Excerpt from Chapter Five – “Playing Sherlock Holmes”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Five – “Playing Sherlock Holmes”:

A mid dew-studded grass and moist autumn air, Winston’s second sabbatical
day began. He found Clio’s sleeping bag empty. This startled
him. He threw open his damp bag and ambled to his feet. Quietly calling her
name, he stiffly walked to the van. Perhaps she wanted to sleep in the van
after all, he thought. But after opening the front door and peering throughout
the van’s rubble, he saw nothing, nothing out of place, nothing that resembled
a sleeping lump. Walking confused back to the sleeping bags, he began
to notice things that the vale of sleepiness had hidden before. He saw Clio’s
bag neatly closed and zipped, with a green flannel-covered pillow on top. He
noticed the candle with all three flames lit heating a small pot of water. He
noticed the book, Teddy’s autobiography, neatly placed on top of the cooler.
Then, before he could force the air out of his lungs, through his mouth, past
his tongue and teeth, which were just then forming the shapes that created the
word “Clio,” he saw her. Walking toward him between the gravel road and the
fence line, Clio had a big, wide-faced grin on her face. In her hands she held
clumps of green leaves.

“I couldn’t sleep,” Clio said, still smiling. “I got up with the sun. Read
your book. I re-read the part that put me to sleep last night and finished the
rest of the chapter. I put on some water to boil, or to see if it would boil, then
decided to walk the fence line to see what I could find.” She held up her leafy
hands for inspection.

Excerpt from Chapter Four – “Candlelight under the Stars”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Four – “Candlelight under the Stars”:

A reddish-golden autumn sun moved ever closer to the western horizon
as the old van passed alternately between ripened fields of corn, oats
and buckwheat. It bore down mightily throughout most of this first day on
the father and daughter team, though they scarcely noticed its power until
blinding light streamed into their eyes, reflecting through the van’s three
rearview mirrors. Whether it was the setting sun in their faces, the early start
to a fourteen-hour travel day, or Winston’s sudden asthma attack, both had
suffered enough from this day on the road.

The road, for most of the day, had been the old U.S. Highway 30, the
Lincoln Highway, as old-timers still called it. It originated in the years before
World War I during the tenure of President William Howard Taft, who
believed a transcontinental highway would improve communications among
the states. While improved communication among the states was probably
minimal, it most certainly improved transportation among the peoples of California
and New York and all the states in between along a line that included
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah,
and Nevada. Financed, in part, by the growing automobile industry, it was
certainly a boom to the long-term interests of Henry Ford and General
Motors, in particular.

Excerpt from Chapter Three – “Roosevelt and Muir with Chocolate Sauce”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Three – “Roosevelt and Muir with Chocolate Sauce”:

The “Bob’s Big Boy conversation,” as it would be referred to in the
future, was a breakthrough moment for Winston and his daughter,
and he knew it then and thereafter. It had taken only twenty minutes from
start to finish, but it cleared the air between them as well as everyone within
the cafe in earshot. It finally ended with Clio ordering a hot fudge Sunday to
go. A good sign, Winston thought. It was something she had always ordered
when she was a kid, happy and content. As for his last question, Clio put him
off until they were both back in the van and ready to roll. Another good sign.
“So you ready to hear about the sabbatical now?”

Spooning some chocolate sauce into her month, Clio responded with
something that sounded like, “Yeah, surrrr, mmmmmmmm!”

“Okay,” he started off, “you remember what I taught you about President
Roosevelt?”

Excerpt from Chapter Two – “A Conversation at Bob’s Big Boy”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter Two – “A Conversation at Bob’s Big Boy”:

Since Clio had not relieved herself au natural since she was a kid held
securely by her father with her two feet resting on top of the front
passenger-side tire of their old Volvo, and since Winston was unexpectedly
hungry, the next Bob’s Big Boy and its gas station affiliate became their pit stop
of choice. Characteristically, Winston pumped the gas while Clio quickly disappeared
inside. After a quick check of the oil, an obligatory cleaning of the
windshield and credit card scan, the two were reunited at a corner table for
breakfast.

Despite the fact that it was three forty-five in the afternoon, the Dash
on-the-road protocol always called for the breakfast menu. For Clio this
meant two waffles, preferably mixed with pecans, plenty of syrup on the side
and orange juice. For Winston, it was two over-easy eggs, bacon, hash
browns with catsup and coffee, black. Their roadside routine was so predictable
that one could order for the other and usually had in the past. It was
one of the few things warranting little discussion in their relationship. And
that, additionally, turned out to be a blessing for most unsuspecting waitresses.

After the food finally arrived and Clio had sufficiently awakened, she
informed her father: “I have questions.”

Excerpt from Chapter One “Going East”

Roosevelt, Muir, Clio and Me: A Novel of Loss and Discovery by David Matthew Wilcox

Excerpt from Chapter One “Going East”:

Winston Dash was driving to D.C. It was his first time east since his
wife had died, leaving him in charge of their two teen-age daughters.
Memories flooded through his head as the highways turned into freeways,
the freeways into toll ways. He thought of their last East Coast family
vacation, to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, to the Shenandoah River Valley,
Williamsburg, and Washington D.C. It was the bicentennial year, and everywhere
there seemed to be a party. For a young historian and his family, this
was the trip of a lifetime. He smiled. Then he laughed out loud as he remembered
how the summer heat of Philadelphia had won for him a trip to a second
Civil War battlefield in one vacation. Elizabeth had not liked the crowds
of Philadelphia, especially with two little ones in tow.

She said, “The city is dirty and cramped and hot, and if you don’t take us
back to the motel right now, I will puke right here.”

The idea of Elizabeth puking was always an unwelcome one, especially
at that moment given their location. For at that moment, they were all sitting
in one of the oldest churches in the oldest part of Philadelphia; specifically in
a pew marked, “George Washington worshipped here” or something to that
effect. Still, Winston resisted.