Shelby’s Thanksgiving Intervention — A Short Story

Today I wrote a short story from a Thanksgiving writer’s prompt at Writer’s Digest:  Shelby’s Thanksgiving Intervention — Short Story.  I found the turkey craft here at “11 Best Turkey Crafts for Kids.”

Hope you enjoy!

Thanksgiving paper turkey craft
Shelby’s Thanksgiving Intervention
(Or, Now Who’s the Turkey??)

By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year with its beautiful fall leaves and sumptuous feasting.  I was looking forward to another Thanksgiving feast à la Mom.

“We’ll just go ahead,” said my husband, Ben, as he stepped from the car and grabbed the hands of my two younger kids.

“Ouch, Dad, that hurts,” cried my seven-year-old, Wendy.

“Sh!” said Ben as he let go Wendy’s hand and pushed her and Pete inside Mom and Dad’s house without the usual courtesy of knocking.

“Now that was just weird,” I said to my older son, Jesse.  “Do you want to help me carry in one of the casseroles? Looks like Dad isn’t going to help.”

Jesse looked at me from the corner of his eyes.  His voice shook a little.  “Uh, Mom, I’ve got to go!”

Then he sprinted toward large brick house without a second glance.

I shrugged and juggled all three casserole dishes, shutting the hatch of our SUV with my left foot.

With the assortment of cars and trucks parked in the driveway, it looked as though all the family was there.

I teetered up the steps of the house and yelled through my parents’ heavy mahogany door, “Hey!  Can someone lend a hand?”

The door swung open.

The entire family was sitting in the living room, all eyes were on me.

But instead of a Thanksgiving turkey, there was a giant “Intervention” sign hanging across the mantle.

“Shelby,” said my mother quietly, “We’ve got to talk.”

I felt all three casserole dishes fall to the hardwood floor as I stared back in shock.

“Shelby, you have spent entirely too much time writing for that NANOWRIMO, to the detriment of your family,” said Ben.

“Instead of having Thanksgiving this year, we’re asking that you admit yourself to Writer’s Recovery in Tucson, Arizona,” said Dad.

“Shelby, we want you to come back to us—the way you used to be!” sobbed my sister, Jane.

“You’ll take a flight to Tucson and spend two weeks at the Three Points Resort and Spa for the duration of your recovery,” said my cousin Fred.  “The brochure says the resort features pool-side light therapy, Jungian horseback-riding counseling, and massage transaction analysis.”

Please, Shelby, we want you to come home completely intervened.  No work for two weeks, dear. We’re begging you.”

Shelby didn’t think twice.  “Okay.  I’m in!”

Thanksgiving text with fall letters: Now Who's the Turkey??

Writing prompt source:


When the Train Whistle Blows — Short, Spooky Story

When the Train Whistle Blows
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Folks ‘round here say there’s a ghost that haunts the tracks running through the middle of Athens.

Do you believe them?

I do.

I seen her.

They say it’s the ghost of Perlie Gunn, waitin’ for her beau, Gilbert McCall.

And waitin’.

And waitin’.

Ever time you hear the train whistle on a dark, drizzling night.

1935 and Perlie was the purtiest gal of all at the ol’ wood school house. Just past her eighteenth birthday. Blue eyes and pert nose. Always wearing that blue flour-sack dress. A trip to town for her daddy to get something at that hardware store right over there.

Passed the ol’ Jefferson Street diner, where Gilbert McCall sat at his breakfast of sausage, eggs, and grits. Couldn’t recall ever seeing her before. Jumped right up from his table, fork and knife falling from his high-born hands. Left it to go meet the yeller-haired gal.


Was that little ol’ Perlie Gunn, all growed up?

Diner owner, Buzz Henshaw, just shook his head, wondering if McCall would remember to pay the check, but knowing the feller would fergit. There was no stopping true love.
Folks say Gilbert jogged after Perlie and they fell for each other like a fish for a worm, the minute their eyes met.

But Perlie stood no chance with a McCall.

Oh, no ma’me.

She was from the wrong side of the tracks.

Ol’ Judge McCall forbade their courtship, and her folks knew it would end bad. They knew a grimy-faced pig farmer’s daughter couldn’t land a high-falutin McCall.

But folks saw them two sneaking to meet for picnics or out and about Athens. They saw Gilbert, looking all moony-eyed, slipping out of the courthouse where he clerked that summer he was home from law school down in Tuscaloosa. They’d steal a kiss behind the drug store, when ol’ Judge was inside, fannin’ hisself from the summer heat.

Story goes that they were s’posed to meet down by the tracks at dusk. Run off an’ marry, they was, in McCall’s fine, red Ford coupe.

Something put Gilbert late. He heard that train come flying down them tracks and saw her standing and waitin’ on t’other side, her clothes in a beat up ol’ box. Musta slipped in them heels she borrowed from her Cousin Maylene. Ankle stuck fast in a gap twix the metal rail and wooden tie.

Train man near ripped the town apart with the sound of his brakes sliding towards Perlie. It was too late. They say that train drug her nigh forty feet afore Gilbert could blink a eye.
I heard tell Gilbert never went back to Tuscaloosa after that. Ended up somewheres over in Georgia. I never seen him since.

But I seen her walkin’.

Still wearing that blue flour sack dress.

Still looking for Gilbert after all these years.

On wet, foggy nights.

Walkin’ on the tracks when the train whistle blows.

Pearl Harbor Day Memory — A Short Story

row_flowersPatsy Campbell woke up as soon as the sun rose above her window pane. The ten-year-old leaped from her bed and walked to her dresser to admire a small trophy.

Patsy smiled as she remembered the night before when she and her handsome partner had won a dance contest. Patsy had taken ballet lessons and taught herself several dances that were popular at the time. The girl dearly loved music, so her father, Navy chief radioman Edward Campbell, had taken her to the Bloch Arena, which hosted a big band contest every Saturday night.

The emcee of the evening spotted the blue-eyed child with wavy blond hair in the audience. Calling her up on stage, he had asked for volunteers to jitterbug with the girl.

A handsome Navy man, barely 17, volunteered and the two beat out the other dancers that night.

Patsy smiled at the memory as she hurried to get dressed. Always an early riser, Patsy was the only one in the family who was awake.

Patsy skipped out the door of the brand-new cottage that the Campbell family had recently moved into after previously being stationed in the jungles of Panama in the little village of Darien.

Patsy did a little pirouette on the porch before running into the back yard to play a quick game of catch with the family dog, Tinker.

Not long into the game, a squadron of planes flew over her head. She had never seen so many fighter planes as once. Patsy waved and watched as the pilots waved back. They were so close that Patsy could almost see their eyes.

This was the day that lives in infamy.

Patsy ran into the cottage to wake her family after the planes began their bombing campaign. She could hardly hear her mother’s screams as Mrs. Campbell gathered her children close.

Mr. Campbell told his family to go stay at the neighbor’s house as he prepared to go report to his ship. Mrs. Campbell clung to her husband, who gently pulled her away and told her to go.

After her husband left, Mrs. Campbell told her daughter, “Go get your dance trophy. You need something that you can hold to remember your former life.”

Mrs. Campbell and her two children soon were at staring at Hickam Field from their neighbor’s upstairs window. Smoke and flames rose into the perfect Oahu sky. Men frantically rushed around, setting up gun positions and barricades. The National Anthem began playing on the radio. Mrs. Campbell broke into tears.

For the first time, Patsy felt a stab of fear that left her queasy. Only in the worst circumstances had she seen her mother cry.


Patsy would grow up to have a family of her own and live in San Diego. After a careful search, she would learn that her jitterbug dance partner was named Jack Evans.

And she would learn that they only lived 15 miles apart!


This short story is based on the true memory of Pat Thompson (néeCampbell).



The Emerald Ring

Here’s a quick, short story to keep you busy while you wait for there to be more snow (fingers crossed).

It’s not the most depthful (is that a word??) story, but maybe you’ll find it fun!

Thanks to Sydnynuririn, a kind eBay seller who allowed me to use the ring photo. You can actually buy the beautiful emerald ring here!


The Emerald Ring

A short mystery by Stephanie L. Robertson

It was a cold day outside. Sandy Bartholomew turned in her mirror to admire the big, blonde curls created by her stylist just that morning.

Tonight was going to be so much fun!

She waved a freshly manicured nails in front of her image and pointed her toes with their new pedi. It had been a long time since she and her husband, Joe, had enjoyed an evening out, sans kids, and it had been even longer since they had an excuse to dress us–really dress up. She couldn’t remember the last time.

But tonight, Joe’s parents were going to come watch the children while she and Joe attended a charity cotillion to benefit the hospital where Joe worked as a nurse anesthetist.

Sandy, mindful of her manicure, reached inside her lined dresser drawer for her grandmother’s diamond and emerald ring that would perfectly set off her lovely white evening gown.

Rather than touching the gemstones, Sandy’s hand landed in an empty space and touched the felt that lined the drawer.

Her thoughts quickly turned to panic, as she pulled the drawer out all the way.

Where was the emerald ring?

It wasn’t as if she had an abundance of fine jewelry. Most of everything that she owned was the costume or fashion variety. Besides her small diamond engagement ring, Gramma’s ring was the only expensive thing that she owned, and it was kept in a bank vault. After a morning at the salon and lunch with a friend, Sandy had picked up the children from Mother’s Morning Out. She had schlepped down to the bank, kids in tow, and taken the ring from its safe box.

And now, two hours after Sandy had emptied every drawer in her dresser, Sandy had been over every square inch of the master bedroom carpet on her hands and knees. She swiped her hand over her eyes and reached for a tissue to blow her nose.

Had there been a break-in? Think, Sandy, Think!

“Mommy, what’s wrong,” asked a sweet little voice from the bedroom door.

Sandy guessed that she must have looked a mess: sweaty, curls flattened, nails broken, eyes swollen, and makeup ruined.

“Nothing, sweetheart,” Sandy sniffed as her little four-year old daughter, Kimmer, came over for a hug.

It would be time for her little brother, Dak, to be waking from his afternoon nap as well.

Sure enough, the 2-year-old little boy came toddling into the room after his sister. Sandy picked up Dak and kissed his baby cheek, flushed from sleep. Dak patted her cheek and stretched to get “Down!”

Sandy exhaled. She would have to call Joe. She felt sick and was no longer in the mood to go to the cotillion.

“Mommy, I want my snack,” begged Kimmer.

Dak dragged one of Joes old hiking boots from the closet and brought it over to his mother.

“No, thank you, Dak,” said Sandy, who began searching for her cell phone to call Joe. “Kimmer, I’ll get your snack in just a minute.”

“Here, Mama,” said her young son.

Where was that stupid cell phone? Could she not keep up with anything?

She felt her pulse quicken as Kimmer’s whines grew more plaintive.

“Here, Mama,” Dak insisted.

“No Dak, I don’t want that…Kimmer, please, just give me a second and we’ll go get a snack!”

Sandy tossed pillows back on her bed and felt her temper rise.

“Mama!” cried Dak, and the two children’s cries reached a crescendo, hitting a pitch that broke Sandy’s resolve.

“I said, ‘No!'” shouted Sandy, grabbing the hiking boot and flinging it against a corner.

A flash of light ricocheted from the boot and landed at Sandy’s feet.

“Oh! There’s the hidden treasure, Dak,” said Kimmer, as she calmly retrieved Sandy’s family heirloom ring from where it landed on the carpet.

Kimmer patted Dak’s blond head. “I found the hidden treasure that you hid. What a good hider you are!”