Twisted Thanksgiving!

A Visit from Old Pilgrim


Charles Suddeth

Clement Clarke Moore, I do apologize. I just couldn’t resist.


Twas the night before Thanksgiving, when all through the hut

Not a critter was awake, not even a mutt;

The dishes were slung by the chimney so bare,

In hopes that Old Pilgrim soon might be there;

The kiddies were all tucked in their sleeping bags;

While stories of goodies fluttered like red flags;

And my wife in her nightie, and I with my booze,

Had just crawled into the sack for a good long snooze,

But out on the street there came such a god-awful crash,

I leapt from my couch and ran like a flash,

Away to the bedroom window I surely did go,

Opened the drapes and blinds to see the show,

A full moon on the cusps of ice-laden snow,

Gave a high-noon shine to objects aglow,

But to my fog-laden old eyes I did see,

A little ole cart and eight gobbling turkeys,

With a gnarled old driver so proper and grim,

I knew without doubt it must be Old Pilgrim.

More bumbling than buzzards, his turkeys came,

As he choked and yelled and called them by name,

“Now, Tommie! Now Gobbler! Now Scrabbler and Fowler!

On, Scratcher! On Ajax! On, Zinnia and Growler!

Go over the front porch, go over the back wall,

So fly away! Fly away! Fly away yall!”

Now trees before tornados they do lie,

When they meet with such force they do fly;

So upon the roof they did soar with vim,

With a food-laden cart and even Old Pilgrim—

And then in an instant I heard with great awe,

The scratching and screeching of each little claw.

As I turned my head and gazed into the room,

Out of the fireplace Old Pilgrim came with a boom.

He wore homespun except for each ragged shoe,

His clothes were grimy and stained from my view.

A bundle of veggies did hang down his back,

He looked just like a hawker showing off his sack.

How sad his eyes—they cried! His ears looked all bashed,

His cheeks were bloodshot, his nose all mashed.

His puckered mouth was dried up and old,

And his whiskers were white-speckled mold,

The remains of a pipe stuck out of his mouth,

The smoke circled his head and headed south,

His face was weathered, and huge was his gut

Which shook when he snorted inside of my hut.

He was gaunt and lean, a sourpuss of a man,

And I gagged as I beheld him and his tan.

A touch of evil eye and a mean, old scowl

Made me want to get up and howl,

He opened not his mouth but tended to his job,

Filled all of our bowls, and swiveled with a sob,

With a clenched fist beside his bleary snout,

And with nary a nod, up the chimney he went out;

He leaped to his cart, and to his team he did yell,

And up in the air they did fly like birds of the dell.

But I heard him grumble before he went into the night,

“Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a fine night.”

Recently I posted about my latest book contract. This book is a product of social media. I started it for NaNoWriMo 2011 and finished it in December. This is my only NaNoWriMo manuscript. Since I type slowly, I doubt if I do another one.

This year I started participating in Twitter Pitches. (if you are new to them, Google them) There are many of them put on by various groups. (to my knowledge, all are free) The one that brought my contract was #IWSGpit. This is Insecure Writers Support Group—I am not a member, know little about them.

I signed a publishing contract with Dancing Lemur Press for my middle-readers (ages 8 to 12) historical novel, Stone Man: Trail of Tears. It will be released in October 2019 in paperback and eBook formats.



The other day, I taught a first-grade class.

Girl 1 holds up index finger: “My finger is hurt.”

Girl 2: “It’s just a hangnail.”

Girl 1: “Oh no! What can I do? I need to see the nurse!”

It took both me and girl 2 to convince her she wasn’t dying.

Kids this age tend to be drama addicts, but I think this one will become a hypochondriac.



I signed a publishing contract with Dancing Lemur Press for my middle-readers (ages 8 to 12) historical novel, Stone Man: Trail of Tears. It will be released in October 2019 in paperback and eBook formats.

After Twelve-year-old Tsatsi and his sister separate from their family during the Cherokee Trail of Tears, a giant Tsatsi thinks is Stone Man drags her to his lair. Tsatsi fights him, dodges renegades, and hides from soldiers as he and his sister try to reunite with their family in the Smoky Mountains.

Though Dancing Lemur Press welcomes bookstore and book signing sales, their focus is in school and library sales.


A recent article in Scientific American discusses how stressed-out men pass on stress to offspring. During periods of stress, Extracellular Vesicles (containing lipids, proteins, nucleic acids) break off from cells in the father’s body and enter sperm cells. These Extracellular Vesicles cause small non-coding RNA molecules to shut the sperm’s genes on and off, thus passing the stress to Dad’s offspring.

Obesity, diabetes, autism, schizophrenia and other diseases may be a result of these genes being shut on and off. Research is ongoing. As a writer, I am intrigued. (as a human, I am worried about stress)



Writer’s Block Festival

November 10, 2018. Spalding University,

College Street Building, 812 South Second Street



The Louisville Literary Arts’s Writer’s Block Festival brings together published and emerging writers, readers, professors, and book industry professionals for a full-day, free public event: readings, panels, staged interviews, open mics, and a print & resource fair. Workshops and agent/editor pitches are fee-based and require pre-registration.  Fiction, poetry, non-fiction, spoken word, and playwriting.




What is the SCBWI?

SCBWI: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a nonprofit organization for writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and so on who are involved in children’s literature. This includes picture & board books, middle grade, young adult, new adult (older YA)


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