Oct 032021

Longtime reader Gerri Poth Beckman and her hubby John are spending some time in our old stomping grounds, the White Mountains of Arizona. Before we went on the road as fulltime RVers, Terry and I lived there and I published the weekly newspaper. The White Mountains are also the setting for my Big Lake mystery series, and I preface every book by posting this disclosure: While there is a body of water named Big Lake in the White Mountains of Arizona, the community of Big Lake and all persons in this book live only in the author’s imagination. Any resemblance in this story to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 That’s not entirely true, because people I know do sometimes sneak into the stories, but their names are changed to protect the innocent. Or the guilty, as it may be.

Yesterday Gerri posted this picture on Facebook for me while they were out exploring the area.

And while we are still dealing with mid-80 degree temperatures here in central Florida, Sunrise Park Resort, located a short drive from Big Lake, got two inches of snow the other day. No, thank you. It’s written in my contract that if it snows, the Nixter goes.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but I’m not so sure about that. Yesterday afternoon Terry and I were doing some pruning to the citrus trees in our yard and came across this humongous grasshopper hiding in the leaves of our Key Lime tree. At first, I thought it was a lizard, which we have thousands of around here. For reference, the second picture is of the grasshopper with Terry’s shoe for comparison.

When I mentioned working on my new book in yesterday’s blog, another longtime reader, Bobbie Chapman, said she hoped it would be the next book in the Tinder Street series. No, Bobbie, it’s the next Big Lake book. I need some more information on how schools and the City of Toledo handled budgets and such during the Great Depression that I have not been able to find online. I may need to go there to research it in person if a few inquiries I made do not pan out. But one way or the other, Tinder Street will be next on the list, I promise.

People who didn’t live during the Great Depression have no idea just how different it was. All across the country everyone was strapped for cash, from the man on the street to once-wealthy bankers and investors who lost their fortunes to companies and municipalities who could not make their payrolls and meet their obligations. Among them was the City of Toledo. Like many cities across the country, when they didn’t have the money to pay their employees, they issued scrip notes, which were basically promissory notes or IOUs that people could use in lieu of cash, with the understanding that the notes could be redeemed for actual money at a later date.

This is a $5 script note that I acquired in my research that was issued on January 14th, 1935, and redeemable in 1938. It was part of an issue of $400,000 in scrip authorized for the purpose of current operating expenses of the city in anticipation of better times ahead. There was no interest paid on these scrip notes. Back then, when the average wage was around $9 a week, if you could find work at all, people were happy just to have a job, even if they did get paid in what was called funny money.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Undone, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ Burt Bigsley mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Drinking a gallon of water a day helps you avoid other people’s drama because you are too busy peeing.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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