Monday, September 1, 2014

Editor's Corner

September 2014

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”... Alfred Lord Tennyson

Did the summer heat wear everyone out or have the calendars stopped showing the days? Something dire it seems has struck some of our authors. Seriously, one hopes they are well and simply having a lovely vacation somewhere, but they are missed. Labor Day weekend sent a lot of people onto the highways and others stocked up to do the end of summer outdoor cooking. Of course in Texas, any time of the year or at least 90 percent of the year, the weather is fine for all that grilling.

Mattie Lennon, (Irish Eyes) gives a tribute to one of Ireland's recently deceased poets, Paddy Finnegan, and has written what he calls a ballad to the subject of his August column: Susan Jane Dunne, Miss Kilkenny. Thomas F. O'Neill (Introspective) who is teaching in Suzhou, China, wrote a poem in April 2004, explaining his motivation in life. We are sharing it from his bio which can be read by clicking his byline.

John I. Blair's column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XXI brings an interesting look at Horace Greeley, journalist and editor, and publisher of (among others) the New York Tribune. Blair's two poetry selections are "What A Child Believes" and "I Thought You Had Forgot Me."

Bruce Clifford sent us "Where to Begin" and "Time to Run." Only one poem for September from Bud Lemire, "$$$Everyone's Out For Money$$$."

Your editor found the inspiration for "My Heart Never Wore Spurs." Melinda (Carroll) Cohenour, sister of your editor, shares her memoriam to a beloved family member, Dicy Malinda Westover Sullivan, in the article for this month. As family genealogist, she is thorough and always researching.

Mark Crocker aka Rabbo adds Chapter 6 "Mouse - The Other White Meat," to Lexi, his serialized tale written from Lexi's perspective.

Thank you again, Mike Craner! Your expertise is vital to this dear-to-my-heart ezine.

Look for the October issue of Pencil Stubs Online. Compositions are accepted throughout the period from publication through September 28th.

Click on Mary E. Adair 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.

Always Looking – People Who Made a Difference XXI


Meet Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley (1811-1872), journalist, reformer, and politician, is best known as the innovative publisher and editor of the New York Tribune. Born in New Hampshire, Horace was largely self-educated. In 1831 he went to New York City to seek his fortune as an editor. Three years later he was able to launch a literary and news weekly, the New Yorker, and, in 1840, a Whig campaign weekly, the Log Cabin.

Soon after coming to New York City, he had joined the Universalist church on Orchard Street. In 1841 Greeley founded the New York Tribune. By 1861 circulation had risen to more than 250,000, and the Tribune became the most influential newspaper in the country. 
1961 Stamp issued to honor Greely 100 years later.

To news reports, Greeley added editorials and commentary on social and political issues, hiring top newspaper men and a few literary stars like Margaret Fuller, George Ripley, and Richard Hildreth.
Margaret Fuller wrote reviews and social commentary, later acting as a European correspondent. Greeley taught her to write rapidly and tersely; she lectured him on woman's rights. He was at first skeptical. "So long as she shall consider it dangerous or unbecoming to walk half a mile alone by night—I cannot see how the 'Woman's Rights' theory is ever to be anything more than a logically defensible abstraction."

Eventually his opinion shifted. In 1850 he gingerly endorsed the First National Woman's Rights Convention. "However unwise or mistaken the demand, it is but the assertion of a natural right, and as such must be conceded."

In the course of his career Greeley came to espouse a wide variety of liberal causes, including abolishing slavery and capital punishment, improving working conditions, and free-soil homesteading. An admirer later wrote, "Greeley labored with the world to better it, to give men moderate wages and wholesome food, and to teach women to earn their living."

Greeley was famous for promoting western development and emigration. "If any young man is about to commence in the world," he wrote, "with little in his circumstances to prepossess him in favor of one section above another, we say to him . . . go to the West; there your capacities are sure to be appreciated and your industry and energy rewarded."

Greeley helped organize the Republican Party in 1856 and campaigned for Lincoln in 1860. Greeley's political and social views reflected his strongly held religious views, aiming at creating a society in which men and women would be inclined toward actions that "shall ultimately result in universal holiness and consequent happiness."

A pacifist, in 1861 Greeley nevertheless came to believe the South had to be resisted with force. He applied public pressure on Lincoln to immediately emancipate slaves. In an 1862 editorial addressed to the President, "The Prayer of Twenty Millions," he wrote that he was "sorely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of rebels."

Lincoln famously answered, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it—if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it—and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."

When Lincoln published the Emancipation Proclamation, Greeley rejoiced: "it is the beginning of the new life of the nation."

During 1863’s draft riots, a mob nearly succeeded in storming the Tribune building. When weapons were brought in to stave off attack, Greeley exclaimed, "Take 'em away! I don't want to kill anybody!"

Statute to honor Greely.

Discouraged by the progress of the war and conflicted about use of deadly force, Greeley made several attempts during 1863-64 to bring about peace, each resulting in personal embarrassment. Throughout the war Greeley alternately castigated and lauded Lincoln.

"I do not suppose I have any right to complain," Lincoln remarked. "Uncle Horace agrees with me pretty often after all; I reckon he is with us at least four days out of seven."

Since his death in 1872, Greeley has been remembered as his country's greatest newspaper editor, an outstanding popular educator, and a notable champion of the downtrodden and dispossessed.
    Adapted from an article by Charles A. Howe
Researched and compiled by John I. Blair

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online. Pictured below: Horace Greely plaque for establishing New York Tribune.


Irish Eyes

Finnegan’s Wake, With An Apostrophy.

Poet Paddy Finnegan passed away, unexpectedly, on 16th July.

Shortly after his death poet and writer Stephen James Smith wrote, “Paddy was a wonderful man who inspired me with his poetry and acted as a great supporter of other young poets too. . . as he speaks to me beyond the grave his verse is still unnerving me with his gravely pitted voice holding my ears. . . .Paddy you’ll always live on in my memory, you’ll always be one of the first people who made poetry sing to me, you’ll always be a writers’ writer, a warrior with words. The Fionn mac Cumhaill of verse.“
Paddy was born “between two years” either in the dying moments of 1942 or just after midnight on New-year’s day 1942 in Dereen, Kilkerrin, County Galway. Like everywhere else in rural Ireland clocks weren’t all that accurate at the time.

While a pupil at the National School in Kilkerrin a teacher convinced his father, Michael, that Paddy had academic potential. He got a Scholarship to St Jarleths College, Tuam, in 1956 and continued his formal education in UCD.

Paddy had a fantastic knowledge of the English language, was fluent in all dialects of Gailge and had a good grasp of Greek and Latin. His versatility was increased in the year he spent in Wolverhampton as one of “the men who built Britain”. He became an expert on how to fry steak on the head of a shovel.

He joined the Irish Civil Service in 1962 but office work wasn’t for Paddy. Apart from being on a higher mental plane than most of his colleagues he was an open-air man. During his stint there I’m sure Sigersun Clifford’s line often went around in his head, “They chained my bones to an office stool and my soul to a clock’s cold hands.“ He worked as a bus conductor with CIE from 1971 to 1980.

When I got a job as a bus-conductor in 1974 I was sent to Donnybrook garage. I didn’t ask who was the most intelligent person in the garage but if I had the reply would have been concise, “Paddy Finnegan.” As a conductor he could reply to any criticism from an irate passenger; in several languages if necessary. During this period Paddy and a few of his fellow intellectual would assemble in a city centre flat which was known a Dail Oiche. It was a later edition of “The catacombs” as described by Anthony Cronin in Dead as Doornails. With such a collection of intelligentsia you can imagine (or can you?) the topics under discussion. He lived for many years in Lower Beechwood Avenue, Ranelagh. If ever a house deserved a Blue Plaque it's Paddy’s former residence.

He brought out a collection of his poetry, sadly now out of print, titled Dactyl Distillations. I know dear erudite reader that you know the meaning of dactyl but I had to look it up. It is, “a foot of poetic meter in quantitave verse.”

He was inspired by everyday events. His "Post from Parnassus" was inspired by the annual Saint Patrick’s Day commemoration of Patrick Kavanagh on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Post From Parnassus
(after Patrick Kavanagh)
by Paddy Finnegan

 Here by my seat the old ghosts meet.
Here, the place where the old menagerie
Relentlessly soldiers on
Remembering the old green dragon, me,
On the feast of the Apostle of Ireland.

Ye greeny, greying catechumens
Will cease to stage this ceremony
Only on the command of Sergeant Death.
Then break not the heart of poet past
Nor that of preening poet present:
But know, ye prodigies of prosody
That multitudes in times to be
Will listen to my lays
And look askance
While cods forever fake
Their own importance.
More recently he recorded a, limited edition, CD, Fion Ceol agus Filioct. I hope that somebody will now bring out an “unlimited” edition. Since 1995 he was a familiar sight selling the Big Issue outside Trinity College and more recently at Bewleys on Grafton Street.

Paddy always had a story, like the day he was chatting to his fellow poet Professor Brendan Kennelly at the gate of Trinity as dark clouds hung overhead . “ . . . I asked the Ballylongford wizard for a meteorological prognostication. He replied in the immortal words: ‘ There’’ be no rain; it’ll be as dhry, as dhry as a witches tit.’ He wasn’t gone fifteen minutes when amazingly the cloud dispersed and as our old friend Pythagoras used to say: ‘ Phoebus played a blinder for the rest of the day.”

That was Paddy.

I asked his brother James if there were poets in their ancestry. He said no, that their father was a farmer but, in the words of Seamus Heaney, “By God, the old man could handle a spade.”
The soil of Kilkerrin will lie lightly on Paddy; wasn’t it dropped gently on his coffin. Such a scene was described by his friend Dermot Healy who pre-deceased him by a couple of weeks, “ . . . shovels work like oars, rowing the dead man from this world.”
Portrait of Paddy Finnegan

* * * * *

Last month I told you about “The Pecker’s daughter”, well, here’s a ballad I’ve written about her;

The Pecker’s Daughter

Air: Sullivan’s John
By Mattie Lennon

Oh, Sarah Jane Dunne, ‘though she hadn’t won, on the nineteenth day of July.
This talented lass, from the Traveller class, was neither aloof or shy.
“Tinkers daughter”, you’d hear, amid debt-ridden fear in that place that’s called Dublin-four
She never felt shame but carried the name, as the Pecker had done before.

To the final she went, then felt quite content when her rival Miss Cork took the crown
All set to advance, with a positive stance Sarah didn’t see cause for a frown.
If one doesn’t stop, till they get to the top there’s always a price to be paid
Like Kipling she knows, no matter how the wind blows, there’s no failure just triumph delayed.

From the time she was small it was clear to us all, she was on the road to fame.
At a match or a fair in Cork, Kerry or Clare to busk with her father she came.
Unlike Sullivan’s John, from the road she’s gone but the globe she plans to roam.
She’ll model and teach and great heights she’ll reach; the world is now her home.

She has got this far and her rising star will continue to ascend.
New points she has scored and with critics ignored begrudgery she’ll transcend
And you can be sure that her Godfather, Moore, will pen her a song bye and bye
As the Pecker sings proud, on his Heavenly cloud, a new Tinker’s Lullaby.
©2014 Mattie Lennon

Click on Mattie Lennon for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.



The poem shown here
is by Thomas F. O'Neill,
and is included in his bio
which can be seen by
clicking his byline.


 The Altruistic Life

When you Love, you are loved.
When you care for others, you are cared for.
When you give of yourself abundantly, you gain an abundance in life.
When you are respectful towards others, you gain others respect.
When you are joyful you find joy in life and you bring joy to others.
When you enjoy the company of others, others will enjoy your company.
When you are forgiving, others will forgive your faults.
When you are nonjudgmental, others do not cast judgment upon you.
When you accept others into your life, others will accept you into their lives and you will never find yourself alone in the world.
Do not impose your will or beliefs upon others. Simply live your life as you would want others to live their life in doing so others will emulate your way of life.
Teach others not only with words but by revealing the essence of love that is within you in doing so others will reveal themselves to you.
Do not approach others in need with religious platitudes but rather be the presence of God to others.
Recognize the spirit of life that is within you and around you as being the spirit of love and your existence and the existence of all things as the subtle altruistic outreach of gods loving presence.
Keep in mind that the love that is within you cannot be contained in a church, creeds, or dogmas, because that Love sustains you and all things it is the Love of God.
God and life are synonymous we cannot separate the life of god from the life that is within us they are one and the same. This is not a religion or religious beliefs but simply a spiritual way of living and experiencing my life with others.
©April 2004 Thomas F. O'Neill

I wrote “The Altruistic Life” in April of 2004 and it is pretty much a brief overview of my beliefs.
Imagine if we could master these principals how much better the world in which we live would be.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:

    Click on Thomas F. O'Neill for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Dicy Malinda Westover Sullivan

My Memories of Cousin Dicy Malinda Westover (Sullivan)

In the summer of 1959, my thirteenth year, my parents and Mom's mother, Carrie Bullard Joslin, delivered me to El Paso to spend a couple of weeks with "Aunt Dicy". She was absolutely delightful, a sprite with the energy of ten men! She was very active with her Catholic charities and we went daily to handle her "chores" which consisted of delivering meals, clothing and medical needs to the less fortunate, visiting various children's homes, homes for the aged, houses which were provided by various Catholic parish members to furnish free lodging for families who were in El Paso to be near a relative whose misfortune, old age or disease had landed them in the hospital there.

Dicy was fully energetic and had an agenda for every day I spent in her company. One day we took the bus to the large park downtown. The highlight of that trip for me was our visit to the pool of live alligators. You can only imagine my shock when my ornery little sprite Dicy suggested I stick my head over the rim of the round, solid white, plastered-cinder block enclosure and one of the devilish creatures ignited the rush of all the leathery inhabitants toward me with a sound approximating that of an air gun combined with the muted roar of a pack of lions! One look at those huge, gaping jaws and red eyes and I was both terrified and enthralled. It was fascinating to watch those creatures whose appearance has hardly changed since their most ancient ancestor first left their marshy pond. Dicy shared my enthusiasm and we loitered for some time.

Aunt Dicy told me of her trip on the railroad train when she was just a young girl, traveling to California with the intention of beginning her career as a teacher. A freak flood washed out the tracks and stranded the train on the edge of El Paso. Dicy (I've mentioned "sprite" but you should know she may not have reached 5' in height and weighed nowhere near 100 pounds soaking wet as a grown woman.) with her "travelling clothes including the required lacy blouse, bustle, bonnet, laced and buttoned ladies boots and gloves was hard-pressed to depart the train safely. She watched with growing anxiety as the flood water swirled with angry red muddy vigor, when suddenly appeared a very large, blue-eyed, red-headed Irishman who reached up easily, placed his hands about her tiny waist (completely encircling it) and lifted her to the ground. Timothy Sullivan "Tim" to one and all, quickly made up his mind that Dicy Malinda was not leaving El Paso if he had anything to do with it. He proposed, she accepted and the rest was history.

Dicy maintained the massive bedroom furniture that had been hand-carved in Mexico to accommodate Timothy Sullivan's size: the four-poster bed required a set of steps to climb upon the mattress, while the posts (each with a circumference of near twelve inches) reached 7' toward the ceiling. Similarly, the gentleman's chest was carved to match and made of massive blocks of wood as well. The mirrored dresser dwarfed Dicy and the wardrobe looked like a small house. These pieces were kept gleaming such that one could almost use the wooden surfaces as mirrors.

I began that summer's vacation with the typical teenager's trepidation: fear of absolute boredom, anxiety about staying with an elderly relative never before seen, and reluctance to leave my friends and first-time boyfriend (I even had his copper penny on a chain, worn with matching baby blue long-sleeved soft sweaters to match that we wore over white collared shirts - so almost 1960's chic!) but I shall never regret one moment spent in the company of that delightful lady! She introduced me to El Paso (unabashedly one of the dustiest and least attractive large towns in Texas if not the United States) with a grace and hospitality that has left its joyful memories etched upon both my heart and my memories.

It was with a deep and painful sense of loss when I first began my genealogical research into the life of this wonderfully fun, vivacious, kind, loving, generous woman only to discover her life was lost to massive cardiac arrest not six months following my summer visit in 1959. Long may her memories live!

(A memoriam to Dicy Malinda Westover Sullivan by her 1st Cousin, twice removed, Melinda Carroll Cohenour. Shared 25 Aug, 2014)

From Ancestry:

Dicy Malinda Westover

When Dicy Malinda Westover was born on January 20, 1877, in Pineville, Missouri, her father, Benjamin, was 34 and her mother, Elizabeth, was 33. She married Timothy "Tim" C. Sullivan in 1900 in El Paso, Texas. They had one child during their marriage. She died on December 20, 1959, in El Paso, Texas, at the age of 82.

How We're Related: Dicy Malinda Westover (1877 - 1959) was my 1st cousin twice (2x) removed. The daughter of Benjamin Westover and wife, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hopper (1843 - 1937) who was the elder sister to Malinda Ellen Hopper (1845-1937), both Lizzie and Malinda were daughters of John Hopper (1823-1895) and wife Mary Johnson Young. Malinda Ellen Hopper and husband William Henry Bullard were the parents of Carrie Edyth Bullard (1890-1974) who married James Arthur "Artie" Joslin (1874-1956) who were the parents of Lena May Joslin who married John Edward Carroll. They are my parents.

Click on Melinda Cohenour for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.