among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I have this thing for old houses so when Melody and I spotted the two hundred year old manse in Winslow, my heart ruled my head and I bought it the same day.
Melody’s my assistant—variously called my book shepherd, agent and Jill of all trades, but she keeps The James Talbot Mysteries afloat and that’s what really matters.
She’s renting a flat in the Patterson House just down the street so we can connect on a daily basis. I’m kind of glad she’s here rather than back in the city because small town life is driving me crazy.
Take today for instance.
The power’s off again and I’m doing everything by candlelight—it’s a little hard when you’re an author and there’s no Internet and no gas in the car to drive to a pharmacy.
Did I tell you I had pink eye? This place is driving me nuts.
About seven p.m. Melody picks me up in her car and drives me, of all places, to a naturopath.
“Look I don’t want a local witch—I need a doctor.”
She rolls her eyes.
“The line-ups at the hospital emergency ward are horrendous—I already phoned and they’re saying it’s a six-hour wait. Ella James comes highly recommended by the townspeople—give her a chance.”
I’m steaming. Moving to this burg was a big mistake. The winds today and yesterday were 95 miles an hour and the power keeps going on and off making the CO2 alarms and the security system continually beep.
I feel marooned in the 19th century. About the only good thing that happened here was meeting Felicity Hargraves—and she won’t even give me the time of day.
“C’mon,” says Melody, pulling me up the walk to the naturopath’s shop.
A bell tinkles as we enter and a fortyish, pudgy woman with red frizzy hair greets us. “Be right with ya folks.” She grabs a huge gray tabby cat and plunks him on a wicker chair.
“You folks new in town?”
“Yes,” Melody replies, “We’ve been here for a month. I heard about your remedies and thought you might be able to help James—he’s got pink eye.”
The woman looks me up and down. “Is this your husband?”
“No,” she giggles, “He’s my boss.”
“You two are intended,” she says.
Melody gives her a quizzical look and the woman laughs.
“Folks around here call me The Matchmaker—sometimes they come and ask for advice when picking out a mate. I try to help.”
It takes everything I have not to roll my eyes—even if I could.
I’m tired, my left eye’s bugging me and now some witch is trying to hook me up with my assistant.
I ask calmly, “Do you have anything to relieve pink eye?”
“Oh shoot, that’s easy. Just make up equal parts of warm milk and honey and drop two or three drops into your eyes using an eyedropper.”
“Will that work?”
“You bet. Honey has anti-bacterial properties and I’ll sell you some Golden Eye Salve to soothe the inflammation.”
I’m dubious, but buy the salve and follow her advice. The next morning my eyes are almost back to normal.
I run into Felicity Hargraves in the market and talk to her for a few minutes. She keeps looking at me funny and I figure she’s struggling with her principles about dating a newcomer in town.
I ask her to dinner, but she makes an excuse.
I go home despondent, wondering what it’ll take to make it with Felicity—I’m hoping it’s not being born and brought up in the town. As I shut my car door, Melody pulls into my driveway.
“Hey chum, why so glum?” She’s her usual bright and chipper self, even at ten a.m.
“Just struck out again with Felicity.”
“Hmm. That’s too bad. Maybe she was distracted by that yellow gloop all over your eye lashes.”
I rush into the house look in the hall mirror and groan. The eye salve obviously clung to my lashes making me look like a clown.
Melody has a good laugh at my expense, but I know the woman I’m really intended for.
I’ll have the last laugh when I end up with Felicity Hargraves. And besides, isn’t that the American Dream—the pursuit of happiness?
Yup, it’s all unfolding the way it should. If not, I'll make it happen.