Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I FINISHED IT!! And Then You Dye is in the hands of Jackie, my very capable editor at Berkley, and my wonderful agent, Nancy. I know they’ll have ideas for improving it, and I’m looking forward to hearing from them about it.

Joanna Campbell Slan is going to hold an Internet Valentine’s Day party on February 14. Instead of us Killer Hobbies bloggers offering a book to someone who tunes in, we’re each going to offer a box of chocolates. I was going to buy a Whitman Sampler, and actually had the box in my hand yesterday, when I got a better idea. In Excelsior, where my books are set, there is a chocolate shop called Truffle Hill. They make their own chocolate candy up there, and it is wonderful. So I am going to offer a small box (their stuff is costly) of assorted chocolates to a person to be named during the party. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

A good friend of mine and I – and our households – have established a custom of going to one another’s home on alternate years to watch the Super Bowl. Neither of us is particularly a big football fan, but it’s a good excuse to get together, talk, play Scrabble pre-game, eat, and comment on the commercials. Actually, it was a good game this year, too, not decided until the last few seconds.

My mother was a sports fan, a bigger one than my father. Living in Wisconsin, she was a Packer booster, big time. The sound of a football game playing on television was so much a part of my growing up that to this day I’ll turn one on when preparing Thanksgiving dinner just to “complete” the ambiance.

I remember one half time entertainment in particular, from back in the late fifties. It featured a man’s smooth, professional voice reciting Rudyard Kipling’s “If,” accompanied by swift takes of various football games to illustrate it. The poem begins, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs . . .” and there was a series of swift cuts of tackles so hard that helmets went flying. For the line, “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you . . .” there was a referee standing firm, arms folded, while players and coaches screamed at him from all sides. “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run” showed two teams engaged in a fierce battle to cross or defend the goal line while the clock was running down. And the final line, “And, which is more, you’ll be a man, my son!” Showed a triumphant player on the frozen sidelines at night, backlit by lights, while someone throws one of those heavy, warming cloaks around his shoulders.

I have never forgotten that film. It set off a lifelong admiration of Kipling’s mighty meter. I wish I could find a copy of that film somewhere. When I was in Green Bay a few years ago, I spoke to the keeper of the archives at Lambeau Field about it, and he was sure it wasn’t a Packer presentation. Does anyone else out there remember it? Who put it together? Does a copy of it exist somewhere?


Chrystle Fiedler said...

Congrats on finishing! YEAH! Great post!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I second Chrystle's congrats on finishing! I admit to watching part of the Super Bowl--halftime and a lot of commercials. I thought it was great how many of the ads starred animals, especially dogs!

Betty Hechtman said...

Congrats on finishing and sending off your manuscript.

I like the way you describe your super bowl get together. More about the get together than the super bowl.

I didn't watch any of it. My husband and son went to watch it with friends and I blissfully enjoyed finally having a little time at home alone.