it impossible to transfer this to non-Blogger sites. Oddball Observations is the blog of Bruce Taylor ( Catalyst), and I've been enjoying his writing for years. I tried to make this a link but there must be some protection on it. Thanks as always for leaving comments. They mean everything. Have a terrific day. Steve oddballobservations.blogspot.com
By: Chubby Chatterbox on March 19, 2015
Stephen, I'm sorry to hear you can't change the link option, and I'm also sorry I misspelled your name. I guess you get that a lot. If it's any consolation, things could be worse. I have what sounds like it could be two first names or two last names, and more often than not, people reverse the order.
By: Snowbrush on March 19, 2015
Neat story and great painting!
By: Tom Cochrun on March 19, 2015
Wow,cool kid, just like you rehearsed it. Seriously though, that is such a sweet story and you gotta love a cop with a weakness for a cherub.
By: Akansas Patti on March 19, 2015
That's quite a story. I'll try and do the same thing next time I get to pull over.
By: The Blue Grumpster on March 19, 2015
Awwww….cute story!
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on March 19, 2015

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