When Wisconsin veterinarian Doc dies, his family learns that to
inherit his fortune, they must decipher the cryptic codicil he added to
his will—“Take Doofus squirrel-fishing”—and they can only do that by
talking to Doc’s friends, reading the memoir Doc wrote of a Christmas
season decades earlier, searching through Doc’s correspondence, and
discovering clues around them. Humor abounds as this mismatched lot
tries to find time in their hectic lives to work together to solve the
puzzle. In the end, will they
realize that fortune comes in many guises?
Codicil is a mystery told with gentle humor. It tells the story of a
veterinarian who teaches his heirs a lesson from the grave.
It seems my life has been a testament to questionable decisions and
lost opportunities. However, my wife of 39 years says she knows of
nothing in the record to justify such unfettered optimism.
I am a member of the last generation of rural veterinarians who
remember working with cows that had names and personalities and dairymen
who worked in the barn with their families. I’m also part of the first
wave of the Baby Boomers, crusty codgers who are writing their wills and
grousing about kids who don’t pay attention to what old men say, and
can even be damned condescending at times.
I was raised on a dairy farm in West-central Wisconsin and exhibited
Holstein cattle and Clydesdale horses from the time I was ten-years-old
until I graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan
State in 1969. I practiced veterinary medicine on Wisconsin dairy farms
until 1988, when my wife and I packed up our four children and I entered
graduate school at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
I developed the first ante-mortem diagnostic test for proliferative
enteritis, a diarrheal disease of swine caused by Lawsonia
intracellularis. The test is now the standard diagnostic test for the
disease. With adoption of the test, it was also found that L.
intracellularis is the most common cause of post-weaning diarrhea in
After 19 years of work on the research and development of bovine and
swine vaccines, I am retired. I’m using the scraps of what I can
remember to spin stories of a family and veterinary practice, stories
that could almost be true. Some of the true stories that didn’t make it
into my books can be found on this website.
My first novel, Doc’s Codicil, will be published in October 2015. I have two published short stories: Valentine, published in Straightjacket, the 2012 spring issue, and The Attempted Armed Deposit, in the 2009 California Writers Club Chap Book.