Sunday, April 2, 2017


The President of the Garden Club felt quite daring as she thought about donning the almost unmentionable garment in her bottom drawer: Short trousers!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


When she saw the forsythia budding out already, the President of the Garden Club became quite cross.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

the president returns

Merideth let the dogs in and threw her hat on the kitchen counter. Oh, it felt good to be home. It felt like she had been gone a year. She went to the bedroom—now on the first floor—took off the dress and the hose and the brassiere. It took less time than putting it all on, but more time to strip down than it used to. Thank the Lord nobody wore girdles any more. That would have been a challenge. Her fuzzy robe felt good. She didn’t have to make supper after all of those delicious snacks. Maybe she would watch a little TV before bed. It wasn’t even eight o’clock!
     She turned on the news.  Oh no! There was her big black-and-white print fanny getting hoisted up into Bobby’s van! Hells bells. She had totally forgotten about the damn TV people. They had gotten that videotape off the island quick. Or probably now they did it all with computers and satellites or something.
    She went to turn the volume up, but it was too late. The clip was over. Was that local news, she wondered, or national?
     There was a knock on the door. She hadn’t heard a car. “Yes? Oh, come in.”
       “So what’s this I hear about a moped?” said Bobby, taking a seat.
      “That’s not the worst of it. I just saw us all getting into your van on the television. My backside was featured.”
     “Quite the celebrity. Too bad they didn’t get footage of you on the back of the moped. I wish I had seen it myself.”
      “Well where were you? I needed some backup at that wake.”
      “I felt sorry for Kat. She was feeling lost and out of it. We watched the kangaroos.”
      “Was that a ‘hmm’ or a ‘humph?’”
       “Both. Was this out of the goodness of your heart or in the interests of the investigation.”
     “Well, did you find out anything?”
     “I found out that she spends much of her time in Santa Fe at a house she owned jointly with Malcolm. I would suppose that on his death she becomes the sole owner.”
    “Unless his half is part of the estate.”
    “No, I think she has it free and clear now. At least that seemed to be her impression. She says land there has appreciated enormously since they bought it twenty-some years ago.”
     “I don’t suppose she could have sold without his permission. So she may have inherited a windfall.”
      “Yes, but a house in Santa Fe is the least of it. There’s that house they’re building here, the hotel, the bed and breakfast, the rental cottages. And that’s just on Block Island. We have no idea what other property he may own. Or how much money he had. Just that it is a lot.”
     “It may have got him killed.”
     “It may have. But I’ll let you get to bed. I just wanted to tell you that I have an appointment at the police station tomorrow morning.”
      “With Joseph?”
     “Well he’s the one who scheduled me, but it’s the mainland detective I’m to see. ‘Do not leave the island without permission.’”
     “All they have to do is stake out the airport. They already watch the ferry.”
       “I could escape by private boat.”
      “The dickens. I suppose you could. If you had one.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

father figures

“This ought to be a celebration. Here I am on a beautiful island, in a cozy restaurant, having a lovely dinner with my two wonderful children. But everyone is too sad.”
    “What happened to Bobby?” Kate asked.
    “He said he was going to drive the cab this evening. He said something about making money while he could,” said Kat.
     “He thinks he’s going to be arrested,” said Kate.
     “Why would he?”
     “I guess you don’t know,” said Bill. “But he found Dad. And his fingerprints were all over the place.”
      “If he found him that would be understandable.”
     “And then there’s the gun,” said Kate.
     “Gun? He doesn’t seem like the type.”
     “We found a gun at his place. In my backpack. I’ve been asked to stay on the island.”
      Kat took a swig of her martini. “By who?”
      “The police chief. Merideth’s son. I wasn’t on the island at the time Dad died, but I guess I could be Bobby’s accomplice.”
       “Or motive,” said Bill. “If this were one of my shows, the rich father would have found the poor taxi driver an unacceptable suitor for his daughter. Especially given the age difference.”
       “It wasn’t like that,” said Kate. “Yes I loved him—still do—but in more of a friendship way. We agreed to have a summer romance and then cut it off. And we did.”
     “Friends with benefits,” said Bill.
     Kate blushed.
     “I can see what you saw in him,” said her mother. “But I can see why Malcolm wouldn’t like him. Why Bobby must be my age!”
      “He always has these short-term relationships,” said Kate. “Probably attachment issues.”
       “And we know you have father issues,” said Kat.
       “But I don’t have a father any more,” said Kate.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

no rest

It was done. Catherine lay down on her bed fully dressed. It was done. She was done. She wished she could retreat from the hotel. From the staff and her brother and the children and just be alone. She and Mac had planned to move into their dream house this summer.  The walled garden was going to wow the Garden Club, and maybe get her on the tour. Now, she didn’t know. Maybe she should just sell it and leave the island. Go where though? Go home. But she had no home. This suite in this hotel was as close as it came. And it didn’t feel like home without him. She lay still and listened to the sound of the waves. That nail gun. Oh my god.
    There was a tap on the door. No getting away.
    “I’m here.”
    Kate opened the door a crack. Catherine sat up.
    “I’m sorry. Were you sleeping?”
    “No, just wishing I could.”
    “It was a lovely party. Thank you.”
    “Even though someone there probably killed your father.”
    “What a thought. Anyway, I don’t want to bother you, but I wanted to tell you, I thought you should know, my mother showed up at the funeral. We didn’t know she was coming, Bill and I. But anyway, we’re going out to dinner with her now. I just—didn’t want to be doing something behind your back.”
    “Thank you, said Catherine. “Well, she was married to him for twenty years or something. I can understand it.”
     “I’ll leave you alone. I just felt like you should know. Can I get you anything?”
     “No. I just want to be alone.”
    “I hope you sleep,” said Kate.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

moped mama

       “Has Bobby got here yet?”
      “No, haven’t seen him since he left with my mother,” said Kate.
      “I should have brought my own car instead of coming with you. It’s still at the cemetery. I’m ready to go home and put my feet up. I suppose I could walk.”
    “I’ll take you on the moped,” offered Bill.
    “I’m wearing a skirt,” Merideth pointed out.
    “You can sit sidesaddle. Just keep your feet out of the spokes. It isn’t far.”
     “True. Do you think?”
    “Sure,” said Bill. “Come on. I’ll take you now.”
     “Drive slowly!” She awkwardly positioned herself behind him as he braced the machine with his feet. She supposed she had to hold onto him. She put one arm around his waist. The other hand held her hat on.
     “Ready? Hang on. Keep your feet out. Here we go!”
     Oh, Lord. In her eighties and riding pillion on a motorcycle. She hoped no one would see her. But of course it would be all over the island by tomorrow.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

baked meats

The crowd was thinning out. The servers were able to circulate with canapés. She accepted a square of pumpernickel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Earl was nowhere to be seen. Kate and her brother Bill were huddled by the buffet table. No Kat. No Bobby either. She went over to where Catherine Addams stood near the door, thanking people for coming. She appeared to have her social veneer back in place. Makeup repaired. Demeanor subdued but calm. It was hard to believe this was the same woman as the one who had cracked at the funeral. Though this was the Catherine Merideth was familiar with from garden club meetings.
    “Did I tell you how much I appreciated your flowers?” Catherine said now.
    “Yes. I am so sorry for your loss, Catherine.” Merideth couldn’t prevent herself from glancing at the nearby flower arrangements of hothouse lilies and roses, so different from the simple bouquet she had sent.
    “I put yours in our—my—room,” said Catherine. “They were so fresh and simple and—not depressing.”
      “What Kate had to say at the memorial service was so interesting. And what you said was very moving.”
     “It was true, too. I know people on this island don’t like me. They loved Mac, they accepted his children, but they never liked me.”
      “Islanders are funny,” said Merideth. Perhaps they found you aloof or intimidating.”
      Catherine turned and looked her in the eye. “Listen. When I met Mac I was just Catie Ann Slaughter from Toad Suck Ferry, Arkansas. Well not Toad Suck Ferry, but close enough. I couldn’t measure up to his second wife in looks or his first wife in class, as Kate is only too happy to remind me, but I tried to be worthy of being his wife. To entertain, to move in the right circles, to keep the country out of the girl.”
     “Maybe that was the problem. Islanders read you as hoity toity, when really you were just afraid of making a misstep. Maybe now, without worrying about what you think your husband wants, you can be more comfortable.”
      She looked angry, then sighed. “I don’t even know who I am any more.”
     “It’s good that your brother is here.”
    “Jerry. I guess. He certainly wasn’t here that first night when I really needed him. I couldn’t even get him on the phone.” She broke off as a couple approached her. “Thank you so much. Lovely of you. Oh yes. Soon.”
      Merideth moved off to let her get back to it.