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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The Magic of Written Words

Written words meaningful to me often find their way even into my sketchbook. — Art by Pat Bean

Aging My Way

In the 1980s, I became a big fan of Dorothy Gilman’s books and many of the words spoken by her unlikely heroine Mrs. Pollifax, ended up in my journals. Her telling someone that we can’t live our lives the way we set a table especially spoke to me, because that was exactly how I was trying to live my life at that time.

While knives and forks may be arranged in perfect order, I was learning that it would be a cold day in hell before my life would work like that. Mrs. Pollifax helped me accept this, and was also a rung for me to hang on to as I passed through a messy season full of challenges, love, heartbreak, and almost too many changes to count.

While my life is more peaceful and calm these days, I still treasure the written word. Perhaps it is because I, too, am a writer. Whatever, I just know I’m thankful for the inspiration and enlightenment printed words have given me.

It seems as if for every emotion, every passage (Gail Sheehy’s Passages. 1976) I pass through, some writer had the same thoughts, the same emotions. Their words let me know I’m not alone. Which is why my journals are full of quotes that were meaningful to me.

The first quote I remember striking my fancy happened in high school when the class was studying Shakespeare. “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Those words mean even more to me today than when I first wrote them down.

I’ve learned that certain writers touch my inner thoughts time and time again. Dorothy Gilman, John MacDonald, Robert Frost, Louise Penny, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Sandburg, Gloria Steinem, Mercedes Lackey, Edward Abby, John Irving, Rod McKuen, Jan Morris, even Hunter Thompson in my crazy moments. And so many, many more.

Once, during a period of insecurity, I came upon the words of Edna St. Vincent Millay that cheered me onward. “Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand. Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand,” she wrote. I didn’t read these words in a book by Millay, but rather in a biography of Margaret Mead, who had also found meaning in the quote.

Meanwhile, the words of Rod McKuen were, and still are, one of my favorite quotes. “Nobody’s perfect, and that’s one of the best things that can be said about man.”   

 Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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I’m thankful I had my canine companion Scamp at my side during the good and the bad times of 2022.

Aging My Way

 It’s that time of year when I put together a list of 100 things that I’m thankful for. In no specific order, my list for 2022 includes:

  1. That I got my leg and back pain under control after a setback that put me in a dark place for over two months.    
  2. For all the friends and family who were there for me during this time.
  3. For finding a new first-floor place to live in so quickly after being forced to give up by third-floor apartment that I lived in and loved for almost 10 years.
  4. For loving my new home.
  5. For my canine companion Scamp, who worried about me and was beside me my whole painful journey.
  6. And even for his stubbornness not to use the small fenced-in patio area for his toilette, since it means I get at least some daily exercise because I have to walk him, even if it means using my new rollator to do it.
  7. For my regained zest for life and search for silver linings.
  8. For the world’s multitude of book writers – and that I’m an avid reader and also a writer, because it means I will never be bored.
  9. For the birds that visit my new place.
  10.  That a granddaughter and her wife were able to move into my same apartment complex so there would always be family close by, and especially for the love they have given me.
  11.  That I am once again able to take care of my own needs – mostly. I can’t lift anything heavy.
  12.  For my writing colleagues, and Story Circle Network, the women’s writing organization that has been my support group for 12 years now.
  13.  For the brilliant colors of fall.
  14.  For the luxury of a hot bath.
  15.  For Reese’s peanut butter cups.
  16.  For trees, especially the two giant blooming oleanders and the cottonwood that grow in my small patio yard.
  17.  For the wonder of the Internet’s instant information source and for its connection to friends and family – but also for my sense not to believe everything I read.
  18.  For soft comfortable pajamas, which I could live in all day if I didn’t have to walk Scamp.
  19.  For my rubber tree plant, which came back to me 12 years after I left it to go galivanting around the country in my RV. It likes its new home.
  20.  For grand and great-grandkids and their wonderful parents, and for all my kids and their families.
  21.  For a happy hour, anytime, with a Jack and Coke.
  22.  For live theater, especially on a local level that offers affordable tickets.
  23.  For new friends.
  24.  For stimulating conversations, even if it’s just with myself and my journal.
  25.  For Dusty, who is Scamp’s best canine friend, and who I’ve babysat while her mom is at work for nearly 10 years now.
  26.  Warm, soft blankets on cold days.
  27.  Air conditioning and heating.
  28.  For my journals – and that I’ve been keeping them for 50 years now.
  29.  The mountain view from my bedroom window.
  30. The solar lights that brighten up my patio at night.
  31.  Scamp’s great groomer, especially because he has a bad report card and no one else wants to groom him.  
  32.  For audible books that make lying awake at night a pleasure instead of a pain.
  33.  A hot cup of tea. Lemon-ginger is my favorite.
  34.  For libraries. May they never go away.
  35.  Receiving, and writing, snail-mail letters from old friends who haven’t forgotten how to write them.
  36.  The smell of the desert landscape after a rain.
  37.  For all the good memories I’ve made in my 83 years on Planet Earth.
  38.  For kind people.
  39.  For the comfortable Roadhouse Cinema where I can watch matinee movies on the big screen and eat lunch at the same time.
  40.  For the colorful, fun paintings, mostly mine, that brighten up my white walls.
  41.  For comfortable shoes.
  42.  For good surprises, not the flat tire or my car won’t start kind.
  43.  That decisions can be reversed.
  44.  For my comfortable new mattress, which I finally broke down and bought this past year.
  45.  For Advil.
  46.  For my chicken and rice, which is my comfort food for days that need to be made more joyful.
  47.  That I got to make a road trip to Texas this year before my leg pain hit me, and reduced the distance I can comfortably drive.
  48.  For jigsaw puzzles, which I love to build.
  49.  For board and card games and healthy competition.
  50.  For Social Security.
  51.  Modern appliances so I have time to read.
  52.  The Desert Bird of Paradise plant that blooms all around my new apartment complex. The orange and red blossoms have become my favorite flower.
  53. My morning cream-laced coffee.
  54.  For the tiny gnome garden my long-time friend Kim created for me around my cottonwood tree when she visited me from Utah.
  55. For laughter in my life, even if it’s at myself.
  56.  That I’m finally learning how to use a smart phone after fighting against making it a priority for years. `
  57.  For the tall lamp I found at a thrift store for $12, and which brightens up my living room.
  58.  For all the strong women who have influenced my life – too many to name.
  59.  For my curiosity and the insatiable longing to learn something new every day.
  60.  For sunrises and sunsets.
  61.  For Pond’s moisturizing cream, as nothing else seems to work for me.
  62.  For butterflies, which I seem to have seen, and painted, quite a few this past year.
  63.  For gardenias, because their smell reminds me of my grandmother.
  64.  That I don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
  65.  For all the rollercoaster rides I took when I could.
  66.  For rivers, and lakes and waterfalls.
  67.  For twinkling Christmas tree lights.
  68.  For my wrinkles and experiences.
  69.  For hugs – and doggie kisses.
  70.  For a new haircut.
  71.  For my heating pad when my knee is hurting.
  72.  For a good pen.
  73.  That I discovered Louise Penny’s Inspector Garmache series this past year. I’m on Book 11.
  74.  For a rainy day, and the excuse it gives me to curl up on the sofa with a good book.
  75.  For my home physical therapist, who helped me get better.
  76.  For the colorful clay turtle my friend Jean brought me back from Mexico and which now brightens my patio.
  77.  For local parks with paved trails that accommodate my rollator.
  78.  For my Kindle.
  79.  For cheddar/sour cream potato chips.
  80.  For being able to still drive, if only for short distances.
  81.  For being born in America, and for the privileges I’ve had as a woman because of it.
  82.  For the corny jokes a son tells me during his daily calls.
  83.  For no longer having to pay long-distance charges to talk to a loved one.
  84.  For America’s national parks and scenic byways, and for being able to see and travel so many of them.
  85.  For the great horned owls that I got to see grow up this past year.
  86.  For the daily e-mails I share with a daughter-in-law.
  87.  For artists whose paintings inspire me, like Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Donna Howell-Sickles’ cowgirls.
  88.  For talking once again to an estranged loved one.
  89.  For my improved vision after cataract surgery.
  90.  For my microwave, which heats up leftovers so easily.
  91.  For the howl of nearby coyotes.
  92.  For the saguaro cacti that can be seen all around Tucson.  
  93.  For antibiotics and vaccinations.
  94.  For wrinkle-free clothes – and the fact I don’t own an iron.
  95.  For new sox and underwear.
  96.  That I enjoy my own company and never suffer from loneliness. Having the time and solitude to connect the dots of my life is a treasure.
  97.  On the other hand, I love company, including drop-by friends who always make my days more interesting.
  98.  Rainbows, of which I’ve viewed quite a few this year.
  99.  My renewed interest in finally writing the memoir about my journalism career.

100 And last, but not least, I’m thankful for all the readers of my blog. Thank you.

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Just some doodles — but I liked it and so I kept it. — Art by Pat Bean

Aging my Way

Some days a thought pops into my head and then keeps rolling.

For example, this morning I came across a quote by Isaac Asimov, who wrote that the most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka, I found it,” but rather “Hmm, that’s funny.”

The thought made me laugh out loud.

Then a frame from the commercial of peanut butter and chocolate colliding to create peanut butter cups flashed across my brain. Perhaps that was because I had recently received a surprise box from my guardian angel daughter-in-law that included some Reese’s minis, my favorite candy.

Then my thoughts jumped to art, and I thought of my watercolor paintings and the pieces that were created, as Bob Ross used to say, by happy accidents. Art, I might note, that I often liked much better than the pieces I had spent hours trying to make perfect.

And then the words of Leonard Cohen popped into my head: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” I especially liked this thought because I’m come to know my own cracks – and appreciate them.

And then my curiosity sent me on a search to find things that had been created by accident; The list I came up with includes: rubber, Viagra, Teflon, gunpowder, safety glass, corn flakes, post-it notes, Velcro, x-ray, and penicillin.

And then my clock alarm rang. It had been set for 20 minutes, during which time I was supposed to be writing on my memoir, Between Wars. The page before me was blank.

I had set the timer because these days my body needs to move so as not to stiffen up. So, I got up, vacuumed my living room, reset my timer and wrote this blog.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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The Years Have Changed Me

Just as a butterfly changes from a caterpillar so have I changed … Art by Pat Bean

Aging my Way

What I write is a record of what’s currently banging around in my mind. Sometimes my thoughts, once shared though a pen on a blank page or my fingers on a computer’s keyboard, surprise me. Just as often they help me connect the dots in the tangled web of my thoughts.

Sometimes I choose to share what I’ve written, and sometimes I don’t. It may be because what I’ve written is a jumbled mess, or it may be that I think it’s too personal.

But what I do know is that what I’ve written one day, I won’t be able to write another day. Even a small span of time will have changed how I view life.  This is the joy, and the beauty, of being a journal keeper.

For 50 years now, I’ve written down my thoughts. Sometimes the journal keeping is sporadic, especially in the earlier years when six months or more of my life is sometimes missing. Sometimes, however, I’ve journaled daily, as is the usual case these days.

I like having a record of my life, one that shows me how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve grown, how sometimes I’ve even made a U-Turn in my core.

I’m thankful I’m a writer and journal keeper because, as Vita Sackville West said, “The writer catches the changes of his mind on the hop. Growth is exciting…”

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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Nature scenes take away the cacophony in my brain. — Art by Pat Bean

Aging My Way

When I was a kid, I read few children’s books, having graduated into adult fiction almost as soon as I could put words together into sentences.

I mean, how boring is: See Dick and Jane run with their dog, Spot. While Theodore Geisel’s first children’s book, And to Think What I Saw on Mulberry Street, was published in 1937, and I was born in 1939, I don’t recall ever seeing a Dr. Seuss book until I bought them for my own children in the 1960s.

My reading of adult books at such an early age, however, meant that I often came across words I didn’t understand. I simple passed over them, guessing their meaning from the context of what I was reading. But then came the day – I think I was about 11 – when the word cacophony had me stumped.

I remember rummaging through the chest of books that I had inherited from my late grandfather’s library, which included the complete works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens and even Kathleen Windsor’s Forever Amber – which I had to read a second time when I was older because a classmate called it a “dirty book – until I found a well-worn thick Webster’s Dictionary. I had known it was there, but I had only opened it once, thinking it was as boring as Dick and Jane.

Cacophony, I learned, meant a bunch of loud, discordant sounds. There was more, and I was fascinated. It would take more than a decade after that incident, before I had even an inkling that I wanted to be a writer. But I never stopped searching out the meaning of any strange, new words I came across.

At this point in my life, I absolutely love it when an author sends me scrambling for a dictionary. While the tattered Webster is long gone, I now resort to the internet to find meanings and answers.  

I do this almost daily, especially when I’m reading books written by authors like Peter Matthiessen, who casually uses such words as leucogeranus, and japonensis. Discovering the meaning of such words means I’ve met my goal of learning something new for the day.

Cacophony, meanwhile, is still one of my favorite words. What is yours?Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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1953 House of Wax Movie Poster

Back in the mid-1950’s, I watched a movie called “House of Wax,” starring Vincent Price, whose character created his wax figures using people he killed. The part of the movie that stayed with me for months afterwards involved a missing head.

 Every time I went into the garage, which held a freezer and a washing machine, I feared I would come across that head. Perhaps the fact that the movie was presented in 3D had something to do with my fright, but I’ve not watched a true horror film since then.

But I have children, grandchildren and friends who love nothing better than going to a scary movie. I thought about the reason behind this willingness to be scared this morning. It popped into my head while I was reading Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird, in which the author talked about the fear of letting oneself be imperfect when writing that “first shitty draft.”

Before you ask, I have to say I don’t know why my brain made this odd connection. It just did. And then it jumped to what I have done over the years that gave me a fright. For one thing, I loved riding roller coasters, the bigger, faster – and scarier – the better.

And then in my 40s, I took up white-water rafting. There was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting in the front of a raft facing a roaring rapid – even after I fell out of the boat in Granite Rapid floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. When I was pulled back into the boat, after being thrashed through the racing water quite vigorously, I was still eager to take on the next stretch of rapids, of which there were many ahead.

 Was I afraid? Yes. But adrenalin coursed through my body and I felt more alive than ever. Remembering this, I might have just answered my own question of why people want to be scared.

But no way will I watch a horror movie.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Great blue herons on frozen Farmington Bay in Utah: One of the best things about being a writer is that it makes you more observant because you will want to put what you see with your eyes into words. This is just one way being a writer has enriched my life.

I Think of Writing as a Gift

  For 37 years, as a newspaper journalist, I wrote almost every day. It meant I often saw my name in print, and the thrill of this never dimmed. It’s probably why I write a blog, as I’ve eschewed having ads on it.

Author Anne Lamott, whose book Bird by Bird is one I’m currently rereading for the third time, says some writers need to see their name in print to know they exist. I think I am one of them.

Now retired and having lived over eight decades on Planet Earth, I still get a joyful satisfaction in seeing my byline, whether it is on the book I have written, on magazine articles that occasionally get published, or this blog.

 And I was overjoyed yesterday, when I learned that my blog earned third place in Story Circle Network’s blog contest for my post Then Being Then.  https://patbean.net/2021/11/03/then-being-then/ The well-deserved first place, in case you are interested, went to Stephanie Rafflelock for We Matter at Every Age https://www.byline-stephanie.com/post/we-matter-at-every-age

As an old broad, writing has come to be just about my only outlet to still try and make a difference in the world, however tiny it might be.

 To date, I’ve posted 1,499 blogs. I’ve often encouraged readers to be kind, to be more open-minded, to not believe everything they hear or read, and to get their news from multiple sources – and I’ve written thousands of words about birds and nature, two things that keep me sane when chaos reigns.

These days, I write a lot about past experiences, a validation for my own life, but hopefully the posts let others who have had similar experiences know they are not alone. And I also try to make readers laugh or be awed by some trivial fact – as I laugh or am awed.

I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I can’t imagine being anything else.   

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob

The Meaning of Words

I came across the word cowabunga recently, and it brought Howdy Doody memories floating through my head. For those of you a bit younger than me, Howdy Doody was a puppet with his own television show, which my children loved to watch.

 Howdy was created by Bob Smith – known as Buffalo Bob on the show –when Smith was a radio announcer, and later given a puppet’s body for the television screen.

The children’s show was pure corn – and I sometimes silently groaned when my children turned it on – and sometimes laughed along with the craziness.

But it wasn’t Howdy Doody who first uttered cowabunga. It was a character on the show in 1953, one called Chief Thunderthud, who used the then non-existent word.

Cowabunga, like the frabjous words made up by writer Lewis Carrol, took root, and today’s dictionaries define it as an exclamation used to express delight or satisfaction.

 Surfers adopted the word as slang for a great ride, and the word was also adopted by the Cookie Monster and the Mutant Ninja Turtles. These are all fun memories.

  The word, however, holds yet another memory for me, one closer to my heart. It was the favorite saying of my oldest grandson David, who is now in his mid-40s. As an adorable young boy, he used to stomp around shouting the word when he was excited about something — or wanted attention.

Years have taught me that the meaning of words has more to do with the people speaking them, or listening to them, than a formal definition. Because of David, my mind translates cowabunga as meaning joyful.

I also like the feel of how the word cowabunga rolls off my tongue. What’s one of your favorite words?

 Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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The Meadowlark and the Chukar: I wrote a bird column for three years back in the early 2000s, and a chukar I saw on Antelope Island in Utah’s Great Salt Lake was the first bird I wrote about. — Art by Pat Bean

 My mornings start with my to-do list, which is a carry over from the day before, and the day before that, and the days before those. Eventually a dreaded chore finally gets done because I’m tired of looking at it.

The daily list actually is two lists in one. The tasks I need to do, or simply want to do (like watch a bird cam located in Panama), and the list of the books I’m reading, or want to read.

As an old broad, my body appreciates many breaks during the day, and the reading list gives me something to fall back on besides computer games – which according to my self-imposed rule must not be played before 4 p.m. This rule, because I love playing games is often broken. So as a reminder I have a note taped to my refrigerator that says “You could be reading.”

 Besides the daily list, I keep lists of books I’ve read, places I’ve been, the proverbial bucket list, menu lists and an idea list, from which I always can find a topic to write about.

But one of my favorite lists is the one I begin on April 1, 1999 – the day I joined the world of avid (translate crazy) bird watchers.

 I keep a list of every bird I’ve seen, noting the place and the date. But thankfully, I’m not like the birder who once passed me on a favorite birding trail. I was dawdling along, watching red-winged blackbirds flash their scarlet marked wings while listening to a couple of breeding male meadowlarks trying to out sing each other.

Barely slowing his pace, a middle-aged hiker came upon me and asked if I had seen a chukar. I replied that I often saw this partridge-like bird in the rocks near a bend up ahead. About 10 minutes later, the man ran past me going the other way. 

  “Got it … that’s 713 birds for me now.” His voice was like the rumble of a passing freight train.

How sad, I thought, that he didn’t take a minute to admire the flashy scarlet markings on the blackbirds or to enjoy the melodic voices of the two meadowlarks.

 Numbers and names on a list are only that. It’s being present in the moment – seeing the golden yellow on a meadowlark’s throat as it tilts its head toward the sky in song, or the magic of a sunrise slowly coloring the sides of a canyon – that make my heart beat faster. And I’m thankful I enjoy such wonders whether I’m seeing them for the first or the hundredth time.

 Seeing birds is always delightful – but then so is getting my oven cleaned after seeing the chore on my to-do list for three weeks running.

  I’m glad I’m a list-maker.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining. 

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In Left at Oz, a profusion of flowers at a farmhouse represents Dorothy’s Oz. — Photo by Pat Bean

It’s All About the Tiny Details

I just started reading Left at Oz, a Jennie Connors cozy mystery by Sandra Carey Cody. It was a free Kindle book, and since the title intrigued me, I downloaded it.

Occasionally I’ll read a book and never really understand what, if anything, the title has to do with the story. For some as yet unknown reason, this bothers me. But I knew before I had read half a dozen pages why this book had been named.

Jennie, the protagonist of the book, was following directions to find her lost car, and one of those directions, given to her in an anonymous phone call, was to turn left at Oz. As a fan of L. Frank Baum, she immediately recognized Oz when she came upon it after passing a gray and dusty landscape. Oz was represented by a white farmhouse surrounded by a profusion of brightly colored flowers.

Clever, I thought. And my writing brain wondered how Sandra had come up with such an idea, especially after finding her car with a dead body in it. Perhaps while taking a shower, or a walk, or as often happens to me simply through my fingers as I type on my keyboard. Such little details are what makes reading, or watching a movie, delightfully enjoyable for me.

My wandering-wondering brain than jumped to Death on the Nile, a movie featuring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot that I recently watched, and which is based on Agatha Christie’s book of the same name.

Long an Agatha fan, I knew to watch for unexpected and trivial clues as a way to identify the killer. One of my goals in reading murder mysteries is to figure out who done it before the killer is revealed. In this case, one of the clues was simply a missing tube of red paint. I don’t think I’m giving much away as it happens early on, and it takes a lot of other details to make the connection to the killer.

The clue was something totally different in the 1978 movie version of Death on the Nile, in which Peter Ustinov played Hercule Poirot. That version also starred Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow and David Niven — of whom I’m sure many younger readers are asking: “Who were they?”

Other than the primary setting – a boat floating down the Nile River – the two movies are quite different. I enjoyed them both, but Ustinov was my favorite Poirot. And because I watched closely for insignificant details, I successfully figured out who the killer was before the end of both movies.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out who done it as I continue to read Left at Oz, which I think must be a clue in itself. Or perhaps it’s just a red herring. I’m not far enough along in the book to decide.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited) and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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