Thursday, June 28, 2018

If I Had the Chance to Do It Over from July 7, 2010

If I had it to do over, I suppose I'd have done it differently. At the time, it seemed okay, but upon reflection, I guess it wasn't my best decision. However, you know how they say hindsight is 20/20? Yeah. That'd be me.
Not that it's a bad thing—per se—not exactly.... But I could have done better. I suppose we all kick ourselves from time to time, ruminate on the whys and wherefores of a situation, but this one really doesn't bear thinking about.
I should probably start at the beginning. I was standing on Molly Henderson's porch painting her trim. I do odd jobs around the neighborhood to make some extra cash. Anyway, she invited me in for iced tea and I graciously accepted. It was well over 90° in the shade and humid. Kind of like standing in a sauna—no air moving. The cool air in the house bathed my boiling skin in a chilly layer of gooseflesh. I sipped my tea, feeling it glide down my throat, as I chatted with Molly.
After my break, I worked my way around the front of the porch. I was glad of the deep overhang and the fact the sun was now on the back side of the house, and dipped my brush in the glistening white paint. Moments later, a wasp started circling my paint can. I swatted it away with my hand, but it came back. Something about that paint really caught its attention. I took another swat, this time with the paint brush.
All I succeeded in doing was pissing it off. Ever been on top of a ten foot ladder with an angry wasp buzzing around your head? I got off the ladder, taking a break away, hoping the damn thing would leave. When I went back up, there were three wasps circling the paint can. Great. Just what I needed.
I hopped back down and got a rolled up newspaper from the recycling bin on the side of the house. Armed with my weapon of wasp destruction, I went back to my ladder. In my absence, three more wasps had joined the ever widening circle of my paint can. I now had six wasps weaving a wobbling flight path over my can. I couldn't even approach it for fear they'd sting me.
Maybe now's the time to tell you that I'm deathly afraid of being stung. I sat on a swing with a wasp's nest under it when I was a kid. Couldn't see it because of the tall grass around the swing set. Twenty-eight stings I got that day. So maybe you can understand why I'm a bit leery, huh?
I halfheartedly swung my paper around, hoping to discourage and scatter the critters, but they weren't about to comply. Molly came to the front door and watched me for a few minutes, hands on her hips.
Skip Richards, I'm not paying you to play tag with that paint can. Get back up on the ladder and finish my trim!”
I'd like to, Miss Molly, but there's wasps....”
Don't make me call your mama!”
Miss Molly, I'm 23 years old. You don't need to be calling my mama cause of some wasps.”
Swat those things away. Big boy like you ought not to be afraid of a couple wasps!”
There's eight of them now. I can't kill all eight at a time! Not with this!” I held up my paper.
Molly huffed angrily and went inside. She came back with a spray can and a broom. “Spray 'em with this and knock 'em aside with a broom.”
I took the proffered weapons with trepidation. What good was hairspray? I thought she'd bring me some wasp killer or, better yet, a blow torch—but no.... I've got me a broom and a can of AquaNet.
Taking careful aim, and making sure I was upwind, I sprayed that hairspray for all I was worth. I must've used half the can. One wasp after another wibbled and wobbled and fluttered away. All but one. It landed on the rim of the can.
I sprayed it again. Instead of flying away, it did a strafing run at my head! I swatted at it with my hands, but it kept coming. I took up the broom, flailing around me like some kind of straw armed Ninja.
All of a sudden, Miss Molly's screaming at me from the front porch. I couldn't understand what she was saying until it was too late. I thwacked that ladder and paint can. Ladder and all came down on me.
Covered in paint with a huge knot on my head from where the ladder hit me, I sat on Miss Molly's yard while she and the entire neighborhood had a good laugh at me.
Yup—wish I'd of done it differently....

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Repent in Leisure from October 19, 2010

Marry in haste, repent in leisure,” my Aunt Martha said as she fluffed my veil. “I swear, you look a treat, Sammie!”
Thanks, Auntie M,” I said, hugging her.
I adjusted the wreath of flowers on my head, gazing at myself in the mirror. My hair was a mess, but the veil was gorgeous. Martha was making it for me from silk flowers and lace. It was lovely. My dress was still being made, so I stood there modeling it in jeans and a T-shirt.
Just gotta ask again, Sammie. Are you sure about this boy?”
Very sure, Auntie. RJ's fantastic. You'll love him. Mama loves him.”
Well, just cause my baby sister likes somebody, don't mean I will.”
He's the best. Honest!”
Didn't you say that about what's his name? The carpenter?”
I couldn't look at myself anymore. “Yeah. But I was wrong as can be about Bobby. This is different, Auntie.”
And you said that about that policeman.”
I sighed. She had a point. I'd said that about Tom too. Let's face it, my experience with men isn't all that great. My record relationship so far is this one with RJ. We've been dating four months and are getting married in six weeks. At least that's the plan, provided something doesn't come along to screw it up.
My point is,” she continued. “Sammie Jean, you ain't got the best track record of any girl. You fall in love too easy. You get your heart all trampled on and then regret like crazy you ever hooked up with that lunatic man in the first place. You sure this ain't another time like the last...twelve?”
Not twelve, Auntie. Just two.”
Seems like a lot more than two. Didn't you almost marry that florist fella?”
I'd forgotten about Dean the florist. Good grief, I'd forgotten half a dozen men I'd dated too. She had a point, damn close to twelve. I hadn't been engaged to them all, but RJ was the third. Or was it the fourth? But the only one who'd got so far as setting a date and buying the material for a dress. Mama was sewing that, Auntie M. was making the veil. My Aunt Tessa was making the bouquets and Aunt Mamie the cake. My mama's got a bunch of sisters and they're all good at different things.
This time, for sure! I'm really positive about RJ.”
Her eyes looked sad and I knew she was thinking of some other guy I'd said that about. She thought I was gonna back out again—like I'd always done before.
Can't help thinkin' a man who'll propose and get married real fast—he ain't reliable, Sammie Jean. I feel like I'm wasting precious time making something for a wedding that ain't ever gonna be.”
You're not wasting your time, Auntie. This time, for sure! I love RJ so much! He's real special. And I know I've said that a million times before, but this time for sure! Wait until you meet him. He's coming by at seven for dinner.”
I guess we're all expected?”
I nodded, taking the wreath of flowers off my head.
Well, I reckon I can give a few minutes.”
We spent the rest of the afternoon working on wedding plans and cooking dinner. RJ was right on time. My aunts were all in the living room waiting for him to arrive. He knocked on the door and you'd think someone lit a fire under those women. They lined up in birth order to meet him: Martha, Tessa, Mamie and my mother, Reanne. I felt like making a drum roll when I opened up that door.
RJ walked in, gave me a kiss and turned to see that room full of females. He's real good looking, dark brown hair and big green eyes. He wears a real diamond stud in his left ear. That surprised my mama some, but she didn't complain. I introduced him to my aunts.
Wait a second,” Martha said loudly. “You're that doctor, aren't ya?”
Yes, ma'am. Sure am! I work at the Emergency Room.”
You sewed up my boy when he cut his foot,” Aunt Tessa said with a grin.
And you took the splinter outta my neighbor's eye,” Aunt Mamie said.
This is who you're gonna marry?” Aunt Martha asked.
Yup, Auntie. This is RJ.”
Well, baby darlin'. You forget everything your auntie said and just go on and be happy.”
RJ wasn't quite sure what to think, but he took it all in stride. He charmed those aunts of mine and had them about eating outta his hand before dinner was done.
After he went home, Aunt Martha took me aside and gave me a hug. “Baby girl, you did good.”
Thanks, Auntie.”
I take back all the bad I said. You're gonna do just fine.”
Thanks, Auntie.”
One thing though, you gonna let him wear that earring?”
Yes, ma'am.”
Well then, he better get you a ring at least twice that big, or it's gonna be competition,” she declared as she walked out the door.
I sat down on the couch and couldn't stop laughing. Finally, I'd found a man that everyone loved just as much as me.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Halloween! from June 30, 2010

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I don't remember celebrating until we moved to Nebraska when I was 8, but after that I have a lot of fun memories.
For weeks before Halloween we planned our costumes. It was a major decision what we were going to wear. Then we had to find the perfect components. All costumes were homemade. There weren't many commercially made costumes available back in 1968. Only kids with no imagination got those anyway. We did our best to outdo one another.
I wish I could say that I remember every costume I ever wore, but that would be a lie. The only one I have a clear memory of was the year I was 9. I wanted to be a ballerina and begged my mother for tights, leotard and a tutu. My birthday is October 3rd, so she gave me the tights and leotard as gifts. The tutu we made from an old petticoat that we found in the basement of our old apartment complex back in Cambridge. Mom had, wisely, saved the netting for costumes.
Wouldn't you know the night before Halloween, we got the first snow of the season. We kids, while excited to get the snow, were upset because this greatly changed Halloween plans. How could we properly display our costumes if we had to wear coats?
I didn't want to wear a coat and argued with my mother about it for over an hour. Finally, my father intervened. I could wear my coat or stay home. Those were my choices. I chose to wear my coat, but my father didn't specify that it had to be fastened nor did he say that I had to wear it the entire time. He was pretty specific about the boots. I was absolutely not to take them off and could not wear my ballet slippers instead.
Pouting and sullen, I went with my sister and our neighbors, all of whom were older, and trooped down the street. Each house has special treats. Our mother gave pennies tied up in orange and black crepe paper. Next door, Toby gave candy apples. Across the street, they gave us popcorn balls. We all had our favorites and traded back and forth as we worked the neighborhood.
Then we got to the Phillips' house. They had two boys, Steve and Scott. Steve was too old to care about Halloween, but Scott and his friends from the junior high always had a party at their house. For the younger kids, it was a lot of fun because Mr. and Mrs. Phillips always had us come in. Before we got our treats, a bag full of candy and the best cookies in the neighborhood, we had to perform a trick.
Like the costumes, we planned these out for weeks. Since I was a ballerina, I did a fancy dance pirouetting and spinning around until I got dizzy. I got a special prize for having the best trick and Mrs. Phillips gave me extra cookies to take home. All in all, it was a great Halloween and probably the reason why it sticks out in my mind as the best Trick or Treat ever.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Suspicious from July 30, 2008

I'm told I have a suspicious mind. I prefer to say I have a healthy dose of cynicism with a spot

of paranoia. Though it is true, I am suspicious. Crime is all around us. Every day someone gets robbed or killed and the police can't find a clue. That's why a guy like me is necessary. Bill Sussman, Private Eye.
My career started in the second grade when little Myron Golden lost his marbles, twelve of them, plus an Aggy. Someone stole them from his coat pocket at recess. I found those marbles. Who but me would have thought that Vera Teigler was capable of such a heinous crime? And at such a tender age.
From there, I progressed to bigger things, each case more impressive than the last. In middle school, I uncovered the gang responsible for the graffiti on the bathroom walls. In high school, I uncovered a term paper forgery business by posing as a football player in need of a grade fix. None of
my discoveries made me very popular with my classmates, but sometimes a man has to do the tough jobs whether he gets extra swirlies or pantsed in gym class.
Let's not forget my biggest case to date, the Japanese Sumo Wrestling Pornography Ring! Okay, so I was wrong that Mr. Sato had a porn studio in back of his sushi shop. But he was fronting for a bookie, so my suspicions about illegal activity were correct.
Things have been a little slow lately, so I've been taking any case that comes my way. I'm not proud of the fact I'm doing car repos or following deadbeat dads, but it puts food on the table.
So imagine my surprise when the blonde walked in. My suspicious nature kicked in the second
she opened the door. Trouble had just entered my office. She was a real babe, tall, thin, willowy - like Lauren Bacall in "The Big Sleep". Dressed in silk and smelling like Chanel No. 5, she stood across the desk from me. My knees were weak as I stood to greet her.
"Please, have a seat, Miss?"
"Oh, Mr. Sussman, you have to help me!" She burst into tears.
I handed her a box of tissues. She nodded her thanks and cried like crazy. Not many babes can
cry like that and not move their makeup. Bill Sussman's suspicious nature stood up and said hello.
Any woman who's sobbing like her heart is broken is gonna leave tracks. Her eyes go red, her face turns puffy. Not this chick. My professional mien descended like a lead zeppelin.
"How may I help you?" I tried again.
"I'm so sorry," she gulped and sobbed, looking just as perfect as when she walked in.
The tissues clutched in her well manicured hands were dry as a bone. She kept her head down and her hands in her lap. I moved around to the front of the desk, leaning against the edge.
"It's me, Bill. Vera Teigler. Don't you recognize me anymore?"
"Little Vera Teigler from second grade?" My smile nearly split my face in two. "How ya been, Vera?"
"A little of this, a little of that," she said with a funny smile that made me very suspicious indeed. "A lot better than you, you low life creep!"
And suddenly I'm looking at the business end of a snub nosed pistol. I figured I had two choices, grab the gun or put up my hands. Bill Sussman ain't a hero, dig? My hands flew up and I got real nervous.
"Hey, Vera. I'm sorry about the marbles, okay?"
"This isn't about the marbles, you freak! It's about Andy!"
"Andy? Andy who?"
"Tucker. Andy Tucker, my boyfriend. Don't you know anything?"
"Come to think, that name rings a bell or two."
"You were following him because his wife hired you to find out who he was seeing on the side. He was seeing ME!" She screamed at me. The gun wavered in her hand.
"Well, sorry about that, Vera. Didn't mean to put a dent in your love life."
"She shot him, you idiot! Shot him dead! You killed the only man I ever loved! I hate you, Bill Sussman!"
My choices had just narrowed to one. I leaped at her, grabbing the barrel of the gun, pushing it out of my face as she pulled the trigger. I felt the bullet whiz past my ear, the sound of the explosion loud in the small office. I got the gun away from her, holding it carefully so my prints wouldn't get on the grip.
"It's over, Vera. I'm sorry about Andy, but business is business."
"Yeah, well, he was a pretty lousy boyfriend. Sorry about the gun," she brushed her hair out of her face. "So, Bill, you seeing anybody?"
"No," I grinned. "So, Vera, want to go out for a cup of coffee and talk about old times?"
"Sure," she said, taking my arm.
I smirked. Yeah, life comes at a guy fast, but sometimes it tosses in a hell of a ride. 
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sound and Fury

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.  ~Macbeth

         I saw this quote this morning and got to thinking about 'sound and fury'.  What could embody that more than the sounds of a hurricane beating at your front door?  I've had friends and family members ask me to describe a hurricane and I came up short on words.  How do you describe a hurricane to someone who's never been through one?  There aren't words forceful enough to depict the screaming of the wind as it pummels the house or the rain and debris as they beat against the windows and rattle the backdoor.
         Anyone who has lived through a hurricane immediately conjures up pictures and sounds in their minds of wave surges, howling winds, driving rain, flying debris, traffic lights swinging erratically as the fingers of the storm strive to pluck them from the wires. 
         Only someone who has survived such a storm knows how it feels to walk outside when the storm is finally over.  To feel the sun on your face and the calmness afterwards that is in direct counterpoint to the chaos you feel inside when you look at your home and start to judge the damage.  Who but a survivor can possibly understand how it feels to come back to your neighborhood after a storm and see the devastation.  Perhaps your home or your neighbor's home nothing but rubble.
         Despite the 'sound and fury' of a storm, there is relief in its wake and the rebuilding begins.  Preparation for the next storm takes up where the last left off, hoping next time we'll protect ourselves better, we'll find sturdier wood to cover our windows.  Maybe next time, the storm surge won't come so far up the beach.  Maybe next time, the storm will bypass us completely.  We satisfy ourselves with these small hopes as the rest of the world watches in horror and awe, unaware of the real, unrelenting power of a hurricane.
   © 2018 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lack of Inspiration - Written On the Way to the Meeting!

March 4, 2009

Eleven thirty-three and I must leave by noon.
I wait for inspiration, I'll need it very soon.
Eleven forty-four, I'm heading for the door.
Still wait for inspiration. It's coming now for sure.

Eleven fifty-three, still nothing in my mind.
The inspiration left me flat, and now I am behind.
Eleven fifty-five, I'm sitting at a light
Inspiration hits me, I simply have to write!

Eleven fifty-six, the light's about to change.
I scribble like a lunatic who should be in a cage.
Eleven fifty-nine, I finally got it down.
I'm feeling pretty happy as I drive into the town.

It's finally twelve thirty and time for class to start.
I take my paper in my hand, be still my beating heart.
Convinced I've written Shakespeare, I smile & politely clap.
But when it's my turn to read my poem, I know I've written crap.

Don't know where inspiration went, but it's been gone too long.
Next time, I just won't try to write, I'll sing a happy song.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Monday, June 11, 2018

Red River Radio Presents Dellani's Tea Time with Amanda, CD and JM!


red river radio logo
It's officially summer and time to kick back and relax by the pool, on the beach, or wherever the mood takes you! Not hot enough for you? Well, our authors can certainly turn up the heat. All these ladies are known for spinning a great yarn, whether it be werewolves, dragons witches or warrior queens, they have it all.

Christine Gorri

First, please welcome CD Gorri. She is a fantasy author whose books include Wolf Moon, Charley's Christmas Wolf, and The Dragon's Valentine.

Amanda Kimberley

Second, please welcome Amanda Kimberley, author of Forever Bound, Salem’s Trial by Judge, and a non-fiction title Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy

Both ladies are in an anthology: Wicket Nights of Summer

JM Robison

Also joining us is JM Robison, author of historical romances, The War Queen and The Foes Between us. This is JM's second visit to our show, and we're delighted to have her back! 
We're so pleased to have these three magnificent authors here to chat with us!


Thursday, June 07, 2018

I'll Always Remember the First Time

I lead a small writing group through the Council on Aging called Fun in Writing. We meet every Wednesday afternoon. Each week, I give the members a prompt to write a short piece from. I decided that I had all these kicking around, I might as well use them for something. This prompt was called I'll Always Remember the First Time and I wrote it 6/25/08
Driving a car for the first time is a big deal for a teenager. I vaguely remember the first time I got behind the wheel, but I don't have a clear remembrance of it. It wasn't a disaster, I do know that. However, I do remember very clearly the first time I drove with the driver's ed instructor.
In the town where I grew up in western Nebraska, there was a huge bluff to the southwest of town. It had a steep, narrow road going up the outer edge of the bluff and, for the very brave, an even steeper, narrower path. There were parts of that road I hated as a passenger. I had never driven up the Bluff before. I also had never driven a big car. Ours was a Pontiac Bonneville, but the driver's ed car was Cadillac De Ville, V-8 and HUGE. The hood and front seat were nearly as long as our entire car.
Coach Thompson came to get me at home one Saturday. Back in those days, they didn't have a closed course at the school. Instead, we drove around town, in the country and wherever else the coaches felt like going that day. I had expected to have another person with me, but the other kid was sick, so it was just me.
We fastened our seat belts and Coach Thompson said, "Drive to the Bluff." 
I checked my mirrors and pulled carefully away from the curb the way I had been taught. I knew my way to the Bluff. By the time we'd made the fifteen minute drive, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I pulled in the parking lot and Coach Thompson said, "You did great. Now drive up."
He nodded and pointed.
"Up there? You've got to be kidding."
"Go ahead. It's not that hard." He looked smug.
I seriously wanted to punch him. I was thinking, "Not hard for you maybe!" But I kept it to myself.
Did I mention that I was terrified of heights? I didn't tell Coach Thompson either. Maybe I should have, but I was embarrassed enough as it was. I didn't need him to tease me about it, and he would have.
I started up just fine. But by the time we'd made it halfway up, other cars were coming down. I was trying to maneuver a car roughly the size of Texas and handled about as well as a tank, up this narrow road with a stone wall three feet from the side.
Coach Thompson had lost some of his smugness by now. Watching the car get closer to the wall with each passing vehicle, it was finally making an impression.
"Move over," he warned on a particularly close turn. "Move over. Move over!"
Okay, yelling at me was not helping. By the time we got to the top, my hands ached and I could hardly stand up, my knees shook so. We walked around, talked to the other coaches and students as the men decided to go were to go next. I had relaxed by this time, thinking Coach Thompson was going to drive down. Wrong!
There was even more traffic on the road than we had met coming up. I was petrified! Now instead of a rock wall, I had a guardrail and a LONG WAY DOWN! Somewhere along the way, my mind shut down and went on autopilot. I don't remember the rest of the ride. Somehow we made it down in one piece and didn't go over the edge or crash in the badlands.
After that, we drove over to Torrington, WY about thirty minutes away. We had lunch and I sat there hoping we could go home soon. I was the only girl in the bunch with a passel of coaches and jocks. They were prepared to spend the rest of the day, or so it seemed. I decided right then, sitting in that crappy little diner in Wyoming, I was in my own, personal hell and I was never, ever going to forget my first official drive.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

I Wish I Had Done It Differently

I lead a small writing group through the Council on Aging called Fun in Writing. We meet every Wednesday afternoon. Each week, I give the members a prompt to write a short piece from. I decided that I had all these kicking around, I might as well use them for something. This piece goes back to October 29, 2008. The prompt for that week was I Wish I Had Done It Differently.

"I really wish I had done it differently," the young man said softly. "But it seemed the only way. I had to cut it off. It was getting to be too much."
"You did the best you could," his father answered, patting him on the shoulder. "Were there any repercussions?"
"No, it was pretty cut and dried at the end. Oh, there were tears at the beginning, but by the time we were done, it got easier."
"Good. I'm glad it went well. So, what's the plan now?"
"Start over, I expect. Shrug this one off, try to pick up where I left off a few years ago. I can't let this get me down, you know?"
"I know son. It was like that for me too. But when it's over, it's over."
They nodded in agreement, taking a sip of the warming beers in front of them.
"So, how did she take it?"
He chuckled uncomfortably. "She didn't do too well. I thought she was going to cut my ears off a time or two, but she left me some dignity anyway."
"That's good. And how did you handle it?"
"Took it like a man. I let her cut and yank at me some - felt like being hit by a bulldozer a few times. All in all, I think it turned out pretty well."
His father ran his fingers over his son's newly shaven scalp. "Feels like she did a good job anyway. So, what did you do with the hair?"
"Donated it to Locks of Love," his son replied proudly. "I gave over twenty-four inches!"
"Excellent! Well, next time go to a professional and you won't be quite so uncomfortable."
"Oh, Mom didn't do too badly, but I think you're right. Next time I'll do it differently."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Emma, Dangerous by Dellani Oakes – Part 7

Emma's in the hospital for the night, and Sam's allowed to stay with her. He asks Rosalee not to let her parents see her, unless she...