Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Editor's Corner


May 2019

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."--Nathaniel Hawthorne .

Ah, May... birth month of your editor who has seen it roll around 84 times when the 8th dawns. Born the day after her mother Lena May Joslin Carroll turned 17, and thus forever linked not only as parent and child but as Taurians, which usually caused perfect chiming of plans and intentions, but occasionally induced more of the "Bull in the China Shop" stubborness from both. For more about my beloved parent who left us in March 2010, here is a link to the tribute for her that year: Tribute: Lena May Joslin Carroll Alas, the embedded Picasso photo screen show has "been retired."

Our poets with their varied interests present their perspective on life in many heart nourishing ways.

Phillip Hennessy has published many poems with this eZine and several of them have been used as song lyrics by various recording artists. Phillip lives in England, a musician himself, he has many contacts in the business, and most recently his poem "Judy Kay" has been recorded. You can hear it here: mp3 of Judy Kay If you want to follow along with the words of the poem, you can find it here: Poem "Judy Kay".
Thank you, Phillip Hennessy, for letting us know.
Meanwhile, stepping up to the challenge of their muses, this issue brings:
    Bruce Clifford "Doing This Again".

    Bud Lemire, "When The Easter Bunny Came," "One Foot," and "Wednesday at Lakeview."

    Kimberly Marquette, "Grandma's Song" and "Orca."

    John I Blair, "Sometimes When There's Smoke," "Minion Ball," "World Tree," and "Patio Cat is Getting Fat ."

    Linnie Jane Joslin Burks, "Childhood," "Perseverance," "Warning," and "Come Up Higher."

Our columnists have treats in store with their particular viewpoints:
    Melinda Cohenour, mentions DNA dilemna's and mysteries.
    "Armchair Genealogy"
    Marilyn Carnell, recalls when she attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
    "Sifoddling Along"
    LC Van Savage, discusses Gun noises.
    "Consider This"
    Judith Kroll, declares "Label Me Happy!!"
    "On Trek"
    Mattie Lennon, speaks about the tradition of "Keening, Death, and Last Words" in his inimitable manner.
    "Irish Eyes"
    Thomas F. O'Neill, was recently inducted into the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.
Rod Cohenour, is making the switch to Cooler Cooking.
"Cooking with Rod"

Pencil Stubs Online is maintained by the diligence of our webmaster and beloved friend, Michael Craner.
Webmaster and Co-Founder
Having been published in one of AMEA Publications magazines, "Hobbie$, Etc." that was a newspaper format, monthly magazine that went to 42 USA states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and six other countries, Mike was unhappy when we decided to stop publishing it a little over a year after founder and publisher A G Adair passed away. The increase in publication and mailing fees especially to non-continental based subscribers was prohibitive, forcing a closure. Mike stepped forward and said as he had begun doing websites that he would like us to work together to keep a publication going. And here we are, now in our 22d year and still providing a quality outlet for authors, both established book authors and playwrights as well as those just venturing forth to show their creativity. Thanks again, Mike!  

See you in June!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Armchair Genealogy


DNA: Mysteries within Mysteries

      With all the modern-day miracles brought about by DNA testing, one would think one could SOLVE mysteries – not create new ones. My, oh my. A look into your author’s current research boondoggle – the frustrations and attempts to resolve.

      Our family learned recently of the existence of half-siblings to my son and daughter through the use of DNA testing. It has been a wondrous and thrilling experience to see the amazing imprint of genes and the incredible likeness shared by my daughter and the offspring of my first husband! This minor miracle resulted in a visit from Finland of the daughter sired by him while in Puerto Rico – a trip, basically, around the world. And, oh MY! The amazing likeness between my daughter’s pictures when the same age as her young half-sibling sister was shocking. The love between the sisters represents a strong bond that can only be explained by the sharing of those genetic chromosomes!

      The heritage they share, unfortunately, is a mystery because my first husband was adopted and, although, he always suspected as much, his adoptive mother never told him the truth nor did she tell his adopted younger sister the truth about her own parentage. She desperately wanted to have children. She gave them love and care, but she never gave them that valuable THING they would yearn for – the truth about their biological heritage.

      A similar situation existed for my son’s first wife. Her mother and father were separated a long time before their divorce became final. He moved in with the woman he would later wed. She dated, became intimate with a couple of her romantic interests and in that day before reliable birth control methodology, became pregnant with the beautiful young woman who would become the mother of my first grandchild, Adam. It was only when I inquired of Adam’s mom about her family that I learned she had been told, “The only certainty I have about your father is that he was NOT my husband.”

      Thus, a couple of years ago we tested Adam’s DNA in an attempt to solve the mystery of his biological heritage on that side of the family. Recently, we received what I believed to be the BIG CLUE that would resolve that mystery – a 2nd cousin match so positive the matching segments placed that likelihood exactly between the known second cousins, daughters of my full-blood siblings. Wow! We were so excited. About to solve a mystery we’d been researching for some years: either a match resulting from Adam’s grandfather’s biological family (my first husband’s birth parentage) OR one resulting from his own mother’s biological father’s line.

      You can only imagine the frustration when we discovered the Match had declined to link a tree to his DNA test. Thus, no information as to his birth date or location, parents, or anything else. Of course, your author immediately reached out with a message requesting communication so that we could explore the relationship. No response has been received in over a year. The DNA test results show: Possible range: 1st - 2nd cousins; Confidence: Extremely High Shared DNA: 526 cM across 16 segments

      As a comparison, the daughter of my eldest sister shows: Shared DNA: 567 cM across 30 segments and the daughter of my next elder sister shows: Shared DNA: 410 cM across 26 segments. One would believe this MUST relate to one of the mystery biological parents, since 2nd Cousins are related by virtue of sharing Great-Grandparents, as shown here:
Second Cousins. You and the child of your parent's cousin are second cousins. The two of you share at least one set of great-grandparents in common. Think of them as first cousins, since they are in the same generation as you, but with an added generation between yourselves and your linking ancestor.

      Adam’s great-grandparents on my side would be my parents since I am his paternal grandmother. Neither of my parents have ever been shown to have relatives with the given surname of this Mystery Match (Surname KAYE).

      Thus, your author utilized one of the helpful applications employed by Ancestry: the Shared DNA Match app. By clicking on this tab, all those whose DNA is shared by both my grandson and this Mystery Match Kaye, show up. By perusing the surnames appearing in the trees for each of these Matches, I was able to find at least one surname that appeared most often: LINT. Shortly, after this revelation, a message appeared from another researcher who had noted a DNA match between one of the profiles she is managing and my grandson Adam. She and I have exchanged a few messages since that time. She is a peer (in age) to me and also an avid researcher. She assures me Adam matches “all my Lint cousins” and is, therefore, kin to all the Lints in America.

      Great! Mystery nearing solution! Or, at least, one would believe that to be so. But, in genealogy as in life in general, nothing is ever that simple. Your author decided it would be prudent to also search her own DNA results to see of the LINT surname showed up. It did. But with absolutely no obvious link to any known relative. Thus, the Mystery within the Mystery. Is this Mystery Match Kaye related to grandson Adam only on his mother’s (maternal) line since none of the Lint DNA matches show up as a match to yours truly? I believe that to be so, even though a review of my most distant DNA matches turn up a handful of LINT relatives.

      This mystery is not one to be resolved today. Maybe not even tomorrow. There is a group that provides helpful suggestions for resolving these DNA match mysteries. A recent post by your author on that Facebook group page has not yet borne fruit, but I remain hopeful.

      Perhaps we will have an answer by next month’s publication. So, stay tuned and keep doing that Armchair Genealogy!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Irish Eyes



Respected journalist Brenda Power told me about a friend of hers who took an unusual step. He's a slightly well-known psychologist, who appears on TV and radio from time to time, but he bought a grave in Mount Jerome cemetery about 20 years ago and he was lucky to get a nice location in the shade of a tree and he goes there frequently to contemplate his mortality from time to time! It’s Interesting but I have no plans to adopt the practice myself. Wouldn’t I look the right sight in Baltyboys? Speaking of which, thanks to Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs correspondent with The Irish Times I now have a new word. Eschatology is defined as, “ the part of theology concerned with death, judgement and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.” It comes from the Greek Eskhatos for, last, furthest, most remote.

* * * * * *

We all collect and enjoy, “Famous last words.” I saw the following on social media; It was by a man who was wondering what the most used Irish phrase is, “I’ve asked my wife about this. She’s Hungarian, living in Ireland for fifteen years. In her opinion it’s ‘I’m grand’, which she has heard nowhere else. This is intended to convey that all is ok but was probably the last words of several people.”

* * * * * *

They weep, and place him on the bed of state,
A melancholy choir attend around,
With plaintive sighs and music’s solemn sound:
Alternatively they sing, alternate flow
The obedient tears, melodious in their woe.
(The Iliad of Homer.)

Daughters of Dun Iascaigh ; A Light on the History of Cahir Women, is a 300 page hardback published by Cahir Women’s History Group. The group formed in 2017 believed that ,”The valuable recording of history was laudable and competently done; but it did seem , from the group’s perspective, that women had been neglected in that historical narrative,” The twenty contributors to this fantastic publication set out to rectify that. And they have succeeded. In it Mary Caulfield gives a comprehensive account of how women , “ . . . dealt with the more intimate side of death and dying especially when it came to laying out the corpse.” She goes from a description of how the women of Troy washed the body of Hector to a detailed account of how , in Ireland, it was the women who prepared the body and tied the marbh fhaisc (the death knot) a piece of cloth binding the jaw to keep the mouth closed.

Keening of the dead , as a practice, largely died out in Ireland more than half a century ago. But the author points out that Irish Travellers have been known to perform a version of keening up to the present day. When describing a keening scene in a production of The Shaughraun in New Inn, she says, “ The depiction of wailing women around a corpse had a very powerful effect on those present, highlighting how the keen awakens a deep emotion within the human psyche.”

Daughters of Dun Iascaigh was Tipperariana Book of the Year 2018 is available. Details from

Late one night recently I was coming out of a house close to Esker Cemetery. ( If you are wondering why i was coming out of a house late at night you can mind your own business!) Anyway I was accosted by twoyou please walk us up the road we are afraid to pass the graveyard.” I said, “I used to be afraid to pass it too, when I was alive.” For some reason they ran away.

The Irish Famine Museum / Exhibition is seasonal and located on the 2nd floor of the Stephens Green Shopping Centre in Dublin. It open between 12pm and 6pm. We are recognised as one of the best museums in Dublin to learn about the Famine / Great Hunger. If you are visiting our capital city you like museums, and would like to know what really happened in this great catastrophic event, then this exhibition is a must. This exhibition was first held in Dublin, Ireland throughout the summer of 2017. The exhibition was called The Irish Potato Famine (1845 to 1852) and it's purpose was to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the Famine year 1847. For additional information on the Great hunger go to;

I am attaching two notices from a hundred years ago which need no explanation.

See you in June.

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Cooking with Rod


Time for Cool Cooking – Salads on the Menu

The temperature is beginning to rise and no one wants to be working over a hot stove. So, let’s set some of my Sweet Mate’s excellent salad dinners on the table. Here’s a collection of her salad inspirations that are easy to prepare, pretty to serve, and delicious to eat!

Bon appetit~!

First of all, let’s do a flashback to a recipe previously presented in this column, but timely for the season – M’s Waldorf Chicken Salad.

Melinda’s Waldorf Chicken Salad
  • 4 cooked, cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you can boil, grill, or bake the chicken)
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup peeled or unpeeled (your choice) Red Delicious apples, cut in small bits
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 6 pecan halves for garnish
  • 3 crisp celery stalks, with strings removed before cutting into small pieces
  • ½ cup Miracle Whip, low fat (you can substitute Greek Yogurt if you so choose)
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • Cinnamon, a dash
  • Apple Pie spice, a dash
    In medium bowl, toss together chicken cubes, grape halves, apple bits, chopped pecans and celery. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Miracle Whip (or Greek Yogurt) with the spices and a squeeze of lemon. Add to chicken mixture and toss gently, making sure not to shred the chicken cubes.
    Cover and chill well. Just before serving, use pecan halves to decorate the top of the salad.
    This goes so well with an old family favorite, updated by my Sweet M, the English Pea Salad dish served fresh from the garden back when MomMay and DaddyJack created a garden that was the envy of all – including the County Extension Agent who could never believe his eyes when he spied over the back hedge to see what they’d managed to grow in the desert THIS time!

Melinda’s Version of English Pea Salad
  • 2 cans green peas, drained thoroughly
  • ½ jar (about ¾ cup) Roasted Red Peppers (pimiento peppers, but sold as Roasted Red Peppers you get more for much less money), drained and chopped (Retain the juice. We will use it later)
  • 4 eggs hard-boiled and minced
  • 4 stalks celery, de-stringed and diced in small pieces about the size of the peas
  • ½ medium Red Onion, diced about the size of the peas
  • ½ cup Miracle Whip (use mayo if you wish, we prefer this)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Cheddar cheese, cubed to just larger than the peas
  • Juice retained from Roasted Red Pepper jar
    (Select a pretty bowl for serving, but I like to prepare in a separate bowl then place in the serving bowl.) Place peas, pimiento peppers, eggs, celery, and onion in the bowl. Whisk Miracle Whip with Juice from the pimiento peppers and black pepper. Add to bowl and gently fold into the pea mixture.
Add cheddar cheese cubes just before serving so they don’t get mushy. Gently fold into the mixture and serve.

Melinda’s Fruit
  • 3 ripe (not overripe) bananas
  • 3 apples (Red Delicious or other sweet and crisp apple, not tart)
  • 2 cups seedless grapes, red or green or both
  • 2 16 oz. cans or 1 32 oz. can fruit salad, thoroughly drained
  • ½ to 1 cup pecans, broken into small pieces
  • 1 cup Vanilla Yogurt
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Whipping cream, prepared, or use the canned variety
    Cut all fruit into bite size pieces, leave the peel on the apple for its color and texture. Fold in the drained fruit cocktail. Add pecan pieces. Mix well.
    Add yogurt and fold the fruit mixture, keeping it light and fluffy. Use cinnamon sparingly so as to merely entice the palate, not override it.
Just before serving, add whipping cream, Cool Whip, or canned Whipped Cream and fold into the salad.

* * * * *

These salad selections provide the protein, vegetable, and fruit dessert needs for any Spring or Summer meal. Provide a nice crisp baguette to complement the Waldorf Chicken Salad and offer a pitcher each of fresh brewed tea and a lovely lemonade to keep it brisk and cool.

Bon appetit~!

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Sifoddling Along

The day that I departed my home town of Pineville, Missouri to attend Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri began as many other long trips in my family. My Mom got up about 3 am and fried a chicken to go with the potato salad, coleslaw and yeast biscuits for a picnic lunch on our long journey. I suspect I was the only new student who began her day that way, but it was the way things were done at home. Fast food was exotic. I remember that later I saw the Columbia McDonald's sign that said “Over 1,000,000 sold”. It was beyond comprehension.

My freshman year of college was a time of “firsts”. I had to learn a lot in a very short time. I quickly realized that I was different from the other girls in background and experience, but rather than feel inferior, I was profoundly interested in getting to know them and learn about them. I had come from a homogeneous background in the Ozark Mountains, and I moved to another homogeneous situation—a finishing school for girls (perhaps in today's world, it would be “young women”, but in those days it was “girls”.

In 1958, there was a sprinkling of foreign students—no black students; there were two Asians (a Thai Princess and a Korean girl whose father was on the International Olympic Committee) a Greek and a Swedish student who became a good friend. Most students were middle and upper middle class girls from all over the US. I had led such a sheltered and isolated life that on Palm Sunday, I carefully told a girl that she had a smudge on her forehead. I had never known a Catholic before. She wasn't offended, just surprised that I didn't know better.

I met black people for the first time because they were workers at the college – cooks and cleaners. Columbia, is in the part of Missouri known as “Little Dixie”. The plantations and slave owners in Missouri were along the Missouri River corridor. Jim Crow customs were still alive and well and limited job opportunities for blacks even if they had a college education. I found that shocking.

For a girl who had never seen a test tube, taking organic chemistry was very difficult. I wasn’t accustomed to any school subject being hard. My professor took me aside and said “I would rather teach someone who knows nothing about chemistry than someone from a big city high school who thinks they have nothing to learn. ” She also urged me to see a counselor to help me adjust to college life. My first experience with a long sequence of counselors and therapists, although I didn’t realize it at the time.

I tested out of freshman English and took a creative writing class. I found some of my stories a few years ago (my Mom had kept them) and was surprised that they were pretty good. Yet, writing did not seem to be something to pursue. Too frivolous. I needed to study something that would enable me to support myself. My goal at that time was to be an Extension Home Economist and work in a rural area like the woman who was one of my role models when I was in 4-H.

Stephens offered many opportunities to learn and was the best educational experience I would ever have. I bought season tickets to plays, saw my first opera, ballet, musicians like Dave Brubek and Count Basie. I took a literature class that had a class size limit of four. No hiding on the back row. Homework had to be done.

I sang in a Bach Chorale in phonetic Latin and took classes in “humanities” that offered further background in the arts. My professor heard me recite Milton's “On His Blindness” in class and suggested that I try out for the Stephens Playhouse. He was knowledgeable as his brother was a professional actor and he had once been William Inge's roommate, but I didn’t feel that I had the time to do so, and that is one of those crossroads that I have wondered about. It might have led me to a whole different life, but again I felt that I had to be practical and concentrate on academic subjects.

Today I wonder if that young girl who went to Stephens would be if she had made different choices, but like Frost, I took the road less traveled and have had a very good life. For that, I am grateful.

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