Category Archives: old words

Three Sisters (from the archive)

An old newsletter article, written in September, 2001 (I don’t remember if it was before or after that month’s tumultuous events). Recopying from the original rough draft (I didn’t keep a final) in one of my journals:

Once upon a time on the western plains lived a man with his three daughters. Julietta was the oldest, Christina the middle, and Isabella the youngest. They lived a busy life on the plains – tending to animals, raising crops. And, though there were no schools on the frontier, their father wished that they all be educated.

So it was that as they grew up their father would take one of the sisters aside for a few hours each day, in order to teach them while the other two continued working. He would teach the same basic lessons, though he would use a different approach for each girl.

Consequently, as the girls grew each remembered their lessons a little differently. They all learned, through his patient tutelage of each, that their father loved and valued each one greatly.

Julietta learned, from her father’s example, the importance of working hard to support those she loved. He would rise early to do his chores, spend time teaching one of them, and then finish his share in the evening. She learned to express her love through being an obedient and dutiful daughter.

Christina’s greatest lesson was also not in the books her father taught her to read, but in his love. She learned that his love for his daughters was great. On days he taught one, he would always inquire of the other two at dinner how their chores had gone, if they needed more help… She learned that her father loved her, even when she wasn’t as strong or able as one of her sisters.

Isabella also excelled at her lessons, but learned more from her father’s love as well. She would remember the balance her father kept, and expected, of each of them – how they were to work hard at chores and also at their lessons. Isabella’s greatest lesson was of his expectation that in her love for him she would work hard.

Today the three sisters extended families still learn of their father, each remembering his lessons a little differently, but all remembering and knowing how much he loved each daughter. Though the families of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam may sometimes not see past their differences, their Father loves them all equally.


Random Journal Quote

One final, random quote from my European journal, before I put the thing away:

My children are all bastards; misbegotten by the unplanned union of instrument and paper, taking their oft misshapen or unfinished forms out of my being into the world. I dare say they would be more successful were I more a doting, loving parent than I am.

October, 1997

words from Europe

I’m prepping for a message this Sunday about “vacationing with God” in Europe, so was perusing my journal from my travels. (Once upon a time I had a travel weblog online, before “blog” was even coined, but it is gone now!) Here are two quick excerpts for anyone interested.

We headed down the Champs d’ Elysees toward the Louvre, walked through its garden and past the museum to see Notre Dame… Notre Dame was an experience beyond words. Built to edify God and Reason, and to strive toward the Heavens, it towers above you. I felt humbled, and awed, in the presence of Another greater than I… I want to write something significant and profound, especially after such emotionally moving and spiritually uplifting experiences in Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. Unfortunately, I’m too sore and tired… (August 30, 1997)

Paris overwhelmed my mind… My traveling is instilling in me a greater sense of history and an overflowing sense of awe for the artistry of man, and his devotion to God in decades past. (September 2, 1997)

“A Ronnie Holmes Mystery”

NPR  ran an interview last week with several Sherlock Holmes fans/scholars, in large part because Guy Ritchie is directing a forthcoming take on Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey, Jr. It looks intriguing, and it was a good interview (th0ugh I can’t find a link – if you score one, let me know and I’ll add it)

In any case, part of the interview shared how for decades authors have taken and placed Holmes in new adventures, and it occurred to me that I once did the same thing. Kind of. So, here for the first time on the web…

The Murder of James McNeil
(A Ronnie Holmes Mystery)
(written for Mr. Clarke’s 6th Grade Class, April 13, 1987; presented as is)

“Hi Dad,” I said walking in, “How is everything going.”

“Fine,” he said, “Watson and I just finished a case.”

“That’s great,” I said, “Where is the old chap?”

“He’s at home with Josh,” dad said.

“May I go see him?” I asked.

“Okay,” he said.

“Thank you,” I said, leaving.

I was at the Watson’s in a couple of minutes. Josh opened the door.

“Hello Ronnie,” he said, “Are you ready to go?”

“Rightio,” I said. We walked out and started for the park. Just then we heard a scream. Falling out of a window on the tenth story came a body. It hit the ground. We ran over to it.

“It’s, it’s James,” exclaimed Josh. Indeed it was, James McNeil, son of Neil Macintosh, who before he was murdered had helped my dad. Now his son was dead.

“There are no wounds,” said Josh, “but there’s blood on his back.”

“Strange,” I said, “What do you think?”

“Maybe the murder [sic] cut himself,” said Josh.

“Maybe, come on,” I said. I rushed into the building. We went up to James’ room. We went through the already open door.

“Holmes,” said Josh, “Look!” On the ground I saw a large puddle of blood.

“Well, Holmes,” said Josh, “what about it?”

I looked around the room. I found a piece of a shirt and I saw something on the bed. A blood spattered knife.

“A knife,” I said, “Now everything closes. Come on Watson,” I picked up the knife and cloth, “We’ve got to catch Wayne Simpson before he escapes.” I rushed out of the room. Josh hurried to catch up. I saw Wayne coming toward us. He [sic] shirt sleeve was ripped off and his shirt was red. He had his left hand in his pocket.

I knocked him over and his arm flew out of his pocket. His hand was cut off. I took him to the police.

“How did you know?” asked Josh.

“Easy,” I said, “When I saw the blood puddle I knew there had been a struggle. I looked at the cloth I found and it was a shirt sleeve with a Victorian knight on it. The Simpson crest. Under it I saw the initials W.S. Then I found the blood splattered steak knife I knew James cut him. But I thought only his fingers were cut off. Ends up his whole hand was.”

“How did you know it had to do with his hands?” asked Josh.

“Even Easier,” I said, “He pushed James out head first. He had to push him on the back.”

“Yes, I think your [sic] right,” said Josh, “Oh, Ronnie.”

“Yes,” I said.

“You’ll make a great detective,” said Josh, “Like your Father.”

“Thank you,” I said.

So ends this Ronnie Holmes Adventure. #1 in a series of 5.


I guess as a fifth grade author sharing detail in the narrative itself so the reader is in on the discovery was not quite as important as “Mary-Sue”ing myself into Sir Author Conan Doyle’s world. As I read this for the first time in 20+ years, I have to wonder:

  • How in the world did a confirmed bachelor, with an aversion to women, father a son of the same age as his erstwhile colleague?
  • What else beyond “it hit the ground” would have happened to a body falling from a tenth story window?
  • And… I suppose that were this was a Star Trek adventure (instead of a Holmes story) the red shirt would have been on the corpse. 🙂