So you can read my books

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Photo courtesy of Frank C. Grace -- any of his prints may be purchased at

"It is my heart-warming and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration

that all of us,

the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the despised, the admired, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage

(every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth),

may eventually be gathered in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss --

except the inventor of the telephone."

- Mark Twain, Boston Daily Globe.

Journal of Captain Samuel McCord

(December 24, 1874)

Sammy Clemens looked at me and sighed,

"Captain Sam, if you live long enough,

the approach of the holiday season can stir up sad memories as well as happy ones."

His blue/grey eyes sparkled, "So I aim to make the happy ones sizzling!"

He was dressed as the most fur-layered Santa Claus I had ever seen.

He held up the telephone in his right fur-gloved hand and glared at Nikola Tesla at my side.

"I might as well make use of this danged instrument you forced me to invest in, Nikola.

Why I declare I would have made twice as much money if you had let me invest in that Paige typesetter."

Nikola huffed, "Oh, go suck on your false beard! What do you know of science? I, the far-seeing genius that I am ---"

Sammy snorted, "And humble, too!"

Nikola happily ignored him and continued,

"I saw the design flaws in that machine and saw the potential in Mr. Bell's invention -- since he stole it from me!

Besides, it was Captain McCord who forced you to invest in the telephone. Why berate me?"

"Because you can't turn me into a turnip, you jack nape, that's why."

He turned to me. "Can you do your Apache hoodoo and set me at the foot of Susy's and Clara's bed?"

"Yes, Sammy, but it's the middle of Christmas Eve night."

"That's the whole dang point! I put this fancy telephone gadget on their night stand to wake 'em up on this very night."

I smiled sadly. 

On the outside, Sammy was all humbug. But there was nothing he would not do to hear the happy squeals of delight from his daughters.

He dialed the telephone number of his daughters' phone. 
It was 7. Sammy had one of the first telephones to be installed in a home.

He literally danced in place, waiting for one of his daughters to pick up and answer. "Dang, little heathens sleep as heavy as damp logs!"

His eyes lit up, "Hello, Susy! This is the Man in the Moon. (That was Sammy's nickname for Santa.)"

I heard the girl's sleepy voice, "Oh, Papa, I know your voice!"

"You accuse Santa of swearing false?"

He pulled out a chuck of coal from his pocket and winked at me. "For that, I will hand-deliver a lump of coal!"

I sucked in a breath I didn't need and folded the fabric of distance as I wanted. Sammy disappeared with a yelp and a rush of air going with him to his daughters' room.

Nikola shook his head as we heard distant screams of shock and delight from the girls' room. I counted to three. I re-folded distance again.

Sammy reeled to the wall, laughing so hard he held his pillow-fattened stomach with both gloved hands.

"Oh, Captain Sam! You should have seen their faces! No Santa-naying for them gals from this day on!"

Nikola turned to me with one raised eyebrow. "Thankfully for his daughters, I hear good things of a Dr. Freud in Vienna."

{And that's the way it was at Christmas in Hartford, 1876 -- give or take a lie or two.}
For more of Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla,
and Sam McCord

- This time in 1895 Egypt -

Read or Listen to

In response to Helena's question, 
Here is a photo of feisty Mark in Nikola's lab:
{Notice Nikola in the background} 


  1. Did Twain and Tesla really know each other? If so, then the dialogue you wrote was spot on. Oh, and Sam McCord adds a nice wry touch too.

  2. Helena:
    Yes, Twain and Tesla were friends in real life. Twain's books had brought joy and peace to Nikola's life when he was ill as a younger man. Sam is always in the shadows somewhere it seems!