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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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. When I finish in the weight room and head to the showers I must cross the basketball court, which is usually filled with dozens of toddlers having a playtime. Pedal cars and blocks are scattered about, and instructors play with the kids, showing them how to throw basketballs and kick soccer balls while parents (mostly mothers) sit on benches and keep an eye on their children.


These are little impressionable kids and I’m always discreet while showering, knowing anyone can walk in at any moment. And recently someone did. I’d finished my shower and was climbing into my clothes when a little boy of about four burst into the locker room, seriously clenching the front of his pants. He dashed into the shower, looking confused.


Trying to help I pointed at the toilet stall and said, “It’s over there!”


He dashed into the stall, slamming the door behind him. It took awhile but soon I could hear him relieving himself. What I didn’t hear when he’d finished was a flush. He burst out of the stall and headed for the door.


I noticed he hadn’t washed his hands and I wasn’t about to say anything, but since I also needed to use that facility I was disappointed he hadn’t flushed. But should I say anything? Would it be wrong to do so? This wasn’t MY child and I was hesitant to say or do anything inappropriate. The media constantly reminds us of inappropriate adult behavior when it comes to children and I didn’t want to upset this little tyke.


Nevertheless, I donned a cheery tone, saying, “Don’t forget to flush.”


He stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me and grumbled something totally unexpected. With hands on his little hips he said, “Shucks, it’s always somethin’!” He walked over and flushed the toilet.


I choked back laughter. Yes, I suppose at that age it’s always somethin’.


Art Linkletter was right. Kids do say the darndest things.



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I completely understand your hesitation in saying anything when young children are involved. When I'm taking photos in public spaces I generally shy away from 'shooting' children that are not in direct contact with their parents.
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 24, 2017
Cool story.
By: PT Dilloway on April 24, 2017
You handled it very well and you are correct that you have to be sure to keep a low profile. Parents have a right to be concerned. My grandkids are really dedicated hand washers, but no to much on flushing the toilet!
By: Tabor on April 24, 2017
I'd say you did just right. It takes a village ... cute response - wonder where he picked that one up!
By: jenny_o on April 24, 2017
P. S. And I do remember Linkletter's program - it used to be on the radio when I was maybe 8 or 9 - a good memory!
By: jenny_o on April 24, 2017
Aww shucks you made me chuckle! Perfect approach in reminding the little boy!
By: Kathe W. on April 24, 2017
I too remember that show, and yes I too would have been reluctant to say anything because it is always "somethin"
By: Jimmy on April 24, 2017
Ha ha, think I would have burst out laughing and scarred the tyke. You did the right thing and got a fun blog post to boot.
By: Arkansas Patti on April 24, 2017
I've always liked kids and spent 37 years with them and I have no regrets. I still remember some of the thing my own kids said.
By: red Kline on April 24, 2017
And wouldn't it be great if it always remained something like forgetting to flush the toilet!
By: Mitchell is Moving on April 24, 2017
Funny story but good of you to be cautious in this day and age.
By: Catalyst on April 24, 2017
That's precious! Nice to know the lad A) has a vocabulary that includes shucks-as opposed to other choices and B) has a sense of humor bordering on wisdom.
By: Tom Cochrun on April 24, 2017
Heeheehee! You did it just right. Poor little guy, first he had to interrupt his fun to go (and he'd waited as long as he possibly could), and now he has to delay it again.
By: messymimi on April 24, 2017
So this young lad took instructions from a naked man in the shower? :D Both my daughters rarely remember to flush the loo or put the seat down.
By: LL Cool Joe on April 24, 2017
Just the right level of interaction. Also, it's good to know that you are not "The Urinator" like George Costanza in the gym shower!
By: Val on April 24, 2017
Kids are funny. Side note, you are old school, I haven't seen a shower used in my gym for a year, now even I wait till I get home. Don't know why with all the loosening of sexual values these days we sere so much less uptight back in the day.
By: cranky on April 24, 2017
wonder where he learned that phrase?
By: Sage on April 25, 2017
You're an inspiration to us all!
By: Tom Sightings on April 25, 2017
Poor little guy. It's hard to be in an "explosive" situation and it's good he made it to the toilet without wetting himself. You definitely did the right thing & I'm sure he'll remember your kind reminder in the future!
By: Lexa Cain on April 25, 2017
You might enjoy this old post: http://fishducky.blogspot.com/2016/10/kids-will-forever-say-darndest-things.html
By: fishducky on April 25, 2017
It's still always something for me. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on April 25, 2017
That's adorable, a smart and endearing kid.
By: Robyn Engel on April 25, 2017
I'm so glad you did say something! The little kid needs to know to flush and wash his hands. You are right about kids being impressionable....I saw on Facebook a young man with a dog conducting a test. He spoke to the mom's first and asked if they are taught not to speak to strangers and what he was wanting to do. He got their ok, and so he approached their child and talked to them just for a couple of minutes with his pet dog. He said he had other puppies and if they would like to see the doggies, all the kids gladly went with him! Scary
By: Birgit on April 26, 2017
My gym has a locker room for adults only (not sure where the kids go, but I'm pretty sure they have a family locker room somewhere). LOL at the kid and your response. Personally, I would mind an un-flushed toilet less than un-washed hands.
By: Pixel Peeper on April 29, 2017

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