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?
Doc’s 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 horses.
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.