The castle dog on high alert.

I don’t know if fairy tales are supposed to have epilogues. But since it’s my fairy tale, I get to make the rules. Epilogues allowed.

Exactly one year ago today, as I stumbled into my ninth decade of drawing breaths on this planet, I wrote a blog with my views on growing old. I allowed a long-time friend, Barbara, to review it before posting. In no uncertain terms she told me it sucked and that I needed an attitude adjustment. (My words, not hers, but that was the essence of her critique.)

That’s where the fairy tale began. You may have followed it. Here’s the epilogue.

The long-time friend is now my wife. I’ve moved across the continent to be with her. In what should be my dotage, I’ve settled into a new life in a new land. I’m happy and content. I have someone who loves me, who feeds me (Barbara is wonderfully skilled in the kitchen), who fixes me a Gentleman Jack before dinner. And makes sure I write.

My writers studio, which I’ve christened Schloss Bernard, is still under construction but coming along nicely. Except for the windows. We ordered them last July and just learned they now won’t be installed until next month. Damned supply chain issues.

Schloss Bernard awaits its windows.

Still, I have no real complaints. Yes, there are things I miss. My writers groups. My weather friends. My golf buddies. The quietness of living on a golf course.

Here, in the drylands of Washington state, my home—a beautiful and well cared for old Craftsman-style house—is in a long-established section of town. The dwelling embraces me like an old friend. But there is a three-lane avenue in front of the property. It’s not overly busy, but neither does it offer the stillness of a golf cart trail.

And then there are the railroad tracks. They are perhaps a mile distant, but I hear the Midnight Special blowin’ down the line (phrase borrowed from James Lee Burke) as I fall asleep each evening. Actually, there are apparently three or four Midnight Specials, mile-long BNSF freights that snake along the banks of the Columbia and rattle through Kennewick with their horns at full throat.

In a way, their sounds are comforting. Life on the move. As mine has been.

To reiterate, my complaints are minor. I am truly happy. My writing efforts continue. The third novel in my When Heroes Flew trilogy, The Roof of the World , about the pilots who flew the “Hump” in WWII, is at my publishers being edited. Its release remains targeted for late spring.

By the way, my friend and fellow novelist Tom Young (Red Burning Sky, release date February 22) had some warm and fuzzy things to say about The Roof of the World: “Imagine flying a route so dangerous, so littered with aircraft wreckage, that crews called it the Aluminum Trail. Such was the heroism of the aviators who crossed the Hump–the Himalayas–during World War II. Yet their sacrifices remain one of the lesser known corners of World War II history. Buzz Bernard’s gripping novel brings their story to light with stark detail and white-knuckle authenticity.”

Now, while I wait for the launch of Roof, I’ll be mapping out my next novel. Strictly speaking, it may not be part of the When Heroes Flew series, but it will certainly harbor some of its DNA. It will be based on another little known true story from the war—a stunning tale of what a young U. S. Army lieutenant and his patrol stumbled upon in Austria during the closing days of the conflict.

As envisioned now, characters you may meet, besides the junior Army officer, will include a Luftwaffe jet pilot—yes, the Germans flew jets at the end of the war—an American B-24 bomber pilot, an Austrian hausfrau, and a Waffen SS Standartenführer.

Oh, and before I close out, I must acknowledge Stormy who made the long journey west with me. What a trooper. And now, like a true castle-dog-in-waiting, he spends most of his day regally curled up in a warm, cushy arm chair.

Maybe I will join him . . . at least until the darn windows get here.


  1. Vicky Dracos on January 17, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Although you are missed here in Georgia, I’m so very proud and happy for you! Glad to see you and Stormy settling in quite well!

    Love and blessings,

  2. Leslie on January 17, 2022 at 11:26 am

    I love reading about your new chapter. Happy that you are adjusting and that stormy is allowed on the furniture 😉The train whistle is a part of my childhood, comforting and annoying at the same time. Perhaps a window will come rolling in soon? ❤️

  3. Edd Lawhon on January 17, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    Good morning Buzz and Happy Birthday to you. I did enjoy your epilogue. But I’m certain that it is the prologue for the next chapter of “The Buzz, Barb & Stormy” series. Sherry and I are so happy for you.

  4. Rick Bernard on January 17, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Brother….Tis interesting that you mention the lonely wail of the train whistle…I’ve have the same story here in North Plains, Oregon, The train runs past my home about 3 miles down in the valley and about 3 times a week employing multiple on grade crossings, I will admit between the whistle of the train and the jets flying overhead from PDX it’s rather invigorating to listen to the sounds of movement of materials and mankind….I must get up and engage the economy….

  5. Donnell Bell on January 17, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    Happy birthday, Buzz, to you and Barbara’s happiness and new windows!

  6. Meridel Prideaux on January 18, 2022 at 8:16 am

    So glad Barbara told you to get an attitude about aging. It’s a whole new fun and exciting chapter in our lives. 🌺I’m so happy for you both and know you will enjoy the Northwest. Looking forward to your new book.

  7. Ernie Abras on January 18, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Buzz, My facebook site seem to have gotten past its hiccups. Gerri and I are ok. We have the usual medical challenges for our age. Living in a elder community we are happy with our situation. Thanks for keeping in touch.

  8. Ernie Abrams on January 18, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Buzz, My facebook site seem to have gotten past its hiccups. Gerri and I are ok. We have the usual medical challenges for our age. Living in a elder community we are happy with our situation. Thanks for keeping in touch.

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