The word ‘MacGuffin’ always makes me smile, don’t know why, just like it! Hope your truck 🛻 situation gets sorted soon, Alison!

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Thank you, Jolene!

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Jun 1·edited Jun 1Liked by Alison Acheson

Regarding book reviews, I write reviews for an education magazine and the pay is less than $25. However, I justify it by (a) I am helping to get the word out about a book that may help teachers as well as the author, and (b) I learn a lot from reading the books so it's like being paid to study, and (c) it's a bit og PR for my newsletter. That last is not to be discounted lightly, because the magazine reaches thousands of people. As for negative reviews, I don't like writing them either, especially as I know some of the authors and I always have my name in the byline. However, I think the reviewer's duty is, ultimately, to the reader or potential buyer, not the author. A couple of authors objected to my reviews of their books last year, and there were some nasty comments made about me publicly. I never respond to that sort of thing, and it only stopped when somebody tweeted "But Terry recommended it!" . Has that stopped me being critical where necessary? No, because the reviewer has a duty to be honest in my opinion, otherwise what's the point? I have not yet been obliged to open a book review with a sentence I came across a few years ago, in a magazine: "This is the most badly written book I have ever read."

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Very true about reaching readers by this work.

AND a resounding yes to the idea that your duty is to the reader.

Glad you shared these thoughts... and oh my! that sentence. May we never have to...

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Jun 2Liked by Alison Acheson

Nothing to say about book reviews for the moment, but really liked your photo. There’s something about being at elevation in the nominally warm part of the year and waking up in a camper, cabin or tent to fresh snow. Maybe it’s just knowing that you don’t have to deal with it right away like on a workday, but can just enjoy it. It also generally makes for a quiet morning since everyone else is doing the same thing.

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You've nailed that feeling! The quiet mostly. So welcome.

We did the same this year, in Echo Amphitheater in northern NM... woke up to snow!


Thank you, Frank

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Jun 3Liked by Alison Acheson

The date was January 1, 1974. We’d driven home to Montreal for Christmas in our turquoise 1963 Comet that ran on 5 cylinders. We’d bought it for $50 from a friend and considered it a steal. It had made it from Thunder Bay to Montreal through the winter weather without a complaint. It was time to go home.

The car was loosely loaded with skis, presents, suitcases, sandwiches and a tin of shortbread cookies. We’d planned to take turns driving all night to save the cost of a motel. I’d mis-placed my driver’s license but was unconcerned. It was probably somewhere in the chaos and would be retrieved upon unpacking.

It was now 11:00 pm and my turn to drive. My husband was sleeping peacefully at my side when I noticed a number of lights in the distance. We’d just turned onto a desolate stretch of highway that bordered the shores of Lake Superior. As I approached, I suddenly realized the road was slick with black ice. Vehicles were strewn across the highway and field. Suddenly my car took flight turning 360 degrees in both directions. The roof slammed against the ground then the car rolled back onto its wheels lurching to a stop in a snowy field.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” were my words as I watched a scene of our funeral, inconsolable relatives huddled around our caskets.

My husband awoke as we flew through the air and landed with a thump. Somehow, we’d miraculously survived. He instructed me to quickly change places with him to avoid getting fined or worse for driving without a license. Shortly thereafter two policeman appeared with torches. No questions were asked. They were sympathetic, checking on our well being and commenting on the treacherous conditions while examining the dent in the roof of our beloved Comet with raised eyebrows.

Tow trucks were already on the scene and mechanics had been called in to do emergency repairs. Within half an hour our car had been towed to the nearest garage. The radiator and hoses were replaced. Two hours later we were again on our way. We looked at each other in awe as our bruised and dented car kept right on chugging.

As we munched on random shortbreads found throughout the car we spotted a motel and without speaking turned into the parking lot to get a room for what was left of the night.

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Oh my! Seat belts were on obviously...

I loved the mention of the tin of shortbread at the outset, and wondered when we might see it again. But loved the "found throughout the car" even more.

The turning into the motel without speaking... yes.

A bit of a miracle altogether, surely.

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Jun 4Liked by Alison Acheson

Two Old Guys Talking

“Wow! Look at that! She’s gorgeous!”

Across the street from the coffee shop a Lamborghini-dark green with a red star emblazoned on the hood over the word Heineken-slowly pulled into a parking spot. The driver killed the engine and, after a few moments, opened the driver’s side door and awkwardly got out. He was a tall man, at least 6’ 4”, too tall to sit comfortably in a Lamborghini, thin, greying, probably in his mid to late 50s, and dressed like nearly everyone in Vancouver in early spring, in sneakers, jeans and fleece. He crossed the street, walking stiffly towards the beer and wine store up the block.

“You know,” Ted said, “A car like that is like a gorgeous woman. Sleek, powerful, stunningly beautiful. What a guy wouldn’t do to get inside her!”

Ellrod glanced over a next table where a mother and her young daughter were sitting, both on their phones, oblivious to the conversation.

“Expensive, high maintenance,” Ellrod said. “Probably way more than the average guy can handle. There was a story in the news a couple of years ago. A guy rented a Ferrari for a weekend and took it up the Sea-to-Sky. He got as far as Squamish before he crashed it. It caught on fire. Total loss.”

Ted snorted. “Probably covered by insurance.”

But Ellrod was thinking about his own automotive history. His first vehicle was a white, 1965 Ford Econoline van that his father had purchased for his small contracting firm. When his father sold the company and he and his young son moved to the coast, he kept the van, and Ellrod drove it during his teen years. It helped him make a few friends in high school and get in a couple of bands. He threw a mattress in the back and he and his first serious girlfriend took it camping. He recalled one evening in particular, a campfire, the scent of patchouli, the taste of hashish, an Indian lace blouse, a print cotton skirt. Ellrod felt a stir and took a sip of his coffee.

The Lamborghini driver returned from the liquor store with a case of Canadian under his arm. He placed the beer on the ground beside the car, opened the driver’s door, bent over, and looked inside. There was no room for the beer behind the seats. He popped the trunk lid, carried the beer to the rear of the car, and raised the trunk lid. The trunk was full of engine. He carried the beer back to the drivers door, and, reaching in, pulled the hood latch. He placed the beer on the pavement in front of the car, opened the hood, and peered in. There was no room there for a case of beer. He slammed the hood shut and scratched his head.

He carried the beer back to the driver’s door. Kneeling on the pavement, he placed the beer in the driver’s seat, and pushed it over to the passenger side. Then he awkwardly got into the car, started it up, and cautiously pulled into the street. The Lamborghini stopped at the stop sign and then turned right, onto Athlete’s Way, moving slowly, in first gear, the engine roaring.

Ellrod listened as the sound of the Lambo’s engine gradually diminished. His cars had nearly always been inexpensive, second-hand. Most were reliable. Only a few had ever left him stranded.

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The details of trying to home the beer--very good.

And the closing line: "only a few..." Given the nature of the Ellrod stories, I see him curbside, horn case in hand, and know there are more stories...

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