Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Editor's Corner

Aug 2010

"Procrastination: I like to think of it as Divine Intervention." --Mary E. Adair

August brings in the real heat of the summer in our area ordinarily but this summer it happened in July. Well, your editor hopes the worst of it is over. The important news seems to drench us daily as Television and Radio duplicate it 24/7. That is why it is nice to browse the ezine which is filled with unusual travel and vista's, reflective notions, unique recipes, historical references, sporting observations, and romantic viewpoints.

LC Van Savage leads the articles with "Men and Gas Tanks and Other Fables." Leo C. Helmer informs us concerning another Western Swing personality, Hank Penny. Of course LC Van Savage also has her column "Consider This" bravely discussing tennis attire and stars, and Helmer's column "Cookin' With Leo" serves a tasty summer treat, "Aztec Coffee." Another kind of summertime activity is discussed in Peg Jone's "Angel Whispers."

Our columnists bring their own brand of reporting such as humorist Gerard Meister offering insight on airport security first hand. John I. Blair in "Always Looking" shares some history and priceless photos detailing family choices of where to attend religious services. Thomas F. O'Neill fills us in about his experiences at the Shanghai World Expo and Mattie Lennon sends news of the Knockanstockan Musical Festival in Ireland and includes a tale and a poem from the CIE literati.

With a baker's dozen of poems - one from MJMansfield plus six each from Bruce Clifford and John I. Blair, the reader will find an assortment of poetic information and styling.  Also, Mark Crocker adds a second installment in the Stories section of his "Rabbo Tales."

Don't forget to mention us to your friends, be a fan for us at FaceBook, and limber up those writing muscles for a future issue.
See you in September!

Click on Mary E. Adair for bio and list of other works
published by Pencil Stubs Online.

~Rhymes for Rhymes Sake~

I used to dream of words in rows
Like flowers waiting for the sun to grow
I spoke in rhythms rhymes and prose
Hidden agendas with joy I’d show

Words flowed thru me night and day
A sick curse or game that I had to play
I could not think of things shallow or gay
Every minute a new theory to say

Emotional gritty and real
Constant thought with which to deal
My bloody stamp the poets seal
A crazy captain at the wheel

Where is that boy's wandering mind?
Is this the end of his watches wind?
Or is he waiting for more of his kind?
Could he just be biding time?

©8-2-10 MJMansfield

Click on M. Jay Mansfield   for bio and list of other works 
published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Always Looking

Always Looking: 

Religion On The Frontier

Many motives brought people to the New World from Europe. Lust for land; greed for gold and silver and gemstones and furs; hunger for new fisheries after all the herring were fished out of the North Sea; zeal for new converts to Christianity. But one of the motives we love to hear about was the yearning for a land where one could follow one’s own faith without persecution, a yearning that famously brought the Pilgrims to New England, the Quakers and Huguenots and Moravians to Pennsylvania, Catholics to Maryland, Mormons to Utah, Mennonites to Kansas.

Much of early American history includes religion as part of the tale. Often one of the first buildings to be built in a frontier community was a church, sometimes – where population was light and beliefs diverse – a nondenominational church. While churches in American settlements were rarely the center of the community (that typically was the schoolhouse, at least in the Midwest), they were very important. And knowing something about the varieties of faith on the frontier can help explain migration patterns, community organization, and sometimes even how the land was settled up and divided.

In my own family, though much of the information has been lost, it’s known that some on both my mother’s and father’s sides came here from England to join the William Penn community of Quakers in Pennsylvania. The Boones came from Devon to the Oley Valley near Reading; the Reeves family from Essex via Burlington County, New Jersey, to the Chester County area west of Philadelphia.

London Grove Monthly Meeting (Quaker) shown above.

While my kin eventually left the Quaker Church (or were “disowned” for improper behavior such as marrying non- Quakers), family tradition has it that our Quaker heritage shaped some of our personality, which trends toward the mild and peacemaking (in most, though not all, members of the family). And many of my family branches dispersed west across the new land along the general path followed by Quaker settlement – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa.
Then there were the Piggott, Patterson, and Rogers families: settlers in Missouri before it was part of the United States. (It was Spanish, then, briefly, French.) They brought with them their new Methodist and Baptist faiths and helped found the oldest Protestant cemetery west of the Mississippi still in use, the Cold Water Cemetery
Cold Water Cemetery near Florissant Missouri

near present-day Florissant, Missouri, which was originally associated with a small Methodist church erected in 1808 that was later converted into a Baptist church. Numerous of my people are interred there. My maternal grandmother was born near there. In fact, my mother’s family to this day are almost all Methodists, with an occasional dalliance with the Baptists.

Salem Baptist Church Florissant Missouri shown above

In Iowa, the Blairs and Linvilles of my father’s family helped found the first church of any denomination in Mills County (east of Omaha) in 1853. The Wahbonsie Church (Disciples of Christ) is still standing, in a later construction, though now used only occasionally.
Wahbonsie Church, Mills County, Iowa

Great-great Grandpa Thompson Milton Blair and his wife Sarah Linville Blair both signed the original Articles of Organization. Many in their rural frontier community were members. And my great-great-great grandfather Zachariah Linville, Sarah’s father, died while trying to bring religion to the gold miners of early California, where he is buried on a hillside near the former Hangtown (now Placerville). Part of family lore, and true. My paternal aunts and uncles in western Oklahoma mostly centered their Sundays, marriages and burials, around the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) near the center of Camargo, which is located on a terrace of arable land above the South Canadian River. It’s the only church I can remember ever noticing in Camargo (though I understand there are a couple of others).
Charlie and John Blair in the 1950s in front of the Camargo, Oklahoma, Christian Church
My wife’s family, German Catholics, settled in the late 19th century in a Catholic neighborhood in Brooklyn that to this day has a parish church in almost every other block (though several have closed as demographics changed in the last 50 years). The Franz and Rohner families were almost forced by their religion to stay in New York after immigrating, or at least to settle in a large urban area, because that’s where they could find a Catholic community in this country that was largely settled by Protestants, at least up to that point in our history.
Holy Family parish church Brooklyn, New York
And the landscape of some parts of the country reflects this immigration of religious communities. Where I grew up, in central Kansas, the countryside is dotted for miles by scores of ethnic churches. In one area, west of Wichita, all of them are Catholic, parishes founded by settlers from the German Rhineland Palatinate. St. Marks, St. Mary’s, St. Joe, and others now subsumed in larger towns. Another, larger area to the north of there is dominated by Mennonite churches founded by groups forced out of the Volga area of Russia when their exemption from military duty was revoked around 1870. Alexanderwohl, Goessel, Hesston, New Gottland, Waldeck. And farther north of there, the rich valley of the Smoky Hill River was settled by Swedish Lutherans, in towns such as Smolan and Falun and Lindsborg. To this day Lindsborg hosts a Svensk Hyllningsfest every October, centered on the Lutheran college and church in the center of town and featuring lots of Smörgåsbord.
Bethany Swedish Lutheran Church Lindsborg, Kansas
The character of several thousand square miles of Kansas prairie settlements was established by these religious groups. Even the landscape was affected, as several groups brought with them a Central European practice of tilling farmland in long, narrow strips where crops were rotated. And the Mennonites are credited with introducing winter wheat to Kansas, where to this day it remains the most important grain crop.
Students of genealogy know that church records can be one of the most valuable resources for documenting births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Especially the Mormons, Quakers, Catholics and Anglican/ Episcopalian churches keep careful records and often will share them with outsiders, if asked politely. I got much aid in tracing some of my Quaker roots from a friendly researcher at Earlham College (Quaker) in Indiana. Thousands of family history buffs seek assistance from Mormon records. And the parish registers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (and other countries, wherever the records have survived centuries of wars and civil disruption) are essential documents for anyone tracing their earliest antecedents.

Church of St. Mary Winterbourne Gunner Wiltshire shown above.

Religion is still a major part of our lives for most; and in the past it was often, literally, the center of life, the hub of history. Knowing about your family’s religious traditions can be a valuable guide to understanding who you are, and where you came from. Pretty obvious, yes; but worth repeating.
©2010 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Cookin' With Leo

Aztec Coffee

A long HOT, and DAMN HOT, summer here in West Texas, so cooling out on the back Patio is how I have been spending this summer. Well, one particularly Damn Hot day I was cooling off with a cold tall one, whatever, when who should appear out of nowhere, but Aztec Annie. Am I seeing things or really dreaming, I wondered? What is Aztec Annie doing around here all by herself?
“Hey Annie”, I said, “what are you doing around here all by yourself”? “And, where is my Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother”? “Don’t you two pal around together anymore”?
“Yea, well, she on vacation somewhere in the South Pole”.
“South Pole”, I stammered, “What in hell is she doing in the South Pole”?
“She say it’s too --- hot (fairies never use slang (cuss) words) where she was.”
“Geez, never heard her say that before, she spends most of her time in Rome anyway, fluttering around in the ruins of Caesar’s Villa, wherever, digging up old copies of Caesar’s Concubine’s, Kitchen Classics, whatever.”
“She say, Rome too hot this year too, so she take off for South Pole, where she say it Cool Place.”
“I guess so Annie, might be a good place for West Texans too, this summer.”
“Hey, well, I no come to shoot breeze too long, I want out of this Hades (see no cuss words)Hole too, so sit tight, I got nice cool Aztec Coffee recipe for you and all your Texas friends or anybody else to cool off.”
Annie don’t use a magic wand thing like My Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother does she just goes “TATATATATATATATATATATATATATAATATAT…..” and magic happens, whatever.

Anyway, so now I have a nice coffee cooler for the long hot summer and a waker upper too, whichever, so here it is and I am calling it Aztec Coffee. Got a better name?

For Annie’s Aztec Coffee, here is what you need:
    3/4 cup dark roast coffee, fine ground
    1 teaspoon cinnamon plus extra for dusting
    1 cup Half and Half coffee cream
    1/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder
    ¼ cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
    6 tablespoons pure whipped cream
    6 cinnamon sticks, long to use in cups
And here is how we do it:
Place the coffee and the 1 teaspoon cinnamon in your coffee maker, add six cups water and brew according to your coffeemaker’s directions. Meanwhile place the Half and Half, Cocoa powder, and brown sugar in a saucepan and simmer on low heat till sugar is dissolved. Don’t scorch or burn. When the coffee is finished brewing, pour it into the Half and Half mixture. Divide the mixture between six coffee mugs. Top each with a spoon of whipped cream and dust with Cinnamon, Serve hot with a cinnamon stick for a stirrer.

Annie did not tell me this but you could add a shot of rum or tequila to each cup.

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


My Experience at the Shanghai World Expo

During the month of July I lived and worked as a teacher at a summer camp in Shanghai, China and while I was there I visited the World Expo. I went to the Expo with a fellow teacher, she is from England, and we quickly noticed the frenzy among the Chinese visitors. Chinese people were carrying passports and they were having them stamped at each pavilion they visited. My friend Stephanie explained to me that the Passports were not real they were just Expo souvenirs.

The frustrating thing about the Expo was the majority of the Chinese with these fake passports could care less what was in the various pavilions. They waited in ridiculously long lines for hours to have their passport stamped by the pavilion staff. Some of the Chinese would bring other passports with them to have them stamped for friends and relatives. This intrigued me because of the value that was being placed on these fake passports and the pavilions stamps rather than the marvelous exhibits inside the various pavilions.

The fake passports cost about 30-Yuan (U.S. $4.40) and they have taken the Shanghai Expo by storm. My friend Stephanie and I were a bit disappointed by the ridiculously long lines. People were waiting 4 to 5 hours just for the stamp at the various Pavilions we were hoping to visit.

Over 80,000 booklets (fake passports) are sold each day at the World Expo by the DOW group. They are expecting to sell over 70 million booklets by October 31st the date the Expo is due to end. The booklets look like real passports and the stamps at the pavilions look like entry visa stamps. Souvenir shops are providing the passport photos for the booklets for an additional 20-Yuan (U.S. $2.94).

Most of the Chinese buying these booklets never left China and this is a way for them to feel as if they actually traveled the world. They want to hold on to the booklet as a souvenir. Over 80 percent of the Chinese visitors have bought the fake passport booklets and its popularity has set sales and profits through the roof.

When the Expo first opened the Souvenir shops throughout the Expo grounds were running out of booklets in less than an hour. They still are running out of booklets due to their popularity. The Souvenir shops place signs in their window “No Passports” each time they run out. The “passport available” signs draw huge crowds to the shops.

A shop assistant yelled in Chinese “we have Expo Passports” causing a stamped of people rushing to the shop.

People are also placing Ads in Newspapers looking to hire very old people or people who are physically handicapped. People want to hire them for the day so that they could use them to bypass the long lines at the Expo. The staff at the various pavilions allow the very old and the handicapped to bypass the long lines. Some of the ads say the elderly or the handicapped person will be picked up at their home and dropped off at the end of the day. They will be paid 100RMB (U.S. $14.70) including two meals for the entire day at the Expo.

When I went to the Expo I wanted to visit as many pavilions as possible but the long lines was a bit frustrating to say the list. When I learned about the fake passport holders and the frenzy for the pavilions entry visa stamps I started to laugh. My friend Stephanie however reminded me that the Chinese buying those booklets never had the privilege to travel outside of China and they never will. Getting on an airplane and traveling to various countries is something that I as an American take for granted.
At the summer camp my students were all from various countries, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. I also had a student from New Zealand who asked me what I saw at the Shanghai Expo.

I told him in a somewhat humorous way, “many, many, many, many, Chinese people waiting in long, long, lines.”

The students quickly corrected me because they visited the Expo too. I was quickly reminded that they are not Chinese and they waited in those long lines as well.

Working at the summer camp for the month of July was a great experience. I truly had a great time working with the kids from various countries. They reminded me of the things I enjoyed doing as a child and they certainly brought the child out in me. That is certainly a good thing for this coal cracker from the Pennsylvania coal region and I hope I have the privilege of working there next summer as well.
Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill, Shenandoah Native

Phone: (800) 272-6464
China Cell: 86-15114565945
(800) 272-6464
China Cell: 8615114565945
Skype: thomas_f_oneill
Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found at the links below.

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

Consider This

Venus Williams

Must we be forced to go through our entire lives without ever knowing the proper pronunciation of “buttocks”? I mean come on, it’s gotten to the point where I have to avoid using the word altogether in case I offend someone by mispronouncing it. So annoying.

You know how it is; you go to a cocktail party with the local literati and the subject of the human derrière comes up as it always does, and because you want to sound all erudite and lettered and everything you try to fake the pronunciation or you have to cough loudly into your hand when the word starts to come out of your mouth because you don’t wish to embarrass yourself. So, let’s settle this right here and now; is it butt-OX or butt-IX? Frankly I vote for ix. It’s how I was raised. It’s how one says it if one was born in New York. I have buttix. Two of them. What do you have? Ox or ix, it’s the same thing, right? Hind end; cheeks; heinie; backside; butt; butterino; the a-word; can; haunch; rump, tush. It’s what we sit on. It’s what men look at, yes you do too, and it’s what women look at, yes you do too, especially if those buttocks are being sashayed about by a ripped and buff young lifeguard.

You know where I’m going with this, right? I knew you’d know; Venus Williams and her now famous flashing buttox or buttix. Yes, our Venus has really done it this time. I mean talk about shocking! But personally for me, I am not shocked. I cheer her on. Is it nice or polite to insolently flip one’s backside at a live tennis audience and a TV audience of countless millions while wearing a skin-tight, skin-colored thong that at first glance looks as if there’s nothong there at all? Well, probably not, but I say, “you GO girl!”
Venus and her equally talented athletic sister Serena have flown in the face of conventional tennis cultural rules, at least the antediluvian rules of my youth. As a kid I was forced to take tennis lessons every Saturday in the summers on broiling hot clay courts that burned through my Keds, wearing pure white everything, no danger of my ix or ox showing because the shorts were white, thick and to the knees. After those Tennis Lessons from Hell, no easy thing for me an uncoordinated clod, was then, am now, we then had to shower and get dressed up in proper young lady garb which meant gartered stockings, girdles, hot underpinnings, dresses, high heels, gloves and sometimes even hats, and sit through Tennis Teas from Hell which of course never served tea to people of color, oh no, although people of color were actually there. As staff. These affairs were dreadful, each table womanned fore and aft by a chosen dowager who poured tea from a great silver pot balanced and tipping forward on some kind of balanced and tipping forward thing. Heaven forbid milady should pick the teapot up off the table in her gloved hand and pour the stuff.

We young ladies had to counterbalance a cup of that hated liquid with a couple of petits four on another tiny plate along with a small linen napkin and it was unthinkable that we spill a drop or leave a single crumb anywhere. I’ve often wondered what doing that trained us for in our future lives but I just can’t think of anything save for showing off doing party balancing tricks in our old age for people who aren’t in the least interested. The only fun of those awful tea times was when my best friend Sally and I would sidle up to those tables and cram as many of those little cakes into our mouths as was humanly possible without choking and without getting caught. With a nostalgic smile I remember once when Sal suddenly sneezed and sprayed Lady Dowager’s large flowered hat with a Jackson Pollack array of various colored icings. It was just plain lovely. What a glorious moment. That good woman pulled in a very tiny, sharp breath but never wavered for an instant from her pouring chores. What a thoroughbred.

So you see, Venus Williams is a personal heroine of mine. A goddess! What a magnificent woman, and what a glorious athlete. She is everything I never could or would be. I love her. I love her sister Serena. I love that they and a few others before them have broken down those stupid color barriers about only white folks being permitted to play tennis. Oh, those sisters! And not only that, they do not wear boring Whites, but instead trot out onto the courts in colorful, sexy outfits. And guess what else? While pulverizing their opponents, the girls sweat and grunt loudly just like male tennis players do. How deliciously shocking.
So Venus, to push the boundaries even farther, gets herself a pair of skin-tight skin-colored see-through bloomer thongs, and at the French Open in Paris last May 24th, blasts out one fabulous ace of a serve and whammo, it becomes the serve seen ‘round the world! There it is, or maybe I mean they are, her buttox or buttix flashing the TV world and the shocked and enraptured live audience while she thrilled everyone with her powerful, slamming tennis game. Oh my, what a woman! The heads of that game’s viewers in the stands that sunny day were not turning left and right in unison as the tennis ball roared back and forth over the net. Looked to me as if their fascinated faces seemed pretty much focused on Venus Williams’ bottom and frankly we all know that Venus totally enjoyed displaying her tennis assets.

Oh how fervently I wish the old buzzards at those hideous, racist, awful, seriously restricted country club tennis teas were still alive to see the Glorious Williams girls do their stuff on the world-wide tennis courts of today. If any of us girls back then during our tennis lessons had had the cheek to flash just one inch of our ox or ix we’d have been sent to tennis purgatory for life.

But hey, if I had a rock hard back-end like that, or rock hard everythings as Venus and Serena have, would I be tempted to display? You can bet the rent. So folks, how do you pronounce that part of your anatomy? Ox or Ix?

Email LC at lcvs@suscom-maine.net
See her on “incredibleMAINE” on Saturdays at 10:30 AM on MPBN.
Click on LC Van Savage for bio.

Thinking Out Loud

By Gerard Meister

I was in a few airports over the July 4th weekend with the usual hassles checking in and the water problems. I get the feeling that bottled water is cheaper in the Sahara desert then in the average American airport. At Ft. Lauderdale I paid $4.00 for a liter bottle of water (nothing smaller was available). This works out to close to sixteen bucks per gallon. Highway robbery, or is it airport robbery – take your pick. 

Then of course there is the total insanity with political correctness and security. My wife and I both travel with walkers, mine a four wheeler with a seat and my wife a snappy three wheel model. I also carry a cane. So there we are two octogenarians (my wife actually is year shy of that milestone) traveling with my daughter and her fourteen year-old son.

We get early boarding privileges so there is no line at the checking station. First they take both walkers down the walkway to store for us and we start removing our shoes, which means I balance on my cane to get my sneakers off. Next I take off my back brace and I’m standing there pretty wobbly, but thank heavens, I have my cane; my trusty solid oak cane with an old fashioned curved handle.

So now they ask for my cane and I say "You can’t have it, I’ll topple over."

A supervisor appears, “we’ll have to screen that cane sir, that’s the rules. We’re only trying to protect you, sir.”

“From what?” I ask, but quickly add for fear I‘ll be thrown off the flight, “if you bring me a chair so I won’t fall, I’ll sit and wait until you screen my cane.”

“Well, we have to keep the line moving (I never would have guessed it) so try this one and signals to an agent who promptly hands me a cane.

“Wow!” I exclaim. “You people think of everything, I’m very impressed”.

The supervisor smiles as I finally make it through the portal. The country has been protected to the nth degree, except of course from Islamist terrorists who seem to go flying through checkpoint after checkpoint because no one in America wants to be labeled as being a racial profiler, a sin of biblical proportions to the politically correct scorekeepers at the ACLU and the New York Times. Heaven help us!

Click on Gerard Meister for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Irish Eyes

Only a few fields from my home (the fields are small in West Wicklow) the Knockanstockan Music Festival was held from July 23rd to July 25th. Despite the clever word-play the festival, which is a volunteer-run event and was named Best Small Festival in 2008, is not in either Ballinastockan or Ballyknockan but in the townland of Lacken. It featured more than 100 bands over three stages and a good time was had by all.

And . . . Lacken has a new school; due to open on September 01st. And the old schoolhouse (my one and only academy) which was bought by the local community from a generous Landlord, in 1916, for a nominal purchase price of £5 will see a change of use. The granite building (listed) which dates from 1869 will be used as a community hall, heritage centre or whatever the local people decide. (See sketch at bottom of page.)

There will be a “Lacken website” set up shortly but, in the meantime, ex-pupils can make contact with me at: mattielennon@eircom.net.

Once again the CIE Writers’ Group is bringing out a collection of poems, plays short-stories, anecdotes, articles and essays written by people who work, or have worked, for the CIE group of companies.
“IT HAPPENS BETWEEN STOPS” will be available in hard-copy and on CD-Rom. Details from ciewriters@gmail.com

New York author, Lawrence Block, says in the introduction, “The quantity and quality of work produced by this group, taken from a workforce of a few thousand people, would do credit to a city of many millions.“
The following is a small example of the treat in store for you from the CIE literati.

By Pat Cavanagh

You could not help noticing Mary. She was tall and tanned with long blonde hair and beautiful green eyes. She would crack her fingers in class one at a time - or all at once - if she was bored. When she laughed or smiled (which she did often) it was impossible to be cross with her, no matter how much this disrupted the class. She would ask permission to speak, and without waiting for a reply, would launch into an impassioned appeal to save the starving children in Africa, defend the environment, or shut down the nuclear reactor at Sellafield. By the time she was finished, maybe five minutes later, she would have the entire class spellbound. You could be sure no more class work would be done for the rest of the day as Mary and her class mates organised themselves for the coming campaign. There was very little I could do – I realised I had a truly remarkable personality in my class.

About three months ago, we were doing music. I had asked the children to bring along some of their favourite music. Mary’s father had been a singer in a band when he was young. She had grown up in a house full of music, as he still played part time. While the others brought in the latest top ten hits, she brought in music by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as many other well-known singers and musicians from the 1960s and 1970s. She explained the subtleties and the wonders of a whole range of music from Abba to ZZ Top, using examples that she copied on to a CD. I know quite a lot about music from that period, but I have to admit I was awestruck by the depth and breadth of knowledge of a girl who was not even born when all this music was happening. I worried slightly as to what she had up her sleeve for her classmates.

She decided that the school needed a school band, and that her classmates were going to be the band members. Now, our school is in a very disadvantaged area of the city, so asking parents for funding was out of the question. Mary had thought of that, and within two minutes had started the class writing letters (she dictated, the class wrote) to a hundred local and national businesses seeking sponsorship. The letter was very clever. We would like your help in training our school band; do you have staff who would be willing to spare their time and energy to teach us how to play music; could you help us to acquire working second-hand guitars, drums, a keyboard and so on; we are not looking for cash. Each letter was written by hand. The letters were delivered by hand all over the city that evening by a small army of her classmates on their bikes.

The results were astonishing! Dozens of people, including many well-known faces in the music business wanted to become involved. Every Saturday morning the school hall rocked as the students practiced music and singing under the guidance of skilled and talented people who once were famous in their own times. Word spread, and one day they were invited to appear on national television.

Mary didn’t tell anyone about the pain until she collapsed in class. The ambulance seemed to take ages to arrive. She forced her big smile for a paramedic who told her that his son had changed from local thug to guitar player extraordinaire thanks to her influence. Mary had just finished telling us about avoiding antisocial behaviour, but had not been her usual self while speaking. An hour later, during a break, I phoned the emergency department and was told she had had a cardiac arrest in the ambulance but had been resuscitated by the ambulance staff. A police car had collected her parents and they were with her. The outlook was not good.

I can’t remember the rest of that day or the days that followed. Sure, class continued without interruptions and without periodic cracking of fingers. But things were very quiet until just before class broke up for a midterm break. The headmaster called me aside and told me that Mary had had another cardiac arrest and was not expected to survive. She was unconscious. When I told the class that Mary was very ill, they decided there and then they would sing and play for her. We all trooped down to the music hall, collected the instruments, and then marched to the hospital. The school band squeezed into the hospital’s tiny chapel, and Mary, wired to various machines, was then wheeled in. She seemed to be asleep, but somehow she managed her big smile when the music started.

Now, I’m not a religious person, but I’ll swear to my dying day a miracle happened that afternoon. Gradually the colour came back to her face. Her hands and then her feet moved with the music. She tried to sing along. Her parents didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Two days later, she was sitting up and chatting to everyone around. The doctor told her he would fix the bad blood vessel to her heart by sliding a tiny instrument up one of the veins in her leg under local anaesthetic. She could watch the x-ray if she wanted. Three weeks later, she was back in school, cracking her fingers, disrupting the class with impromptu speeches, and flashing her smiles. Yes, there is something about Mary.

* * * * *


By Thos Maher

in the shallow water
there sweeps a cold wind
a lone heron hangs-out
and boldly stalks
a fish, or an eel maybe
it feels that is there,
then with startling speed
it pricks its prey.
Death-so sudden
but winter has come
Still, when all is done
and happy with its lot
this gaunt bird
arches its wings
and is silently away.

ByThos Maher

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

Angel Whispers

The Good Old Summertime

The summers of my childhood were filled with Girl Scout camp, day trips with my family to the beach or to favorite places my family use to enjoy visiting. We would play cards on the front the porch for
We would go swimming at the pond and spend hours in the water. Go for bike rides to places far away and come back on the same day. We would go to Boston to see the Red Sox play or go shopping there for the day. Summer was a time of letting your hair down yet growing up in so many ways. Summer was a time of being out in the great outdoors 9-10 hours a day enjoying all that nature has for us.

We all have memories of our summers as children. Can you think back to when you were a child and how you spent your summers? As the years go by, I have found it to be a lot of fun to just reminisce the days of our youth. To be able to tell our story to the younger members of our family and to help them to understand that time of long ago. They have their own stories of their times too, but they also have the rich history of the older members of their family. Questions about our youth access the rich history of the older members of their family. The fact that they ask questions about our youth is interesting to me. I am finding that many of the younger members of our family are repeating activities we did as children and it seems like yesterday when siblings and I took part in these activities. Yet time has passed by and traditions have been built over the years.

Time is marching by and the memories are so alive. It is such a pleasure to watch the growth of the younger generations blossom and start to flourish in their own special ways. They are not quite sure of their future yet; knowing that they have a lot to look forward to in their life. For me, I feel so lucky in knowing these young adults. It is all good and I wish them the best and hope that they can live life to the fullest. I know they will do that because of whom they are and where they came from.

We all experience in our own ways our own families. I also know that many people have memories that are painful and don’t wish to remember or speak about. But I feel that it all has to do with the emphasis in which we place on our past and how we decide to think about that time. We may have had times that were awful and we decide that that is what we are going think of -- that time in our lives -- and blame others for what happened a long time ago. We may try to heal the pain through self-healing or outside sources. Through forgiveness and self-healing, if we put those feelings away, we can move beyond that time. Doing this, we will grow and we will flourish beyond our wildest expectation. Our angels can help us with this because they love us and because they want to see us happily fulfilled in our lives.

Another thing that I feel directed to speak about is that sometimes our darkest moments are the moments where we have had the most growth. It is like that difficult experience helped us to understand so much more in our life about ourselves. Living life to the fullest is what we are here for. To learn the lessons we need to learn and to go beyond these lessons will help us to be the best person. We truly are meant to be continually learning, throughout our life. It has taken me a long time to learn that lessons are a part of life.

Life is what you make of it and we all have choices to decide how we view our lives. Is the glass half-full or half empty? To me it seems that it all depends on how we choose to be at that particular moment and moving towards the positive consistently. Please enjoy the rest of your summer with memories that will always stay with you. God Bless.

Click on Peg Jones for bio and list of othe r works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis:
Crusty name for a crusty hide,
The scaly spots that skin gets
From years of sun exposure.

What at ten is just a sunburn
In fifty years produces
What docs disturbingly denote
“A precancerous condition.”

So to the dermatologist I go
For stinging freezes, harsh creams,
That make my poor arms look
Like they’ve been scorched with cigarettes.

I’m wearing long-sleeved shirts
In balmy April weather
So I won’t frighten little urchins
(Or my own self) with the sight,

Hoping I’ll be delighted
By the baby-soft results,
New skin, new confidence, new pride
(But manly hair intact).

So pardon if I don’t respond
With ardor when I’m visited
By TV ads for tanning beds
Or beach resorts by the seaside.

©2010 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Your way or the Highway

It's not like I don't try
Can I speak my mind
If I make choice
Why do you have to voice
And threaten me until I take your side

It's not like I'm selfish
But I have a mind of my own
If I take a stand
Why don't you understand
It has to be your way for things to work in our plans

It's your way or the highway
There's no middle ground with you
It's your way or the highway
I can't live with your controlling attitude

It's your way, but never my way
Everything can't always be so one sided
It's your way or the highway
Maybe for my entire life I have been so misguided

It's not like I don't try
But when I speak my mind
You get uptight
We start to fight
Nothing ever seems right

It's not like I don't try
Can I speak my mind
If I make choice
Why do you have to voice
And threaten me until I take your side

It's your way or the highway
Maybe the highway is the road I should take
If you can never see things my way
Then something inside us is going to break

©6/21/10 Bruce Clifford

Click on Bruce Clifford for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Old Main Friends University In The Sun

This hall by any reasoned standard
Should not work --
A gaudy wedding cake,
Bizarre conglomeration
With weird bulges on the corners,
Its soaring spire
Like something from The Haunting,
Stark against the aching Kansas sky,
Massive entrance steps piled up
That leave you gasping at the top,
An outline like a cross between a courthouse
And cathedral.

Ridiculous; and yet . . .

Looming high across the flats
Of mundane westside Wichita
Like a massive brick and stone mirage
Glowing red and silver in the sunshine,
It takes my breath away.
These pioneers dreamed large,
Went broke on dream construction;
And the dream survived them,
Here now a hundred years and more,
Still spiking toward the clouds,
Still educating men and women,
Towering several kinds of tall.

©2010 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of othe r works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
Pictured Below: Davis Hall

Historical Western Swing - Hank Penny

Continuing with my several articles (see Links below) on the history of Western Swing. Many, many, comments have been received directly by me and many more have appeared below the several articles I have written since the October Issue of 2000. There are still comments being made on the original article because it is referenced any time someone just looks for Western Swing by typing just those two words into a search engine. Well, let’s face It, I love the referrals, and now just thinking of that, I feel I should continue to add all the information I can find on an interesting subject, from all sources beside all the information I have accumulated over the years from clippings and the backs of old record covers.

So every month or so I will find and report on some interesting fact, history, or an individual who helped make this genre very special in the history of American Music.

Here is another article on a very interesting person who did so much for

Western Swing

Keep Posted to This Site!

Hank Penny

Born: Sept. 18, 1918, Birmingham, AL
Died April 17, 1992
Even those of us who love Western Swing are forced to acknowledge that for that form, Bob Wills, much like Bob Marley for Reggae and Bill Monroe for Bluegrass, is the colossus against whom all other artists are compared. Some may occasionally break out of the shadow of it, still the colossus remains. This is not to say there haven’t been other talented practitioners of the art. One of the best, although not necessarily the most successful, was Herbert Clayton “Hank” Penny.

Hank Penny was born in Birmingham, AL. His father was a disabled coal miner who enjoyed music and poetry, and although he passed away in 1928, it was not before sparking similar interests in his son. By the time Penny was 15, he was appearing on local radio.

In 1936, Penny relocated to New Orleans, where he performed on WWL as a solo performer and became familiar with Cajun music and such Western Swing pioneers as Bob Wills, Milton Brown and Cliff Bruner. Two years later Penny returned to Birmingham where he formed the Radio Cowboys. Penny’s first recordings occurred during this time, with Hall of Famer Art Satherly serving as producer on numbers like “When I Take My Sugar to Tea” and Penny’s own composition “Flamin’ Mamie.”

Eventually, Penny and his group joined the cast of an Atlanta-based program titled Crossroad Follies. While none of his original band members achieved any lasting fame, two of his newer members would become quite famous: steel guitarist Noel Boggs and fiddle player Boudleaux Bryant, who as a songwriter penned such songs as “Wake Up Little Susie”. “Bye Bye Love”, “Hey Joe”, and “Rocky Top”.

Penny moved his group to Nashville in 1939, reuniting with Art Satherley to record some more songs. He kept his group going until the mid-1940 when the loss of too many musicians to the WW2 draft forced him to dissolve the band. Penny remained in Chicago, working as a disc jockey before assembling a new group for a 1941 recording session in North Carolina, in which “Why Did I Cry” and “Lonesome Train Blues” were recorded.

Moving on to Cincinnati and radio station WLW, Penny formed a new band called the Plantation Boys, which worked with such King Records stars as Alton & Raban Delmore, Bradley Kincaid, Merle Travis, Marshall Louis, “Grandpa” Jones, and WLW’s house pop singer Doris Day.

In 1944 Penny relocated to California where he met Spade Cooley’s former manager, Foreman Phillips, with whom he had a brief business relationship. After splitting with Phillips, Penny briefly fronted an all-girl band at a Los Angeles club before being approached by Bobbie Bennett, Spade Cooley’s manager, to lead one of several groups, one led by Maurice W. “Tex” Ritter and the other led by Merle Travis formed to play at the bookings Spade and his group were too busy to fulfill. Penny’s group was known as the Painted Post Rangers. This group scored a pair of chart hits with “Steel Guitar Stomp” and “Get Yourself a Redhead.”

Hank tended to move around quite a bit during his career, seemingly never staying anywhere for very long. In 1946 he joined Slim Duncan’s ABC network show Roundup Time, as a comedian. After stints in Cincinnati and Arlington, he returned to California and worked as a disc jockey and formed another band, the Penny Serenaders, which featured guitarist Speedy West. He also opened his own nightclub.

By June 1948, Penny had joined Spade Cooley’s television program, where he performed as a comedian best known for his backwoods character “That Plain Ol’ Country Boy.” Soon he again entered the studio to record some songs, including “Hillbilly Bebop,” the first known bop effort cut by a country act, and his 1950 hit “Bloodshot Eyes.”

Shortly thereafter, he opened another nightclub, the legendary Palomino and reformed his Penny Serenaders. This version of the group featured singer Mary Morgan, shortly to become known as Jaye P. Morgan. Ms. Morgan became a very popular pop vocalist and eventually appeared on the television smash The Gong Show). The group issued “Remington Ride” and “Wham Bam! Thank You, Ma’am” before dissolving and then reforming again, with guitarist Billy Strange and steel guitar ace Joaquin Murphy as featured musicians.

In 1952, Penny left Spade Cooley to join the cast of another television program. Shortly thereafter he hosted his own show The Hank Penny Show, which was canceled after seven weeks.

Penny came as close to settling down as he ever would when he moved to Las Vegas in 1954, where he began a seven-year run as a performer at the Golden Nugget Casino, fronting a band which briefly included Roy Clark. He also continued to record, even cutting a jazz record in 1961 and later a comedy album.

He moved to Carson City, NV in 1970 to begin performing with his protégé, Thom Bresh, the son of Merle Travis. Eventually he turned his band over to Bresh, moving to Nashville, where he was rumored to be in the running for the slot of Buck Owens’ co-host on Hee Haw, he lost out to his former sideman Roy Clark.

After a tenure on radio in Wichita, KS, he returned to California in the mid-’70s, and went into semi-retirement. Hank Penny died of a heart attack on April 17, 1992 a the age of 73.

If Hank Penny, a multi-talented, multi-faceted performer, is remembered at all, it often is as the husband of pop singer Sue Thompson, the fourth of his five wives, who had major pop hits in the early 1960s with “Norman” and “Sad Movies.”.
Researched by: Leo C. Helmer, 2010 for Pencilstubs.

Links to other Western Swing articles:

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

Men, Gas Tanks And Other Fables

I recognize that we live in an age where everything’s supposed to be equal and balanced and unbiased, but come on, it’s not. Not even close. Take men and women for example. Different. Lots. Want the best examples of the differences there are between The Two Sexes? First one is gas tanks. For women, OK, well for me, when my car’s gas tank says half empty, that means completely empty. I get it filled. When a man’s gas tank blinks and beeps and flashes that it’s on empty, “there’s still enough gas in it to go another 25 miles. Don’t worry about it,” say they. You can count on those words from the mouths of males the way you can count on poison ivy.

And cell phones. According to the Gospel of Men, gas tanks never need refilling and cell phones never need recharging. Not only can a car get to Portland and back from Ft. Kent on a tank that registers empty, one can chat on a cell phone for six weeks without recharging even if it prints out on that little screen that there’s no battery charge left. Amazing. Men know everything.

Well, in spite of Mongo’s edicts to not worry about gas tanks registering “empty,” I do worry about it. Always have. And here’s proof that I am, yet again, right! Yesterday I had to move Mongo’s car into the road so our grandchildren could have the joy of washing my car on a very hot day. I drove Mongo’s car out into the roadway and put mine on our grass and gave the kids sponges, soap and water and let them have at it. I went inside and said to Mongo the same words I’ve said probably eleven thousand times during our 50 ½ years of wedded bliss, “Hey, did you know your gas tank reads below empty?”

Yep, back came the predictable answer, also delivered eleven thousand times; “Oh don’t worry. I can drive all the way to Boston and back on what’s left.” Right.

So tonight we decided suddenly to go out for a quick dinner and we got into his car and left. We didn’t bring our cell phones. Anything to write with. Nothing. Spontaneous! Fun! Living on the edge stuff. Laughing and joking we headed downtown, when Mongo suddenly and rudely interrupted something I was saying of some pith by cursing a little and pumping the gas pedal. Hard. Yep. The gas pedal was unable to make the car move forward because you guessed it, there was no gas in the tank.

Aha! I was right! Oh it is so good to win one, isn’t it? Who doesn’t love to be right? The car coasted to a stop kind of angled out into the roadway in the middle of the Bowdoin College campus. I began to laugh maniacally, reminding Mongo that I’d warned him about the empty gas tank. Mumble. Ignore. “Well, I filled it just a couple of days ago, mumble grumble.”

Sure he did. He said “Call Paul.” I said “On what?” We’d left our cell phones home and that was that. It was a night of all firsts—first time the gas tank gagged to a stop, first time neither of us had a cell phone with us, first time I’d left my purse home, first time neither of us had a pen or paper, first time Mongo just couldn’t remember Paul’s cell number even though through my hysterical shrieks of laughter I kept screaming it at him, even “spelling” out the numbers with my fingers straight into his face. He’s such a smart guy, is Mongo, but in the moment he kept getting it wrong.

Well, one of us had to go find a phone. Not I. No way. I never allow my gas tank to get to the MT place, so why should I have to go? The weather was great, it was still light out, so it fell to Mongo to go find a phone, and for me to guard the car.

Brunswick Maine really does roll up the sidewalks at dusk and that’s no joke. There were no buildings open. Mongo vanished and I sat. And sat. And paced. He could not find anyplace that was open to borrow a phone. Finally a young person offered him use of her cell phone and he called #3 son Paul to come to our rescue. No answer. He trudged back to the car. People were passing but no one stopped because I was perpetually laughing with such glee and had not put up the hood or anything to indicate that I was in any sort of trouble.

Mongo decided he’d next better walk into town, and so he did. “‘Bye old boy, father of our sons, hero of my dreams, protector of my honor, ” I thought as he disappeared into the gloaming. This time he was really gone a long time. I began to get just the teensiest bit edgy and I was no longer laughing with superior mirth. Well, maybe the occasional chortle. Where was he?

I’ll tell you where. He’d hiked to Hannaford and found a pay phone, a real live pay phone---and discovered to his dismay that he wasn’t quite sure how to use it! It’s been a long, long time since either of us has even touched a pay phone, let alone used one! Do you know they’re asking fifty cents these days to make a call? Outrageous! Last time I used a pay phone it cost me a dime.

And poor Mongo, after he put in the 2 quarters, the robot asked for another 50 cents. They’re kidding! A buck to make a local call? Well, he had no choice. Wifey was sitting alone in a car a mile or two away, so he ponied up, dropped in 2 more coins, and this time, Paul answered. He would soon be on his way with a bit of gas. Seemed quicker than waiting for Triple A, but then isn’t that why we pay them a handsome fee every year? But that’s another tantrum for another time.

And so a fairly exhausted Mongo hiked back to our disabled car and soon Paul’s van arrived. Lovely reunion. Two little kids, our beloved grandchildren Hannah and Tommy, leapt from the van screaming joyfully that they’d arrived to “save Bucky and Grampz from the ‘mergency!” And so they had. The smell of that gas being poured into that empty tank and the sound of those dear kids rescuing us from our ‘mergency brought joy to my heart. Sometimes it’s the little things, you know? 

Our heroes left. I turned to Mongo and said “OK, good, that was about 2 cups of gas. Let’s go to the gas station, OK? Get ‘er filled up?” Do I actually have to type out here what he said back to me? I know you know. Oh, all right, I’ll just tell you anyway; “Oh no, no need to get more gas. We can drive all the way to Augusta and back on this.”

Click on LC Van Savage 
  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
Email LC at lcvs@suscom-maine.net
See her on incredibleMAINE, MPBN,
10:30 AM Saturdays


I once heard a song playing in my mind
I thought you would recognize it so I played it one more time
Soon I realized it was another side effect in my brain
The tapes keep spinning around and driving me insane

Cos she pulled the plug on my lifeline
It was the oxygen I needed to survive
Now the only thing that matters to me
Is the memory of a song I wrote called "fighting to be free"

There is no rhythm or balance
There are no instant cures
What happened here seems so long ago
Come pick me up off of the floor

Cos she pulled the plug on my lifeline
She turned the love I had inside out
Now the only thing I have left to keep me alive
Is filling me with perpetual doubt

She pulled the plug on my lifeline
Now it's driving me to the brink
Now the one thing I could have hoped for is drifting away
And let me tell you this really stinks


©6/22/10 Bruce Clifford

Click on Bruce Clifford for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


There he is,
Zander, all shades of gold.
Looped across the top

Of cardboard boxes,
His cloudlike tail drooped
Loosely down the side.

That wedge-shaped face
With slanted tight-shut eyes
Shows only innocence, bliss.

Who would ever guess,
Laughing at this languid length
Of fluffy, feckless fur,

He’s liaison to leopards,
Kin to cougars,
Cousin to Mistress Grace?

©2010 John I. Blair

Click on author's byline for bio and list of othe r works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
Pictured Below: Zander

Refer a friend to this Poem

Southern Theater

Fifty cents in 1945
Bought admission to the Southern –
Two westerns, cartoon, Pathé news,
Next Flash Gordon episode –
With enough remaining
For a bag of buttered popcorn.

I’d walk there from my house:
Up to the intersection by the drugstore,
Across the street on bricks as hard as iron,
Past the beer hall, Farha’s grocery,
A Gypsy fortuneteller, RC bottling plant,
Over the railroad’s rusty tracks,
Then four more blocks
Of drab shops, grubby parking lots,
Until the Southern came in view.

What’s opposite of movie palace?
The Southern’s tiny ticket booth,
Concrete lobby three steps up,
Snack stand stink of stale oil, sugared soda;
Swinging doors, a musty auditorium
Lined with rows of sticky seats,
Strew of spills across the floor,
Shrieking kids running wild,
Closest thing to adult supervision
An usher’s pimply, scowling face.

But matinees at the Southern
With Tom Mix, Roy, Rex, Gene,
Hopalong and all their pards
Galloping across the screen
Brought flickering magic to my life,
Gave me names to claim
As I dashed down alleys fighting bad guys
With plastic pistols and rubber knives;

Left me decades afterward
Scuffling through these tangled piles
Of notions, images, emotions
In the dim projection booth
Of dusty childhood memories.
©2010 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of othe r works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Buzzard House

Roaming through the Ozarks
On a stony country road
I drove around a corner
And saw a sagging farmhouse

Subsiding slow into a meadow
Where goldenrod grew tall,
Wild roses graced the fence lines
And spiderwort was blooming.

The kitchen porch had rotted,
Stained siding grown so thin
I could detect the framing
Poking through its clapboard skin.

An old clematis draped the gable,
Soon to flash its purple glories
Where none except the idle
Or preoccupied would see.

But what transfixed me as I stopped,
Gaping at the spectral sight –
A row of buzzards on the roof
Who’d spread their wings for warmth.

They stared at me, I at them,
Met there in the countryside
Beneath the bright Missouri sun
To mourn the death of someone’s home.

It troubled me to contemplate
How useless we all were;
I could not stay the hands of time;
They could not pick the bones.

©2010 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of othe r works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


Maybe I'm driving myself crazy
The same tapes playing in my head through all of these years
Maybe I'm destroying myself slowly
Everyday my heart starts to sink as I'm drowning in my tears
What's happened to those innocent and magic years

Maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe
Can't seem to get out of this rut as I try to face each day
Maybe I'm losing myself to the lonely
Each time I start to think of you I believe there's a better way
What's the reason for the circles that are driving me insane

©6/5/10 Bruce Clifford

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The Green God

He claimed
It was Morgain who’d cast
The charm that made him green,
Impervious, I think the Knight
Was more than witch’s lover,
More than poet’s metaphor.

So green at Yuletide –
Not just clothes, but hair
And face and rearing steed –
Shrugging off decapitation,
Taking head in hand, then out;
Mighty witchery indeed!

Yet nothing for the Green God,
Who’s lived from Spring to Spring
Since time began, surviving
Winter’s killing chill, darkest night,
Man’s butchery, carelessness,
Cruelty and greed.

How appropriate the Knight
Would ask as forfeit
Of anyone who challenged him
That, losing, they in penalty
Must plight the same as he
Had proffered them – their neck.

The Green God stems
From holy mother Earth,
The place we all return,
Flesh to dust to green again,
A sacred cycle we regret
But cannot fight.

©2010 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of othe r works published by Pencil Stubs Onli

Bestest Friend

There's a piece of me that's been missing for so long
It got lost in the memory of a thousand and one songs
There's a corner of my life that went away
It got hidden in the basement where it was forever going to stay

Then you came here without warning
Bringing back the best in me and making me feel alive
All at once I felt like dancing
Cos you're the bestest friend I ever had for my entire life

There's a part of me that was broken when I was taken from my home
Many years later I discovered you had the same loss of your own
Once we were just kids running free and left to roam
Now life has come full circle and we have helped each other grow

When you came here without warning
The memories came rushing past me as if you opened up a gate
All at once I felt like dreaming
Cos you're the bestest friend I ever had and you always make me feel so great

There was a piece of me that was missing before you came along
I thought I knew all the answers, but now I know I was wrong
The past is something we treasure as we live for today
Now we have each other, and that's the way things will always stay
Cos you're the bestest friend I ever had and I wouldn't want things any other way

©6/23/10 Bruce Clifford

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In My Heart

You must have taken my heart when I was least expecting you
Now you are the only one who makes me feel the way I do
I can almost pinpoint that moment when love took control over me
As soon as I looked into your eyes I knew it was destiny

I wish I could stop this rage in my heart since you're with someone else
I so enjoy your company, but the way I feel about you I could never tell
Sometimes I think it's the universe that will let this all fall in to place
I've never felt a love like this nor have I seen such a beautiful face

I know it's love because I cry when you hurt
When I awake in the morning you are the first thing on my mind
I get nervous and happy when you are on the other line
I know it's love, because I think about you all the time

You left such an impression on me so many years ago
Now we are the best of friends, but you don't know how I love you so
I could never do anything to hurt you in any way
The best I can do is be your friend, but it's so hard to just walk away

©6/12/2010 Bruce Clifford

Click on Bruce Clifford for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Why Must We

How does it start
Why does it end

It's who we are
We can't pretend

Up in the sky
Down to the sea
I don't know why
Why must we be

Why must we be strong
Why don't we all get along
Why must we win
Why do so many have to sin

Why must we love
Why must we hate
Why do we dream above
Why must we believe in fate

Up in the clouds
Down to the fields
I don't know why
Why must we feel

Why must we work
Why must we sail along
Why are some jerks
Why must some sing a song

Why must we love
Why must we hate
Why do we dream above
Why must we believe in fate

Why must we believe in fate

How does it start
Why does it end
It's who we are
We can't pretend

©5/7/10 Bruce Clifford

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Rabbo Tales-Chapter 2


It had been many months since the little rabbit kitten has started to be changed by the human female. So many months had past that if he was what could be by a normal rabbit’s life be fully grown yet he was still growing and still have strange things done to him that he could not fully understand.
There had been times when parts of his body had been shaved of all fur; times when he had to be fed by a tube in his tummy. But that was all now in the past and while what had been done some times had hurt, he knew that it was making him into a better rabbit.
He still spent time with his mother and liked being around her but she was smaller than he was now yet he knew for a rabbit she was big. He had learnt so much about himself and he knew that he was thinking in his head and knew that other rabbits did not think, they just reacted. He knew that he was unlike any other rabbit that there had even been, but he still did not understand why this was being done to him. Nor did he know what he was meant to be doing.
He had enjoyed it when his mother’s hutch and his hutch had been set up so that they could go outside and sit in the long thing. He liked how he could run up the long thing that climbed up to his hutch. He like how he could be inside his hutch and look one direction and see the unlike straw and then turn to another direction and see the bright room when the female human and the male human would come and make sounds to him.
He liked to watch them when they did things. The sounds them made to each other and to him seemed to mean things and he thought that maybe he could make those sounds.
So at the dark time when they were not around he would try and make the same sounds that they had made. It was hard for him at first as his mouth could not shape the sounds like the humans did but slowly he could. He still only thought of them as sounds as he did not know what the meanings of the sounds were. But he knew that in time he would learn what the meanings were of the sounds that they made and he knew if he worked hard enough he could make those sounds and be able to know the humans better.
It was a cool fall evening as he lay snuggled in the female’s humans arm when she moved him around and started making shapes at him with her mouth. The shapes made sounds and the young rabbit watched her closely and then her mouth.
He wondered what she was trying to show him and he knew that there was a number of possibilities but he was very unsure of which it could be. He thought to himself that she could be just making silly faces at him for the fun of it or she could be trying to teach him something? Or she could be showing him how to move his face for some reason that he could not understand.
He looked up at her watching carefully as her lips made a shape and then a sound. Then she repeated the shape then the sound. Then she did it again all at once. Just as he was thinking that maybe he should try and make the shape and sound another four legged creature walked in. It walked across the room and sat by the big hot thing that danced and gave of a glow that filled the room with heat and a glowing light.
The creature had four long legs a long tail and rounded head with pointed ears and a short nose with huge whiskers. It also had funny eyes that had ovals instead of round dark centers. The creature started to licks itself and seemed to ignore the female human. Then it turned its head and looked at the human female and made the same sounds that the humans made. The female human made sounds back at it and then the sounds flowed back and forth between the creature and the female human. At times the creature would make sounds for a long time and the female human would be silent and nod her head.
Then the creature came over sniffed the young rabbit and looked at it very closely before it made a new sound that was unlike the sound the humans made. “Meow feow” said the creature. The creature looked up at the human and started to make human sounds again before walking back over to the big hot glowing thing that gave off light and heat.
The female returned her attention back to the young rabbit and started to make shapes and sounds again. Just then the human male walked in and walked over to a low table with a back to it. The creature got up walked slowly over to the male human looked at the male human and started to make human sounds again. Then without warning the creature leaped up onto the human and curled up in his lap. “Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” said the creature.
The young rabbit thought for a few moments than he tried to make the shape with his lips and mouth that the female human had. He tried over and over until the human female started to rub between his ears. Then she held his head and made the shapes with her lips and mouth and made a sound.
The young rabbit suddenly knew what she wanted. So he tried to make the shape with his lips and mouth and the sound at the same time. But nothing came out. He looked up at her again placed his paws on her shoulders and looked closely at her lips and mouth.
Again she made shapes with her lips and mouth and she made a sound. Being so close to her lips and mouth he felt the air move as she made the sound.
He sat back in her lap and thought about why shapes made with the lips and mouth and the sound make the air move. Maybe that is what he should do. Make the shaped with his lips and mouth and make the sound by pushing the air out of his lips and mouth.
He sat there filling his lungs with lots of air so that he could make the sound. He pulled his lips back so that his teeth showed as if almost a smiles. At the same time he pushed air out of his lungs and he made a “el” sound. He was so shocked that the sound sounded like part of what the female human had been making that he fell back onto his legs.
He looked up at her and could see that he lips were pulled back and the sides were turned up. She picked him back up and places his front paws on her shoulders and started making the shapes again with her lips and mouth while pushing air though her mouth and making the sound.
He tried again copying what she was doing. This time he did all of it making the mouth shape of pulling back his lips and then bringing them together and a small tube. And the same sound the female human was making came out “el oh” was the same sound she made.
The female human shook her head and started to make the shapes with her mouth and lips and make the air move and the sound. The young rabbit watched closely and then sat back down in her lap and took a long deep breath “Ell oh”. The female human reached down and stroked his long ears and rubbed the tips making him feel good.
Then she started making sounds very fast and he could feel that she was excited. The male human started to make sounds and soon the sounds where going back and forth between the female human and the male human. Then the creature sat up and started to make the same sounds that both humans were. As the humans and the creature made sounds back and forth he felt himself start to get sleepy so he curled up in the female humans lap and went to sleep.
He awoke with dull light coming in though the side of the hutch and he could hear his mother hopping down the long thing to were the unlike straw was. He lay there thinking about what he had learned before his sleep. The making of shapes with his mouth and lips, and the pushing of air though his mouth and lips to make a sound that the humans liked.
As he lay there he started to make the shapes and just the air though his mouth and he made the sound again. But he made it softly to himself so that he would not scare his mother with what he was doing.
Suddenly she came thumbing up the long thing and hopped right up to him. She had water on her fur and he wondered how she had done that and that it was making his nice dry straw damp. He sniffed her and she smelt a little funny like when the tube to the water broke and had covered her in water.
He hopped up and hopped down the long thing to were the unlike straw was and as he hopped onto the unlike straw he felt water falling from the sky. His paws felt damp and as he stood there wondering what this new wet thing was that was falling from the sky he noticed that his paws were cold.
He turned around and hopped as fast as he could back up the long thing and bumped into his mother that was standing at the top of the long thing. He gently pushed his nose against her to make her move backwards. But she just stood there looking past him and the water falling from the sky.
Just behind his mother and outside the long thing was the female human looking down at him. She had a long thing over her that covered her head but not her face and went all the way down almost to the ground. The front was open but he could see no place for her to put her arms though.
He looked up at her and made the shapes with his lips and mouth and pushed the air in his lungs out and made the sound he had the night before “ello”. The human female smiled and made the shape with her lips and mouth and made the sound back at him but it sounded a little different “Hello” then she added more sounds that he did not know.
His mother turned and looked up and then hopped back into the hutch. She stood up on her hind legs and looked up at the female human. The female humans hand came out from the opening of the covering she had on and she held a couple long thin things that his mother liked to eat. The human female turned away still holding the long thin things but soon reappeared on the other side of the hutch where the opening was that she would take him or his mother out through. She placed the long thin things in the food bowl and his mother hopped over to the bowl and started to munch on one of the long thin things.
He hopped over and gently picked up the other thin long thing and sniffed it and then started to munch on it too.
After another sleep he hopped back down to where the water was falling from the sky and noticed that water was not falling from the sky anymore and the creature from two sleeps before was sitting on top of the area covered by a huge mesh area. The creature looked at him and walked over and made the “ello” sound. So he made the “ello” sound back.
The creature pressed his face close to the wire mesh in the hutch and the young rabbits mother moved back against the far wall her nose twitching and the shake of fear in her.
The creature made what sounded like calming sounds but his mother just crouched down shaking all over. Then he heard the female’s human makes sounds and the creature looked up shook its long tail and walked away.
It was early dark when the female human return. She brought with her fresh food for his mother and fresh clean bedding. The female human opened his mother’s hutch and started pulling out all the old straw while making sure his mother stayed in his hutch.
The young rabbit hopped over to the side of his hutch and stood up on his hind legs and looked at the human female. He waited until she was finished before he made a shape with his lips and mouth and pushed air though his mouth to make a sound “ello”
The female human looked over and smiled and made the “ello” sound back. He thought for a few moments and then remembered another mouth shape that he had seen the male human make. He thought again for a few more seconds and thought he would try making one set of lips and mouth movements and then add a second set. So he took in a deep breath and made the shapes a few times before pushing air though his mouth.
“Ello door tar” he said.
The female looked at him and her mouth dropped open. Then she started to make sounds that seem to make her whole body shake and her face turn red. The young rabbit turned his head to one said and tried to mimic the movements and sounds that was coming from the female human. But no sound came from him. But it did make the human female make the sound loud and her body shake even more. And her face was so red now that it looked like it was burning hot.
The male human walked in and looked at the female human and made sounds. But the female human could not answer as she was still making sounds and her body was still shaking. She pointed towards the hutch and the human male walked over.
The young rabbit stood back up on his hind legs and made shapes with his mouth and lips then after a few tries again made the sound that he had made to the human female “ello door tar”. The human male smiles but did not start to make sounds or his body shake or his face turn red. Instead he brought his hand to his chin and looked at the young rabbit and made a sound without his mouth of lips moving. The male human reached into his hutch and went to gentle pull the young rabbit out. But instead the young rabbit hopped right over his hand and out onto the area his hutch was on. He hopped across to the human female who had now stopped making sounds and shaking. Her face was also returning to a normal color.
He hopped up to her and sat down in front of her and looked closely at her. The human male started to make sounds and the female human looked at him and nodded and smiled. The female human reached down and picked up the young rabbit and put him in her arm and walked off to the room where the big bright glowing thing was that gave off light. The young rabbit felt so relaxed and comfortable that he closed his eyes and rolled on his back so that his tummy could be rubbed. He felt his tummy being rubbed and his ears being stroked and a finger gentle rubbing his nose.
When he opened his eyes she was sitting in a short table with a back next to the glowing bright thing that gave off heat and light. He sat up then stood up putting his paws on her shoulders and looked at the female human’s mouth. The female human started to make a shape with her mouth and then a sound. He looked watched as the female human made the same shape with her mouth and lips over and over again and then make the sound over and over again.
When the young rabbit was sure he was ready he started to make the shape with his mouth and kept doing it until he was sure that he had it right. Then taking a deep breath he made the sound. The female human shock her head and started to repeat making shapes with her lips and mouth and then making the sound.
He tried again and this time it worked. “wabbit”.
It became a regular event that every time the female human took him into the room with the big glowing thing that gave of light and heat she would sit with him and make a different set of mouth and lip shapes and sounds.
Months passed and the mouth and lip shapes became more complex and the sounds went from a single sound to two sounds one after another then three sounds one after another until the young rabbit was making lots of sounds one after the other. At the same time the young rabbit started to understand that these sounds meant that he could make the sounds and the humans would make other sounds back to him.
One of his favorite sounds was the sound “food”. He like that sound as the humans would put food out for him to eat. And that made him very happy. He also learnt that if he said the sound “food” to often in a short time that they would either make the “no” sound or ignore the sound altogether.
It was one afternoon that the young rabbit was sit outside in his run watching the male human digging in the garden that he saw a big thing that had a long nose and floppy ears four long legs and made a sound like “woof”. The big thing had long legs much long than the cats legs. Its nose was long from what he could see as it was close to the ground and the grass hid it some of the time. Its fur coat was long with black, brown and white fur. The big thing looked at the male human and stopped. Its fur on its back raised up and the big thing started to move slowly like when the cat hunted mice.
The rabbit took a fast deep breath and as hard and as loud as he could he shouted “Human danger Human danger”.
The male human looked up just as the big thing was leaping towards him. The male human turned fast on his feet and kicked out at the big thing catching it right in its face.
The big thing made a yelp and ran back off into the woods that boarded the area where the humans lived. The male human walked over to the run that the rabbit was in and stopped and looked down at the rabbit.
“My many thanks to you, rabbit” said the human male.
“No hurt you” said the rabbit.
“No I’m not hurt and again thank you for warning me” the male human replied.
“What that big thing” asked the rabbit?
“That was the dog that hunted your mother that I saved her from”
“Dog bad”?
“Some dogs yes. But you are safe in your run”.
“Oh. I warn next time dog comes”?
“Yes when a dog comes you warn us”.
The rabbit looked down at the ground and thought for a few minutes. Then he looked back up at the human male.
“When daughter come”?
“She will be back soon. She had to go to the village to trade for wool.”
“What wool”?
“That will have to be another lesson for you, my dear rabbit”.
The rabbit nodded and was glad that it would be a lesson as he like the lessons the human female would give him.
But sometimes the human male would be there and those lessons were different as he would try to get him to hold things in his paws or he would be made to do strange things like push small square things that made shapes on a bigger square thing. He was not sure if he liked those lessons as they were hard and made his paws hurt sometimes and he could never make the same shapes on the big square thing that the human male could.
It was after the rabbit’s second sleep of the day that he smelt the human female near by.
He sat up in the chair that he had hopped up into in the study for his lunch time nap and looked around. The human female was wearing a short white dress with a wide bright metal colored belt around her waist. Her hair was held back by the same colored headband showing off her round ears.
“Hello daughter” said the rabbit with a slight laugh in his voice.
“Oh hello sweetie” said the female human. “Did you have a good nap this afternoon”?
“No funny dream again and not have words” said the rabbit trying to not sound disappointed that he did not have the words to explain about his dreams.
“Ok I will have to teach you more words tonight”.
“New word I learn. Dog. Dog bad. Dog try to hurt father of you”
“Yes dad told me. It was the same one that tried to kill your mother when she was pregnant with you. He comes from the village where I go to get the wool to make the cloths we wear. You know they don’t like us in the village so I have to change how I look so that they don’t harm us. They look like us but we are not like them. It’s like a wild rabbit and your mother looks, like you, but you are so far above them that you are more than just a rabbit”.
The rabbit nodded as if he understood but in fact there were too many words for him to understand what she was telling him. But a few he did understand. Was he really very different from his mother? True she could not talk with humans. True she could not talk to the cat. True she could not talk to him. But she was still his mother and still cleaned him even though he was bigger than she was. Was he really so different? It was something that he did not want to think about.
The female human reached down and slide her long fingers up and down his ears before she walked out of the room.
As he sat thinking about how different he was from his mother and maybe other rabbits he smelt an odor coming from the room that the humans cooked and prepared their food. This meant it would soon be time to join them as they would often give him treats from the table.
As he sniffed the air the cat walked in and looked him up and down. “Silly rabbit” muttered the cat. The cat reached out with one of his front paws and playfully hit the rabbit across the side of his head. This meant that the cat was feeling playful and that the cat had been off doing whatever the cat did when it was gone for a couple of days.
The rabbit leapt at the cat and at the last moment the cat moved out of the way and swatted at the rabbit making him roll across the floor. The rabbit rolled to a stop and got ready to pounce like the cat did when it was either playing or hunting mice.
The rabbit leapt at the cat and this time angled his body so that the cat would think that he was aiming for its stomach but in fact he was aiming for his head. The cat turned as fast as he could but because he though that the rabbit was aiming for his stomach and not his head he caught the full force of the rabbit right in his shoulder. This made the cat and the rabbit tumble onto the ground and they rolled around play fighting until the rabbit was out of breath. The cat swatted at the rabbit again knocking him to the ground.
“Silly rabbit. If not friend. If not asked. Hunt you I would and eat you” said the cat with an amused tone to his soft sing song voice.
“Hunt you and eat you I would” said the rabbit.
But before the old debate could start they both heard the sounds of the human male putting fresh food on the plates that they all would be eating from. The cat leaned forward and gentle put his paw on the rabbits head and mimicked what the female human would do when she would stroke his long rabbit ears. The cat stalked into the room were the humans would have their meal followed by the young rabbit hopping along with his long ears scanning for the sound of the female human.
The cat stopped right in front of the young rabbit with his tail swishing around as he smelt fresh meat. The young rabbit could smell fresh uncooked vegetables plus the odor of cooked meat as well as the sounds of the female human washing up before she came to join them at the table. So he did not notice that the cat had stopped and bumped right into him send them both into a heap right at the foot of the table.
The cat jumped up and squared off with the young rabbit. They both looked at each as they moved into the leaping position that the cat used to hunt and play. As one they leapt at each and started to tumble around on the floor under the table. As they play at fighting the young rabbit started to kick with his hind legs into the stomach of the cat.
The cat pulled back and hissed at the young rabbit “stop. Hurt that did”.
The young rabbit pulled back and looked at the cat and notice that chunks of cat fur lay on the floor were they had been play fighting. The young rabbit sniffed the cat fur and lowered his head looking and the cat. “Sorry hurt you I did not mean not to” said the young rabbit in a sad tone.
“No harm so ok. But back legs of you much strong” mused the cat.
“Will you two monsters knock of all the fighting” said the human male who was looking down at the fur that the young rabbit had ripped out of the stomach of the cat.
The female human walked in wearing a short white dress with a yellow metal colored belt and sandals that had straps that ran half way up her calves. “You like my new toga dad? I’ve been working on it for the last week” said the female human in a soft voice.
“You know my thoughts about you dressing like that” said the male human.
“If the people in the village think of me that way I will play the part. It keeps us safe and them away from us”.
“I know I know. But your mother” the male humans voiced trailed of and a sad look crossed his face.
The young rabbit looked up sensing much sadness in the male human. “What food we eat” said the young rabbit and to make his point that he was feeling hungry he thumped his left hind leg hard on the floor. He hopped over to the tall chair that had been set up for him and looked up at the human female. He stood up on his hind legs so that she could pick him up and place him at the table on the seat of the chair. The female human reached down and picked up the young rabbit placing in his chair and making sure that his empty bowl was close so that when there was food in his bowl he could eat.
The cat leaped up into his chair that was next to the young rabbit and sat down so that he looked like a small fur covered human. The male human walked over carrying a tray with a bowl full of salad a bowl full of pasta and a couple bowls of steaming vegetables. Also on the tray was a small bowl of carrot tops fresh green grass and dandelions with the flowers still on them. Meal time had always been a lively time since the young rabbit had been aloud to join the humans and cat at the table.
The discussions would be anything from what the female human had seen in the village to what the cat had been up to. And this meal was no exception until the cat said “walk far I did. Climb big big big tree. From top I see big big big hill with white on top were white not before in many many time”.
“Snow already? It’s a little early for snow. But it has happened in the past. I need to check my records. You have done well cat. I will get you a reward after dinner” said the male human. The conversation at the table turned to stocking up and getting ready for winter as the possibility of it being an early winter and a cold one was upper most in both the humans minds.
The rabbit sat in the female human’s lap facing her as she spoke in her clear soft voice.
The rabbit listened and stopped the female human every time she used a new word that he did not understand. He would hold up one paw so that she could see that he had a question about the word she had just used. Then he would say the word three or four times to make sure he had it right and so that he would remember what the word was.
A few times the human female would correct the young rabbit when he said the new word wrong.
Sitting on the other side of the big glowing thing the male human had the cat in his lap and they were both looking at paper things that had a hard leather covering. That cat would be speaking softly as the human male looked at the paper things. A few times the human male nodded at what the cat was saying. And a few times the human male would point at something in the big paper thing and the cat would look down nod and ask a question. The human male reached over to a side table and picked up a long thin thing that made marks on the paper.
“What that he hold” said the young rabbit to the human female?
“What is that he holds” said the human female correcting the young rabbit.
“What is that he holds” said the young rabbit making sure that he said it slowly and that he had said it right.
“That is a pencil my clever little rabbit. It is for writing so that you don’t need to trust to memoir. When you are ready dad will teach you to read and if you can he will teach you to write with a pencil”.
“The cat brings up a very good point here. He thinks we should teach your rabbit how to defend himself incase that dog comes around again” said the human male.
The human female just nodded and continued teaching the young rabbit. The lesson was almost over when the young rabbit thought of a question to ask the human female. A question that he had thought of before but had never asked. “Why my mother even with her hutch door open never comes near when you both are around”
The human female looked at the rabbit and smiled “She is a wild rabbit and it’s hard for her to trust humans. It is the way she is. Maybe you could help and get her to come in here and sit by the fire” young rabbit nodded and knew that it would be hard but he could do it but would take time. As he pondered how to get his mother to come into the library she suddenly felt very strange as if something was building inside him. The cat let out a loud meow and he could hear his mother in the kitchen thumbing one of her hind legs on the ground fast as if she was trying to warn every rabbit that there ever was.
“Earth shake coming big big one” howled the cat. Both humans got up quickly and the male human went straight to the kitchen and grabbed the young rabbit’s mother. They then walked outside and sat down on the grass away from the house and surrounding tree’s.
“What happening. What earth shake” asked the young rabbit with a scared tone in his voice.
The feeling inside of him was such now that it hurt him all over and all he wanted to do was run far far away from the feeling. Just then everything went still and then the ground began to shake and roll and move from side to side all at the same time. This went on for what seemed like for ever and the young rabbit hid his head in the female humans lap.
“I think I should check on the village and see what damage has been done and see if they need our help” said the female human.
The building feeling in the young rabbit had not gone away yet and if anything it was getting worse. It felt to him as if he was going to explode.
“That little big one big one to come soon” hissed the cat. The air hung heavy as if something had been left unspoken by the first earthquake. Then the ground started to shake even hard then before with such force that one of the outer buildings started to fall apart.
The second earthquake rocked and rattled for what seemed like ever to the young rabbit and with such force that he could not help but peed on the female human’s lap. The young rabbit looked over at the male human and saw that he was holding tightly onto his mother and that she too had peed herself and all over the male human’s arms. The male human was stroking his mother’s fur slowly and gentle and was talking softly into her long ears.
“Dad, our house should be ok”? asked the female human.
“Yes it’s on an earthquake pad so there will be either no damage or very minor damage and nothing that has harmed the house. However my shed is gone. But that’s nothing as that just had stuff for the garden. I really should have put a small earthquake pad under it but I was being lazy when I built it. Guess that will teach me”.
The female human put the young rabbit down on the grass and stood up and then sat back down this time with her legs crossed.
“I’m going to check the village and see how bad the damage is”.
“Ok and I am going to put her ladyship here back in her hutch and close the door as her poor little heart is thumbing so fast” said the human male.
The female human closed her eyes and slowly over a couple of minutes her breathing rate almost stopped. The young rabbit looked around and saw that the cat was walking away as if he had a mission to do.
About 20 minutes later the human female opened her eyes and looked at the rabbit. She looked a little dazed and sat swaying slowly as if she was going to fall over. Then the female human got to her feet slowly and walked weaving her way into the house.
After a few minutes sitting out on the grass in the dark alone the young rabbit started to get scared that something bad would come out of the tree’s or that the ground would start to shake again so he hopped back to the house. The kitchen door was open so he hopped in and noticed that a few plates lay on the floor broken and a wall hanging picture was tilted at a crazy angle.
The male human and female human were sat at the kitchen table talking about how they could help the village.
The young rabbit hopped though the kitchen into the huge white bright room where his and his mother’s hutch was to make sure that it was safe. He hopped up the ramp to the hutches and pushed up the door to his hutch and hopped in. he hopped though his hutch and hopped into his mother’s hutch.
The young rabbit’s mother sat there eating her food as if the ground had never shaken and that nothing bad had ever happened. And for short moment he envied the fact that his mother lived in the moment and the past was so forgotten.
As he sat musing about how his mother lived in the moment and never thought at all he heard the sounds of things being moved around as if the human were getting ready to do something. After a while the female human came in walked up to the hutch. She leaned down and looked in the hutch and smiled.
“I am going to be away for a few days, maybe a week. I will be back once I have helped the villagers get started on rebuilding” said the female human. She reached into the hutch pulled the young rabbit out and kissed his pink nose before she put him back into the hutch. He was placed back in his hutch gently and softly.

Click on Mark Crocker for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.