Excerpt From “Settle for Best: Satisfy the Winner You Were Born to Be” by Kristine M. Smith

Excerpt From “Settle for Best: Satisfy the Winner You Were Born to Be” by Kristine M. Smith

Chapter One
My Story—How Much of It is Yours, Too?

I was born into a working class family. My dad, an unwanted child, had a sixth grade education, a verbally and physically abusive father, and a drinking problem. Despite his circumstances, he achieved far beyond what most other folks would have anticipated to be his fate. He made millions. He also squandered them. His decision to persist despite his shortcomings is the engine that assured his success.

My father’s forte was construction. He started as a bricklayer’s apprentice, absorbing everything he learned while at work. Over time he transformed himself and became a much-in-demand general contractor. He built part of the Washington State Library in Olympia, Tacoma General Hospital, slews of homes, and many of the brand name restaurants you see all over the country.

Living under his roof was a trial to his children and wife. He was verbally abusive, demanding, and criminally unsympathetic to our desires to do anything other than what he wanted us to do. I was suspect because I wanted to become a writer. He wasn’t even a reader. Unless we were all doing what he wanted, we were being “lazy.” And he “analyzed” to death beforehand every chore we were given, making this kid resentful before I ever set foot out the door to “get ‘er done!”

My mom—although a voracious reader—didn’t support my desire to become a writer either. Back then, there wasn’t the demand for writers that there is today, thanks to cable stations, the Internet, and other inventions unforeseeable in her day. Mom was sure I would starve to death unless I became well-versed in a “real” career that would support me reliably. So I dutifully became a secretary/ administrative assistant.

Back then, I figured they were both right! My dad was right because I was unenthusiastic to the max when it came to doing things I absolutely hated, so I rushed through them like Grant took Richmond just to finish them so I could open up space in my life to write. Dad considered this “laziness.” I considered it super efficiency: do what you gotta do fast so you can get to what you wanna do faster! My mom was right because only James Michener, Leon Uris, Louis L’Amour, and a handful of other writers were making a decent living back then.

But this “writing thing” just would not let me go! As unpromising as it was at the time, it was my “drug,” my addiction, my passion. So I kept writing; I have literally hundreds of journals to prove it.

Malcolm Gladwell writes in The Tipping Point that to become an expert in any field, it’s necessary to invest ten thousand hours in the pursuit. I’d far exceeded ten thousand hours of writing time by the time I was eighteen years old. Strangely enough, my first nationally-published article happened at eighteen, thanks to actor DeForest Kelley who shared the manuscript with a national TV magazine in New York. They wanted to publish it. I was over the moon! Mr. Kelley remained an enthusiastic encourager until his death in 1999. (You can read more about my association with Mr. Kelley in DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories.)

English and Creative Writing teachers, Mrs. Choyce, Alpha Rossetti, and Walter Dobbs also encouraged me, but…silly me…back then, it was the naysayers in my life—my parents—I listened to most and regarded as “knowing me and my potential best.” WRONG!!!! Hear me, loud and clear: Naysayers are the blight on too many horizons. Never consider naysayers wise counsel. As long as other people, in better positions to know about your potential, encourage you, keep going!

I’ve invested thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours reading self-help books. I did this because I was unhappy as a 9-to-5 secretary and knew I wasn’t cut out for it, even though I was very good at it.

There’s a passage in the Bible that reads, “Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). I always thought that meant, “Raise up a good little Christian or Jew and when he is old, he will remain one.” What it actually means is, “Find out what your wee one’s passion is, and as long as it can serve others, encourage him to pursue it by giving him the encouragement, knowledge, and skills he needs to succeed as a businessman later in life doing what he loves.” WOW! What a HUGE difference a little excavation of the Scriptures makes!

Too many parents are sending their unique, creative, enthusiastic, gung-ho kids to cookie-cutter schools that raise cookie-cutter citizens. Why? Fear! They’re afraid that if their kids don’t toe the line, stick with the straight-and-narrow, they’ll fight poverty for the rest of their lives.

But what about the poverty of spirit they’ll have if they’re herded into careers that don’t excite them? What about the poverty of contribution when they do show up only to put in the minimum effort required to collect their next paycheck?
Employees who “check out” on arrival are parasites, party poopers, not positive contributors to a cause.

Parents: don’t feel guilty! You were taught to think this way! It’s unnatural not to worry about your children’s long-term survival. Part of your job description as a parent is to counsel wisely and gently guide your children to self-sufficiency.

The problem happens when we start looking at job market projections and steering our kids to the careers most likely to need lots of warm bodies for the foreseeable future. Not everyone is cut out to be a medical worker, IT engineer, or an alternate energy expert. Imagine, just for a brief moment—so you don’t let your imagination spoil your day— lying helplessly in a hospital bed being monitored by a person who couldn’t care less about you, your comfort, or your well-being. “Hey, they needed nurses, so I became a nurse…”

Nurses are special people. They SHOULD be special people. Not everyone can handle the constant pressure of holding other people’s lives in their hands.

The same goes for teachers, plumbers, writers, actors, singers, musicians, bankers, and electricians. It takes a unique passion to carry the torch for an extended period of time in any field. Those without passion for what they do burn out long before they wear out.

People come in all “flavors”: extroverted, introverted, and perverted! Expecting an introverted wallflower to excel on the sales floor is insanity taken to the ninth power. Expecting an extrovert to sit in a cubicle and crunch numbers all day is equally nuts.

If all this is making sense to you, you’re in the right place. Because whatever your passion is, there’s a niche for you in this world. You no longer have to “fit in” to survive. You have the option of standing out and thriving, even as an introverted wallflower.

It isn’t easy. Stop reading now if you expect success to come as quickly and easily as you can order up a meal at a drive-thru restaurant.

As my publisher loves to say, “There’s a big difference between being ‘led beside still waters’ and sitting around the watering hole waiting to be fed and quenched. Wherever we stay in our minds is where we live. Live in the upper stratosphere. The fruit of the spirit grows and thrives there.”

In the next chapter, I’ll define what it takes to succeed.

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Excerpts from “Floating Around Hollywood And Other Totally-True Tales Of Triumph” by Kristine M. Smith

THEY CALL ME WALRUS WOMAN

I’m different. (It’s quite likely you have discerned this already.)

Most business people seem to have a sixth sense about what is appropriate in certain situations. I possess the same keen insight, but there’s a part of me that wants to buck traditional etiquette and be outrageous—not hang-from-thechandeliers outrageous, but something real close.

I was working as a writers’ assistant on EDDIE DODD, a television series which unfortunately never received a proper send-off or chance from the network, dooming it to an early and undeserved cancellation. You probably never
heard of it; it was canceled during its second episode, before it had even properly informed its audience where and when it might be found on the dial. But that’s not the funny part, unless you’re a sadist.

We were working during the holiday season. One of a writer’s assistant’s unwritten duties during Christmas and Hanukkah includes wrapping gifts. Well, we were all dutifully wrapping gifts during a very long, hectic day (in between the usual duties required of assistants in a production) and no one was looking overly holiday-spirited.

I noticed the long faces. I also noticed that several of the longest gift wrap tubes were standing in a corner, empty. There was certainly no expectation of levity in that room, so I went over to the corner, picked up the tubes, crammed the ends of two of them into my mouth, slapped my hands together in front of me, and barked—walrus-like—several times.

My comrades fell apart. It was just what they needed. (They wanted to get me my own comedy series then and there.) Then they decided that when the executive producer, Clyde Phillips, returned from the set, it would be just what HE
needed.

I looked at them. “Fine,” I said. “YOU do it.”

“Oh, no,” said Jamie Anderson, Clyde’s strong right arm. “WE could never get away with it. But YOU could.”

I considered that. I considered Clyde, “our” Rxecutive producer. He was a cool guy, with a hit comedy series (PARKER LEWIS CAN’T LOSE) and a great sense of humor—but he was really pretty much all business when he came into the
office. He had a lot to do, and very little time to get it done, so this was a well-ordered, efficient, no-nonsense place. But I was high on the results of my earlier success with his assistants, and quickly agreed, “Okay, I’ll do it!”

I sweated bullets as I awaited his return from the stage. I was not noted for this sort of antic at work…not at all. This was extremely unlike me. (This was INSANE, frankly!)

I chickened out about seven times, but the others kept telling me how funny it would be, so I recommitted to the task
seven times.

At long last, HE walked in the door. He was dressed, unusually, in a very nice business suit, not in his usual jeans and shirt.
I reconsidered…again…

The other assistants looked at me, wondering if this new wrinkle might convince me to drop the great plan. One of them
gave me the whirling-hand motion indicating ” C’mon. It’s now or never!”

I crammed the tubes back into my mouth, walked up behind the immaculately-clad Clyde, and barked loudly
several times, slapping my hands together.

Clyde turned around. He looked at me. He looked skyward. He looked at me again. He shook his head and mused, “It must be the radiation from the computer. Yeah, that’s it.” And with that, he left the room.

The other assistants addressed his cool reaction to my antics with confused, apologetic shrugs and then “casually” made themselves scarce.

I wilted. I was wondering if this had suddenly become my last day of work at Clyde Phillips Productions…

For the rest of the day, I feared seeing him again. Fortunately, the meeting for which he was so well dressed was a long one, and I was saved another face-to-face encounter with him.

At about seven-thirty that night we were released to go home, after a ten hour day. I gathered my belongings and started to bolt happily down the two flights of stairs to the ground floor, certain that I had lucked in and missed seeing my boss again.

I skipped down the first flight of stairs, turned the corner at the landing, and skipped…halfway down the last flight.

There, at the bottom of the stairs, in his suit, HE stood.

He had heard the thunder of my descent, and he looked up, spotted me and demanded, “And just WHERE do you think YOU’RE going?”

I stepped down the balance of the stairs a whole lot less gingerly and responded (in an excruciatingly respectful manner), “I’m going home…sir…if that’s okay with you.”

He said, “That is NOT okay with me.”

I said, “Oh.” (I paused, trying to read his deliberately impervious face.) “How much longer do you WANT me to stay?” I inquired.

“Forever,” he replied, smiling.

(*awwwwwww*)

Then he clapped me on the shoulder and told me to go home.

For Christmas that year, from Clyde, I got a battery-run alarm clock, so I would never be late for work.

From his assistant, Jamie, I received an ornament for my tree, which I proudly and grinningly hang every year.

The ornament is a walrus in a rubber-ducky floating ring.

THE OREO AFFAIR

It’s not my fault, but wherever I go in life, embarrassing things happen to me. I’m a magnet for them.

As mentioned earlier, I worked as an assistant to two writers on Bay Watch. It was a terrific job—my first in this terrific industry—and I felt very lucky to be working long hours for some of the nicest people in entertainment.

Writers’ assistants very often get swamped with revisions, script copying, script distribution and other details, so that occasionally lunch time will either disappear altogether or will be delayed until 3:30 or 4:00.

It was one of those days. Luckily, I worked in an office only a couple of doors down from a small kitchen area, so when it became apparent that my stomach wasn’t going to rest until it had leaned up and taken a bite out of my heart, I stepped next door to find something to pacify it. I found: ONE Oreo cookie. That was it. Other ravenous appetites had preceded me to the pantry.

Well, okay—better than nothing.

The water cooler stood empty, too. But, hey, I grew up on a ranch in the Pacific Northwest and the forty pounds of water sitting in a large plastic jug on the floor held no terror for ME.

I put the ENTIRE Oreo cookie into my mouth (possession being nine tenths of the law) and strong-armed the five gallon jug onto my forearm. I was just upending it onto the water cooler when the door opened next to me. I heard the Executive Producer’s voice: “Well, Kris!” You’re a STRONG lady, aren’t you?!” And he reached over and checked my upper arm for a bulging muscle.

Beside him, grinning, stood actor Monte Markham.

I had never met Monte Markham until just this moment—and this was NOT the time, had I been given the option. There I stood with my mouth clamped tightly over a half-chewed Oreo cookie.

They stood expectantly, awaiting a reply.

I managed to respond (I hoped without mumbling AND without opening my mouth more than a fraction of an inch), “Oh, this is nothing. I grew up on a ranch.”

Monte joked, “Oh, nothing! I suppose you’ve been out there on the range abusing cattle and horses for years!”

It was a VERY funny comeback, and I desperately wanted to respond to it with a big grin and laugh, but I was still working (surreptitiously, I hoped) on that black cookie (without chewing), praying it would melt down soon. It was taking its
own sweet time.

I focused on trying NOT to smile, but to look…pleasant. Possibly shy. Yes. That might work…

Monte thrust his hand out and with a friendly grin introduced himself. “Hi. I’m Monte Markham.”

I took his hand and replied, “I know who you are.” (I could say THAT without opening my mouth too wide. “Hello,” would have required an accompanying smile.)

I desperately WANTED to smile. I smile a LOT; it is my usual attitude and demeanor! And this was one of those situations where a smile seemed not only natural but MANDATORY!

But I knew better. I kept my mouth shut. “Hi..” i finally said, meekly.

The executive producer probably wondered why the normally ebullient Kris Smith had clammed up like a star-struck teenager. He carried the ball: “Kris is the assistant to the executive story editor and one of our other writers. She’s a great help and…incidentally, is a very nice gal.”

I was sure Monte was wondering about THAT by now!

“Thanks,“ I mumbled.

After about a million years, they turned and left. I FLEW to the mirror and smiled into it. Not a trace of Oreo remained. I was relieved and upset all at the same time. “I COULDA SMILED! I COULDA SMILED!” I thought, and moaned
piteously.

I went home, morose, and told my sad tale to a friend, who became absolutely hysterical. I admitted finally that, yeah, it was pretty funny, all right—if you didn’t happen to be the person harboring the Oreo cookie…

That evening, unbeknownst to me, myfriend/my buddy/my pal/ my confidant wrote to Mr. Markham” and EXPLAINED why the normally ebullient, smiling Kris Smith was closed-mouthed and unresponsive the day he met her. No, she wasn’t star struck, nor was she experiencing the monthlies. And my friend, further, requested two autographs—one for herself, and one for me, his bizarre co-worker.

A few weeks after Bay Watch “wrapped” for the season, I received a large envelope in the mail. The cancellation stamp proclaimed MALIBU.

“Malibu?!” I pondered. “I don’t know anybody in Malibu!”

I opened it. Inside was a glossy 8 x 10 of—You guessed it.

The inscription read: “To Kris, the Oreo Cookie Girl. Your teeth never looked lovelier. Monte Markham.”

Once in a while, friends are for strangling!

***

FLOATING AROUND HOLLYWOOD AND OTHER TOTALLY-TRUE TALES OF TRIUMPH

© 2003 by Kristine M. Smith. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in
a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,
or otherwise, without written permission from the
author.
ISBN: 1-4107-4710-7 (e-book)
ISBN: 1-4107-4709-3 (Paperback)

 

Excerpts from “Let No Day Dawn That The Animals Cannot Share” by Kristine M Smith

GABRIEL RACCOON
He’s a full-time quarterback
Reaching ahead while looking out
Over the Entire field
As if two separate consciousnesses
Exist behind that very apt black mask.

He loves flowers, you know
Quite as much as you and I, only
He’s never content to merely watch them; oh,
no…
He must pick them, or climb them
(If they’re of sturdy character)
And he must bring them to the back porch
And present them, with gentle chirrs,
To a fellow flower child.
(Of what benefit is happiness if it cannot be
shared?)

No lover of etiquette,
He unloads garbage cans of their bounty
And then sits back, content.

More often than not, he’s engaged in some
activity
You wish he wasn’t;
But he’s free, and you mustn’t impose
Your human limits on his lifestyle,
His joie de vivre.

You recall why you named him Gabriel:
You hoped he’d be an angel.
Ahem. Oh, well. His name is a clever joke.

But then again…perhaps he IS an angel.
Can anyone conceive of a heaven
Without a fulltime quarterback who loves
flowers?

LEOPARD

Spotted thunderbolt, whose coat drives men
and women to madness
Whose stealth and silence can unnerve
war-hardened generals
Your god has made you thus for quite
good reasons,
And why we take it upon ourselves
to rid the world of you
For the sake of fashion or of fear
Is unknown to this asker of reasons.
Spotted thunderbolt…I apologize.

MEMORY OF A TIGER CUB

The tiger cub winds itself around my legs
And chuffs in contentment, flopping onto the
floor
As we sit, pretending to be quite unruffled
By the incident. We are all professionals here,
And should expect to be buffeted by tiny
tiger paws
From time to time.
I try to act normally, but inside
I am dying with
Excitement, thrilled by the cub, loving the cub
Who now sleeps soundly atop my shoes.
Someday she will weigh three times more
than me.
And will she remember the night she slept
Soundly atop my shoes?
I know I will.

Excerpt from “Serval Son: Spots And Stripes Forever” by Kristine M. Smith

SERVAL SON: SPOTS AND STRIPES FOREVER
PUBLISHED BY FutureWord Publishing
© 2011 by Kristine M. Smith. All rights reserved.
ISBN 980984589005 Serval Son: Spots and Stripes Forever
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

FOREWORD and DISCLAIMER

I first learned about serval cats—the “poor man’s cheetah”—during one of my courses at Ralph Helfer’s Wild Animal Affection Training School in Colton, CA in 1977-78. I was assigned to train a pygmy goat and to tame an adult serval cat named Sneakers.

Training a goat is child’s play. They teach themselves to walk on 2×4’s while you’re still lifting the boards into place! They’re naturally curious, naturally playful, and naturally “ascendant.” Build it and they will climb!

But . . . tame a serval cat? YIKES!!! That was a whole different matter—a greater level of difficulty. Mr. Helfer said I’d pass the course if I could get Sneakers just to sit or lie quietly near me without hissing or slapping. He wasn’t completely sure I could accomplish this feat, so he set the bar low . . . .

Sneakers had apparently been abused (emotionally if not physically) during his time on earth. And servals look pretty ferocious and lethal when they hiss—which they do a lot, sometimes for reasons no one can discern. When they add slapping and backpedaling or crouching and preparing to spring onto your body, they look even scarier. And Sneakers did that . . . a lot!

Of course, I didn’t know any of this at first; I learned as I went along. All I knew about Sneakers was that he was housed in a wooden barrel inside an enclosure that measured about six or eight feet square. I was supposed to go in there and tame him.

Awrighty, then . . . .

Long story short: Over the course of the next eight weeks persnickety Sneakers segued from being one po’ed putty tat to a purring, head-rubbing critter who fell asleep in my arms as I lay beside him under a tree on test day. Helfer came by, saw the two of us cuddled up like Romeo and Juliet, and smiled, “You pass!”

Was I proud? You bet I was. I woulda burst my buttons had I been wearing any to burst. I had tamed an adult serval cat. I mean, taming an adult feral domestic cat is next to impossible, so this was quite the feat, was it not?

Not so fast. I later learned that servals and cheetahs are the Perry Comos of the cat world: you can tame adults caught right out of the wild. Africans did it for millennia, using them as “coursing hounds” to catch faster prey (dik dik and other larger ante-lopes), then taking the kill, rewarding the cat with a few mouthfuls, and using the rest for their own purposes.

Probably not even Ralph Helfer knew this. During the course, I also was taught “never ever” to leave a serval cat alone with other critters, because servals were rated among the “wildest” of wild animals and should never be trusted with other creatures. I obeyed this precept until my own serval, Deaken, taught me how utterly nonsensical a notion it was. I denied him other companionship for more than six years that he should have had . . . but more about that later.

You can’t believe everything you read in books—except mine. I’m a straight arrow.

My 17 years with Deaken were an eye-opener, a heart-warmer, a trauma-inducer, and a cherished relationship I expect never to repeat again. And here comes . . .

The Disclaimer

I don’t believe in exotic or wild animals as pets (especially wild cats, wild dogs, and simians) for a lot of reasons. The primary reason is that probably less than one-tenth of one percent of the people who get them knows what they’re getting into, so both parties suffer grievously. There is usually a traumatic and premature parting of the ways. As Ralph Helfer told us in class, “You are responsible for all you tame.”

It isn’t like you can change your mind and find your critter a new home and a new life with a reputable, responsible caregiver all that easily. Your charges do bond to you, especially since their first few weeks of life are so vital to establishing a relationship that must last into adulthood; one that is safe, sane, and sustainable. And too few people have the proper permits to take over if you falter or fail; those who do are usually filled to the brim with other peoples’ cast-offs as well as their own broods. And who is going to watch over your wild one when you go on vacation, fall ill, or in some other way have to leave them behind for a time for any one of a dozen legitimate reasons?

I knew what I was getting into. I was trained. I read voraciously. I had experience. I had the permits. And I’d had at least 20 domestic kitties before. I was—and remained—committed to nurturing Deaken’s life as he grew, and grew, and grew to knee-high and three feet long from tip of nose to tip of tail. How much different could it be to raise a serval when I had raised so many house cats?

Still, I had no idea. Looking back, it was great discipline. Looking back, it was herculean. Looking back, I smile and feel very blessed, but also extremely lucky that it worked out as well as it did. There were times when it could have gone tragically wrong. I carry the emotional scars of all that. I still have nightmares about trying to move heaven and earth to keep Deaken safe from people and people safe from Deaken. Looking back it is a miracle that more people weren’t hurt . . . that Deaken himself survived largely unscathed.

So no . . . I don’t advocate wild animal ownership. Although I expect you to fall madly in love with my serval son as you get to know him better, I want you to pay exquisite attention to what it took to sustain the relationship, what it took to meet re-quirements, what it took to protect lives and property.

It’s not a game. Pet ownership itself is a tremendous responsibility. Wild animal stewardship is a whole other level. It is not for amateurs. It is not for dreamers. It is not for people who expect to have children or to have them around. It is not for people who want to take vacations.

Wild animal stewardship is only for people who will dedicate themselves entirely to the wellbeing of their wards. It’s a tall order. You’re about to discover how tall.

I hope that in learning about Deaken you’ll also learn about why sharing him vicariously with you concerns me a little. I know you will love him. Please just don’t love him so much that you decide you simply MUST have one of your own. Becoming a wild one’s parent is an overwhelming commitment that no one should take lightly. Not even you.

I know your heart is good and that it’s in the right place. Enjoy the ride but don’t let this story compel you to take on more than you can commit to wholeheartedly… and legally. If you do it wrong, everyone gets hurt.

Imagine loving like this and losing your pet to the authorities because you weren’t properly licensed or because your furry darling grievously injured someone. It happens all the time. Lawsuits accrue. Next door neighbors panic.

How quickly everything can change from idyllic to catastrophic. Few stories end up the way Deaken’s and mine did. Remember this as you go along, and I will feel satisfied that you’re receiving the whole story, not just the heart-warming parts.

You are responsible for all you tame. Don’t do it unless you can honor and truly treasure the obligation from Day One to the day your charge crosses Rainbow Bridge.

Excerpt From “Deforest Kelley: A Harvest Of Memories” by Kristine M Smith

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (True Story written up as a stand-up comedy routine and later published in Deforest Kelley: A Harvest Of Memories)

Three weeks after my birthday, I wound up in Denver — and was invited (via Sue) to dinner with the Kelleys! This was my first actual, sit-down-and chat meeting with them, and I was so nervous that before we headed into their suite I pleaded, “Sit right next to me all night long, and if they ask me a question, YOU answer it!”

When you find yourself in an overwhelming situation like this one, you want to be at your best. You want to make a good impression; above all, you do NOT want to come across looking like Garfield’s little buddy Odie! On the other hand, you don’t want to look as if you’re having an audience with the Pope. Something right smack in the middle seems about right… but I was nowhere near certain I could handle a middle-of-the-road approach. So I was nervous.

No. I was petrified.

I followed Sue and a couple other DKFC members – all of whom were cool, calm and collected by all appearances – into the Kelleys hotel suite, where we were to meet, and I managed, for a moment, to present myself as normal. I hugged Mrs. Kelley and said, “Hello.” Then I went over and shook hands with De. So far, sooooo good. But…witness how quickly I went downhill from there, inside my nerve-wracked body.

We stepped over to the couches and prepared to sit down. De asked us if he could take our coats. Now, if anyone else on the planet had asked me that question, an easy answer would have been yes or no, right? I mean, he wasn’t asking my opinion on whether the U.S. should get out of the United Nations; he was just asking if I cared to give up my coat for a while. I gave it serious thought. I thought, “What does HE want me to say? Should I say yes? Will he be upset if I say no?” Finally it occurred to me that he didn’t give a fig whether I said yes or no, just so long as I said something, so he could sit down! So, I said no. That seemed to satisfy him – but not for long. Next he wanted to know if we would like drinks. I don’t drink, so naturally I said YES. (Well, I had just told him no on something else. I didn’t want him to think I was a bitch.) So, I said yes. Then he wanted to know what I would have! Oh, boy… He had me there! He was pitching these incredibly difficult questions at me and I was unable to field them! “Oh…whatever!” I finally “decided,” hoping that would end the interrogation.

Mrs. Kelley probably recognized the fact that I had slipped into the much-dreaded Idiocy Mode (a common affliction of fans) and tried to help me out. She suggested that I try a “DeForest Kelley.” I looked at her, and I thought, “Gee, that is a very generous offer!” But I realized I wasn’t getting the proper picture. She explained to me that a DeForest Kelley was a drink known to all of fandom except me, obviously. “Oh, fine… I’ll have one of those…”

Well, after a couple of DeForest Kelleys (vodka and water with a twist of lemon), I felt calmer. No one had raised any other controversial questions similar to “Can I take your coat?” in quite a while, so I was just sitting back and listening and watching everybody talk and laugh and have a good time….

Not much later, we went downstairs for dinner. De sat at the head of the table. To his right sat Sue Keenan, and to her right sat Jackie Edwards. To De’s left Carolyn (Mrs. Kelley), then me. There was NOBODY on my left – for a hundred miles. Remember this.

I quickly lost my nervousness sitting next to Carolyn, because she is a doll – so nice, and so much fun. She could calm a jackhammer. I know, because she calmed me, and I’m the greater challenge! We lost ourselves in some conversation about having both been raised in the State of Washington. At one point I was explaining something to her in great detail, and a fold or a crease on my left sleeve popped me with a great deal of force and I stopped in mid-sentence and turned around to my left, fully expecting to find a waiter or someone who had come along to ask me a question. THERE WAS NOBODY THERE!

I panicked. I thought, “OK, Kris… How are you going to handle THIS dilemma?” Well, I had two choices. I could turn back to Carolyn and just continue the conversation as if nothing at all had happened – or I could explain what happened. Well, naturally, I opted for the truth – but I forgot to provide a complete explanation. Instead of what I just told you, I turned back to Mrs. Kelley and said, “Strange! I could have sworn somebody just tapped me on the shoulder!”

Carolyn accepted this bizarre information calmly. She looked at Jackie. Jackie looked at her. They both studied their salads for a while and said nothing.

I’m amazed the Kelleys didn’t signal someone to bring a butterfly net!

It took me over a month to remember all the stupid things I said and did at dinner that evening. I found it comforting, at a later date, to learn that other fans admitted experiencing similar difficulties the first few times they were faced with actually trying to communicate with the objects of their affection.

Note: When I was interviewed by DeForest Kelley’s biographer, Terry Lee Rioux for her book FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST, The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek’s Dr. MCCoy, she asked me how I went from being a star-struck fan, on the outermost reaches of fandom, to becoming his personal assistant and caregiver and being at his bedside when he died. I told her, “I have no idea. That’s something you would have had to ask De.” She said to me, “You know the answer. Just connect the dots.” Thankfully, I’ve been journaling for 45 years, so that’d what I did… The result: This book! (De gave me permission to write a book about our association, but I probably never would have had Terry not asked me the one question about our association that I could not answer!

***

DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES
©2001 BY Kristine M Smith

Available at Amazon (but you can save a bundle by ordering from the publisher at Authorhouse.com–you can get the e-book for $4.95 or the hardbound for what the softcover would cost you at Amazon.)

 

Press Release: The Enduring Legacy of DeForest Kelley: Actor, Healer, Friend

The Enduring Legacy of DeForest Kelley: Actor, Healer, Friend, written by Kelley’s former personal assistant Kristine M Smith, skyrocketed immediately to first place in the non-fiction category at Payloadz.com upon its May 1st release, where it has resolutely remained for three weeks.

In the new 61-page electronic book, Smith compiled the memories and reminiscences of nearly two dozen fans and friends whose lives were blessed and changed forever by the career or kindness of the late actor who portrayed Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the original Star Trek television series and motion pictures.

“I’m delighted the new book is receiving top honors at Payloadz,” Smith says. “It was a real labor of love for so many of its contributors and for me. And the unanimous, positive reviews of the book have also been gratifying. ”

The e-book reveals that many of Kelley’s devoted fans have gone on to become doctors, nurses, medical technicians, social workers, and other helping professionals, while still other fans continue to impact the world as writers, actors, and teachers.

The success of the new book has also bolstered sales of Smith’s earlier memoir about the actor who became her mentor. DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES suffered from an untimely release date, coming as it did just weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, relegating the memoir to easy dismissal by and silence from mainstream media. Now that both books are receiving attention during the recent release of the newest STAR TREK movie, prospects for both books have increased significantly. Smith has been contacted to do radio and podcast interviews from science fiction and golden oldies radio producers.

Smith says, “This June 11th will be the tenth anniversary of the De’s passing. I can’t imagine a greater tribute, at this time – to the man and to the actor – than the timely attention being paid to these two books, along with taking in the wonderful resurrection of the McCoy character as portrayed by Karl Urban. He was able to capture so much of what De’s spirit and sensibilities brought to the role. I hope my two books will show that DeForest Kelley, the man, was every bit as worthy of respect and emulation as was his alter ego.”

Author Kristine M Smith’s blog is located at http://almostfamousbydesfault.blogspot.com/.