Friday, May 13, 2011


Okay. So, why haven’t I done this before? I don’t know. But, I suppose now I feel a little more comfortable here. I am trying to lure you in to be my follower. I want more Facebook fans. I want to sell more books. I want to be Twittered about. I am trying to get this out there to the world. I want this story to be read. All of the above.
While in local markets, Just Sippy has done well, and, in Colorado, the home of my publisher, it has done very well, but I want more. Like most things in my life, I want more. More shoes, more caffeine in my coffee, more excuses for my non-dieting days, more chocolate, more money, more free time, more time with the kids, more date nights, more writing time, more novels….the list could go on and on.
So, with that, I give you the first few pages of Just Sippy.
I hope to leave you hanging and wanting more. More of Sippy….
Reviews are welcome. Twitter about it. LIKE my fan page on Facebook. Follow this blog. Write a review. Buy the book!

Hope you like it.
Until next time,



Never have been good at tellin’ stories. Mama says I talk too fast, and Daddy says I leave out important stuff like the color the sky was or how the room smelled. I just tell it, is all—the way I see it. Guess I don’t notice the sky much. And all I ever smell is fish. Damn river. Every time it rains, I can’t smell nothin’ but fish.
Most folks don’t notice that smell no more, but I do. And most folks have lived here their whole lives. Even their mama and daddy and granddad and memaw have lived here their whole lives. Memaw. That’s what I call my grandmother. Don’t know why. Never did hear that story. Guess I should of asked. Probably wouldn’t tell it right though, so it don’t really matter none.
I got a better story to tell. It don’t matter if I tell it right or not. Ain’t nobody gonna hear it but you. And nobody else is gonna tell it. So it’s just ’tween you and me. Now, if I get goin’ too fast, well, I’m mighty sorry. If I forget to tell ya a smell or a color, just make one up in yer head. I don’t think color matters none, but the sky here is blue like anyplace else. And like I said, all ya ever smell is fish.
My name’s Sippy. That’s not my given name, of course. When I tell ya my real name, ya can’t laugh. I got two memaws, and Mama and Daddy wanted me named after ’em, but they couldn’t choose one over the other for my first name, so I got two middle names, Bernice and GraceAnna.
Have I told ya yet my daddy loves storytellin’, fables, and anything odd or unusual? Have ya ever heard of The Three Princes of Serendip or Horace Walpole? I’m not surprised none if ya haven’t. From what I gather, there is a fairy tale about some princes who found stuff by accident and whatnot. Well, them princes, they was from Serendip (that’s a country), and they made a real big impression on that Walpole guy. So he made up a word—serendipity — to mean “by accident.”
My daddy said I came to them by accident. So he named me—no laughin’ now—Serendipity! Serendipity Bernice GraceAnna Johnson. But try teachin’ that to a baby brother. It comes out Sippy. And that’s what everybody calls me. Just Sippy.
I got two brothers and two sisters. They got normal names—Thomas Joseph, Rebecca Elizabeth, Emma Ruth, and the baby, James Scott. Of course, to us, they’s Tommy, Becky, Emmy, and Jimmy. Two is older and two is younger. I fit right in the middle. And we got a dog. We call him Whiskey. He’s almost eleven, which is how old I am. Daddy says he ain’t gonna make it much longer. Hope he never says that about me. I guess in dog years, though, eleven is a lot. That’s what Becky told me anyhow. She tells me a lot of the stuff I don’t know.
She told me about our neighbor, old Mr. Baker. Guess he’s not really mean like we all thought. He’s just sad. His wife had an operation years ago, and she couldn’t have babies. So they just stayed alone all their life. When she passed, summer before last, he just got sad. I always heard he was a mean old man and not to go near his gate or he’d come after ya with a chain saw. I never have walked that way home. My friend Max don’t believe Becky and says he’s as mean as all the stories say. Says it’s all true, and he’s seen the saw even.
“Seen it with my own eyes. Hangin’ in the shed when me and Pa did some work for him.”
“That don’t mean nothin’,” I told him. “Daddy’s got a saw himself.”
But he said Mr. Baker’s had blood all over it.
“Drippin’ right down into his hay bales!”
I didn’t believe him none. I think he just likes to show off. He does that a lot. Becky says it’s ’cause he is smitten with me, but I don’t think she’s right about that at all. Max is just a boy, and boys love to show off.
Becky also told me about the curse I’ll be gettin’ soon. All girls get it, she said. She said it will come every month with the full moon, and it’s women’s punishment for what Eve did. I said Memaw never told me anything about that when she taught me about the Bible. I said I never heard such nonsense, but she swears it’s true. Becky wouldn’t swear if it weren’t true.
Now mind ya, nothin’ real excitin’ ever happens around here. We live in Iowa, and well, it’s just like you heard it to be. Quiet. Everybody knows everybody. We don’t have dirt floors, and we aren’t married to our cousins like the jokes say. Although Daddy says Mama’s crazy friend, Dottie Roberts, and her husband Frank are related on her Mama’s side.
“It sure would explain a lot about them kids o’ theirs.” That’s what Daddy said to Mama, and then he reminded her about a time when them kids was on top of their house and they just started jumpin’ off it. “Two of ’em broke their arms, and I think they all got stitches somewhere. They said they was tryin’ to fly!” Then Mama remembered a time those kids were makin’ tents out of blankets.
“Remember? They had one side tucked behind the davenport, and the other side was over a chair. One of them thought it looked like a trampoline and jumped off the back of the davenport right into the middle of that stretched-out blanket.” Mama put her hands on her hips and spun around to face Daddy. “Frank’s mama was sittin’ there. Remember me tellin’ ya? She was holdin’ that blanket in place. Why, it flipped that poor woman right clean outta that chair.” She shook her head. “Looked like a turtle on it’s back when she tried gettin’ up.”
Mama said she was darn mad at those kids. She chased after ’em, but they just ran off gigglin’. Daddy says all them kids are still pretty wild.
Since our town is so small, we hear lots of stories like that, and usually the people are some relation to a neighbor or two. So let me tell ya. When something big does happen, it’s the talk all right. And somebody always manages to know your business. I ain’t figured out yet how that happens, but it does.
My brother, Tommy, skipped school once with Mary Beth Lawrence. He took her down to the river for a picnic, way down on the island side where no one lives or has any reason to be, and I’ll be darned if Daddy didn’t hear about it down in Bakers Flatt, about thirty miles from here. And he knowed it long before they even got done eatin’ the pie Mary Beth stole from her grandmother’s kitchen. Shoot, her grandmother didn’t even know the pie was gone, and the whole town knew they ate it.
My Aunt Lily found out she was gonna be havin’ my cousin Billy from the lady at the beauty shop. Mama said the nurse at the doctor’s office was the sister-in-law of one of the ladies who fixes hair, and she spilled the beans. Becky told me eatin’ beans won’t make me with child; I was glad to hear that, ’cause I hadn’t ate beans in a long time.
Like I said, I’m eleven, which makes it 1973. And my story starts in November…

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