Are you a Coddiwompler?

I half-expected to see Big Foot or at least some giant bug appear behind one of the ancient, giant trees. Everything was so huge. I felt so small.


Coddiwompler. “One who travels in a purposeful manner toward a vague destination.”   Love that word. It made me think of my recent trip to California and the stroll along Walker Road near the Jedidiah Smith State Park.

The scenery is breath-taking. The Redwoods are enormous along with everything else.  The plan was to go around the path which looped back to the car. We had a purposeful manner – but I had never been on this path before. As we walked and talked, we went deeper and deeper into the forest, amazed by all the beautiful foliage. After close to an hour of walking, we began to see sights that we’d seen before.

“Haven’t we seen that tree before?” I asked her. 20160816_100820


We walked a few minutes farther. “Yep. Seen that one too.”

We were lost.


Well now, we weren’t really lost. The loop had to go back to the parking area eventually; there were just too many turnoffs and side paths.

Which way was back? We had a vague destination in mind, and we were definitely coddiwompling to get there. Eventually (two hours later?) we saw a parked truck which made me think of a Jurassic Park scene. At least we were headed the right way.

ferns (1)I would guess there’s a bit of coddiwompler in all of us.We think we have a destination in mind, but it may be a little vague and unsure.  Life is like that too, isn’t it?  

I guess I’d rather be purposeful with my steps toward a definite destination in mind. Wouldn’t you? 

Silk Stockings and WWII

painted-on stockings

Did you know the government banned silk stockings during WWII? That explains why my grandparents buried dozens of them in their back yard.

When I was age 10, we moved down to my grandparents’ old place where my father grew up. He told me there was ‘treasure’ buried in the backyard, but the town rumor, ‘The Woodland’s were wealthy’ was not true. As a curious child who wanted to find the treasure, I dug holes everywhere! Once I was lucky enough to dig up a slew of old silk stockings. Some were still in their packages and good as new. Who would have thought?  Another place on the property, I found dozens of eyeglasses and frames and discovered that one of my relatives had been an optometrist. But why did he bury the glasses?  Hmmmm … sounds like a story.

Several weeks ago I helped my friend format her cookbook and get it ready for publication. Ozarks Recipes: Momma’s Mine and Others is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Somewhere in Time on the square in Fair Grove, Missouri. It’s more than a cookbook. Not only does it have recipes, it is full of stories, old sayings, and funny little tidbits. I found it quite intriguing – just like all Marilyn Smith’s stories.

Marilyn was kind enough to mention me in a recent article in her weekly newspaper column. Read more of her interesting story on nylon hose during World War II at SMITH: Cookbooks and nylon hose.

Read the story of the Treasure Hunter -(about digging holes all over the Woodland property).

Two-Minute Stories in Every Genre

Lovers kissRomantic. Fun. Scary. Comical. Creepy. Every genre from science fiction to romance, mystery and horror to cute animal tales, you will find a story to your liking. READ FOR FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited, or get your digital or print copy to read anytime, anywhere.

Last year, a challenge was given. Over forty talented authors worldwide responded in writing a 26-sentence story from A-Z or Z-A. The result – 58 flash fiction stories in every genre compiled into one book, A Quick Read.  Read excerpts from a few wonderful  stories…

* * *

Gently I took her in my arms and pulled her close. “For now, at this moment, it’s just you and me.”Exquisitely her delectable lips parted with invitation. “Don’t speak.” Carrying my prize to a nearby grassy knoll beside a gurgling river, we sat together as one. Before I knew what was happening we’d been caught up in our passion. From “First Love”  – (Indianapolis, IN)

Gravity took hold and before she knew it she was tumbling further down the cliffside. Had she known what this night would bring, she would have stayed home in the comfort of life. It was her own driven actions that brought her to this time, this place. Just as all her actions before this carried her down the path of life in a clumsy manner of which she acted first. From “The Cliff” – (Binghamton, NY)



Opening the door into the hall, the rush of air fanned the flames behind him. Pulling the door shut with great difficulty and coughing wildly, he forced himself up the stairs. Quickly, he found the boy’s bedroom door and flung it open. Reaching down for the child’s bed in the gloom, to his dismay, he found it empty. From “Rescue” – (Gloucester, UK)

Continue reading Two-Minute Stories in Every Genre

The Treasure Hunter

brknkahlua2Halfway down the pit, we struck something solid. It just had to be treasure! Knowing my eagerness for discovering new finds, my dad indulged his little girl by digging the hole behind the shed, mindful that a small-framed child did not have the muscle to dig too deep.

My dad called me the treasure hunter, always on the hunt for the hidden goodies. One of my favorite places to find treasures was the city dump. Hills upon hills of trash yielded an abundance of hidden treasures! Dad let me roam. A tarnished trinket, a bauble, or perhaps an abandoned baby doll needing my love would usually find its way home. Sometimes, Dad would drop coins where I could find them. I loved to take the fine white sand home to make into sand cakes in my playhouse. So many treasures, so little time.

In 1960, just before my tenth birthday, we moved to the old diggingWoodland homestead east of town. I was more than delighted. This was my great-grandfather’s property, and I was on a treasure hunt like none other. There were caches to be found everywhere: barns, shanties and sheds full of relics and antiques. I discovered sheet music played by Aunt Ruth during the old silent movies, music rolls for our player piano, Grandmother’s porcelain chamber pot, and Grandpa’s stoneware whiskey jugs. Still I dreamed of someday finding the treasure said to be in the ground. My father humored me by letting me dig holes everywhere, pointing me to areas he remembered.

“The Woodlands were wealthy,” was the town rumor. “They buried their fortune on their property.” The stories intrigued me and I wanted to find that treasure. My first dig uncovered boxes and boxes of women’s silk hose – the kind of stockings with the seam up the back that buttoned to corsets. They were still in their packages. I later learned Great-great Aunts Jessie and Charlotte were dressmakers and owned one of the finest dress shops in the little town of Clark, South Dakota. Another little-known fact is that during World War II, silk stockings were rationed, and ladies relied on cotton or rayon. My aunts simply buried theirs for safe-keeping!

Another mound unearthed a pile of wire frames, eyeglasses, and spectacles. My great-great uncle was once the town optometrist and for some reason, buried his whole stock when he went out of business. His little shop, still on the property, became my playhouse.

rockMy dad tapped the hard surface a few times with his shovel, and then pried up a rock and lifted it out of the ground. “Here’s your treasure, sweetie: a beautiful big rock!” he teased.

“There has to be more down there! Please dig a little further? Please?” I fluttered my eyes. I could talk my dad into almost anything if I looked at him just right. He smiled and began to dig some more. I jumped into the hole half as tall as myself as he hit something that clanged like metal against metal.

“We found the treasure!” I squealed in delight. I scooped away more dirt with my small shovel until we uncovered the top of a rusty metal object. “It’s true! We’re rich! ”

Dad laughed at my excitement but I couldn’t understand what was so funny.

“Can we dig it out? Can we open it up? I want to see the treasure!” I begged.

“Sorry, honey.” he chuckled. “It was once worth a fortune, but not anymore. It’s just an old iron threshing machine – bigger than a piano – not worth digging up. I just wanted you to find the Woodland fortune,” he laughed. “I wanted to see you smile.” He laughed again.

I then heard the story of how Grandfather bought a steam threshing machine to start farming. If young men were farmers, they wouldn’t be drafted into WWI, and he wanted to keep his two army-aged sons home. Years later during WWII, iron was an important economic factor in the war. People were not allowed to own iron; the government needed it for manufacturing shells, B-12 bomber parts, and doors for Sherman tanks. Grandfather did not favor his iron thresher being used for weaponry and did not want it confiscated. Since it was too large to haul away, he buried it in the backyard.

Buried steam engine

So the stories were true after all. The Woodlands did bury their fortune in the backyard, and I found it (with the help of my dad)! I may not have dug up a treasure chest of gold that day; I discovered something far better – a treasured lifetime legacy.


In honor of my father – for Father’s Day. This story has won several awards and is published in two anthologies.



Some great stories from talented Springfield-area writers who responded to this Flash Fiction challenge

Springfield Writers' Guild

Read the flash fiction stories here – and then make your selection of the three best ones in the comments. This contest is for SWG members only, but anyone can vote.

ShackENTRY #1 –“Secret of the Shack”

ENTRY #2- “The Challenge”

ENTRY #3- “Her Little Doll”

ENTRY #4 – “God’s Vengeance”

ENTRY #5- “Nitwit in the Woods”

ENTRY #6 – “Sunday Morning Murder”

ENTRY #7 – “The Haunted Shack”

ENTRY #8 – “Heap”

ENTRY #9 – “Goin’ Home”

ENTRY #10 – “This Old House”

ENTRY #11 – “Their House”

ENTRY#12 – “Regression”

ENTRY#13- “Extrication”

ENTRY#14- “Moving Past the Memories”

ENTRY#15 – “1968”

ENTRY#16- “The King and Queen of 417”

ENTRY#17 – “Ramshackle”

VOTE HERE– or put in Comments

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