Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lamps made from deer antlers? You gotta be kidding me!

Lamps made from deer antlers and other mysteries
By Fire Chief Stella Griffin
from the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries
By J.J. Cook

Okay. I admit to being a city girl. I'm not ashamed of it. I was born and raised in Chicago. I'm a third generation firefighter. I know my way around city streets and I don't have a car. I take the bus or the train like normal people. My cell phone always works.

At least until I came to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Now I live in a log cabin with a ghost and all of the lights have deer antlers on them. And my cell phone NEVER works!

I don't understand the deer antler decor. There is even a deer antler rack to hang cups on. I don't know if they're REAL deer antlers or fake ones. I don't want to think about it either.

I live on top of a mountain where I have bear-proof trashcans and scorpions. I didn't like cockroaches but the thought of scorpions makes me shudder. Oh, and there's snakes too. Ugh!

Still there are some perks to the job. I have great views of the Smoky Mountains from my deck in back overlooking the Little Pigeon River.

People from Sweet Pepper act like I'm the best thing since sliced bread. And I get to be chief, even if it is over a band of men and women who know absolutely nothing about firefighting. At least they're hard workers.  They take time from their families and their jobs almost every day to practice or help their neighbors taking calls. No one pays them to be there. They are that loyal and dedicated.

Now if they could learn to hold a hose on a fire!

And the ghost? Well, we're trying to work out our differences. It's not easy living with a man who can vanish and walk through walls. It's kind of creepy not being sure where he is when I'm dressing and showering, even if he's been dead 40 years.

I've learned a lot about nature from Eric, the ghost. I know that those things that swoop down on you at night on the deck are bats. And those chirpy noises are crickets (or frogs, not sure which). Deer run into the road most during mating season in late fall/early spring so you should watch for their eyes gleaming on the side of the road.

It's going to be strange going back to Chicago when all of this is over. I know Chicago is my home. My job and my family are there. But I'm going to miss this place too.

That Old Flame of Mine
By J.J. Cook
From the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries
Read an excerpt at 
Coming April 2013


  1. We could use your expertise in Elderberry Bay!

    1. I'd be glad to help out, willow, but I have my hands full right now. Good luck to you.

  2. I'm curious, is this a volunteer fire office? Why is Stella there? Oh, I guess I'll have to read all about it.

  3. Dru, even when you have a volunteer firefighting group, there is usually a paid chief. This is for the expertise the chief brings to the job as well as making sure the group meets the strict state guidelines. In this case, they also needed me to get the group going. The county backed out handling calls to Sweet Pepper. There was no one to train the recruits, except the ghost, and he doesn't count!

  4. When I think of lamps attached to deer antlers, I picture deer walking around at night with miner's hats on. And if they did that, would it mean they would have that deer in the headlights look for one another?

  5. One of my mother Fresca's neighbors runs a company making antler lighting. Very popular with decorators and the second-home set who love "the Montana look." Most are natural sheds from whitetail or mule deer -- elk and moose are harder to find, and much more valuable. But yeah, you probably didn't see much of that in Chicago!

  6. That is one thing I don't like looking at too. My father is a hunter, and he has some bits of skull with small antlers on his wall. Lucky for you it is only temporary. You could wrap some shawls around them.

  7. I've seen a lot of log cabins with MOSTLY deer antler items. From chandeliers to lamps, dining table centerpieces and more.