Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The Nut House, Reservoir Hill

 Do not lament a moment past,
A fleeting moment made to share.
Do not feel it lost in passing,
For to be past, it need be there.

And in existing, only seconds,
Its donation subtly paid,
Enriches life and heart and soul,
With vast impressions it has made.

Foolish is the heart that lives one moment,
And its passing grieves,
For in the volume of our lives,
Each page must turn to reveal new leaves.

Each second gives us priceless life;
It also gives us age.
Take care my friend, as chapters end,
Don’t stop to mourn the page.

Read on and on; each second counts;
Each chapter grows more fine,
And often as not, what we fear is lost,
Is ahead just one more line.



Sunday, December 29, 2013

I continue to search for a publisher for my historical novel, OBIE'S QUEST

Another festive shindig at The Bell Tower
Hangtown, California

This blog contains an introduction to, and the first 18 chapters of, 
Obie's Quest.
If you're on Facebook, there's an easy link to take you there,
or you can go to my website for directions.
See OBIE'S QUEST on Facebook:

Use the following link to go directly to 


See ya in Cyberspace

Friday, December 27, 2013

Where are the time machines when you need one?

Placerville, California 
Main Street, circa 1930
This one feels like Placerville.  I can hear the little Ford purring softly from the curb, while the familiar fragrances of fresh donuts, hot pavement, and evergreen shaded ravines wafts down the sidewalk on a gentle summer breeze. Somewhere, ever-present in the back of my mind, is the realization that just a few hours away are the city, the ocean, the Sacramento valley’s metropolitan and horticultural treasures, and, stretching seductively from our beloved Hangtown, historic highway 50 herself, linking the old stage stops like a glistening chain of pearls, and climbing ever upward, toward the Sierras, the majestic summit, and Tahoe’s incomparable shores. Is there any wonder we all call Placerville home?       

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Приветствия и наилучшие пожелания

I’m always intrigued when I check my blog’s statistics on Google and find I’ve received visitors from all around the world. Today’s visitors include, besides the US, page views from Russia and Malaysia, Germany, France, Poland and Estonia. I rarely receive comments on my blog, and despite my repeated encouragement to email me, I seldom hear from anyone. I occasionally test my skills with the dictionary.com translator, but the results can be uncertain at best, and the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. Suffice it to say, I wish you all well, and I continue to be pleased, gratified, and fascinated by your visits.  I’d love to hear from you.  Best Wishes,

Blue Bell Coffee Shop & old city clock. Circa 1940 I can almost hear the clanking of utensils and smell the coffee, as the little bell over the door announces my arrival. Pie alamode please!

Placerville, California

A melancholy rendition of “Little Annie Laurie” scratched out hesitantly on a pair of slightly flat fiddles

There below, basking in the last red rays of the rapidly setting sun lay the storied metropolis of Hangtown. A small tormented creek meandered through a series of deep, pine-lined ravines, and clinging tenaciously to each bank, at close intervals and in no apparent order, squatted several dozen shake roofed structures reminiscent of the clapboard shanties that graced the Irish community back home. Smoke boiled and billowed from a forest of stovepipes, and the sound of kindling being chopped, rang at intervals from a series of locations and echoed from the ravine beyond. In addition to the rustic, wooden framed structures were numerous log cabins, and on the periphery of the settlement and lining Main Street on either side, an endless sea of tents glowed hospitably from the lamplight within.  The oak scented smoke of countless campfires hung thick in the motionless evening air, and the entire hollow twinkled in the light of countless lamps and flickering candles.  Laughter and jocularity rose spasmodically from a number of well lit gatherings down below, and a melancholy rendition of “Little Annie Laurie” scratched out hesitantly on a pair of slightly flat fiddles, rose plaintively from a massive canvas covered structure in the center of the scene. This was evidently the heart of downtown. Main Street, lined on each side with false storefronts, dropped in a gentle grade from the east; widening and splitting as it approached a long row of canvas covered shops.  At the east end of this row of shops stood a bell tower as high as any building in town.  Main Street proceeded west, past a number of dimly lit, but well patronized saloons and Center Street led quickly toward a row of barns and stables, which faced the rear of the shops to their south and hung precariously over the banks of scenic Hangtown Creek to the north. It all brings to mind the old poem: “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home”.  SC

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas, Hangtown



Like many of you, I enjoy Mr. Dickens’s classic tale of Christmas.  The thought of the ghosts of Christmas past and Christmas future appearing as the bell begins to toll fires my imagination.  Like Old Ebenezer himself, I’m increasingly haunted by apparitions.  We’ve become very smug and complacent in America today, confident in what we perceive as our relatively secure position in the world order, and satisfied that, despite the ugly divide that has been deliberately created among us, we can go on this way indefinitely, content that the growing enmity between us is of no real consequence, beyond stirring our blood and making for some rousing political campaigns.  While that may be possible, there’s another haunting possibility.  There are other ambitious countries in the world today, most notably China, countries who find themselves on the rise and perfectly content to sit quietly by and observe our increasingly evident inability to govern ourselves, until the time arrives when they are able to intervene on our behalf and assume that task themselves. This prospect should make some people very happy.  We’ll no longer need to fight about Social Security, or any of our bothersome social programs.  We’ll have none. Affordable health care won’t be concern.  We’ll have no health care.  Unemployment will be unheard of.  We’ll all be provided fulltime factory jobs that will keep us gainfully employed 24/7.  All our pesky civil liberties will no longer divide us.  Liberty will be only a memory. Even gun ownership will no longer be an issue.  We’ll have no guns. Does it sound more and more to you like a veritable utopia?  I suspect not.  So are these shadows of things that will be, or merely apparitions of things that could be? Of course, that depends on whether we continue behaving like spoiled, irresponsible children, or grow up and realize that there are consequences for bad behavior, and its time to join together and solve our differences rather than exacerbating and exploiting them for political purposes. I’d like to believe we could all get along, if we truly understood the alternative.  I’d like to believe that there’s reason for hope and we still have plenty of time, but the clock is ticking and the bell prepared to toll. SC

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's a mighty festive time of year for a birthday!

It’s my birthday again already!  I always enjoy my birthdays, but if ya rack up enough of ‘em, they begin to take a toll! Of course, it’s not the birthdays themselves that wear us down, it’s the 12 months of perseverance required to earn one, and the staggering way they tend to pile up!  After 62 years, I’m laboring under a ponderous pile of birthdays! And 62 years provide a cumbersome amount of time for deliberation. We spend our first thirty years thinking about our future, the second thirty thinking about our past, and our last year’s wondering what the hell we were thinking! The older I get, the more adamant I become in my belief that we should start out old and grow younger every year.  On each successive anniversary of our birth, we could assemble all our friends and family for a truly heartfelt celebration, and joyously remove one candle from our cake.  What could be better than to spend the first fifty years of our life, looking forward to becoming a little boy, and tormenting little girls!  SC

Saturday, December 14, 2013

If you enjoy my blog, check out my website.



This is my little cabin in the Ozark Mountains of south central Missouri.  I call it LITTLETHICKET, partly because that seemed appropriate, and partly just because I just love to say Littlethicket.  Try it! It's not yet winter here, but ya can't tell that from the photo!

Our hearts go out to the people of Malaysia, and all those worldwide who face hardship and deprivation as we approach the close of 2013. I wish you health, happiness and hope in the New Year, and peace and brotherhood throughout the years ahead. May God Bless all the children of the world, and give them hope for a bright and prosperous future. Your sympathetic friend, Shannon

Sincere and heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy 2014

Happy Holidays to all people of good will, everywhere. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God, and respect the right of others to walk with theirs. And God Bless us every one.

Hold tight to your faith

Through the darkest hour our brightest hope is faith.
Faith burns most brightly
when all other hopes are spent.

The precious, incomparable gift of Christmas

This time of year we hear many disparaging comments about Christmas.  People despair over its commercialism, the financial strain it tends to create for some, and the anxiety and depression it causes in others. We’re told of its origins in pagan tradition, and how Christmas trees and Christmas gifts and all the traditional trappings of Christmas were swiped from various archaic cultures down through the ages. We’re told by wise and learned experts that it can be conclusively determined that Christ wasn’t even born in December.  What are we to think?  I’ll tell you what I think.  I think that for myself and many others, our memories of Christmas past and our hopes for Christmas future may well be the very essence of what makes our lives worth living. For us, the spirit of Christmas and everything that the true meaning of Christmas represents is a fundamental element in our faith, our happiness, our very existence, and everything we treasure in our lives. It’s our memories of Christmas past that strengthen our resolve to keep Christmas vital and alive, and see to it that children for generations to come can experience the joy we knew on those cherished mornings long ago, when we gathered together with precious souls we miss with all our hearts, and shared the precious, incomparable gift of Christmas. SC

I'm going way out on a limb here, but it's never a mistake to reach out to others.  Would you like to feel better about yourself this Christmas?  Get on your knees, tell God you're sorry and you'll try harder, and then get up and hug somebody, if possible, someone who doesn't deserve a hug. See if that doesn't make you feel better. If you can't find anyone else, hug me. If you can't hug me, at least email me. I'd love to hear from ya.
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2013


My Google statistics and blog tracking indicates that my blog has recently received a considerable number of visits from Malaysia. I'm fascinated and curious.  If you can enlighten me, please do so.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Christmas Request

My little Hangtown snow scene has enjoyed a staggering number of shares and traveled far and wide. With this in mind, it occurs to me; those of you who’ve enjoyed it might be kind enough to offer assistance.  Some of you are familiar with my novel, “Obie’s Quest”, which loosely chronicles the adventures of my ancestors in Hangtown during the gold rush.  While a few copies remain available on the internet, “Obie’s Quest” is now out of print. If anyone can provide me with the name of a reputable publisher who would accept and consider my manuscript, I’d be grateful.  SC

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


My family hates it when I preach.  I’m not sure why they hate it, and I’m not sure why I do it. I’m clearly not a preacher. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Would you like to be closer to God this Christmas?  It’s not complicated. The Bible tells us if we would have God’s boundless affection, there’s but one condition: We must love God without restraint and each other without exception. I realize that loving some of us is a tall order, but considering the reward, I suspect it’s worth the effort. And, just between you and me, God doesn’t expect us to be 100% successful.  He just wants us to try. I intend to try harder.  I suggest you do likewise.  SC
While loving everyone, unconditionally, without exception, at first appears daunting if not entirely impossible, that’s not necessarily the case.  We are all products of genetics, our environment, and our life experiences.  As a result, we are each very different.  Despite this obvious fact, we all have one thing in common.  Even in the case of the most seeming vile and depraved among us, that individual was once a vulnerable child.  To one extent or another, the essence of that innocent child remains.  While it’s often difficult to reconcile ourselves to what many people become, or at least appear to have become, with this insight and determination, it’s entirely possible to love who each of us was. We’re required to love the sinner, not the sin. That’s a start.  SC


Monday, December 9, 2013


This time of year I almost always feel a sense of urgency to pen a Christmas letter that captures like never before the essence of the season.  The written word has been around a long time.  The likelihood of mixing and matching words and creating something entirely new, innovative, and never before composed in the history of the written word, is about as likely as discovering the one true Santa immerging from your hearth on Christmas morning. For most of us, our most enchanting Christmas memories are from our youth.  To fully experience the magic and majesty of Christmas, it’s almost essential to approach it with a childlike faith.  The older we get, the more difficult that becomes.  In order to capture the true essence of Christmas, one must do it with a minimum of words, from the purest and most youthful depths of our heart.  That’s my hope for each and every one of us this season, that the spirit of Christmas can purify, cleanse and relieve us of our years of baggage, apprehension, and animosities, and allow us once more to experience the magical Christmas of our earliest memories, pure, simple, unadulterated, and awash in the warmth, joy, and unconditional fellowship that comes of an innocent heart and a childlike faith. Dear God, help us once more to approach, Christ, Christmas, and each other, with open arms, forgiving hearts, and the incorruptible innocence of our youth. With all appropriate affection, SC