Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We all know that what every soap opera has is a hometown bully or two. The vast majority of people who watch the soaps know that what they are watching is fictitious, but what’s a teenager to do when the life they lead closely resembles a story written for a soap opera?
For them, the bullying dished out to them is very real. They get up in the morning, go to school and get picked on, beat up, abused - verbally, physically, mentally and sometimes sexually, all in a day’s work for a bully.
Most of which was a fact of life for a lot of us growing up, but when I was a kid you went to school, got picked on, nobody touched you without a teacher becoming involved and you went home, free of it for the night. The bully didn’t have access to you once you were home. And with limited phone time and a parent sitting there the bully certainly wasn’t brave enough to call you at home to continue the torment.
These days there is no such thing as ‘home free’ with the electronic world we live in. Many learn to use a computer and a cell phone long before they’ve been toilet trained and once school starts, many go to school attached to a cell phone - that may or may not be attached to the internet. All of which gives parents a sense of relief to be able to quickly reach or be reached by their son or daughter, but it also gives bullies more access to harassing them. And since the vast majority go home alone that harassment follows them, making some down time next to impossible, but what’s a parent to do?
Should parents be tuned in non-electronically to their child to know whether they are being bullied or are the bully? And should they be teaching the social skills needed to prevent or deal with being bullied or being the bully? Should we, as a society, be standing up and saying enough is enough? Should the hands of our teachers and principals be untied so they can deal with bullying first-hand? Absolutely.
Should parents be taking cell phones away or giving limited access until their child has learned the skills needed to stand up to a bully? Or only allow internet use when the parent is home to monitor them? I don’t know. But I do believe that something needs to be done before it’s too late to save somebody’s child from turning to the life of a criminal, or ending the precious life God gave them because they see no other way out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Case of Greed – Part Three

“What have you got for me, bro?” asked Job.
“First, how’s Philomena?”
“She’s doing great...and not the least bit schizophrenic,” Job said with an edge in his voice.
“That comes as no surprise,” his brother, John, responded. John felt very sorry for all involved in this mess...more like very sorry for the world of hurt there was going to be by the time they were finished with the ones involved in hurting one of theirs.
“Here’s a rundown of what we have so far. We’re taking turns keeping watch over the offices of LLP; it’s been pretty quiet so far,” John said as he took his turn in the dark alcove across the street staring up at the lonely office with its light still on."Holly Ryan’s been in very good spirits for someone whose friend has been through such an ordeal and in an unsurprising turn of events, has been hanging so much onto Alec Longstreet, they’re practically attached at the hip.” Seeing how high up this deception went, as Alec Longstreet was the big L in LLP, did nothing to deter the Townsend brothers.
“You guys be careful.”
“We’re okay, don’t worry about us,” John said. The, us, he was referring to included himself and Cousin Jerry. Jerry may not have been born to their parents but make no mistake, he was their brother in every real sense of the word and had been from the moment John and Job’s aunt and uncle died in a car accident and their parents had taken Jerry in and raised him as their own. “Besides, it’s all quiet around here. For now, they think they’re safe.”
“Perhaps we should take a walk,” said the voice from behind him.
“Uh, Job? I’ll give you a call back,” he said as he slowly turned and stared into the face of Alec Longstreet.

Stay tuned for Part Four.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Message to Readers

I've had a few requests to continue A Case Of Greed so look for Part 3 on or before Tuesday (March 22nd) afternoon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love Comes Full Circle

10 word exercise #8
Dynasty, hypocrisy, regret, contentment, issues, suave, interaction, in-law, examination, mechanic

Jason Mullens didn’t need the weekly cross-examination from Nancy’s family to let him know that once an in-law, always an in-law. He got the picture. But here he was preparing to walk into the lion’s den once again for Sunday brunch. Her father would take shots at him for everything from being just a lowly mechanic to how he wore his hair but what it all boiled down to was that he’d never be forgiven for having the audacity to marry the youngest daughter in the Laing Dynasty.
Daddy’s little girl, that was Nancy Laing-Mullens, and after ten years of marriage to Jason’s deep regret, his interaction with Nancy’s family was always, would always be, a sore spot between them. Not based solely on those issues, but he’d pretty much given up hope for any sort of contentment for either of them. It was time to move on.
“So, you come to the table with grease under those nails, son?” her father asked in the same derisive tone saved for criminals, the unlucky, who had to face him in court.
“No sir.” Jason bristled, but kept his cool. This wasn’t the time or the place for a confrontation.
“You prowling around again with that brother of yours? If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, he’s no good. The Mullen boys will never amount to anything.”
Since before he’d even met Nancy, Jason hadn’t wasted much time hanging out with his older brother, Garth, and it irked to think he’d always be tarred with the same brush regardless of how clean he’d lived his life.
Garth had been in court more times than Jason could count, and had always found a way to make the problem go away before having to do time…that was until he stood before the stiff face of Judge Richard Laing and was sentenced to two years for armed robbery.
“That’s enough. This has to stop.” Spoken so quietly, Jason wasn’t sure he heard correctly until he noticed that his look of stunned surprise was mirrored on the faces around the table of Nancy’s brother and sister-in-law, her sister and her mother.
Have you lost your mind?” Her sister, Angela, hissed as she elbowed Nancy in the ribs. “You’ll ruin it for everyone!
They say the eyes are the window to the soul and if that’s true, Nancy’s was crying out for something they’d both lost sight of. “No, I haven’t lost my mind. In fact, I’ve finally found it again. It shames me that I’ve let this go on,” Nancy said, making and holding eye contact with Jason, looking for some sign that it wasn’t too late. Seeing hope there, she turned to her father. “Not saying a word while you brow-beat my husband, talk down as if you’re better than him. Well, Daddy, not anymore.”
“Maybe you should leave and come back when you’re ready to be civil. No daughter of mine is going to talk like this to me; must be from hanging around with this white trash.”
“Suit yourself,” Nancy said as she pushed her chair out, preparing to walk away and give her marriage a second chance.
“Sit down.”
“Patricia, this is none of your…”
“None of my what? Concern? Business? You’d like to think that. It keeps us all under your control. Well, it’s every bit my concern; I know my daughter well enough to know that if she walks out that door now, she won’t be walking back. And Richard? If she walks, so do I.”
Mom!” Angela and Richard, Jr. exclaimed in unison.
“It makes me proud to know I raised one of my children to be the kind of person who’ll stand up for what’s right, not for what it will get her,” Patricia said as she looked at each of her children in turn. Noting the look of chagrin on Richard Jr’s face and the look that passed between him and his wife, Sally, she knew she’d at least started to reach him, but Angela would be another story.
Angela had high hopes of living the life where the worst she had to think of in a day was where she’d go for her next manicure. What she did to need a manicure was a mystery to Patricia.
In the beginning, Patricia had thought her husband to be very suave and debonair but after twenty plus years of marriage she was tired of the hypocrisy of having to pretend she was something she wasn’t, for she too came from what her husband so freely referred to as, ‘White trash’.
“When I get back, everyone had better have come to their senses!” Richard said as he stormed off, unable even in light of a family crisis to miss a tee time with his cronies.
With the kitchen and dining room put back to normal, having settled Angela’s histrionics to a dull sulk, and with promises to keep them all posted she said her goodbyes to Nancy and Jason, Sally and Richard, Jr. before seating herself on the front porch swing in the waning light of the afternoon sun. Sipping her tea she patiently waited for her husband to arrive home. The conversation for tonight had been a long time coming.
“I adore you, you know. You know that, don’t you?” She’d been so lost in thought she hadn’t heard Richard come home.
“Before you say anything, I never made it to the golf course. I made it as far as Rockford Park and have been there ever since…thinking,” he said as he sat beside her. “Thinking that for a man who has such a brilliant career, how could I be so stupid? When did I turn into such a snob? Can you ever forgive me for being such an ass?”
“Of course I forgive you,” she answered, snuggling into him, “but it’s not me you owe an apology to.”
“I know. The advice I give to all who pass through my court room is to ‘own it, take responsibility for what you’ve done and find a way to fix it’. Easy to preach, much harder to practice, but it’s high time I did, don’t you think?” And first thing the next morning he made through his rounds of apologies and hugs with more hope for the future than even he’d had in a long time.

The End

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reflections of an Empty Nester

“I don’t have time for that.”

My husband and I have recently become Empty Nester's. During a conversation I was having recently with a loved one, I found myself saying that same old phrase “I don’t have time for that” yet again when told some little tidbits of gossip being passed around.
Reflecting on my life, I realized that “I don’t have time for that” has been the excuse I’ve used for most of my adult life when faced with something, that truth be told, I just didn’t (or don’t) want to be a part of.
At one time I believed that, having married my husband at the age of nineteen and a year or so later giving birth to our oldest of three sons, or that, as a young, military wife who spent weeks – many times months – at a time carrying on a long distance relationship with my husband and being a temporary, stand-alone parent, were the reasons that I didn’t have time for things like girl’s night out, parties, or the gossip chain, but in my reflections of the past week I realize that it was really all about choices. Mine.
Was it my choice to wait by the phone for my husband’s call rather than be out with friends? Absolutely. Was it our choice for me to hold the phone up to our baby’s ear so they could hear Daddy’s voice when he was away? Absolutely, because it was important to me, to us, to make sure our babies knew Daddy loved and was thinking of them when he was away. And really, there’s nothing at all wrong with girl’s night out or partying until the rooster crows, and now that our sons are grown up, I’ve certainly enjoyed a bit of both. As for the gossip, well, all I can say there is, to each their own. For me, "I don't have time".
The reality is we’ve all been guilty a time or two of being party to he said/she said or he did/she did, and speaking for myself, it was during times of low self-esteem, low self-confidence that I didn’t - but should’ve - said, “I don’t have time”. So, from now on when this Empty Nester catches myself saying “I don’t have time,” I’ll at least admit to myself that what I really mean is, “I don’t wish to make time”.

At least if they’re talking about me, they’re leaving someone else alone.” George Potts

Still Writing...

Due to the events in our lives the last few weeks I've fallen a bit behind on posting here. I am currently putting the finishing touches on another 10 word exercise, and I should be ready to post it tomorrow.