That Dani-girl just wouldn't leave me alone for too long. For a few weeks, I managed to devote my time to uploading, updating, and recoding the dozen or so sites I have online where they stood, and even managed to put a couple of them to stylesheets on a different server. Work was slow, but it was coming along, without too many interruptions in that exaggerated drawl I'd associated with Dani. They came, but mostly as background noise. My personal pages were taking their new shapes quite nicely. And then, I got another email from Rivka.
Suddenly, I was in tears once more. I'd grown quite attached to the little bit of Dani I'd been able to squeeze out of her posts and her stories and from those that knew her, and the heavy burden of guilt I'd tried to ignore came crashing down on my shoulders again. Rivka was looking for an update, and I couldn't give her one. I'd walked face-first into a brick wall, and although my Momma has (more than once) accused me of being quite capable of winning arguments with any fence-post I chose to argue with, this particular argument had beaten me down. In tears, I poured out all of my frustrations in an email to Rivka.
Saddened anew by the thought of Dani's unpublished stories going to crap inside the guts of an old and decrepit computer currently residing in God-only knows what kind of environment, I began toying with her stories again. Her spell-checker was truly horrible, if she'd used it, and my own practice of hand-coding all of my own pages was simply not going to be an efficient way to deal with her stuff. Help was definitely needed here. Pinching my pride in the leg to keep it in check, I downloaded a free editor, and went to work learning how to use the blinkety-blank thing. At first, it took forever to do what I'd become accustomed to doing pretty quickly with just my notepad - but as I learned the ins and outs of the editor, I became quite enthralled with the new possibilities it opened up for me. Once more ignoring that Sugah, are you evah gonna get mah ficcies edited?, I again abandoned Dani's stories to the harddrive, and set about checking and editing some personal pages I'd had a spot of trouble with, code-wise.
In the meantime, Rivka emailed me a reply telling me to slack off - life was for the living, or something to that effect. Indeed, she'd found another relative, even closer to Dannell in the family tree than my grandpa.
Excitedly, I called Momma, only to be told that out of the blue one day, a co-worker of hers happened to mention the name "Lites". Being her maiden name, of course it caught her attention at once. In the ensuing conversation, she discovered that not only was her co-worker of over a year a cousin, but that she was a lot more closely related to Dannell than we were! This, in fact, was the relative Rivka had been so excited about. "Yippee!" I said - maybe she can get something rolling here. Surely, she wouldn't have nearly the problems I had found in trying to prove kinship. Well, came that whispered drawl in my head, you did say Ah had to do something mahself, didn't you?
Rivka emailed me again, and told me that apparently the flood-gates had opened that morning, because not only had she gotten emails left and right about Dani's newly found cousin, but she'd also received a second phone call from a reporter from the KCStar named Lee Kavanaugh. Her first experience with the reporter hadn't gone well - Rivka'd found her kinda pushy, and wanted nothing more to do with her. But the second phone call went a lot smoother, and Rivka mentioned that one of us may get a call from Ms. Kavanaugh.
Sure enough, later that afternoon (last Thursday, in fact), I got a call from the Kansas City Star. Ms. Kavanaugh was looking for more information on Dannell - information I simply didn't have, in spite of being a cousin. I tried to explain to her that our "cousin-ship", while vital to me, didn't mean doodly-squat legally or realistically; after all, our separate lines in the family tree descended from my grandfather's grandfather's time. Straight up and straight down, indeed, but far removed, all the same.
However, she was also looking for links to Dannell's stories to include in the article. I told her I'd begun my own archive of Dani's ficcies, but that I was editing them. If she wanted the original posted stories in an "as is" state, she'd need to use 'rith's url. "Oh, I'd rather have the edited ones - g-rated ones, if possible."
"Sorry, I can't help you there," I laughed. "To make her stories all g-rated, I'd have to re-write them! I'm only editing for spelling, punctuation, etc. She does have some g-rated ones, though," and I gave her the link to both 'rith's archives and my own tentative beginnings of an edited archive.
Ringing off, Ms. Kavanaugh assured me that the story would be in this week's KCStar, and available online. She also pointed out to me that she couldn't see much on my pages - it turns out that what coded well for IE6 didn't work so good on Netscape.
I seemed to hear an exploded laugh: *Snarf* So, Miss Webmaster, you can do it better than Ah can?? Kiddin', Ah'm kiddin' - just tell 'em to look at it with IE, that's what Ah'd do, if'n it was moi. Get busy, honey-chile, Ah've got lots of stories that need editing - did I evah tell you I cain't spell for nothin'?
But, sugah, ya just cain't change everything at once! Do it one step at-a-time. Mah fans are used to mah spellin' probs, so just do quickies fer now, and you can edit 'em some more later. 'Rith used to say to moi: "Sometimes you gotta quit diddlin' and just post the consarned things." But don't worry y'head about not having all mah ficcies up right now - they can still read 'em at 'rith's pages, doncha know?27 November, 2002
This site is dedicated to the memory of Dannell Lites, who died unceremoniously on 16 September, 2002, in Kansas City, MO. This tale is my own story of the past several weeks. No disrespect is intended to the living or the dead. Background set ©2002 by SleepyHead. Please do not use without her permission. Site url= http://dannfan.50megs.com/