Rube Winters discovers that he shares a family curse after he survives his head caught between the altar spindles at communion, and his first date ends in a shotgun blast. There is a rib-tickling ski accident, the interruption of his wedding by a pet parrot, a life threatening accident to his wife and unborn child, a divorce, the death of his girlfriend’s family, and his own accident.
Seeking answers, he re-unites with his old professor at The Source, a magic spot in the mountains where he finds the meaning of life and health.
A rogue narrator provides the inside scoop.
The chill of fall was in the air as they got out and looked across the valley below. Rube was comfortable with his long sleeved shirt. Amy grabbed a light jacket from the back seat. It was a clear day except for a few wispy clouds which drifted slowly to the east. Most of the leaves were off the trees by now, and Rube and Amys view was uninhibited. Amy said, Oh, Rube. This is breathtaking. Ive never seen anything like it. Its so beautiful it makes me want to cry. Rube put his hand on her shoulder and pulled her close.
Engulfed by the smell of the mountain flora, they turned and looked at the large, moss covered rock formation with its weeping cracks.
To the left of the rock, on the other side of the Jeep was a sign with The Source carved into the wood. Straight up the hill about a hundred and fifty yards was the outline of a small clapboard house with smoke curling from the stone chimney. Rube caught the smell of burning wood.
The path wandered back and forth between the trees on its way up the steep incline. Rube had been given permission by his doctor to start walking again, but his wheelchair time had left his legs weak. Amys knee was much better, but she still wore an elastic support just to be safe. Three squirrels chattered among themselves and scurried off as Rube and Amy approached. Stopping several times to rest and catch their breath, they turned to more fully take in the panorama of blue sky and the contrasting shades and colors of the valley below. They were exhausted and exhilarated at the same time when they reached the back yard of the small house.
The building sat on a large plateau which ran off a ways to the north. It was located in the southwest corner of the lot and appeared to rest precariously on the edge of a cliff. It looked like a strong breeze would blow it over. Fifty yards northeast of the house was a large, pyramid shaped, wooden structure with a single chair in the middle.
Suddenly, Amy grabbed onto Rube like she was trying to keep from falling. Hold me, she whispered. Dont let me go.
Im fine now. I just had an overwhelming feeling of awe, a feeling of peace, and yet like something special was about to happen. Its hard to explain. This is a sacred place, like a church. Do you feel it?
I do. Theres a powerful force here. I wonder if were standing on a magnetic field or something. Anyway, lets go find Dr. Wilkins.
They stepped onto the rickety back porch and knocked on the crooked screen door. Two large bowls, one filled with food pellets and the other with water, sat on the warped pine floor. As the inside door jerked open, Rube saw the smiling face of his old professor. They stepped back as Dr. Wilkins pushed the screen door wider and drew them into the small kitchen.
He appeared a little older than Rube remembered with wrinkle lines radiating from the corners of his eyes. But, there was something different, a glow about him that caught Rube by surprise. He had heard of auras before, but this was the first time he had ever been able to see one, and even feel its presence. Love and peace seemed to float around Dr. Wilkins and reach out to anyone or thing close by.
Welcome to The Source. Thanks for coming, said Dr. Wilkins, giving them each a long hug. Rube was overwhelmed by the pure love that radiated throughout his body. Amy stepped back from her embrace with astonished eyes, filled with tears of joy. Her body trembled as she grabbed Rubes arm. Rube heard Mozarts Overture to The Marriage of Figaro playing in the background, recognizing it only because he had seen the play.
Rube and Amy were startled when a huge cat suddenly appeared in the doorway. Rube thought at first it might be a bobcat, but after seeing its tail realized it was only the largest housecat he had ever laid eyes on.
Dr. Wilkins saw the frightened look in their eyes, and reassured them, Dont worry, its only Tiger, my Maine Coon cat. His breed is very large and his tail is as long as his body. Rube reached cautiously to pat Tiger on the neck as he wove and pressed his way through their legs, purring like a young tiger cub.
Dr. Wilkins paused to light a fire under the tea kettle, You all come on into the living room, or maybe you would prefer to sit on the front porch, thats where I spend most of my time when the weather is nice.
I think I would like to see your front porch, said Rube. Is that all right with you, Amy?
Thats fine, she said, still clinging to his arm.
Dr. Wilkins led them onto the front porch and invited them to sit in a weathered swing angled so you could see the view and still carry on a conversation with the person sitting in the rocking chair to the right of a small wooden table.
As always, Dr. Wilkins combed his light brown hair straight back, but now there was graying at the temples. He wore wire rimmed glasses which did not distract from his pale blue eyes. He appeared to be at peace with the world and serene in his slim, well conditioned body.
He smiled, Thank you both for coming. Im glad you called, it saved me a call to you. I have something I want to talk to you about. Before I get to that, you mentioned a need to see me about something. How can I help?
Dr. Wilkins, all my life things have been happening to me and people with me, unexplainable things which ordinary people dont seem to experience.
Rube Winters knew he was cursed by the time he turned five years old. Despite this knowledge, there was no way to prepare for the unusual events that kept happening to him, and no way to prevent them.
His only consolation was in finding out his Uncle Billy was also cursed, when Uncle Billy shared the family secret with him. There was just one way to lift the curse, and Rube was determined to find it.
Rube's misadventures are hilarious and kept me chuckling throughout the story. I especially enjoyed the antics of Moochie Dunlop, a most endearing character who plays a large role in Rube's life.
The search to remove the curse leads Rube to The Source and a former college professor who has discovered the meaning of life and health. The principles this professor has uncovered could easily be applied to anyone's life.
The Blankenshipf Curse is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. Its unique message will give the reader something to ponder in his or her own life.
Is the family cursed?
Murdock's first book has a lot of information in it, and if you can survive the first 100 pages of pedantic narrative, you'll be golden and can see that this self-published work turned a chiropractor into a real writer by the end of the book.
His main protagonist, Rube Winters, thinks he has a curse that causes bad events to happen to him. Most of us would just toss it up to karma or a bad day, but Winter's family really believes in the Blankenschipf curse that always strikes the first-born Winter son.
A rogue narrator appears and disappears all the while consistently trying to give the reader information that is blatantly obvious in the story. The "rogue narrator" makes the book worse and between him and the novel, this book is a testament that the Confederate flag is flying high in Georgia since we get incest, physical abuse, bigotry, Yankee hatred and continual drunkenness. Murdock validates every stereotype about the South that exists.
The author of this book introduces a bold new way of writing a novel. Hold onto your hat and rev up your funny bone as a rogue narrator takes you behind the scenes of this story." Patricia Bell-Scott, teacher at the University of Georgia and author of Life Notes and Flat-Footed Truths.