Walters’ Holler

Stock Photo-Hyner Run State Park

Photo Credit: Hyner Run State Park Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons from Flicker – Author Nicholas A. Tonelli

In my first exploration of the Missouri Ozarks, I was looking at a charming underground house that I thought I wanted to buy.  They wanted $39,000 for three acres including the underground house, a barn they remodeled for a rabbitry (cages included), and a cabin.  It was a sweet deal.  However, the owner and I couldn’t meet eye to eye on it.

We checked other properties; there just wasn’t the “right fit” for what I was looking for. Even in Missouri, my $40,000 dollars wasn’t going to buy much from the dilapidated places we visited.

I had written my attorney a year before musing that I wanted a place with 5-10 acres, a creek on the property, and a little house/cabin that was at the end of the street for privacy.  As the week progressed on the real-estate expedition, my time was running out, and I realized then that I might be moving a little further than one county from the Wilder place where I wanted to be.  Nothing was showing any promise for purchase.

When the underground house fell through, my realtor said, “If you want something bad enough, you’re going to have to fight for it.”  My reply? “That’s not my karma.”  The realtor’s eyes lit up, and he ran to the file cabinet, came back, and threw a picture at me.  “This place isn’t for sale yet. The couple is here to clean it out and get it ready to list. Back in the 70’s, the area started out as a hippie commune, but reality struck when they ran out of money and had to go to work.  Some really nice people own it now.  They are lawyers from California.”  Well, he was a little bit off with the “lawyer” bit but continued to jaw about the place on the thirty-minute drive through hill and dale.

We bounced along down a really bad dirt road.  The dirt disappeared and was replaced with waist-high weeds.  Doril got out of the car to open the cow gate hindering our passage.  Down a steep hill, we went.  The car leaned far to the left.  I was losing my grasp on the dashboard that I grabbed to steady myself and started to slide on top of him, all the while thinking—Where is he taking me? Is the car going to topple over?  It was a scary and exhilarating ride down to the cement bridge that covered a gorgeous little brook, shimmering in the July sun.  “Sometimes this creek dries up in the hot weather, I think,” Doril chattered on.

We pulled up to a garage in the middle of the forest.  The owner had the doors open.  I saw the woodworking bench that ran almost wall-to-wall.  I was in love at the sight of it.  I tapped Doril on the shoulder and whispered, “I want this place.  Tell them I want to buy it.”  I hadn’t even seen the house yet.  But, the shimmering brook with the bugs playing in the daylight, and this magnificent garage where I could fix-up my fixer-upper, just melted my heart.  It was a place I knew from my heart.  I just knew I was home.

I went back to Greenwater, Washington, just 17 miles from the entrance to Mount Rainier, and wrote to my attorney as to what I had found.  She sent back that original email I had sent to her a year ago, explaining my hopes and dreams for my retirement.  And, it was exactly what I had found, my private little house in the woods with five acres, and a little creek in the forest.  This was going to be Walters’ Holler.

Note: Holler—a holler is a deep depression in the earth, like a small valley, but could also be enclosed on all sides.  Up North, in some places, it is called a hollow.  In the South, to my knowledge, it is a holler.


I Remember My Circus by Tom S. Figueiredo

I Remember My Circus CoverIllustrations by Sidney Falcão

I have known a few people in my lifetime who have turned into various animals from time to time.  Some have even been in my own family.  Who hasn’t heard these expressions . . . “He was surly as a bear!  She was a little minx. The women got into a cat fight last night. He’s just an ugly old toad. (With a kiss he may turn into a prince, however.  Oh, wait! That’s a frog that does that.)”  These are all metaphors that are all too common in our society relating people to animals.  So, when the circus came to town and the little ten-year-old boy was waiting to see the woman turn into a six-foot gorilla—I waited with him.

What a fun, quirky, engaging little story this was!  My day was not all that great, but after a few pages I was really giggling with some of the absurdities of this odd little circus that appears and disappears without a sound. The art work is great.  The brightly colored cartoons look like they were painted with pastel watercolors.  And, the tale was so masterfully crafted that to an adult it seems quirky and odd; but to a child, I am certain, the allusions would make perfect sense in their little world filled with mysteries and giants.

Despite the frivolity and light-hearted nature of this short, simple story there is a much deeper meaning that small children might be able to relate to if they have been a part of a separation of some type within their family. The parent becomes enraged and turns into a monster/animal (which sometimes does draw a crowd). The other parent leaves home, thus relinquishing their partner of the power to change into a giant animal, and what is left is an empty shell of sadness.  When the fighting is over one of the parents packs up in the middle of the night and disappears.  Afterwards, it is so painful that no one talks about it; they keep it to themselves. The story is so cleverly disguised that I really did not catch on right away to what the meaning was behind all the cute expressive drawings of the circus and animal acts.

In this, I think the book has great merit.  Along with being a cute, funny, and a colorful little children’s book I think this might be something that a child could connect with and make sense of during a bad situation that really does not make any sense at all to them (or anyone else for that matter).  Think about it . . . we have all heard people comment about someone, when going through a break-up, in their neighborhood or family, “It is a circus over there!”

I give this book 5-stars!  This author is brilliant!

My thanks to authors Tom S. Figueiredo, Antonio Cedraz and Sidney Falcão for providing this delightful story; and to Review the Book.comfor the opportunity to review such a fun read.



  • File Size: 1640 KB
  • Print Length: 53 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Editora Cedraz; 2 edition (July 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EZ0W0Y