Friday, October 27, 2017

Winter Writer Series: Guest Post By Margaret Lashley

     I'm thrilled to have Margaret Lashley, author of Glad One: Starting Over Is A @%&%#! , on the blog today! I "met" Margaret online in one of the social media writer's groups that I belong to, and immediately felt that I had found a kindred spirit. Margaret has written several funny, women's fiction books, and today she is generously sharing a chapter from her latest. On Amazon, the book is described as, "Glad One is a satirical look at divorce, single-hood and climbing back up the social scale told through the eyes of a sarcastic, reluctantly redneck woman who's a magnet for the absurd."

     I'm already hooked after reading several chapters----Margaret's humor is something I can certainly relate to, and I think that you will, too!

                         GLAD ONE: STARTING OVER IS A @%&%#!

St. Petersburg, Florida only had two seasons – summer and not- summer-yet. It was not-summer-yet, but just barely. I first met Glad on May 10, 2009. I remember because I was trying to make the most of “The end of days.” I called the first two weeks of May that because anybody with any sense (translation, not a tourist or a transplant), didn’t venture out in the Florida sun between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from the middle of May to the end of October. Not if they could help it, that is. And with no job at the time, I could help it.
I was determined to get to Sunset Beach early that Sunday. Not just to beat the heat, but the five-dollar fee as well. If I got there before the lot attendant, I could park for free at Caddy’s, my favorite beach bar.

I was attracted to Sunset Beach for three reasons. One, it was gorgeous – sugar-white sand and water the color of a fresh robin’s egg. Two, the tourists hadn’t discovered it yet. And three, it was the only local strip of beach that allowed open containers (aka BYOB alcohol). Caddy’s bar sat right on gorgeous Sunset Beach, sandwiched between a patch of virgin sand dunes and a recently erected, three-story McMansion the color of pumpkin puke.

In stunning contrast to the prissy new house, Caddy’s was pure, relaxed, old-school Florida. To be honest, it wasn’t much more than an old beach shack with a front porch and a rooftop deck scabbed onto it with bent nails and duct tape. The bottom floor facing the Gulf didn’t even have an exterior wall. If it rained hard or the temperature dropped below 65 degrees, the easy-going folks at Caddy’s unfurled plastic flaps like tent windows against the inclement weather. But on good days, which were most days, there’d be nothing between Caddy’s tipsy patrons and the turquoise Gulf of Mexico but a hundred feet of squeaky, blindingly white sand. Caddy’s fit right in with its laid-back vibe, good food, live music and a full liquor bar. Being a native Floridian, I appreciated that it wasn’t a tiki bar. After all, this was not freaking Hawaii.

When I got to the beach that morning, I’d planned on getting in a stroll before the humidity turned the air to soup, and then the sun heated that soup to steam. I thought about splurging for breakfast at one of Caddy’s picnic tables on the beach afterward. But being a loner, and on a budget as tight as last year’s jeans, I decided against it.

It was Mother’s Day. Not being a mother myself, or having one I was keen to celebrate, I planned to let the day go by as unnoticed as possible. I got lucky and pulled into the lot in time to avoid the attendant. I slipped off my flip-flops and shorts and put them on the floorboard of Shabby Maggie, my 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible.

I had to admit it. Maggie suited me. Today’s cars all looked the same. I couldn’t have told a Prius from a Pontiac to save my life. But those older cars like Maggie had style. With her curvy, Batmobile rear-end, cherry-red upholstery and Wimbledon-white exterior, Maggie was a classic beauty. All the nicks and dents and faded spots reminded her she’d seen better days. Boy, could I relate.

As I reached into the backseat for my beach bag and chair, a loud wolf whistle rang out over the rumble of a diesel engine. I didn’t even waste the energy to look up. Instead, I just shook my head and wondered what desperate soul could find the sight of my flabby ass in bathing suit worth that much effort. I hoisted my beach chair under one arm, hooked my bag over the other and picked my way across the crushed-shell parking lot.

As I reached the white picket fence leading out to the beach, I spied an old woman lying on a lounger a good fifty feet from the shoreline. I’d seen her there countless times over the last few months. She was a wiry, leather-skinned old bat who, had I met on the street, I’d have labeled a bag lady. But there at the beach she fit right in. Maybe stripping down to a bathing suit somehow leveled the playing field.

To be honest, she reminded me a lot of my friend Berta, a crusty old psychologist from New York. We’d shared some laughs together in Italy, and she’d helped me get through some tough times in Germany. Before she died, Berta had warned me about making friends with strangers. I hadn’t heeded her advice then, but I was trying to now. I couldn’t afford another disastrous mistake.

The old woman always set up camp near the same wispy clump of sea oats, so it had been easy to avoid her so far. That day, however, my luck finally ran out. The wind blew sand in my eye, and as I fumbled along trying to get it out, I’d wandered blindly within earshot of her.

“Nice toe rings,” she croaked in a scarred, toady voice that perfectly matched her appearance.
Sprawled out on a pink, plastic beach lounger, she reminded me of one of those dried-up frogs you can still find now and then in politically incorrect souvenir shops.

I was running on just one cup of coffee that morning, so it took a moment to realize she was talking to me. I sighed and wiped my eye again.

“Thanks.” I turned to take a step toward the water, but the old woman wasn’t having it.

“Wanna beer?”

She grinned at me from under a pink Gilligan hat. Her oversized dentures looked clownish, wedged between two wide smears of bright-red lipstick.

“It’s Sunday, you know. They ain’t servin’ booze ’til ’leven today.”

Her salty-sweet Southern accent had a familiar ring. I’d spent three decades trying to rid myself of one just like it. She tilted her head and motioned toward a small cooler nestled in the sand beside her. I shook my head.

“No thanks. I’m good.”

I forced a smile and gave her a quick once-over. The old lady was one shade up from mahogany and as wrinkled as a linen pantsuit after a high-stakes game of Twister. Her arms and legs looked like four Slim Jims sticking out of a neon green bathing suit. It was the kind of simple, one-piece suit women over forty wear. One that supports the boobs and hides the belly. I was grateful for her modesty.

Freckles and white spots covered the old woman’s dark-brown arms and legs. The Florida sun hadn’t been kind. She could have been fifty-five or ninety-five. With hard-core beach bums, it was impossible to tell. But given the full-on dentures, I placed her in her late sixties – at the youngest.

“Okie dokie then, have it your way,” Slim Jim said.

She watched me carefully from behind black, bug-eyed sunglasses. Her gaze never shifted as she reached instinctively into the cooler, pulled out a can, then cracked the tab on a family-size Fosters. I turned and took another step toward the water when I thought I heard her say, “Screw you, Kiddo.”

I whirled around to face her.

“What?” I asked, thinking I must have heard her wrong......

Want to read more? You can buy the book HERE!


A lover of laughter and aficionado of the absurd, author Margaret Lashley brings her unique, sideways look at the world to the page in her hilarious and irreverent Val & Pals series of seriously funny women's fiction. Each of her books explores the ups and downs of being a woman while mining life for all the laughs along the way. 

She also penned How to be Happy When Life Treats You Crappy, a personal workbook based on her world-wide travels in search of what makes people resiliently happy. Margaret is a native Floridian and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. Write to her at: She loves to hear from fans!


  1. I love the great "leveling" of the beach scene. It is so much more friendly than the pool, where I feel there is an unwritten competition. I hate sitting by the pool in my bathing suit, and love being at the each. I'm sure I will end up spotted and wrinkled, but the beach makes me so happy, I don't really care. Good thing I live up in CT, where my number of beach days/year are limited:)

    1. I love the beach, too----looking at it, not diving into it, LOL

  2. Thanks for introducing us to this fun writer.

  3. LOVED this whole excerpt! I must read this book. Thanks for sharing this lovely and hilarious author, Marcia. Best simile: " wrinkled as a linen pantsuit after a high-stakes game of Twister" Hahahahaaaaa!!!

    1. I knew you'd like this post! Hope you get the book!

    2. I bought it! Can't wait to delve in :)

  4. Neat chapter! I loved that she got whistled at while reaching for something into the back seat. The surprise of it & the disbelief. LOL!

  5. --The old lady sounds interesting. I'd like to know more about the old bat!! LOL



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