The Winter Season of festivities and frantic and frightening shopping is upon us. Here’s my gift to start off the Holiday Season.

Pass the Stakes, It’s Thanksgiving
By A.L. Brown

Dinner was on the table.

The turkey was partially carved and my aunt was passing the dressing to her husband, Howie. He never eats the dressing. All those carbs will do him in, he says. I think that a pack a day and a case every weekend will do it first. Me and my cousin have a going bet. She’s a big fan of heart disease. Guess she got it wrong.

It looks like I did too.

I’ve never been much for making the table pretty and proper, but as I stared at it this time, I knew without out a doubt that it was all wrong. Everything was wrong except for the cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce is supposed to be red.

I made it back. The drive from Santa Fe to home was dark and uneventful until I was about a mile and a half from home. There was a cessation of forward momentum and a lack of rpms. A chain and my Dad got me the rest of the way. As nice as the Hotel Santa Fe is, I was glad to sleep in my own bed where it was dark and quite—at least until later in the morning…

Then, of course, the wind decided to start screaming. I had hoped that the sandstorm would not be back, but I was disappointed. It was bad enough that the USPSA shoot was even canceled. Considering how much flak and ridicule the range owner received the last time he canceled because of wind, one might get an inkling of the severity of the wind.

As pleased as I am to return to my fortress of solitude, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and the Hillerman Writers Conference.

The attendees and the faculty were all pleasant to be around. There was a nice lack of separation between the newer writers and the veterans of the craft. The common bond of writing was of utmost importance rather than the details of our publishing history.

Another great feature was the pervasive optimism that dominated the tone of conference. unlike some of my experiences with writers and conferences, there was a great deal of encouragement from the faculty and the established writers for those of us who are still trying to sneak past the great gatekeepers.

I find myself more inspired and encouraged to continue writing than I have felt in some time. I cannot recommend the Hillerman Conference enough. The intimate setting, friendliness of everyone, and the relevance and quality of the presentations makes it a most enjoyable and, I think, useful writing conference. I am already looking forward to next year.
That is all for now. I must write.