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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Snowgaritas

January 9, 2017

Yesterday was a snow day here in Portland—just a light dusting with freezing rain on the way—but the inclement weather reminded me of a time a few years back when our son CJ was visiting for the holidays. We were living downtown and an arctic front had moved down from Alaska. We were snowed in.

           

With little to do, CJ and I decided to sit out the storm wrapped in the warm glow of liquor. But what to drink? Over the holiday we’d drained nearly all of our potent potables, with the exception of a bottle of tequila.

           

A brilliant idea surfaced. “Let’s make a batch of margaritas,” I said, “and we can make then out of snow instead of crushed ice from the freezer.”

           

CJ thought this a splendid idea, but Mrs. Chatterbox wasn’t enthusiastic. “Snow is filthy,” she said. “I’m not drinking margaritas made from dirty snow.”

           

“You’re nuts,” I insisted. “Haven’t you heard the phrase ‘as pure as new-fallen snow?’”

           

“The person coining that phrase wasn’t talking about “city” snow. They were talking about “country” snow, the type Robert Frost wrote about, not the sooty polluted stuff in our backyard.”

           

I glanced at the brilliant white mounds in our backyard and decided my wife was crazy. The snow in our backyard was pristine, perfect for margarita making.

 

I borrowed one of Mrs. C’s cooking pots, stepped out onto our icy deck and scooped up a batch of snow. Next, I prowled about for a bottle of margarita mix that had been relegated to the back of the fridge. Before long, CJ and I were enjoying margaritas made from snow. Mrs. C. couldn’t be convinced to try one. She shook her head and gave us a protracted, “Tsk…tsk…tsk….”

           

CJ and I polished off most of that tequila, and the next morning I woke with a nasty hangover. CJ was still asleep as I staggered over to the coffee pot to pour a cup of caffeinated necessity. Mrs. C was rinsing dishes in the sink. On the counter was the pot I’d used to scoop up the snow. What remained had melted, and lining the bottom of the pot­—black soot and sludge. It was shocking and appalling, and I could only imagine how much pollution CJ and I had consumed.

           

Mrs. C. rinsed out her dirty pot after making sure I’d seen the goo. She didn’t say anything, but then wives don’t need to. Her expression said it all: “Tsk…tsk…tsk…”

           

Have you ever made margaritas from snow? If you live in a congested urban environment you might want to stick with a blender and crushed ice from your refrigerator.

 

The following is a public service announcement. No need to thank me.

 

 

 

Good snow for Snowgaritas.

 

 

 

 

Bad snow for Snowgaritas.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

25 Comments
I'm a clean freak, so I would've been with your wife on that one. Disgusting. Oh well, you lived.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 9, 2017
Well, no chance of snow margaritas here, but I've given my husband's dumb ideas the thumbs down many times, and it never works. He just does it anyway, usually with negative results...
By: Lexa Cain on January 9, 2017
My son Genius was nearly trapped in Portland yesterday by the freezing rain. He was contemplating renting a car to drive to Seattle and make his connecting flight. Thank goodness Alaska Airlines opened up a flight, and he was one of the first to book it. I am sure Genius would have welcomed a Sooty Snowgarita!
By: Val on January 9, 2017
As long as it's not the yellow snow.
By: PT Dilloway on January 9, 2017
I love Margaritas, but prefer mine on the rocks - so no dilemma here for me. (though I would probably have sided with your wife) Hopefully the alcohol killed all the germs.
By: Kelly on January 9, 2017
They say you eat a pound of dirt before you die. But I try my best not to eat any dirt, hoping to live longer :)
By: jenny_o on January 9, 2017
Do husbands ever listen to their wives -- in time?
By: The Broad on January 9, 2017
I bet that was one hell of a hangover!!
By: fishducky on January 9, 2017
Bwa hahah Good thing I had finished my cuppa tea or it would have been sprayed all over the laptop! Too funny!
By: Kathe W. on January 9, 2017
I was wondering how you would be able to prove or disprove Mrs C's theory. That was funny and hopefully the alcohol killed anything nasty.
By: Arkansas Patti on January 9, 2017
Gives a whole different meaning to a dirty martini, yes? Well, live and learn... Mountain snow yes, parking lot snow, not so much... Cat
By: Cat on January 9, 2017
If you are ever out in the country with some good, clean snow, make snow pancakes. Use snow in place of the milk in the pancakes, and it will make the best pancakes you've ever eaten.
By: messymimi on January 9, 2017
Yep, city air is very polluted. Sorry, but you have learned your lesson. I find those pre-mixed mixes too sweet and like my drinks more sour.
By: Tabor on January 9, 2017
Ha! We used to make snow cream when I was a kid, but we lived in the country...
By: The Bug on January 9, 2017
So, let's see, all the snow did was pick up what was already in the air. Does Mrs. C recommend you all stop breathing? IMO a little dirt never hurt anyone, and snow margaritas was a fabulous idea :)
By: Botanist on January 9, 2017
So you drank what you would have breathed in. Big deal.
By: Pixel Peeper on January 9, 2017
A great idea but Mrs C has the practical head!
By: John Gibson on January 10, 2017
I love it. It's the perfectly gross and funny father-son bonding. As usual, I was taking Mrs. C's side through this one, waiting for natural consequences to play out. Good thing you weren't going for lemon (yellow) margaritas.
By: Robyn Engel on January 10, 2017
Ewww!
By: Bee BB Bee on January 10, 2017
What a good way to make use of a snow day... I used to make snowcream a lot but kind of fell out of doing it after the second decade of snow country... now that I am in the land void of snow, I miss it.
By: Sage on January 10, 2017
Sno thanks!
By: Tom Cochrun on January 10, 2017
A little dirty snow never hurt anyone:) Jilda has that same look in her arsenal.
By: Rick Watson on January 10, 2017
Dirty Slush Machine Provides Children In Florida Taste Of Winter http://www.theonion.com/r/37690 via @theonion
By: PT Dilloway on January 10, 2017
Blech. Blech. Blech. I grew up in the City of New York. I never understood the phrase, "as pure as new fallen snow." Kim Carnes's "as pure as New York snow" made perfect sense.
By: Mitchell is Moving on January 11, 2017
Always did think city snow tasted funny, right from childhood. Now I know why. I only ever seem to drink margaritas when I am in the US. I still think fondly of Aqui in Campbell, CA, which really has among the best.
By: Jenny on January 11, 2017

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