Category Archives: Columns

On my own at Fleet Farm

This morning, I headed off to Fleet Farm. The dry cat food I use for the outside cats was on sale. I get it in a fifty-pound bag.

As I was walking around the store, picking up dog treats (on sale), canned Frisky cat food with extra gravy (on sale) for the inside cats, I kept thinking about Bob.

It’s hard to travel those aisles without him. For too many years, that was our outing together. We’d mostly go when things we needed were on sale, or if Bob needed something for the farm, like fuel oil, or hydraulic oil, or spray oil–he used a lot of oil. Today I was alone.

As I filled my cart (groaning some when lifting the 50-pound bag) I thought of Bob. I kind of talked to him in my head as I ventured past his favorite aisles.

At least, I hoped I talked to him in my head, because if I was mumbling or talking out loud, someone’s going to come with a net and take me away.

Anyway, I got stocked up again on needed items, even fruit and nut bird food, which wasn’t on sale but was needed.

The big bag of cat food will get us through March
See the Frisky cans? Our two house cats are picky. They want the extra gravy or nothing.

I’m wondering what I got for myself… Oh yeah, I got a director’s chair on sale!

I’ll go again to Fleet Farm, but I will never go without Bob in my head and in my heart.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

My new book collection

When I went for coffee with friends this morning at Sissy’s, I brought a few of my new books and put them on the shelf for sale.

Two books went flying off the shelf–to friends.–Thank you ladies.

Two more are on the shelf. I’ll bring more in when needed. Maybe the rest will go flying to new homes soon too.

Of course, you can find all my books at, both in paperback and on Kindle.

Now back to work on my next column collection: A New Addition 1982-1983. I’m only half-way through that book. Hopefully, it won’t take years to get it in print.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Old winter memory

I see on this photo that it was developed in May 1959 but obviously it was taken earlier in the year. At least, I hope so.

The people in the snowy photo are our neighbor, Marilyn, my sister Karen and me.

We didn’t care if it was cold. We loved to be outside in winter. For that matter, we loved to be outside at any time of the year.

We would wear anything to keep warm. I remember Mom putting socks on our hands when we didn’t have mittens. The absence of thumbs made play challenging, but that didn’t stop us.

I wish I could find the photo of my sister when she wore an old fur coat and miss-matching socks. She was quite the sight, but no matter. Karen was outside having fun.

We never seemed to get cold back then. I wish I didn’t chill so fast these days. Right now, I prefer looking out the window at the cold snow.

But if grandchildren happen to visit on a sunny winter day, I’ll join them in making snowmen or building a snow fort. There’s still a bit of kid in me yet.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Booking it!

My 1980-1981 column collection is finished and is up on Kindle for purchase. The paperback will be in production as soon as I get my proof and check it over. I’m supposed to get my proof copy by next Tuesday.

Stories from these two years include three children: Robby, Becky, and Russell–Rachel came into the picture in 1982.

Here’s a romantic story form this book in honor of Valentine’s Day:

Oh, Rats!” to those bats

August 5, 1981

       He came out of the house. We sat by the picnic table, a full moon above our heads. It was so romantic, a fragile evening.

       The work noises of the day had faded. I was no longer overpowered by the roar of the tractor being tuned up near the shop. It sat quietly nearby—in pieces—not to roar again until a needed part was shipped in.

       Birds swooped about the yard in silent precision, eating hundreds of juicy insects. The sound of a muffled train whistle sounded in the distance.

       It was an evening all the money in the world couldn’t buy. It was an evening worth waiting for, for weeks… for months.

       He whispered into my ear, “You’re alone?”

       I sighed, “Yes.” And thought, “Oh Boy! Here it comes. Here comes one of his priceless romantic statements.” (They are so priceless because they’re so rare. Anyway, it had to be one the evening called for one; it yelled for one. And so did I, silently, of course.)

       So I waited and waited for the words that were sure to come from his lips—words I would cherish for another five years, until the next time, when he’d again stumble over another few.

       “I’m surprised you’re sitting out here like this,” he said.

       “The night was made for it… for us.” I thought a few words from me would help him spit out a good line.

       “I’m just surprised. I know how much you hate them,” he said with a yawn.

       Somehow it wasn’t quite what I expected him to say. I wanted romance. Instead I got a puzzle.

       “What are you talking about? What do I hate?” I had to ask, knowing his answer was sure to blow the evening for good.

       “Bats… you hate bats.”


       “Those happen to be bats flying around the yard,” he said, calmly.

       “Bats? No…. BATS? Are you sure?” (Why I asked him if he was sure I don’t know. He’s always sure. And with one more look up so was I.).

       “BATS!!! I thought they were birds.” I jumped up and ran to the house, my head tucked under my arms.

       “Where are you going?” He remained sitting on the bench, in the moonlight.


       “But it’s such a nice night…. I thought you knew they were bats. They weren’t hurting you.”

       “They didn’t hurt me when I thought they were birds. They might now that I know they’re bats.”

       For a man who claims to love me so much, he can be cruel. He stole away the night and the promise of romance, with one word – “BATS!”                         “Oh, RATS!”

I hope you enjoyed the story I shared.

I also hope that you would consider buying this kindle book or the paperback when it comes out.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

From kitchen to living room

I’ve been blogging about working on a book consisting of my first two years of columns. Words in My Pocket from 1980-1981 is just about ready. Still, I need help. I’m not printing anything out and wasting paper and postage. Instead, I’m looking for editing from across the Internet.

I tried sending my book WORD file via email to my friend Joyce in Illinois, but I kept getting error messages saying the file was too big.

I cut the file in half and managed to email part 2 to Joyce, but my Internet balked when it came to the first half. I don’t know why. (Being in the country, my internet is DSL. That means it is slow compared to cable, but it’s what I have.)

We finally used Google Documents and shared the whole book file. It took us a little while to figure this sharing out, but after finally connecting we’re going gangbusters.

Now if Joyce has time to check over my manuscript and find mistakes, I can see her comments right away.

This modern way to connect with the Internet is great.

It won’t be long when this is off the computer and in book form.

Stay tuned for updates.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved