My short story Claire's Cabin appears in the March/April 2023 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
In Claire’s Cabin, three women settle beside the fireplace in a mountain cabin after a successful deer hunt. Friends since high school, each faced small town gossip and condemnation for their youthful indiscretions. They discuss an old mystery – the disappearance of an eccentric artist's abusive husband fifteen years ago. The former owner of the cabin they're in used found materials, including dead animals, in her artwork. After her husband vanished, Claire moved to a New Mexico artists' colony and found the peace she always desired. The women hunters puzzle over the mystery, while enjoying the second chance they each have achieved.
I was a day early for the 18th Annual Bighorn Sheep Day. My youngest granddaughter and I were enjoying the afternoon, and decided at the last minute to drive through the Garden of the Gods. We were stopped by traffic when my granddaughter pointed and exclaimed, "Wow!"
A park ranger waved us along, trying to keep traffic moving. Amazingly, we found a parking space. Neither of us was dressed for hiking, but we managed to clamber down an icy trail.
A herd of bighorn sheep tolerated adoring crowds, lounging and grazing just off the main road through the park. One large ram seemed to pose for photos.
This has become an annual event for my family. We manage to see the sheep almost every year.
The sign says: "KEEP OUT! Please observe from the trail." I imagine summer visitors straining to see the sheep. I have only seen them in the winter or spring.
I promised to follow up on my previous post, Keep This Check. I speculated on what the weather was like on January 13, 1931, and if Mrs. Clark herself ventured out to purchase underwear.
I found a shocking twist as revealed in my great-grandfather's journal (image below), as well as a photo of the store.
C. A. Smith & Son General Merchandise was built in 1910. By this fateful day, it had already been operating for over two decades. Mrs. Clark did not go shopping, and it wasn't the weather that kept her away. She was ailing. So the Mrs. Blogg or Blagg in my previous post must have made the purchase for her.
The morning began with frigid temperatures. George Caitlin Berry reported at 8am it was 5 degrees below zero F.
"I was up to see Mrs Clark this morning, she is in bad shape. Doc Fleeger says he don't think she will get over it. Ma is going up at 10:30 to see her. Bob Smith will take her up. Mrs. Frankie Clark died at 3:30 pm today. She was a good old friend of mine. She was 77 yrs - 7 mo - 3 days of age. She had many good traits and was very determined in her likes and dislikes."
So a few of my questions are answered, but one remains. Why did Mrs. B purchase underwear and hose for Mrs. Clark while the woman was on her deathbed? I may never know, but it has been fun putting together the clues.
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