Country Girls

A Few Of My Favorite Guys

When it comes to writing, developing the characters is easily one of my favorite things. It’s right up there with the storyline…okay, maybe it even beats that. I like the building of relationships and figuring out the quirky details that make them who they are. I love listening to the conversations they have and imagining their thoughts and reactions to things. These characters aren’t just strangers in a book to me, they’re my imaginary friends, the voices in my head and the inhabitants of my day dreams. They are privie to the most intimate parts of me, much like I am to theirs.

Now, you might think that being a woman myself, I prefer to write women, but you’d be wrong. I like writing men. Women are fun, too, but they’re easy. I know women…I get women…Men, not so much. Which is precisely why I enjoy writing male characters as much as I do. In MY world, where I’M in charge, Men make sense to me. I can comprehend how they think and I get how they feel. I UNDERSTAND them. The fact that this is due to my molding them to be exactly who and what I want and need them to be, does not escape me.

Anyway, I thought it was about time to highlight some of the men in my life, so here goes ~

I specifically did not create a lead male character in Country Girls because I wanted to write a story for women about women, that did not involve some sort of romantic happily ever after. It wasn’t easy, especially once I introduced Shawn to the girls. It was all I could do to marry him off quickly to keep him from falling for Eli…and her falling for him in turn. It would have been so natural. Him being the strong and silent type (for the most part…he knows how to stand his ground when necessary) with that abundant amount of patience, while she’s self-destructive and reckless at times and in such desperate need of a safe set of arms to run into…oh right, Eli would never lean on a man like that. Oh well.

So, since I denied myself the guy in Country Girls, I made up for it in Lucky In Love by writing three! There was Gabe – funny, attractive and always flirtatious, but a tad immature. This meant that he was always up for a good time but wasn’t ready to be serious. A great quality to find in a man when you’re not looking for commitment, or too afraid of finding it…

And who wouldn’t love Jason? Handsome and kind. Confident and slightly cocky, but in an utterly adorable way. He could easily be boyfriend material…or best friend material…or both?

Last but certainly not least, there’s Noah.The player/ bad boy and my personal favorite…what can I say, I have the worst taste in men.

After Lucky, I moved on to Blood Bound…not much for romance here, but I did kinda love me some Scott…

My current guy is Lindsay, and while he’s way too young for me (I’m taking a stab at writing YA) he’s still at the top of my list. He’s got a dash of every one of my favorite guys in him. He’s dependable and shows up for those he cares about like Scott.  He doesn’t always go out with the classiest of gals like Noah. He’s kind and considerate like Jason. Funny like Gabe. And, he’s even got some of that charming patience that Shawn posseses…all in all, I’d say he could make one girl (or many readers) very happy someday 🙂

Now if only I could meet the men I write…

From Beginning To End

It took me nearly thirty years to perfect my writing process. I’m counting the early years, because the truth is that I’ve been writing for most of my life. I was in elementary school when I wrote my first book. It was about a cat named Daisy who roamed our neighborhood and it was a joint effort between myself and several other kids in the neighborhood, but I still count it. My next big project was in middle school when I filled two notebooks in a handwritten story about a pony named Clementine (what can I say, I LOVE animals). Along the way I also began writing poetry as well as a book dealing with the loss of my father because a friend of the family suggested it might be helpful to others to hear a child’s perspective. At the time, I didn’t get very far with it, but nearly twenty years later I was finally able to sit down and put into words everything I was left with after his passing and how I have lived with those scars ever since.

Starting in middle school and carrying on all through high school, I entered into probably hundreds of story ideas, and exited two seconds later. At the time I couldn’t figure out why I was unable to commit to these bursts of creativity that I was initially so excited about and it wasn’t until much later that I realized that my biggest problem was my lack of patience. I simply couldn’t write out my ideas quickly enough, so while I was putting pen to paper my mind was running a mile a minute, replaying every detail over and over again to the point that I was bored with the whole thing and lost interest after having only handwritten a few pages.

Soon after, I abandoned the idea of writing anything of length and focused solely on poetry for several years, mostly because it was the only thing I was ever able to finish.

Then along came motherhood and suddenly I found myself sitting at home alone with a baby and no one to talk to but myself. So, I borrowed my mother’s laptop and began to write. I wrote anytime my daughter was sleeping or contentedly entertaining herself with her toys two feet away from my desk ( mostly while she was sleeping) and before I knew it, I had finished a screenplay. It was the most thrilling feeling to have actually completed something.

It took another two years after that before I was finally ready to write a novel, but once I did, there was no stopping me and before I knew it I had written three books back to back. Sure, it took me almost three decades to get here, but I not only have tons of ideas I collected over that time period I also needed to go on that journey to learn what worked for me. And I did learn from every aspect of it. The years of jotting things down in notebooks by hand is still my starting point now. Only now, I limit it to brainstorming and move on to typing when it’s time to really get started.

It’s a mess, but it only has to make sense to me…thankfully 3 years later I can still look at those notes and know exactly what I was talking about 🙂

Next I move on to a script writing program I downloaded a while back. It helps with my-lack-of-patience-versus-racing-brain issue because it takes very little to put the outline of the story into words. There are designated spaces for everything from descriptions to dialogue and has nifty features like remembering characters and locations throughout the story and filling them in automatically as you write. Sure, maybe it sounds like I’m being lazy…but I say why work harder when you can work smarter?!

This is where the years of writing poetry comes into play because I developed a habit of writing regularly. Therefore writing on a daily basis is not something to be feared. Whipping out a few hundred words, or even a thousand, once a day isn’t daunting, it’s something I’ve done a ton of time before.

Once I finish the story in script format, I usually need a little break from the story. Nothing too long, just a couple of weeks to get some distance from it so that I can return with a fresh mind to a story I already feel like I know inside and out. After the break, I am usually ready to come back and find all the little details I missed the first time around and the story truly comes to life as I add more dimensions to the characters and take the time to focus on their journey and what motivates them to go on it in the first place.

I save this task for last, because if I started here, I would be right where I was in middle school. I love the details. I mean, I really LOVE the details…but they’re time-consuming and can be extremely distracting. I could literally get lost in them and if I didn’t already have a course mapped out for myself I probably would never reach my destination.

And I have to say, reaching that destination is pretty freaking awesome!

‘Mississippi Swamps And More’

We had been driving for several hours and had only stopped once for gas.  Well, we had only officially stopped once, in reality we had pulled over on the side of the road three times because Evey had to pee. By the third time, Eli had gotten pretty irritated and went out of her way to let Eve know it, by lecturing her about the importance of making a quick getaway after one has assaulted and kidnapped another human being, while she was squatting in the bushes. Eve was frustrated and tried repeatedly to explain to Eli that these were merely the side effects of being pregnant, but that only opened the door to other things Eli found pretty irritating.  Finally, they both stomped off to their perspective vehicles and we were able to get back on the road.

For the most part the drive had gone smoothly. I had thought it would last forever but after glancing at the clock I realized that time had flown by. Much like the thoughts that had been racing through my mind ever since we left that train station. We had been traveling at high speeds on nearly deserted highways.  I started to panic. We still had Preston in the trunk of his car and we hadn’t spent any time discussing what to do with him next. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that Eve was still right behind us. I sighed and then turned my head towards Eli. She was sitting there stiff as a board, facing the road and staring straight ahead.  Suddenly the silence that had been so comforting up until now became deafening.  I couldn’t take it anymore.

“We can’t kill him.” I just blurted it out.

Eli didn’t move a muscle when she answered, “I know that.”

I had expected something more than that. “We can’t let him go either. He’ll come after Evey again… and he’ll make sure we go to jail for assault and kidnapping.  With his family’s money he can bury us and then who’s going to help her?”

Still, there was hardly any reaction from Eli.

“I know that, too.” She responded in a monotone voice. I couldn’t believe her! Hadn’t she thought of anything the whole time she sat there in silence? I was depending on her. I wasn’t exactly the only one who had wound up in this predicament. After all, she had been the one with the shovel.

“So what do you want to do?” I asked, clearly getting exasperated.

Finally she turned to look at me. “I don’t know. Where are we anyway?” “Just crossed the Mississippi state line.”

Now Eli started to shift around in her seat nervously.

“Already? Okay, we need to come up with something. We can’t just take him home with us!”

I wanted to slap her, but I didn’t. “Why do you think I’m asking you? What have you been thinking about all this time? I thought you’d have a plan by now.” I had fully expected Eli to come up with an elaborate scheme. A scheme that would be effective and creative and probably not without a pending murder charge. I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect, but at least a starting point would have been nice, something I could tweak and turn into a plan we could actually use, but the expression on her face told me she had nothing.

“Me? What about you?” she shook her head at me.

It was all I could take. All the emotions I had been trying to push down since this crazy night had started, began to break through. The tears started to well up in my eyes and when I tried to speak the words came out all choked up.

“All I can think about is him holding that gun to her head…and then that makes me think of Mom. The two images just keep flipping back and forth, it’s been going on for hours now and I haven’t been able to form a single coherent thought, so I was hoping that you had been able to do better.”

Eli’s face softened and she turned her head to look out of the side window. “I’ve been having the same problem. Sorry.”

A moment later she perked up. “Hey, I have an idea. Pull off over there.”

I did what she said and took the next exit. We wound up on a small road taking us to the middle of nowhere. After a short drive, we found a dirt road that forked off into a wooded area. We followed it until it ended and then went on through the woods until we found ourselves on the edge of a swamp.  There was marsh and water everywhere. It was perfect.

I stopped the car and watched to make sure that Eve did the same thing. Then Eli and I climbed out of the truck.  I started walking over to Preston’s car to see Eve. Eli reached into the back of the Bronco and grabbed Preston’s gun before she joined us. Eve looked worried.

“Now what?”

Eli took the keys from her and said “Now, we scare the shit out of him and make sure he knows to leave us alone.”

This only made Evey more nervous. “How are you going to do that?”

I flipped on the flashlight I was holding and shone the light across the water.  The light that reflected from the glowing eyes of fifty or so alligators floating in the water was hard to miss. Eve took a step back.

“Oh.” Was all that she said.

Eli’s eyes met mine and I nodded at her. She popped open the trunk and we were face to face with Preston again. He was awake and he was even angrier than before. Eli had left a nasty wound on the back of his head from her shovel and he had dried blood on his ear and neck from it.

Immediately he began to shout, “You are going to pay for this!” Eli pointed the gun straight at him.

“You first. Get out of the trunk.”

He began to climb out and then stopped. “You really expect me to believe that you’re going to shoot me?  You probably don’t even know how to unlock the safety,” he sneered at her.

Eli shot off a shot into the dark and then pointed the gun back at Preston. “Safety’s off. Now get out.”

Quietly he got out of the trunk. Eli waved the gun in the direction of some old tree stumps and said, “Start walking.”

Preston was starting to get scared. “Where? There’s nothing but swamp.”

Eli smirked. “That’s the whole point. Over there by those tree trunks. That looks like a nice spot.”

While Eli was busy escorting Preston, I went digging around in the back of my truck for some ropes. Once I found what I was looking for I checked to make sure Eve was okay. She was still standing over by Preston’s car watching everything from a safe distance.  I walked over to Eli who had now ordered Preston to his knees and we began to tie him up. He began to panic.

“Wait. What are you doing?”

Eli stopped what she was doing and stood up, towering over him in the process. Then she said, “We haven’t really decided yet. We’re just kind of winging it.”

That was all Preston could take. He started shouting at us again, but this time his voice was shaky and it began to crack. “You’re crazy! There’s gators out here!”

I just smiled at him and said, “Yup. And snakes.”

Eli was starting to enjoy this. She could barely contain her enthusiasm, “Oh yeah, let’s not forget snakes. You know I’ve always wanted myself a pair of them snake skin boots.”

I finished tying the last knot and stood up. “Really?  I didn’t know that. Maybe I’ll get you a pair for your birthday.”

Preston was speechless, but Eli wasn’t. “Really?  I would love that!”  The light heartedness of our conversation was really getting to Preston and it was fun to watch.

“You two are insane!” he shouted.

Eli turned to him and shook her head, “You really need to stop interrupting us. It’s so rude.”

I pulled a bandana from my pant pocket and shoved it into Preston’s mouth. “Here, this ought to help with that.”

To keep him from spitting it out we then took his tie and tied it around his face to keep the bandana in place. Placing a muzzle over his mouth, so to speak, only seemed to piss Preston off more. His attempts to yell at us or scream for help continued, but thanks to the bandana, at least the sounds he was making were muffled. We watched him flail around trying to fight his way free without much success for a minute and then we slowly walked back over to Preston’s car where Evey was.

However, Eli wasn’t done torturing him just yet. She was almost gleeful when she asked, “You think a matching belt would be too much?”

I tried hard not to laugh, “No, I think it would be cute.”

Eve on the other hand was not amused. “You two really are sick. And you wonder why I tried so hard to get as a far away from Angie as possible.”

“No offense Evey, but how’d that work out for you?” Eli snapped back at her.

I put my hand up to shush both of them. “Not now! We don’t have time for this.”

Eli agreed for once. “You’re right.” Then she raised her voice to say “You know, I’ve been thinking. Let’s just do it.”

Eve looked horrified. “Do what?”

“Shoot him.” Eli answered loud enough so Preston could hear her. Eve was frantically shaking her head.

“No. Absolutely not!”

But Eli wasn’t interested. “I say we vote on it.” She continued.

Eve looked at me pleadingly, “Emma do something.”

I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “What do you expect me to do? You know Eli, once she sets her mind on something there’s no talking her out of it. So, I vote yes. Shoot the bastard.”

Eve was shouting now. “What? No!”

By now we had become so involved in our discussion that we had turned our backs to Preston. A mistake we realized a little too late. In the midst of our arguing Eli heard something and turned back around to check on him, but all she saw was the pointy end of a gator tail as it slinked back into the water.

That was when I heard Eli whisper: “Oh shit.”

“What?” I asked as I turned my head back to her.

But Eli had already started running back over to where we had left Preston bound and gagged, yelling “Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit”, the whole way there. That’s when I noticed that Preston was gone. As well as the momentary slashing that occurred in the water nearby before the silence set in again. Eve had also realized that Preston had disappeared.

“Wait, where’s Preston. Did he get away?”

My eyes were darting all over the place trying to see what was right in front of me.

“Not possible.”

Eve was confused and starting to get angry. “Then where is he? Eli?”

Eli was busy wandering around in circles. When she finally stopped she just stood there staring out at the water. “We are in so much trouble.”

Interview with Eli Wilson from ‘Country Girls’

Well then, let’s get started with the basics. Who are you?

My name is Elizabeth Claire Wilson, but everyone calls me Eli…mostly because I hate Elizabeth…and Claire wasn’t much of an option either.

Where do you live?

I live in a small town called Angie in lovely Louisiana. We’ve got a ranch on a few hundred acres on the outskirts of town where we raise cattle and keep a dozen or so horses. The place has been in our family for four generations, Harry grew up here same as we did, which is nuts when you think about it.

Who is Harry?

Oh, sorry. Harry is our granddaddy. My sister’s Emma, Evey and I have lived with him since we were little. Evey’s moved out, so now it’s just Em and I…well and Harry. I reckon he’ll be here longer than any of us, although I suppose there’s always a chance Roscoe will be the one to outlive us all, I swear, that dog has to be close to twenty now.

Are you the hero of your own story?

I wouldn’t say that, but then I guess it depends on who you ask…just don’t go askin’ Ralph. That son of bitch hates me and he never knows what he’s talkin’ about anyway.

What is your problem in the story?

A man. Isn’t that the problem in EVERY story?!

Do you embrace conflict?

Eli grins. You could say that.

Do you have a hero?

Without even thinking I want to say my mama…but then I think, what’s a hero? Some knight in shining armor who runs into rescue you from whatever dragons are after you? Well, I’ve never quite had the luxury to believe in those, so no, no hero…however, if I you want the honest truth, and I imagine you do…I’ve had a real life hero for as long as I can remember. My sister Em…but don’t tell her I said that.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

When I was four my mama died in a horrible fire. Obviously it didn’t just affect me, it affected Em and Evey as well. I can honestly say that no other event in our lives has ever changed us more or left as profound a mark on us as that one night did.

What in your past would you like to forget?


Eli? What in your…

Yeah, I heard you. I reckon the things I’d like to forget are the same things I’d prefer not to talk about.

What in your past would you like others to forget?

I’d like it if you could just forget these questions and get on with it.

Is there anything else about your background you’d like to discuss?

Not particularly no…

Well, then, let’s move on to something a little more fun. What is your favorite scent? Why?

Hay. It just always reminds me of home.

What is your favorite color? Why?

Lavender. It’s the color of the dress my mama was wearing the last time I saw her. Earlier that same day we had played hide and seek in the cornfields behind our house…I would get anxious waiting for her to find me and then I’d see that flash of lavender through the tall corn stalks and I’d know she was right there with me the whole time. It’s my favorite memory of her.

What is your favorite food? Why?

Fried Chicken. It’s a southern thing.

What is your favorite beverage? Why?

Sweet Tea. See above.

What is your favorite music? Why?

I’m not too picky. Anything with a decent beat to keep me moving while I’m workin’ is fine by me.

What is your favorite item of clothing? Why?

My hat. I stole it from Harry when I was fifteen. It’s about seen its last day, but I can’t bring myself to part with it just yet.

Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.

Well, let’s see…I’ve got some change and an old receipt in this one. And over here… there’s some hay and a bit of dirt, I suppose that wasn’t worth mentioning… but does it count as two things? ‘Cause all I have left is my Leatherman in my back pocket.

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Ha! I can tell you right now, if I was stranded with a man he’d take his chances with the ocean and make a swim for it!

One more thing, how do you envision your future?

Tell you the truth, I’m too busy enjoyin’ today to worry about anythin’ else.

Thank you Eli. It has been my pleasure getting to know a little bit more about you!

‘Country Girls’ Book Trailer

Country Girls And Wildflowers

I remember sitting in the car, driving along a back road somewhere in the outskirts of Sacramento, when the song ‘She’s Country’ by Jason Aldean began to play on the radio. Instantly I began to groove along to the beat, fully feeling my inner ‘country’ and thinking about a life long lost. A life of riding my horse at full speed and feeling the air across my face as she flies through the fields. Of driving my truck over dirt roads with the windows down, radio blaring and a full load of hay in the back. Of wearing holey jeans and dirty boots and trading make up for a permanent tan that stemmed from actual sunlight. A life in which doing manual labor was something you took pride in and getting dirty wasn’t anything you shied away from. I loved that life. There are days I wonder about the choices I made that took me away from it, so it was in that moment, sitting in that car and listening to that song, that I decided it was time to go back. And since I couldn’t literally go back, I would do it through my writing.

Almost instantly the characters came to life inside my mind. I knew immediately that the story would be centered around women. Strong women. Sisters. I could see them, hear them, knew them inside and out, without really knowing why. But I knew I wanted to find out. I was completely energized with the excitement of this new idea and it wasn’t too long before I had come up with the key points of my story and was ready to begin the journey of writing it.

‘Country Girls’ literally just flowed right out of me. I loved figuring out the intricate details of my characters and what made them the way that they were. Having already figured out the mess they would make beforehand, I enjoyed the challenge of then having to figure out how they would clean it up after. In the end, it wasn’t until the final pages that I truly got stuck. Finding a happily ever after that was not only true to the story and the characters but would also offer the readers the closure I wanted them to feel, was harder than I had anticipated. After several different drafts, I eventually found my final sentences. I felt overwhelmed as I typed out those final words and was elated knowing that I had gotten there at last.

My point is, that inspiration can come from anywhere. A song, a dream…or in the case of my most recent project ‘Blood Bound’, watching so many movies with the same different actors you begin to think you see a family resemblance between them…I know, it makes no sense, I’ll elaborate some other time 😉

Anyway, I’ve collected my share of seedlings over the years, little ideas that could turn into bigger ideas. I write them all down in various notebooks and when I’m ready I go back to them. But, my favorite ideas are those that hit you with such a force that you can’t wait to plant that seed and watch it grow, because in your mind you’re already picturing it in full bloom. That’s what ‘Country Girls’ was for me. Not a seedling, but a Wildflower that had already blossomed.


‘The Doctor Is In’

Thought it might be a good time to share a little piece of ‘Country Girls’ with everyone. Here is a section from Chapter 3 ‘The Doctor Is In’… Enjoy 🙂

…Eli and I were still out fixing fences. All around us were cows who spent their days and nights grazing the fields.  I always appreciated the simplicity of that. They had the same purpose day in and day out and they seemed rather content with that. I was in the middle of straightening out a fence post when I saw Doc’s car pulling out of our driveway.

I called over to Eli, “Is that Doc’s car pulling out?”

She looked up. “Looks like it. Wonder what that’s about.” Without skipping a beat, she went right back to attaching a board that had come loose.

I stood there and watched the car leave and disappear in the distance. “You don’t think there’s anything wrong with the old man, do you?”

The board Eli had been working on was fixed. She hung her hammer on it and looked at me. “Are you kidding?  That old ox is going to outlive us all.  As stubborn as he is, he would just tell death to buzz off and come back later…I’m sure it’s nothing. Maybe he just came by to chat.”

I had my doubts about that. “Eli, it’s Wednesday.  Doc was just here last night playing poker…you really think they had more to talk about first thing this morning?”

She didn’t have an answer. “I don’t know. Look, if it’s something serious, he’s not gonna tell us anyway, so just forget about it.”

I knew she was right and I hated it. “Fine. Hand me those nails, would ya?”

Eli reached down into the toolbox we had brought and handed me a jar of nails. “Here.”

I took them and reached for a new board. “Thanks. Now, hold this while I tighten it.”

Eli glared at me as though I had asked her to wear a dress and put a pink bow in her hair. “Are you shittin’ me?”

I was completely clueless and had no idea why she was reacting this way. “What?”

This only pissed her off more. “Don’t ‘what’ me!  You know exactly, what.  Last time you had me ‘hold something’ for you, I wound up in the emergency room!”

It was true. “That was one time!  One broken thumb and I never hear the end of it!” I hardly thought it was worth all the upset, but Eli felt differently.

“Yeah, you try doing the work around here with a broken thumb!  You know it still doesn’t bend right!” She started moving away, leaving me standing there holding the board on my own.

“Oh, come on.” But, Eli just kept walking, turning around only once to give me the finger before she found a rotten post to replace that she felt was at a safe distance from me and my hammer.

“I see your middle finger still works fine, though.” I stood there for a while, board in hand, trying to determine the best way to attack this particular predicament.Eventually, I formulated my plan and proceeded with the job.

On the ranch, the days were long, the mornings came early and the work was hard. I loved every second of it. The truth was, that I couldn’t imagine my life being anything else. It didn’t matter what needed to be done, I knew I was capable of doing it.  Feeling like I was in my element at all times gave me a confidence I hadn’t ever experienced, before I came to live with Harry. Even though I was the oldest, I had always envied Eli, who at an early age was outspoken and courageous in a way I had only dreamed of being. She was the fighter, I was the protector. Over the years we had rubbed off on each other, but at our core we remained the same people we had been when we were four and seven. I often wondered who we might have become, had life not required us to play those parts from the very beginning, but then I suppose it didn’t much matter. We had lived the life we lived and we had become who we were, because of it. Or maybe, in spite of it. I had also spent many moments throughout our childhood watching Eve, studying her even, being completely fascinated with her innocence and childishness.Imagining what it must be like to be untouched by tragedy and heartache. Sure, she had lost her parents, just as Eli and I had, but she had been so small, she had never known them. Eve had no memories of what our family had been like before. She remembered nothing about the night of the fire. She was blessed and we were broken.  Eli and I had made it our life’s mission to keep it exactly that way. Now that she had moved so far away, we were afraid for her. Scared that in the end we had harmed her more than we had helped. We had sheltered her all of her life, without ever expecting that one day, she might have to know how to take care of herself.

By the time we finally finished those fences, it was past lunchtime. We sat on the back of the tailgate, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, looking out across the fields. After we ate, we made our way down to the barn. There were stalls to be mucked, horses to be ridden and saddles to be cleaned. Once all of that was done, we came full circle and ended the day with the evening feeding. We were just finishing up, when Harry joined us in the barn. As always, Roscoe was right by his side.

“You girls have any plans tonight?”

Eli put up the wheel barrow and sat down beside him on a bale of hay. “Em has a date. Well, she’s calling it a date…I call it babysitting.”

Harry smiled at me. “Are you still seeing that Harmon Boy?”

I knew I was in for some teasing, but I didn’t mind. That Harmon boy was worth it. “Yes, I am…and he’s not that young.” I finished collecting feed buckets and waited for the next smart remark. It came from Harry.

“You know what, Em? If you want to rob the cradle go right ahead!  I was just watching TMX and all the Hollywood ladies are doing it. They’re calling themselves, Pumas.”

Eli burst into laughter. She was laughing so hard she was curled over and nearly rollin’ on the ground. I wouldn’t have been surprised one bit if she had actually made herself pee a little. Even I had a smirk on my face, but I was trying my best to hide it from them.

“Thanks Harry…”

Eli was still beside herself with sheer delight. “Yeah Em, be a Puma and be proud!”

I chucked one of my buckets at her. “Shut it.”That got her attention.

“Hey, watch it!”

Harry had been able to remain quiet, but I suspected he was having a good chuckle on my account on the inside. When he finally opened his mouth, it was to turn the tables, and I was grateful.

“What about you, Eli?  Going out?” We both turned to look at Eli.

“Yeah, I’ll probably head down to Mike’s for a beer and a game of pool. Why?  You trying to get rid of us or something?”

The old man didn’t skip a beat, “Yes, I am. Been trying for damn near 15 years now, it just isn’t working.” For a quiet man, he had a remarkable sense of humor. I loved that about him.

“Real funny, Harry.” Eli poked him in the side. “Who are you kidding, old man.  You’d be lost without us and you know it.”

Harry put his arms up in the air, “I know that I’d be retired now and enjoying the view from my condo in Miami, if you two weren’t hanging around here.”

By now, I had finished my nightly rounds and since every animal had been fed, I was most certain it was finally my turn to eat. “Well, since we are hanging around here, I’m going to go make us some dinner.  See you two inside.”

I turned and walked out of the barn, leaving Harry and Eli behind…



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