March 26 • 07:00 AM

An antedote for all the doom and gloom

February 25, 2009
"Have you heard what we're supposed to get on Saturday?" I ask my sister Dawn. It's late in the day on Friday and we're having our usual after her work shift phone call. I'm still at the office, she's just winding down from bustling around her job at a preschool in Canton.

"Not really," she says. "I don't hardly watch the news anymore. I just can't take it...

"...'Ford is pulling the plug on pensions,' she proclaims in her seasoned broadcast announcer voice. "'Chrysler's cutting jobs'... 'GM sales slump...In other news, a man beheads his wife in New York'...

"...A chimp attack," she says, her voice decreasing by a few decibels.

"It's just too weird," she adds in a voice that is once again my sister's.

"So I already know the coverage of the so-called storm we'll get," Dawn continues. She's on a roll and my muted chuckles spur her on.

"They'll have five reporters stationed at the same spots around the county for five hours and they'll cut to them every two minutes," Dawn says.

"'Well, Robbie, when I first got here, there were three flakes,'" Dawn-as-Cheryl Chodin-or Peggy-Hagar says. "Now, on my Channel 7 Action News ruler, you'll see there is about an inch of snow!'"

By now we're both giggling with mirth, knowing that we're being a little bit rude but going with the humor of it anyway. Dawn truly missed her calling as Carol Burnett meets Erma Bombeck meets...sometimes...Roseanne.

The news has been broadcast this way for almost as long as I can remember so it must work. Yes, they amp it up a lot but that's what keeps them in business. With a husband who's IT job is literally on a week-to-week basis I can see why Dawn doesn't necessarily want to wallow in the doom and gloom.

And with a winter as long and as brutal as this one neither of us want to dwell on the forecasters' ultra-hype of what could be (and indeed was) a regular winter event here in Michigan. We've learned through experience that often 'Storms Of The Century' turn out to be cancelled plans and a couple inches of snow. This is what happens on Saturday. And for this, we are glad...

...I'm also glad for read-er Barb Mobley, who spurs me on to write this particular column. On Monday there's an email in my computer (the letter appears in this issue) reiterating how nice it is to read some uplifting and informative stories in an arena that's currently awash in doom and gloom. I think of Friday's conver-sation with Dawn, the laughs, and Barb Mobley's thoughtful letter and decide to go with it. My own good news...

It's very encouraging and I've been most gratified by those who've taken a couple of moments to actually send 'thank yous' to me for doing my job. A couple of weeks back I wrote a story about an Almont couple who lost their dog in a freak accident (an ice jam fell off their roof). They wanted to warn other pet lovers of the danger—especially with all the freezing and thawing going on.

Erin and Jim Aleck wrote to say thanks for the story and I appreciate it more than I can say. They were brave in stepping up and telling their story, and I'm glad they came to us to do so.

Allenton author Dana Lehman brightened my Monday morning by doing the same. Her childrens' books recently won 'Mom's Choice' awards for their social skills development, life lessons and values. The books are truly remarkable, and I am not surprised that they were winners of 'Mom's Choice.' I also shouldn't be surprised that Dana took a few moments to thank me for the story.

Certified therapy dog trainer and handler Terri Martin did the same as well after a feature about her therapy dog 'Smokey' appeared. As always, the ultimate gentleman John Olivo expressed his appreciation at being granted an avenue to share his perspective on contributing factors to the state of our current economy—which ran as a guest column in last week's paper.

Barb Mobley is absolutely right. Humor, kind words, acceptance, gratitude and taking the time to express oneself really goes a long way to counteract the prevailing headlines that ring in Dawn's ears and threaten to saturate our collective psyche. I hope this attempt at all of the above is a little antedote.

Email Catherine at

Castle Creek
03 - 26 - 19
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