Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Cold

I lived in several states. I grew up and lived in Wisconsin, and for my first teaching and coaching position, I moved to Wyoming where I lived for three years. There is a rugged beauty to that state. I lived in what are called the Nebraska Sand Hills on the east-central part of the state. Wind was constant and cold was numbing.

Being a rookie (or an idiot) when it comes to propane, I woke up one night seeing my breath and freezing. The propane tank was empty. Talk about bone chilling. A family who looked after me while I lived out there took me to their house, where I called the propane company, and they came out and filled my tank. Nice of the family to do that, but they did that sort of thing all the time for me. I am so thankful to them, and for them to have taken me in, so to speak. And, I learned my lesson.

After Wyoming, I lived in Omaha, Nebraska for two years, where I assisted as a coach for the university and earned my master's degree in counseling. Then back to Wisconsin for six years.

In 1987, I moved to California where even in the middle of winter, I didn’t have to wear sixteen layers of clothes to keep warm. It seldom rained (my second least favorite thing on the earth, though my wife might put bugs right up there ahead of rain), and the weather was almost always sunny, and we loved it there. That’s where I met Kim (also from Wisconsin, but we had to travel to the west coast to find each other), and where we started or family.

Then we moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to family. Ten years. And it was cold. Again.

I found that when you grow up in cold weather, you don’t think much of it. You get used to it. Throw on a sweater, a jacket, a hat, some boots and some mittens, and you’re pretty much good to go. But leave the cold climate and live in a warm climate, and then move back, it is a rude and unwelcomed awakening. So much so, in 2008, Kim and I moved to Virginia, where we still get some weather, but by and large, it’s comfortable year-round.

I thought of my experience with cold weather and warm weather, and thought of those poor folks in Texas and other southern states who aren’t used to the cold and who can’t jet away to Cancun to escape it. Folks without water, without electricity, without quite a bit that I . . . we . . . take for granted. 

Parents not having enough food or water or heat. And when it thaws, and it will thaw, whatever was frozen becomes unfrozen. Pipes burst. Walls and ceilings and floors are ruined. Houses trashed along with some lives. Some lives lost.

It makes me . . . hopefully, us . . . appreciate what we have. The little inconveniences in my life are nothing compared to what these poor folks in Texas and other southern states are going through. I’ve never had to boil water in my lifetime. I had only one experience when cold took my comfort away, and that was short-lived. My life returned to normal only after a few hours, whereas these poor folks’ lives return to normal will take days, weeks, or possibly longer.

Tragedy, and I would classify the events of this past week or so as exactly that, knows no religion. Tragedy knows no political party. Tragedy doesn’t care if you are wealthy or poor. Tragedy doesn’t respect differences in gender, in sexual preference, in age. Tragedy touches what it wants, when it wants, where it wants without concern for boundary or what side of the tracks one lives.

I write this at the kitchen table in a fairly comfortable chair, with the heat on, the TV playing in the background, and after I ate my breakfast and took a shower and cleaned myself up for the day. There are folks out there right now, living right now, who don’t have these basic necessities. Parents who are worried about their children. Kids who are worried about their parents. So much pain. So much worry. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I have a new author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.
On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books. I release snippets from those books. I let you in on any interviews I have done. I will let you know of any events coming up for books sales and signings. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life.

You can find it at:

Some recent posts include:

-      Parts of a Story – the Middle

-      Betrayed – What is it about? And What were my thoughts writing it?

-      Parts of a Story – the Beginning

-     Why I Write, and Why I Read

-     A Snippet from Spiral Into Darkness

-        The Book Description and Book Trailer for Caught in a Web

-        The Importance and Use of Setting

-        Meet Brian, One of My Characters!

-        Meet George, One of My Characters!

Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor 
Another Five Star Review for my book, Betrayed:
“This 339-page psychological thriller from talented Joseph Lewis draw us into his characters’ lives and keeps us page-turning. The intricate character-driven action and adventure plot is solidly written. In this emotional and stirring tale of teenage love, adventure and murder, the story examines blended family relationships, how they relate to one another amid a mystery—with a larger mystery that swiftly turns violent—and gives unique background viewpoints into Navajo culture and beliefs. This is a multi-layered adventure story with twists and turns, exploding eventually into a hair-raising bullet-ridden finale.

Written with honesty and integrity, this able author presents us with a unique story of survival and kinship. It is educational, interesting, and entertaining. Joseph Lewis’ skill and sensitivity in handling delicate and potentially troubling subject matters, is deserving of this 5-star review. Readers can look forward to accessing more of his well-written and stirring unusual tales. Well done Mr. Lewis.”
    – Eliza Earsman, author of Days of Elijah


Betrayed: A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted.


Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.


Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by 
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family.  


Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. 


Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. 


Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself.  


The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.     

Photo courtesy of Robert Zunikoff and Unsplash



  1. Nicely written. I'm headed back to the Midwest after 24 years in the desert southwest. It doesn't matter how much I prepare, next winter will be bracing, especially in light of the this year's weather. A week blessings here for sure. Be well and warm.

  2. Thank you for stopping by! Thank you for your comments. You are correct. No amount of preparation will take care of the cold.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe