Fall is not my favorite season. Here in Upstate New York it is usually cold and wet, signaling for me the coming of snow, more cold and ice. But this year, we had no summer, only rain, rain, rain. So now we are enjoying summer, weeks of sunny, warm weather. A little late, perhaps, but welcome.
Two holidays mark the season: Halloween and Thanksgiving, celebrated by a lot of eating. Halloween means I overbuy candy for the trick or treaters and am left with all that chocolate to consume afterwards. I’m trying to purchase healthier treats like pretzels, but I love pretzels, so I eat what’s left, still a weight gain issue for early November. As for Thanksgiving, that’s dinner with potatoes and gravy, foods I consume rarely, but with gusto on turkey day. And that’s the weight gain for early December. By the time Christmas gets here, I can play Santa without the padding.
As difficult as the season is with its two foodie days, I have used these holidays as spring boards for writing about several of my favorite characters–Aunt Nozzie and the grandmothers. This trio of troublemakers is based upon members of my own family. I could say “loosely based” upon family members, but that would be lying. My family was, uh, unusual.
As some of you know, the publisher Untreed Reads has brought out a series of Thanksgiving anthologies, collections of short Thanksgiving themed stories. Another of my stories made it in this year, but first, you should know that Aunt Nozzie and the grandmothers appeared in a novella about Halloween. Aunt Nozzie and the grandmothers dressed up for a costume party and bobbed for apples with a hit man.
Description of the Mayhem: Darcie hopes for the best when her grandmothers and Aunt Nozzie arrive for a visit in the autumn, but their past get-togethers have often resulted in gun shots, car chases and exploding sauces. The trio of trouble arrive in a motorhome filled with bushels of apples which her aunt intends to make into applesauce for transport and sale back home, and Nozzie insists they visit a nearby orchard to purchase more. Her grandmothers take a shine to the man living next to Darcie, and at the orchard, Aunt Nozzie and the president of the college where Darcie teaches find companionship in a jug of cider. Love is in the air for everyone it appears, except for Darcie. Nozzie invites the president to a Halloween party at Darcie’s house, a costume party where hiding behind a mask only ups the likelihood that something can go wrong. If the burgeoning relationship between the prez and her aunt doesn’t go well, Darcie could lose her job, and the president might lose his life. Anything can happen when Aunt Nozzie and the grandmothers come for a visit and design their own Halloween costumes.
Here’s the link for it in case you want to see how much trouble these gals can make::
I thought moving the story to Halloween might prevent murder, but I was wrong.
Now we have another Thanksgiving where things do not go well.
This Thanksgiving’s offering is in The Killer Wore Cranberry: Another Course of Chaos, edited again by J. Alan Hartman. “A Season to Worry” is all about Aunt Nozzie and the grandmothers determined to do good for Nozzie’s niece’s community. What happens is, well, criminal.
Here’s a sampling:
There was only one argument over the holiday bazaar: what label we should put on our applesauce jars. Would it be “Grandma’s Genuine Swedish Applesauce,” which Grandma Mama insisted should be written in Swedish on the jars, i.e, “Gerplunken Fodishe.” Or was it “Drakke Blog”? We finally decided on “Interstate Applesauce,” and an artistic friend of mine made the labels, which I used the department’s copier to run off. The department secretary caught me at it, but agreed to keep quiet when I offered her five jars. Would she keep quiet when she tasted the concoction? There was no guarantee Grandma Mama had not slipped some of her Muscatel wine into a few jars when no one was looking.
“I’ve got another great idea,” said Aunt Nozzie, reading the local paper the evening before the bazaar.
That’s never a good lead in to anything in my family.
“There’s this church in town offering Thanksgiving dinner to the poor and homeless. We should volunteer to help serve.”
My grandmothers clapped their hands together and began to dance around the room. I thought about a Thanksgiving where we weren’t cooking or dining out, ways of celebrating that often had led to turkey trouble. This seemed like a wonderful idea, yet later that night while lying in bed, I had an attack of indigestion, and I was sure it wasn’t from too many of Aunt Nozzie’s Scarlett O’Haras, because you just can’t have too many Scarlet O’Haras. Did I have the right to unleash my aunt and grandmothers on the hungry in our community?
Buy it on Amazon in eformats and print:
Or go to the Untreed reads store for eformats and print: https://untreedreads.com/store
Happy holidays, good eating, fun romps with the gals, and diet until Christmas!