Echoes Trailer

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

After Christmas...

A few decorations still adorn the house,
Ornaments swatted as if each was a mouse,
Needles from the tree all over the floor,
Just cleaning this mess will leave my body sore.

Leftover cookies, eggnog, and cake,
I give them to friends for my own sake,
For my ample assets have expanded enough,
Finding jeans to fit me could become quite tough.

I hate the silence; the music no longer plays,
My family has all gone their separate ways,
They left me with memories I'll forever keep,
Along with gifts; none of them cheap.

The anticipation of that one day,
Leaves me blue when it goes away,
For after Christmas the cheer is not here,
I long for that feeling all through the year.

I hope they didn't see my eyes fill with tears,
As I relived memories from many other years,
When ribbons and bows flew through the air,
When everyone I loved was gathered there.

The day after Christmas is over for me,
Bright red hearts line shelves for lovers to see,
Valentine's Day will soon come and go,
I wonder if we'll have any fresh fallen snow.

A few decorations still adorn my house,
The rooms are so silent I could hear a mouse,
I close my eyes to hear their voices once more,
Blessed to have such love on Christmas and forever more.

© Dianna Doles Petry

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am Thankful For...

As we approach the annual Thanksgiving holiday here in America most of us have many reasons to be thankful. The country is experiencing a very depressed economy and the holidays are not very appealing to most of us because we are either feeling the pinch ourselves or know someone close to us who is barely surviving. Still, just being here to face the struggle is a blessing to me. I asked a few of my closest friends to put together a list of things they are grateful for this year. Here is my own list.

I am thankful for my family and for my own fairly good health. I have a few medical issues but at the moment none of them are life threatening and I have the strength to care for others in my family less fortunate than myself. In my younger years I would never have understood what a blessing it is to be able to take care of others but now it is the fuel that keeps my body moving and my heart forever filled with contentment. I am thankful to have my mother still here with us against all odds. She will celebrate her 89th birthday on the 26th, God willing.

I am thankful to be gainfully employed at a reputable company. We all have gripes and concerns with our employment but just to have a job in these trying times is a huge blessing. I cannot say that I am always able to pay every bill the moment it arrives but I am able to rest peacefully knowing there is food in the house and the utilities have been covered.

I am thankful for the many friends who encourage me when I feel like giving up, make me laugh when I feel like crying, and uplift me when my legs are failing. There is no one I have ever met who never needs a friend. I try to be a good friend and I have been blessed with the friendship of many in return. While I sometimes say the wrong thing or fail to notice something someone really wants me to acknowledge, it is never done intentionally. I cherish each and every one of you who reaches out to me through daily contact, email, phone calls, occasional jokes, cards, or even just by remembering me in your thoughts and prayers. My heart aches for those who have no one to call a friend.

I am thankful for my vehicle! I made the last payment and it's still running! Seriously, many people take the privilege to drive for granted but I cannot imagine not being able to get to the market, attend conferences, travel back and forth to work, even just get away from my daily life a few hours.

I am thankful that my son has been able to complete college. He has faced many obstacles on the path to adulthood but he has still managed to get out there and live his life. I am also thankful that my daughter has become a woman I am proud of every day. She is strong, determined, and dedicated to making her life the best it can be. Did I mention she is also beautiful? I am also thankful that my son, Cole, has accomplished more than he expected from himself. I may not have had him from the moment of his birth but he is a part of my heart and soul now and he does make me smile...even if I can't always tell him that. (Wouldn't want his head to swell or make him stop trying!)

I am thankful, and I know this one sounds strange, for people like Betty White. This lady just continues to amaze and inspire me. I see many people in their sixties who think it's time to retire and sit on the porch while the big dogs run without them. Betty, on the other hand, is well into her eighties and she takes on new challenges, stretches her wings with creativity, and never uses her age as an excuse not to do anything, well, except maybe bungee jumping.

I am thankful for my pets. They listen to me when I don't feel I can share my thoughts or heart with a human. They never ask for more than I can give and they treasure me above all others for no more than a bowl of food and a warm place to sleep. I really wish more people understood the way pets think and act. Please just don't tell the dogs I was praising the cats. It could get ugly around here!

I am thankful for every man and woman out there putting on a uniform and putting their lives on the line to keep us safe here at home. While others will be enjoying a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow these men and women will be on the job. In fact, even when they sleep they are on the ready and fully alert to do whatever it takes to get their job done. I am proud of every one of them as well as the veterans who have already served their country.

Last but not least...well, actually, it is the least....chocolate! If you promise to give me chocolate you don't have to worry about my handgun or my mood!


Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Okay, just for the record, this is not a political statement. This actually happened to me while I was at work last night. I thought you might get a kick out of it.

A dark blue pick-up truck pulled into the lot and came to a stop right beside of the guard house where I was working. A man of about sixty-five to sixty-eight years of age stepped slowly out of the truck as I walked up to ask him the standard questions concerning what business he had at the site, identification, etc. He was a wiry man with white hair, a wispy white goatee and the most inquisitive eyes I have seen on a man of his age. His face was heavily wrinkled but his attitude was definitely that of a much younger man.

"Miss, I was a wonderin' if you all might need any more security guards around here. I have a lot of snow on the roof but there's still plenty of fire in this old furnace!"

I responded by telling him the coal company itself did not hire the guards and gave him the contact information for the security firm that employs us. I also suggested that he might want to do the same type of work in another environment that would be indoors such as a mall or department store.

"I started to stop here a few times to inquire about work but it wasn't 'til tonight that I took the time to come on in here. I saw you walking out there and I just figured you wouldn't shoot me for asking a question. You got far too pretty of a face to be shooting people for asking questions." At that point I was guessing he had been a farmer because he was great at spreading around manure.

I was giggling and the gentleman started to talk about next year's election and how people on social security were finally getting a cost of living increase this coming January. As my mood turned more serious he asked, "I bet you're pretty good in the kitchen ain't ya?"

I answered with, "Well, I do know my way around the kitchen. I can confess to that."

He immediately responded with, "You ever make republican puddin?"

I was back to giggling. "No sir, I can't say that I have."

"Well girl, you take about a cup of boiled white rice and add about a pint of real milk. Don't use that skim milk crap that don't even leave a ring in the glass when you're done. Then you add in about a cup of sugar and some butter. I would say about two heaping tablespoons of butter ought to do the trick. Before you serve it, you mix up some democrat sauce to spoon over it and make the portions small, you wouldn't want to overdo that stuff. It's powerful."

"Democrat sauce, Sir?" I asked.

"I'll explain this a bit more in a minute but I learned this recipe from an old hillbilly. Anyway, to make the democrat sauce you need some good Wisconsin cheese sautéed in prune juice."

"Oh, that doesn't sound good to me!" I complained.

He laughed and said, "It's a sure thing for binding you to the party but keeping you as loose as a goose!"

He took the time to explain that during a previous period of economic distress the government had subsidized Wisconsin dairy farmers and in return had obtained tons of cheese they distributed as commodities to people in need of food stamps. He didn't give me any time to reply as he climbed up into his truck. He was laughing so hard he could barely get himself positioned behind the steering wheel. I watched him until he was out of sight and he was laughing until he was completely out of my view.

I thought this job was going to be boring.......

© Dianna Doles Petry

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanksgiving 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

"Winston, come into the dining room, it's time to eat," Julia yelled to her husband.

"In a minute, honey, it's a tie score," he answered.

Actually Winston wasn't very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington.

Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its "unseemly violence" and the "bad example it sets for the rest of the world", Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be.

Two-hand touch wasn't nearly as exciting. Yet it wasn't the game that Winston was uninterested in.
It was more the thought of eating another Tofu Turkey. Even though it was the best type of Veggie Meat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce, and mincemeat pie), it wasn't anything like real turkey.

And ever since the government officially changed the name of "Thanksgiving Day" to "A National Day of Atonement" in 2020, to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims' historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated CFL light bulbs made the Tofu Turkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold.

Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats - which were monitored and controlled by the electric company - be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.

Still, it was good getting together with family. Or at least most of the family.

Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when she had used up her legal allotment of life-saving medical treatment.

He had had many heated conversations with the
Regional Health Consortium, spawned when the private insurance market finally went bankrupt,and everyone was forced into the government health care program.

And though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort.

"The RHC's resources are limited", explained the
government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. "Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I'm sorry for your loss"

Ed couldn't make it either. He had forgotten to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engines - for everyone but government officials.

The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn't want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston's brother, John, and his wife were flying in.

Winston made sure that the dining room chairs had extra cushions for the occasion.

No one complained more than John about the pain of sitting down so soon after the government-mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids.

Ever since a terrorist successfully smuggled a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added "inconvenience" was an "absolute necessity" in order to stay "one step ahead of the terrorists."

Winston's own body had grown accustomed to such probing ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via Anti-Profiling Act of 2022.

That law made it a crime to single out any group or individual for "unequal scrutiny," even when probable cause was involved.

Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc., etc., had become almost routine.


The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court composed of six progressives and three conservatives to leave the law intact.

"A living Constitution is extremely flexible", said the Court's eldest member, Elena Kagan. "Europe has had laws like this one for years. We should learn from their example", she added.

Winston's thoughts turned to his own children.
He got along fairly well with his 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him. Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Atonement Dinner.

Their only real confrontation had occurred when he limited her to 50,000 texts a month, explaining that was all he could afford.

She whined for a week, but got over it.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was another matter altogether. Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming, the bird flu, terrorism, or any of a number of other calamities were "just around the corner", but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility.

It didn't help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house, an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Statute of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being.

Winston paid the $5,000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13.

The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to "spur economic growth."

This time, they promised to push unemployment below its years-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement.

At least, he had his memories.

He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promises to make life "fair for everyone" realized their full potential.

Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn't happen all at once, but little by little, so people could get used to them.

He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 201
1, when all the real nonsense began.

"Maybe we wouldn't be where we are today if we'd just said 'enough is enough' when we had the chance," he thought.

Maybe so, Winston. Maybe so.

Author Unknown but I sure wish it had been me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Music Review by Chris Petry

The Nightmare Returns: A Review of Alice Cooper’s “Welcome 2 My Nightmare.”
By Chris Petry

            How do you follow up a classic album like Alice Cooper’s 1975 solo debut, Welcome to My Nightmare? Well, I would liken it to 1983’s Psycho II. (Strangely enough a couple of other online reviewers have also used that for comparison.) You have Alfred Hitchcock’s undisputed classic of 1960s horror cinema. It’s a film so well done and memorable that along with Powell’s Peeping Tom, it kicked off a whole new subgenre of horror films. Twenty-three years after Anthony Perkins played Norman Bates, he returned in “Psycho II.” I firmly believe, as do a lot of horror fans that “Psycho II” just might be one of if not the greatest sequel there ever was. It’s only flaw, it’s not the original. The original is better only because there was nothing else like it in the time it was released. It took the world by surprise, it broke taboos, it had us on the edge of our seats, and it will always have a special place in our hearts because of it.

            Welcome 2 My Nightmare is very much like Psycho II. Not in terms of plot or even medium. It’s similar in that had the original not done it first, it would have that place in our hearts the original holds.

            Welcome to My Nightmare featured the classic songs, “Only Women Bleed,” “Cold Ethyl,” The Black Widow,” “Devil’s Food,” “Some Folks,” “Steven,” “Escape,” “Department of Youth,” and the creepy spoken tracks by our protagonist Steven, “The Awakening,” and “Years Ago.” Oh, and don’t forget the title track! Each song worked together to tell us something about Steven. It was Steven’s story; a tale that touched on domestic abuse, childhood abandonment, arachnophobia, necrophilia, escapism, nightmares, and murder. (Pretty progressive for 1975.) From the lyrics of these songs, we learn that Steven is a tormented man child who may have killed his wife without even knowing it. Like Norman Bates, he is hinted to be a schizophrenic. Take for instance the lyrics, “I’m a little boy. No, I’m a great big man.” “I’m a little boy” is said from the perspective of a child, high prepubescent voice included. “No, I’m a great big man,” is bellowed in a deep masculine voice. Steven is haunted by scary dreams of spiders, death, and abuse which give us further evidence that our main character is psychologically damaged. “Escape” is his big sendoff; words that imply that Steven has temporarily awaken from his nightmare and realizes his only option is to run away and disappear. Though we know running isn’t going to solve his mental problems and that’s why, 36 years later, we have a sequel.

            The first track of the new album opens with the familiar eerie keyboard of “Steven” from the original. Then we launch into the new nightmare. One disappointing factor, right off the bat is the fact that they auto-tuned Alice’s vocals for the first verse of the first song, “I am Made of You.” It’s an effect overused in modern music and robs the impact of the first verse’s lyrics. Once you get past it, the song itself is great. It has some great reflective lyrics, a haunting chorus, and awesome instrumentation. Track 2, “Caffeine,” is an infectious hard rocking number with awesome vocal delivery on the chorus. Track 3, is almost like “Awakening.” It is a song with powerful guitar and keyboard work and it also lets us hear from Steven. He’s still having nightmares and in fact, he’s too scared to sleep now because of them, hence his dependence on caffeine.

            Track 4 is where the musical experimentation really kicks off. “A Runaway Train” is a southern rock infused track that features country star Vince Gil on lead guitar. Yeah, it’s strange but this album features a ton of collaborations and one more shocking than Mr. Gil. But for now, we’re on to track 5. “The Last Man on Earth” sounds like a Tom Waits song. Alice even adopts a rough and gruff vocal style for this one. 

Track 6, “The Congregation” makes it clear that we’re actually in hell at this point. Rob Zombie makes an appearance as our tour guide and one of the highlights from his spoken word is when he tells about the boiling pit of death where we can find defrocked priests, pimps, telemarketers, and the guys from Wall Street!

Track 7, already a live favorite, is called “I’ll Bit Your Face Off.” It’s about his romance with an unstable woman and musically it will remind you of a Rolling Stones tune. Track 8 is where things begin to really get weird and I mean that in the best way imaginable. “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever,” is a techno, industrial, dance club parody that features lyrics about mowing down the disco with a machine club and stacking their bodies on the dance floor. 

Track 9 is a surf rock, rockabilly, Beach Boys go metal type of song that is musically and lyrically foot-tapping. Track 10, “Something to Remember me By,” was reportedly written by Alice and Dick Wagner in the Alice Cooper Goes to Hell days and it does sound like “I Never Cry” from that album. “When Hell Comes Home” is the first song to feature the original Alice Cooper group since 1974’s Muscle of Love. It is a dark violent song about an abusive father and the little boy “putting one between his eyes.”

            Remember when I said Vince Gill wasn’t the strangest addition to this album? Track 12, “What Baby Wants” is a duet with pop star Ke$ha. Surprisingly, it rocks! Ke$ha’s a sex-starved demon trying to seduce Steven to no avail. “You like my pretty mouth,” she sings. “Yeah but you got razor blades instead of teeth!” Track 13, “I Gotta Get Out of Here,” is Steven recounting the adventures from previous songs and begging to wake up from the nightmare he doesn’t want to finish. A hell choir tells him it’s not a nightmare anymore and that he’s really dead and he’s in hell. The song ends with “yeah, yeah, yeah.” Steven is eternally in denial of his fate. Track 14 wraps up the album with an instrumental amalgam of sounds from every song on both Nightmare  albums.

            Overall, Welcome 2My Nightmare is a great end to Steven. It’s a crazy carnival from hell and I would not expect anything less from the king of shock and horror theatre. If you’re the slightest bit tempted to buy this record, do it! Indulge. The Coop never went away so I can’t say he’s returned. He has, however, made a very good album. Its part rock, pop, metal, southern rock, techno, classical, surf rock, garage rock, glam, rockabilly, and blues. And it’s all Alice. 

Chris Petry offers professional music reviews. His contact information is included if you would like him to complete a review for you or just send him feedback. 

Chris Petry

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Family, Hope, and Memories

Family, Hope, and Memories

This was the first year in many years that I did not plan an elaborate Memorial Day cookout here. I missed the huge gathering but I didn't think my mother could handle all of the confusion and I am preparing to rejoin the work force with a totally unexpected career move so I just didn't have the time to put together a well-organized gathering. My adult children were here for the weekend and we celebrated on a much smaller scale which was very refreshing. As usual, we didn't spend Memorial Day grieving for those who have gone before us; instead we celebrated the good times we had with them and we honor the men and women who made it all possible. Since there were fewer people here this year we had more time to reconnect on a more personal level.

The whole weekend was a mixed bag of celebration and hope. My daughter marked her thirty-first birthday on Memorial Day. Just three weeks ago she went through an In Vitro Fertilization procedure. We sat around my dining room table and talked about how her life would change if she is able to carry a baby and bring new life into our family. We won't know for a few more days whether or not she is pregnant but my thoughts drifted to holding a newborn infant in my arms as I inhaled the scent of baby lotion and baby powders. I remembered my daughter's colic, the car rides at all hours of the day and night to help her sleep, and how many hours I spent rocking her in my arms until my arms felt like lead and my eyes would barely stay open but knowing if I stopped she would awaken again and the tears would be rolling down both of our cheeks. That was over quickly and she soon took her first steps. I needed roller skates to keep up with her but that too ended quickly and she was soon running outdoors to play with her friends. Now she is a business woman with a burning desire to become a mother and share her life with a child of her own. What a blessed child that little baby would be to have my daughter for a mother.

I looked at the spots on the dining table that have been cleaned and polished until there are faded patches that stand out for anyone to see. I thought about heavily laden pans of steaming hot turkey and dressing, plates of cookies, birthday cakes, and baskets of fresh picked summer vegetables that have strained the legs of the table through the years. My children have sat around this table and laughed, cried, done their homework, dreamed of the future, and wished away their youth in eager anticipation of becoming adults capable of driving, setting their own rules, and finding fame and fortune. Now the possibility that another child will share many of the same memories around my dining room table fills me with eager anticipation, joy, and a deeper understanding of my own roots.

It seems like only last year that my son cut out PlayDoh dinosaurs on this table, created works of art with colorful markers, and started to weave together a future filled with creative endeavors. He will be graduating from college in just a few days and I know his visits home will most likely become fewer as his career becomes more challenging and fulfilling. I miss those days of having toddlers hugging me around the knees and hanging on to me as if I was a prized possession. I miss having to make young children stop playing long enough to sit down and have a bite of lunch. I even miss having to remind them that civilized people eat with forks and spoons instead of their fingers when they were in such a hurry they even wanted to eat pasta out of their hand on the way to the back door. I miss it and I would relive every moment of it again if I could.

I miss my father, I miss Kyle, and I miss my grandparents and the uncles and aunts that filled my life. I thought of them all on this Memorial Day weekend. But, I confess, I spent a lot of time thinking of my children and how I felt when they were cuddled in lap, skinning knees, and losing baby teeth. Their problems are much larger now and their smiles don't come as easily but they appear anytime I give them a hug or just tell them how much I love them. I am proud of the adults they have become. They have learned to succeed, learned to cope with obstacles, and learned how to deal with their own heartaches. They have overcome illness, frustrations, and injuries to walk tall and make changes that matter.

I'm not sure how many memories my children are carrying with them but I know I did my best to be supportive, loving, kind, considerate, and teach them how important family is in this world. It was a wonderful weekend and I have only high hopes for the days ahead.

© Dianna Doles Petry

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Mother's Day 2011

A special poem for my children!

On this special day each year,

Cards, flowers, and chocolate appear,

But I want you,my children, to know,

I may not say it enough but I love you so.

Tried to live by the golden rule,

Taught you to never play the fool,

You in turn, taught me to live,

Together we learned how to forgive.

I know there were times you cried,

When you felt scared and confused inside,

Wanted to chase those feelings away,

Wanted to hear your laughter every day.

Sometimes I didn't know what to do,

I held you close and prayed for you,

Tried to show you understanding,

At times I was probally too demanding.

Called your names from our back door,

Swept broken dreams from the floor,

Watched summer sunlight kiss your skin,

How I'd love to do it all again.

I couldn't keep you young forever,

I encouraged your ambitious endeavor,

Now full grown and on your own,

You are the seeds of love I've sown.

I love you!

© Dianna Doles-Petry


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Country at Heart

Country at Heart

I always love to visit the city,

Where I can find most anything,

But I was born in the mountains,

Where each breeze seems to sing.

Some call it Mountain Fever,

Some say it's just insane,

I love to drink the mountain air,

Love to taste the summer rain.

I believe John Denver had it right,

"Almost Heaven" is what I see,

I can act sophisticated,

But country roots run deep in me.

I head to the city to dance a while,

Maybe walk on a marble floor,

Kick off my shoes when I head home,

I'll be country until I breathe no more.

© Dianna Doles-Petry


Monday, March 14, 2011

When Friends Divorce

When “happily ever after” ceases to exist and two people realize it is time to end a marriage it involves far more than just the couple making the decision. Family members are often expected to take sides and sometimes friends back away from both parties because they don’t want to be forced to choose a side. True friends realize what a devastating time of change this is for the couple and try to be there for both the soon to be ex-husband and the soon to be ex-wife.

Just the word “divorce” can cause a panic attack in most people. Women tend to visualize a future life of loneliness for them and a life of frolicking like a stud in a field of mares for the man. A man often equates a divorce to losing his home, his family, his bank account, and his place in the community while the woman moves on to a life of jet-setting and choosing her next conquest. One friend who recently went through a divorce told me, “I started out with nothing and I still got most of it.”

In reality, a person facing divorce is facing being alone for the first time in quite a while, many years in some cases. No matter what the reasons are for deciding to end the marriage, it is not easy to do things on your own that you normally did with another person. People going through the divorce process need someone to talk to, someone to cry with, and someone to help them vent when they feel anger building to the boiling point.

My late aunt used to tell me, “If you can’t see the bright side of life then maybe you ought to polish the dull side.” With that in mind I am trying to help a good friend through a divorce by helping her navigate through this period of change in her life. She is very sensitive right now and indecisive about a lot of things. She still thinks in terms of “we.” I was so proud of her this weekend when she finally placed the term “ex” in front of husband because that means she is finally accepting the hand life has dealt her to play. Until a few days ago she was telling me this situation was really just nothing more than a storm in a teacup. She was sure it would blow over and life as she had known it would resume.

My role as a friend is to be supportive during this very emotionally charged transition. When my friend just wants to be alone I try to honor her wish. I try not to push her too hard about doing things but at the same time, I cannot allow her to sit alone too long or let her own life become stagnate. I know she needs time to sort out her feelings, her affairs, and her plans for the future. I have made myself available to help out around her house as she needs me, to listen to her when she needs to talk, and most of all to comfort her when she is feeling like a failure.

I’ve also been trying very hard not to take sides. I’ve been friends with both of these people for a long period of time and I’ve watched them drift away from each other with one financial crisis after the other and the loss of beloved family members. I hold my thoughts and opinions to myself as much as possible because it is up to both parties in this marriage to decide what choices they want to make for their lives. It is difficult though, because the husband in this case has already moved on and started to rebuild his life before his wife has had time to really absorb the idea of not being married anymore.

My biggest fear in trying to be a good friend to all of the parties involved is that I will make mistakes along the way. I don’t want to say anything that offends the people dealing with this situation and I always try to remember how scary this time is for my friends.

Divorce is a bit like being trapped indoors during a snowstorm. You can view the snow from your window and feel cut off from the world. You can’t see roads, you don’t see birds, and you have no idea when the snow will stop falling. You’re cut off from the world. It’s just you and storm. You can succumb to the storm or take refuge in the snowy blanketed earth to find a place of serenity.

Life is all about choices: to marry, whether or not to have children, what type of career to follow, how to divide the chores, whether to have a pet, and even whether to rent an apartment to buy a home. Every choice we make has a direct impact on how our lives will play out. Sometimes just allowing your friend to reflect on choices made in the past and listening to the history of the marriage can help to clarify the confusion and anguish left by the breakdown of the marriage.

So, I’ll be a good friend and listen when my friend wants to talk about her husband. “He came in here to get some of his things and he ran around like his feet was on fire and his backside was catching up!” We’ll giggle sometimes, share sad moments at times, and I will always encourage her to find her wings again because I know she can soar once she gets some wind beneath those wings.

Dianna Doles-Petry

© March 14, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

House Sitting

The night was just settling in when I pulled into the gravel driveway of my friend’s house. She was going to be out of town a few days and I had volunteered to make sure her beloved pets, Hershey and Mr. Jiggles, were cared for until she returned home. It was a task that should have been as easy as sliding off a greasy log.

I pushed the front door open and was greeted by the two little yapping dogs as they barked and jumped in circles at my feet as if they were performing a rain dance. I took turns petting each of the dogs before filling their food bowl with dry dog food. Hershey took a few bites of the food and then headed toward the water bowl. I followed closely behind him to add fresh water to the bowl.

The water bowl had been moved to a small bathroom before my friend had left town. If the dogs knocked the bowl over in there it wouldn’t hurt anything. I made sure to add fresh water to the bowl every day so I had seen this bathroom several times.

As I reached down to pick up the stainless steel bowl to fill it with fresh water, Hershey moved around in the bathroom. I didn’t pay much attention to him since there wasn’t anything there he could damage. When I bent over to place the full bowl of water on the floor, I caught a glimpse of movement from the corner of my eye.

Now normally when a woman says she wants to be equal to a man she is just being nice but tonight I will confess to having a few fleeting seconds of wishing I was a half-drunken man feeling like I was ten feet tall and bullet proof when I thought I saw a huge flying spider heading in my general direction! It doesn’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep but I surely should have seen a spider that big hanging around in a bathroom the size of an ordinary outhouse!

I felt the screams coming from my throat before I heard them. Poor Hershey tried to run past me and I started to fall backwards out of the bathroom and into a small hallway. I remember closing my eyes and cupping my hands over them. I swallowed hard, my mouth and throat felt dry. I gathered my courage and peeked into the bathroom through trembling fingers so I could at least see where the spider was so I could try to fend off his attack.

As I looked into the bathroom, I felt like I was out in the middle of a tornado with an umbrella. My face had to be as red as an overdrawn bank account. What I had thought was a woman eating spider the size of Texas turned out to be a purple octopus body massager. Apparently the dog had picked it up and tossed it while I was filling up his water bowl.

I swear, sometimes I think my antenna just doesn’t pick up all the channels. From now on when I agree to do any house sitting, I’m going to check the place over for insects, pets, possible intruders, and all personal massaging devices! A girl can never be too careful you know!

© Dianna Doles-Petry