Recently Cowboy Bob and Bertha Brennonstool came for a surprise visit.

As a young kid, I loved watching Cowboy Bob on his daily afternoon TV show, called Circle Six Ranch.

I’d rush home from Lincoln School, turn on the TV, and day-after-day own my role as a Cowhand on the Circle Six Ranch.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the show was the movie serials, featuring cliffhanger scenes.

I was quite an impressionable seven year-old.

One of the serials, Cowboy Bob showed was entitled “The Black Widow.”

The movie featured a woman who wanted power and would do whatever she could to attain that power, sometimes using her pet black widow spider.

About this same time, the McCreight family took a trip to Williamsburg, Iowa to visit my grandmother’s friends, Bertha and Jack Bennonstool.

I had never before met Bertha and Jack. When I did meet them, my mind took over, playing a game called “The Black Widow.”

To me, Bertha Brennonstool looked exactly like the evil lady in the movie, “The Black Widow.”

Bertha Brennonstool had very fair complexion and jet black hair, piled high on top of her head. Upon greeting me into her home, she smiled, then laughed making a cackling sound, and said, “Bobby, how nice you’re here.”

When I heard the cackling laugh, I quickly scanned the room, looking for where the black widow spider was lurking.

I decided to stay close to my mother’s side. It was there that I felt most safe in the home of Bertha Brennonstool and her husband, Jack.

Bertha Brennonstool talked a lot. Her husband, Jack, nodded a lot. It was obvious to me who was in control in this home.

Time came for lunch, and I sat beside my mother at the kitchen table. The food was served. I was not hungry. I scanned the kitchen scene, wondering where the black widow spider was hiding.

Suddenly, Bertha Brennonstool shifted the topic of conversation to me, saying, “Bobby, why aren’t you eating? It’s not poison.” And then she cackled.

I was frozen in fear, thinking to myself, poison . . . what do I do?

That afternoon at Bertha Brennonstool’s kitchen table, the table napkin became my very best friend.

So vivid are these memories from an afternoon visit to Williamsburg, Iowa and the home of Bertha and Jack Brennonstool.

I look at the memory, wondering what’s there for me at this time in my life.

Pulling a chord of the memory, I receive the gift of an aha!

I recognize the power of the mind to create, and in the case of Bertha Brennonstool and me, the power of my mind to cast Bertha Brennonstool into the evil role of the lady with the black widow spider.

And so . . . that memory serves as a reminder to me, as I move into my life’s Act 3, to paint good pictures in my mind of the vibrant role I am creating and playing throughout my Act 3.

Loving you,

Robert, aka Bob