Welcome to Pat's Place

Thanks for stopping by Pat's Place. I hope you enjoy my blog.

As a writer, I will be blogging about many things that interest me. My posts will be about what I am writing and other things I'm doing. Enjoy!

Web site: http://rthrbrtn.synthasite.com

Sunday, March 1, 2015


   Or as someone changed it Dinner All Day and Preachin’ on the Ground.
  Here in Missouri as the population grew, small churches spring up in rural communities.  A popular celebration was everyone going to church for services and sharing lunch before having another service or a singin’ before going home.  Yes, it was called preachin’ and singin’. We hill folks often dropped our g’s.
  The ladies brought their specialties for lunch.  Potato salad, sweet potatoes with sugar syrup of course, cake, and pie. My mother’s specialty was hot rolls. I can smell them now. She made them in a large baking pan and the rolls overflowed the sides of the pan.
  In early days, the meat provided might be wild game. My grandmother told the story of having nothing to take to the church dinner.  She was ashamed they were so poor they didn’t have anything to share.  So she and her sister-in-law improvised and cooked a possum.  She said everyone complimented her on the meat and didn’t think anything about the fact that it was possum.
  If the church had a table or two to take outside, lunch was spread on the tables.  In a pinch, a couple of boards on sawhorses would suffice.  Little girls wore their best dresses and were careful not to get them dirty as they sat on the ground to eat.
 I discovered the practice went back to Old Testament times.   Many of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. They had rebuilt the temple and the walls of the city.  They came together in Jerusalem to hear Ezra, priest and teacher read from the Law.
  Ezra, the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for that purpose.  All the people stood up as Ezra read from the Law of Moses.  Ezra read from daybreak until noon and all the people listened.
  Afterward the Governor Nehemiah told them to be joyful, to go home and eat and drink.  He also instructed them to share with those who did not have food.


Monday, January 19, 2015

 My novel Murder on Tour is set in Ireland.  If you think I am obsessed with Ireland you are right. I loved traveling in the country, seeing the ancient buildings and soaking up atmosphere.

  Please read Murder on Tour, and leave a review.

This true story caught my interest. It would be a wonderful historical fiction book.

Christian (Kit) Cavanagh (1667-1739) joined the Irish military to search for her husband who was forced into service. She disguised herself as a man and fought in several significant battles, first as an infantry man, then as a dragoon. She found her husband after thirteen years when he was already with another woman. Their marriage over, she returned to Dublin and remarried.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bits and Pieces of a Great Vacation - continued

GPS – Don’t trust them. They are out to get you lost.

   The coach driver had a GPS he called Lola. Lola didn’t like the route the tour guide chose and we followed Lola.  Followed her around and around and up and down.  We were on our way to Saratoga Springs, NY. Lola made sure we took the scenic route.  It was interesting. We went through quaint little villages with old, old buildings that begged for a camera toting tourist.  But it was not to be.  On and on we traveled.  The trees were beautiful yellow, red and green.  They crowded both sides of the narrow road. It seemed every turn we made took us to one more little cow path.  It was not a good time for motion sickness as Kim can attest. 

We finally arrived at our destination, The Residence Inn, to find a four lane highway running nearby.  Remember: Don’t trust Lola.  Our tour director had never used this Inn and was giving them a chance to be put on his list.  Our good luck was they wanted to impress and impress they did with a sumptuous dinner. It was not on our list of dinners included so we felt lucky.  The rooms were 1 bedroom kitchenettes and very nice.

We left the Inn about eight a.m. and drove a couple of hours to Quechee Gorge, The Grand Canyon of Vermont. The trees were in full color and the gorge was spectacular. Finally we are gazing upon New England Fall Foliage.

Bath NH was the next stop. We were supposed to view the covered bridge there but it was in repair so it was not picturesque. Bath has the oldest general store still in business. The general store had a bit of everything.  I bought Caleb an outfit there; long red johns with a drop down seat that said ‘bear bottom’. We tested the ice cream at the ice cream shop and pronounced it good.  The small church was having a fund raiser to make repairs on their building. We bought small items from the crafts inside the church.  We stopped at two covered bridges on down the road that was not on our itinerary.

Our bed for the night was at The White Mountain Resort near North Conway NH.  It is a beautiful place with many amenities. We focused on the scrumptious dinner where Marcie and Charles McCrackin were our dinner partners. I had apple cider baked chicken and Kim ordered the filet mignon with a Brownie Sundae for desert.  Desert came in a huge bowl full of brownies and ice cream. There was enough for   3 or 4 people.  Kim made a valiant effort and consumed most of it.  People from our coach kept stopping by to view the huge bowl of brownie Sundae.

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport was interesting. We had a couple of hours there for lunch and shopping. It is a tourist town known for the lobster and seafood.  A drive by of the Bush Compound caught our interest and although the coach was not allowed to stop, the driver drove very slow so we could take pictures.

On to Boston and through the tunnel under Boston at rush hour. Lola again, I don’t know but it was stressful time with cars and truck before and aft and all around. Our driver Lyle persevered and got us through.

I don’t care to view Boston’s tunnel ever again.   

We saw cranberry bogs as we drove through MA.  Interesting that they let the cranberries get ripe, then flood the bogs. The ripe cranberries float to the top of the water, while those that are unripe stay on the bushes until they become ripe, then they float to the top.

We drove through NYC but didn’t stop. We saw the skyline, the statue of liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the twin tower memorial. That is as close to NYC as I want to get.


Bird in Hand – That is a town.

We arrived at Bird in Hand PA in time to rest before boarding the bus to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.  I was not impressed with the dinner or the program “Menopause the Musical.”  The place was crowded and noisy.  We had to stand in line for food and then again for desert, which was good but hey, this crowd was used to being served at the table.

The next day in Lancaster County PA was very interesting.  Our guide was a Mennonite woman who was familiar with the old order of Amish. She broke a few bubbles when she informed us the fiction books about the Amish are not accurate. The old order Amish does not use machinery so we watched the harvesters using 6 mules or 6 horses.  The mode of travel is of course a buggy but if you are not traveling far, you use a kick bike.  Just a scooter with bigger wheels and handlebars. Clothes are hung to dry on a revolving clothes line. The washer person stands in one place, hanging the clothes, then moves the clothes on down the line, giving her a place to hang the next item of clothing.  It is not unusual to see the clothes line just outside the front door.   

Dinner inside the Amish home was an experience.  The lady of the house seated us at a long table in her living room and food was served family style.  The food was good but not outstanding.  I would have loved to have time to talk with her one on one but there wasn’t time.  There was some furniture I think were antique but also many things handmade.  We visited a quilt shop and a woodworking shop.  Both were interesting and some of our friends bought items to take home.  One outstanding feature was that every home had beautiful flowers in bloom.

Our next stop was to be the Flight 93 National Memorial but it was closed due to the government shutdown at the time and we didn’t get to see it.   

The next two days was steady driving to get to Terre Haute, IN and then on home. It was truly a fantastic trip. The only down side was the two driving days to get to Niagara and two driving days to get back to Springfield. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Did They Really Step Out On This Itty Bitty Rock?


       I was looking forward to visiting Plymouth MA, where the pilgrims landed after traveling across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. We were allowed to tour the Mayflower Replica. Amazing that people were brave enough to travel across a vast ocean in such a small vessel. I have to admire people who were willing to leave their home country in search of religious freedom.
      The guide told us the passengers stayed below and the crew stayed above because the passengers were Christians and they did not appreciate the actions and language of the crew.
      Our ancestor Edward Fuller, his wife and son, Samuel, were on the Mayflower.  It was a really small ship to carry so many people for such a long time. The rock they allegedly stepped out on was on display, with the 1620 etched on it.  It was a small rock; I feel certain that people who had been on that rocking and rolling ship would have chosen a bigger rock to step out on.
Sadly Edward Fuller and his wife died the first winter they were in America, leaving their son, Samuel, an orphan. He went to live with his father’s brother Samuel who was a doctor.
We viewed the memorial in honor of those hardy pilgrims who braved storms, hunger and crowded conditions on the Mayflower so long ago. It is a beautiful memorial listing everyone’s names.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Niagara Falls

I could have titled this “I left my heating pad in New Hampshire” (Oh those long miles of sitting makes for a cricky dismount) or I was drunk at the Skylon Tower. Only one of those things would be fiction. Actually I felt drunk at the Skylon Tower. Kim and I were bright and bushy tailed when we met the bus that would take us to tour Fall Foliage in New England. Well, that’s not quick right. We stumbled and struggled out of bed in time to meet the bus at 5:30 a.m. Believe me that is not the hour I want to meet a lot of strangers. And strangers they were, 34 people we had never met before. Standing right in front of the bus door was Chuck. He asked, “Did you bring breakfast?” I replied, “I thought you were bringing breakfast.” And we made our first friend Chuck and Linda Philipian from Nixa, MO. We learned later that Chuck had cancer and this trip was between chemo treatments and he was paying a last visit to places from his early days. They were interesting people. He had been a science teacher and she is an artist still working at MSU. A stop at Rolla for breakfast,(don’t drink too much coffee; you will need a bathroom and who wants to parade down the aisle to the back of the bus to relieve yourself.) I actually heard a story from one tour guide about a lady who fell out of the toilet when the bus rounded a corner. I didn’t want to be that lady, so I went easy on the coffee. Fourteen states in nine days – this was going to be a loooong bus ride. The first day we hurried to arrive at the Drury Inn Dayton, Ohio in time for their snacks, hoping that would suffice as dinner. Suffice it did. There was plenty to junk food. I snagged a baked potato, covered it in spicy chili, nachos entered the picture also. Soft drinks were free and we were given a voucher for three alcoholic drinks. I didn’t use my voucher but the cold Sprite hit the spot to make up for the coffee I didn’t drink in the a.m. The next morning we discovered Drury Inn has a great breakfast buffet. So far we hadn’t seen any colorful trees but we kept looking. Another early start and we were on the bus Niagara Fall, Ontario Canada. Lake Erie was a glimpse out of the left side of the bus. It was Sunday so our tour guide played some gospel music. One of our group threw a fit about the music. She didn’t want to hear it, it was too loud, it hurt her ears, etc. etc. She was very vocal in her distaste for the music. She kept asking everyone if we thought it was too loud. She finally poked Kleenex in her ears. Kim and I christened “The Crazy Cat Lady” because she said she had six cats at home. Later in the day, we changed her name to Ms Blue Flowers, because she went to sleep for a time and after waking up asked everyone if we had seen the pretty blue flowers along the side of the road. We named four women traveling together the Chatty Chicks. They insisted on riding in the back of the bus and were very loud. At first they were flirty but as the week went on they calmed down. Niagara Falls is spectacular. Words cannot describe the power of the water falling over to the rocks below. We had to show our passports to get into Canada and hoped the agent wouldn’t insist on searching the bus because we were anxious to get to our room and out again to view the magnificent river and the American and Canadian falls. We were scheduled to have dinner at the Skylon Tower Restaurant, 775 feet above the falls. I had been fighting a headache all day and really wanted to attend this formal dinner high about the Canadian Falls. The Restaurant rotates so that the diners continually see a different part of the city. Soooo I decided to take a strong pain pill to get me through the evening. Diners are taken up to the tower in an elevator car that travels outside the walls of the tower. Whew! Dizzy is not the word I was feeling. Kim grabbed my arm and I walked unsteadily to the table indicated. It was lovely. White table cloths, with napkins standing at attention, all kinds of glass and silver ware. We were assigned an inside booth but we could still see the revolving skyline under and around us. More Dizzy? You bet. And it didn’t get any better. The food was excellent and the waiter very attentive. I had filet mignon and Kim had Chicken Cordon bleu. We struggled to climb one more story for another view but were disappointed, the view from the restaurant was better. Kim and Linda decided to walk down to the falls and take pictures of the lighted falls. Chuck and I were to go back to the hotel. Kim asked me if I would be OK going back alone to the hotel. I said, “Just get me on the right bus.” I was loopy from the pill and the revolving scenery. She escorted me to the bus. I told her just to tell everyone I was drunk. I was able to find my way to our room. Needless to say, when she returned from her walk with Linda, I was in bed and very glad to be there. The next day, we had a step on guide to tell us all about the falls. The bus stopped occasionally to allow us to take pictures and get lunch. Our guide was a delightful lady with a slight accent. She seemed determined to tell us about all the disasters connected with the falls. Many people died trying to defy the raging water. Late afternoon, after a trip to the duty free shop, we were whisked back across the border in a timely fashion. We were told people could walk across the bridge from America to Canada free but to walk from Canada to America it cost fifty cents. Really!


Sunday, September 15, 2013


King Solomon’s Wise Words to Baby Prince George of Cambridge. Solomon was a wise man. He asked the Lord to give him wisdom and God allowed him wisdom. (1 Kings 3:7-14.) Solomon was a famous man. He was King of Israel. He was the son of a king. He built the great temple in Jerusalem that his father King David was not allowed to build. Solomon was a rich man. His incredible riches are recorded in 1 Kings, Chapter 10. Yet in his wisdom he knew that riches did not bring happiness in the world. “Whoever loves money, never has money enough... and what benefit are they (things bought with money) to the owner except to feast his eyes on them. (Eccl.5:10-11 NIV)” Solomon knew that things of the world are temporary. We are put in the world at God’s command and only what we do for Him will last into eternity. Baby Prince George was born to be king. He has wealth. He is already famous as heir to the throne of England. He will be written about, photographed and talked about all of his life. He will be remembered in history. What he makes of himself is his choice. Solomon would say to him, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (Eccl:5:15 NIV) Memories last forever. As a genealogist, I pore over long forgotten pictures and letters, trying to find out about those who have gone before. One cousin wrote about my great grandmother, “She was a kind lady.” I remember she also chewed tobacco. We must be careful what kind of memories we leave – good memories or bad. Be aware of the influence you have on others. Years ago people put mottos on the wall. I remember one that said, “Only what is done for Christ will last.” It is important that we spend our time on things that are eternal. Those things are all we will carry into eternity when we die.