In my previous post, I gave a glimpse into a little something from my radio past that appears in my novels. The Burt and Kurt character, Red Wood, makes an appearance in Farewell PFC POLK: The End of a Nightmare as a Gunny Sergeant. (read the excerpt here)
In my new novel, Angels Diner: Alexandra’s Song, (now under construction) the loveable old B&K character, Uncle Mack shows up in a vignette. In the scene, the main character, Molly Sanders is headed out on her first date with Casper Knight. Their journey takes them to the Allegheny Forest National Park in upstate PA where they are about to hit a bike trail. Enter our old friend who tells Molly how to spot angels in the woods.
Uncle Mack’s Rocker
An old man in a rocker was swaying back and forth on the front porch. “How ya’ll doin’?” he asked as Molly and Casper walked up the steps.
“Hey, Uncle Mack,” replied Casper. “I’m good. This is my friend, Molly.”
“Woowee. Ain’t she a pretty thing. Please to meet you Miss Molly. My name is Mack Dingle but everybody calls me Uncle Mack. I’m 99 years old accordin’ to the family Bible but accordin’ to the Situs brothers, I’m 118. You know them Situs brothers, don’t you? Burr and Arthur?” Mack blurts out one loud laugh and slaps his knee. “Yes, sir.”
“Pleased to meet you, Uncle Mack,” said Molly.
“Can’t see real good but I can tell you’re real pretty just from the way you smell. Mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed. Sweeter than honeysuckle. Got to get me some of that. Yes, sir.”
Casper excuses himself and enters the cabin to rent two bicycles. Uncle Mack continues. “Your first time here?”
“You came at just the right time. It’s angel season.”
“Is that right?”
“Oh, yeah. Casper will take you down by Gabriel’s Rock, for sure. But while you’re ridin’ on that 2-wheeled contraption, keep watch up in the trees. That’s where they live while they’re here. Looks like sunbeams shining through the trees. You’ll know it when you see one. And if you let their light shine on you, you’ll get a blessin’.”
Casper returns to the porch. “All ready. You’re welcome to come with us, Uncle Mack.”
Mack grabs a wrinkled paper bag from beneath his chair and then turns the bill of his red cap to the back of his head. “Not today. Just getting’ ready to hook up with a bologna biscuit. Maybe even two. Yes, sir. Good eatin’.”
Coming in May – Angels Diner: Alexandra’s Song. Do you believe in angels? Molly didn’t. Until…
You can also get a glimpse into the story on Pinterest where I have created an inspiration page regarding the people, places, and events in the story. Check it out here.
My wife, Janet the artist, told me that some renowned oil painters use a little something more than just their signatures to label their paintings. For example, a tea cup or a vase incorporated into every work of art. Sometimes the objects are masked or hidden and near impossible to find. Thomas Kincade included the letter N in most of his paintings which was a tribute to his wife, Nanette. Kind of like Where’s Waldo for adults.
That gave me an idea. Why not use that technique in my writing? My old radio partner of 40+ years, Kurt Kilpatrick, wanted to know why I was using my real name for my pen name. Richard Weirich? Really? Why not the name by which I was more commonly known from the radio wars? Burt or Bob Burton? Too late. Already on my 4th novel.
Back in the day, for those old enough to remember Burt and Kurt, we had a cast of characters featuring Kurt’s amazing impressions. That’s when you could build an audience with G-rated and occasionally PG-rated material. I digress. Anyway, now in my novels there are vignettes featuring those old legendary characters. Red Wood makes an appearance in Farewell PFC POLK: The End of a Nightmare. A new book, Angels Diner: Alexandra’s Song, due for release in May 2016, will feature a cameo performance by the loveable Uncle Mack. (get a preview in Part 2 of this post)
Drill Sgt Red Wood
In Farewell PFC POLK, Red Wood appears as a Marine Corps Drill Sergeant. Following is an excerpt from that scene:
At the conclusion of the ceremony, an officer entered the room and welcomed them to the Marine Corps and then he introduced yet another sergeant who was as charming as the first.
“My name is Sergeant Red Wood. I’m going to be your babysitter until we get to Parris Island. Now, some of you may have the mistaken idea that you are already a Marine. By tomorrow, you’ll have the uniform, but first you girls have to go through a little thing we call ‘boot.’ So, I would like to be the first to welcome you to hell. Not all of you will make it through hell but if you do, then you will officially be a member of the greatest fighting outfit the world has ever known. First stop, the chow hall. You will not talk or make eye contact with any of the real Marines in the room. You will not get out of your seat until I say so and then you will all go to the head together. The head is what your mommy called a bathroom. From now you will call it the head. If you are ever heard calling it a bathroom, restroom, privy, outhouse, or anything other than ‘the head’ you will be required to get on all fours with a tooth brush and clean her until she sparkles. Then you will place your behinds in a seat of my choosing on a bus that will take you to the Marine Riviera. For that lovely little 9-hour ride, you will say nothing, speak nothing, and sit in an upright position looking only at the deck. We will go over these instructions again because I know you are too stupid to remember them. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes, sir,” yelled the men.
“Have I made myself clear?”
The sergeant led his charges to the chow hall and sat with his friends who pointed and laughed at the new recruits. After the meal, he directed the men to the bus that would take them to Parris Island and just as they prepared to depart he repeated his earlier directives and closed with, “I know what you’re thinkin’. You think I’m an SOB. Wait ‘til you meet your drill sergeant. Then you’re gonna believe I’m the friendliest fella you ever met.” That said, the sergeant slumped into his seat and laughed and laughed. After a moment of silence, he chuckled again.
Farewell PFC POLK deals with a sad topic, the untimely and unnecessary death of a 19-year-old Marine and how his family and friends coped with the tragedy. Plenty of tears in the story, for sure. But there are also a lot of laughs and an uplifting message of hope. Hope you get a chance to read it. (Get it here.)
Decided to throw caution to the wind, change genres, and rely on nothing but my (hopefully creative) imagination. The working title for my 4th novel is Angels Diner and subtitled Alexandra’s Song.
I am collecting inspiration pics for my story on Pinterest. (see them here)
In the following scene from Chapter One, Molly Sanders, the protagonist, is on the run. Her adventure takes her to the small town of Divinity Falls, PA, in the Allegheny Mountains, where she lands a job at Angels Diner and receives an invitation to live in the home of a mysterious elderly lady, Angelica Lopez.
All about the cavernous room stood statues of robed figures from ancient times, resting upon white pillars outlined in gold. From a Wedgewood ceiling hung a breathtaking crystal chandelier. The only non-decorative piece in the room rested next to the elevator. “Can’t catch me now that I’ve got my chariot,” quipped Angel having traded her walker for a motorized wheelchair. “I’ll give you the grand tour.”
“Does this place come with a map?” asked Molly, excited by the grandeur but apprehensive at circumstances that defied human reason.
“Shouldn’t be a problem for a girl with a photographic memory,” said Angel who then revved up her safety rider and headed toward a hallway on the opposite side of the lobby. But Molly didn’t immediately follow. She stopped to consider how her lively companion could possibly know about her gifted memory. “You coming or not?” called Angel as she waved excitedly from across the room.
“Yes, mam. Sorry.”
The bright light from the chandelier revealed a sweetness in Angel’s face that put Molly at ease. “I want you to see my favorite room first,” said Angel as they entered the library. “Don’t like to boast but I’ve read every book in here at least once.” An astonishing claim considering the multitude of books rivaled a city library. At the center of the room stood a pedestal with a glass case that contained a single golden key. Molly moved closer to get a better look.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Angel rolling her chair beside Molly. The object sparkled under a beam of light from the ceiling.
“What does it mean?” asked Molly.
“What do you want it to mean?” said Angel who then wheeled around and motioned for Molly to follow. Again, in the lobby they processed to the entrance to another room where Angel stopped and pointed to a closed door. “This is the saddest room in the house.”
Angel’s pronouncement alarmed Molly. The strained look on her face spoke volumes.
“You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Go ahead. Open the door.”
The far end of the room illuminated immediately when Molly opened the door. The sadness as represented by Angel was not immediately apparent. Another stunningly beautiful area. The wall-to-wall window that stretched from the ceiling to the floor was most attractive. The green velvet draperies that covered the adjoining walls gave a feeling of softness and elegance. “Looks OK to me,” said Molly still looking for what Angel perceived as sadness in the room.
Angel rolled her chariot to a small table that sat to one side of four rows of theater chairs and picked up a remote control. Slowly, the draperies on the left side of the wall opened to a small stage upon which stood a concert grand piano. Molly looked back at Angel and then to the fine instrument. She stood there for several moments. Motionless. Stunned. Sad to the point of tears. Then she quickly rushed out of the room.
Angel’s Diner is projected for release in May. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you haven’t picked up your copy of Farewell PFC POLK: The End of a Nightmare, you can get it here.
“Ever since they were little girls they’ve been dreaming about Mr. Perfect and then fellas like you come along and they realize that you ain’t it. They need time to calculate what it will take to mold you into the man of their dreams. If they decide it ain’t possible to fix you then the answer is a big old fat ‘no.’” Ruthy the Cook, IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE, pg. 209
The deal was finalized with a handshake and Charlie was now faced with breaking the news to his family. He knew that his plan would be devastating to his mother and sisters. Would his father make good on his threat that if he ever left he would never be allowed back on the Polk property? Charlie knew the answer to that question. He was about to go home for the last time.
Charlie was in shock. He was dumbfounded that he was so wrong about how his proposal would be received. Matters of faith were new to him and he couldn’t imagine what she meant when she said she was looking for a sign from God. Mable refused to disclose the nature of the sign but told him that it would appear in two weeks on the 8th of June.