Saturday, June 19, 2021

FATHER'S DAY by Sarah J. McNeal #TheWildingsSeries




Pop loved fishing. Here he is with his big catch.

Pop wasn’t the kind of dad who gave a lot of hugs and said, “I love you” very often. In fact, he seldom did those 2 things, but he DID show me love in the language he knew best; he showed me almost on the daily the time and energy he was willing to spend on me.


He helped my sister and me gather straw and put it in water to “ferment”, and then we looked at it under the microscope taking daily samples to see what going on in the murky water. It was like a microcosm of the universe in a drop of liquid. One celled animals developed, then new ones came in, and the first ones preyed on the second until the third group followed and did the same. Eventually all the living things were gone.


Pop showed us how to grow an organic garden without using pesticides, and gave us the knowledge to make compost. We were allowed to grow pollywogs we got from the pond to grow them until they became frogs. Those weren’t the only animals from the wild we were allowed to have; we had lizards and snakes, too. We learned the value of each creature in nature and learned to be respectful and reverent of all living things. “Everything has a purpose on Earth.”


He was a huge fan of conservation before conservation was a thing. He joined clubs like the Jacques Cousteau Society to protect nature’s creatures.


Pop in his kilt with his dog, Ember

As I have probably said before of him, he was a bit of an odd ball. Our freezer became his animal lab. He found a dead hawk, or maybe it was an owl alongside the road. He picked it up and put it in the freezer until he could turn it over to the Rapture Center for them to examine. Turns out it’s actually illegal to remove feathers or other parts of a bird of prey, so it’s a good thing he preserved it for them.

He dug up an ant hill, put it in a plastic bag in the freezer to keep until he could make the framed glass ant farm for the oldest nephew. It would have worked out fine if he had been able to get the queen, but unfortunately, the ants did not make it.

There were other road kill entries into the freezer hall of fame, so it was with caution that anyone lifted that freezer lid since we never knew what was in there.


Pop at work in the U.S. Weather Bureau at Douglas Airport

Pop loved math. He thought it was fun. My sister and I did not inherit that ability. Pop tried to teach me my multiplication tables and I’m certain he found that exhausting. Later, when I became a critical care nurse, his teaching about setting up algebraic equations came in very handy. Calculators had finally come into being by then. To show his pride in my work he gave me my first little calculator to keep in my pocket so I could calculate mixing and dispensing cardiac drugs. That was his “I love you” gift. He also gave me a Littman Master’s stethoscope when I passed the Coronary Care Curriculum to get into Coronary Care—another “I love you and I’m proud of you gift.”


Because Pop was a meteorologist, he was asked from time to time by our teachers to come to our classes and teach about the weather. He didn’t mind taking the time to do that for us and I think he actually enjoyed it. He taught my sister and me all about pressure areas, cold and hot fronts, and different cloud formations. Later, when he retired from the U.S. Weather Bureau and worked at WSOC TV, he worked with the filming crew to create little documentaries about wildlife and nature. I think that was something he really enjoyed doing.


Pop in the front yard wearing the suit Mom made for him

He was a big personality with a quirky sense of humor. I often went to him for advice on how to negotiate through life, and he always had something helpful to say to get me through. He died August 16, 1981 while he was touring the entire East Coast. While in Wilmington, NC, my favorite town, he had a ruptured aortic aneurism and was gone within 32 hours.

I miss him. I will always miss him. He was a great dad and I was lucky to have had him. He was like a harbor I could sail to in times of trouble. On this coming Father’s Day I honor my dad, James William McNeal. I love you, Pop.


 Sarah J. McNeal

Author of Heartwarming Stories




Amazon Author's Page

Fantasy and Dreams (

Saturday, June 05, 2021




One of Lily’s favorite things to do is hang out at the door to the deck and watch for squirrels. There of plenty of squirrels to watch, especially since the bird feeder is hanging close to the door and the squirrels like to snack on all the seeds the birds spill out. There’s also a bird bath on the rail of the deck where the squirrels like to go for a drink. Sometimes they lay on the rail and sleep.


Now I’d like to think that Lily could out-think a squirrel and at least make a good show of chasing them down, but this is just not the case. The squirrels just leap to the oak tree by the deck and then sit there laughing at Lily’s attempts to catch them. I seriously doubt Lily would know what to do if she ever did catch one. Lily is not the wildlife hunter she seems to think she is. Rabbits like to hang out in the backyard munching on clover and dandelions even in the middle of the day. Lily doesn’t seem to even know they exist, but the few times she shows them any interest, do you think they leap away in fear? Nope. At best, I would call it more like a walk away. They just mosey over to the back fence and move to what I like to call “the rabbit highway.” The highway is the space between the wooden fence and the chain link fence behind it. It’s a space of about a foot where the rabbits are safe from Lily And the pit bull dog on the neighbor’s side of the fence. Rabbits are not as dumb as one might think.


Along my side of the fence there’s plenty of blackberry vines. Between my fence and the chain link fence there is a nice overgrowth of privet and other bushes where the rabbits can take cover from hawks.


Lily’s greatest joy is to bark at the neighbors when they’re out in their yard or the workmen that seem to be there quite frequently making repairs and such. I guess that’s just a dog thing. Mostly, Lily just sits in her spot under the bench on the deck and keep vigil over the doings in the backyard. She likes to drink the overflow water in the dish beneath the mint plant. I would think that’s just gross, but it’s her thing. She prefers it over her own fresh water in her bowl. Maybe it’s like the popcorn at the movies tastes better than the popcorn we make at home.

This is a picture of Lily in which she’s keeping watch at the door while believing she’s hidden by the curtain.


Do you have a dog with weird habits? What does your dog do that you think is funny or weird? What’s your dog’s name? Is your dog a rescue?  



Prairie Rose Publications



THE WILDINGS is a wonderful collection of western romance stories that follow the Wilding family through generations of love and loss, joy and sorrow, and wins and losses in life. Get lost in this exciting boxed set of full-length books and novellas that trace the adventures of the descendants of the Wilding family. From the lawless old west days of the early 1900’s in ruthless Hazard, Wyoming, through the generations forward, the action, romance, and suspense is nonstop.

Follow the saga of the Wilding family from the early days that begin with a haunted house, a trunk, and a date with destiny in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. Can Joe and Lola’s unlikely romance last? Next, the dangers of World War 1 in For Love of Banjo, and a Prohibition-era kidnapping with Fly Away Heart will have you on the edge of your seat. Hollow Heart is a post WWII short story with a surprise twist, and The Beast of Hazard will touch you with its romance between a veterinarian and a beautiful circus performer facing danger. In Unexpected Blessings, a couple overcomes a seemingly insurmountable problem, and in Home For the Heart, a determined young woman must find a way into a confirmed bachelor’s heart. A conversation at a wedding spoils everything in It’s Only Make Believe, and in I Dream of You, a recurring dream, a kiss, and deadly secrets could unlock not only love but a very dangerous outcome for everyone. Three Christmas novellas, A Husband for Christmas, When Love Comes Knocking, and A Christmas Visitor are also included to round out the series and bring it to a very satisfying conclusion.


This wonderful collection will keep you entertained with richly-woven stories filled with real-life excitement, danger, and love from the heart of romance author Sarah J. McNeal. THE WILDINGS will enthrall you and keep you turning pages as you follow the multi-faceted characters and the stories of their lives! Don’t miss it!

Sarah J. McNeal