Saturday, February 1, 2014

Editor's Corner

February 2014

"You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip."--Jonathan Carroll.

Valentine's Day is the one big poetic day in February and no one even mentioned it. Well, there are a few love poems, but no one named the event. Who can recall the excitement of the younger kids when they were allowed to decorate their own 'classroom mailbox' in which other classmates would drop their self decorated and designed missives for love 'forever' ?? Creative uses of crepe paper, ruffling it, cupping it, fringing it, added to the distinctive mail boxes. Construction paper and lacy cutouts and pasted on cut out hearts and flowers, sometimes the little heart shaped candies with valentine slogans on them, added to the originality of each Valentine. Perhaps you participated in such schoolroom activities and fondly remember them.

Were you also active in school sports and/or cheerleading? If so you should enjoy the really Valentine type Tale of "Together Forever" by Cayce Shelton. He wrote for us awhile back and you can find his previously published tales by clicking his name for his bio.

Martha A. Bradley sent along the poems "Eternal Love" and "An Eternal Birthday Wish," while Bruce Clifford chose to present "Gone Are the Days" and "Magnetic Energy." John I. Blair's three poems for February are "Lines," "Sneaking A Peek," and "Another Egret Poem." Bud Lemire, whose birthday was in January, got into a composing mood and these five poems are included this month: "The Imaginative Genius of Terry Goodkind," "Donna, A Caring Soul," "What You Hear, What You See," "An Everlasting Touch," and "Life is Your Classroom."

Columnists in this issue are Eric Shackle (Eric Shackle's Column) wonders what is truth about how Lamingtons really appeared in Australia; Mattie Lennon, (Irish Eyes) lauds a delightful sounding new television series in Ireland that is not just for children though it is in animated form. Michael John Fierro (By the Numbers) tells how we have challenges that numerology helps us define and holds the key to overcoming them. Thomas F. O'Neill (Introspective) in China, discusses some of the advancements in technology the scientists there are making.

Peg Jones, who has been with us a few years now finds her time is being in demand elsewhere more frequently and is taking a sabbatical from doing her "Angel Whispers" in Pencil Stubs Online. Her column explains and indicates how some of her time is going to promote her book. Peg will be welcomed when she finds time to return to doing a regular schedule.

John I. Blair's column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XIV, features John Muir, with one of the six pictures showing him with President Theodore Roosevelt with a backdrop of some of the rugged terrain of Yosemite. That area and other national sites became protected parks largely through the advocacy of Muir. Blair chose the pics used but if you follow the links provided many more are viewable including a few of a younger, very handsome John Muir.

As a treat, we present an Encore Column by the late Leo C. Helmer who loved entertaining folks with his dialect style writing and truly workable recipes. His cooking columns were a monthly treat and even non-cooks enjoyed his hilarious tales about the origin of the recipe. Enjoy, as this will not be a regular addition to the table of contents, but perhaps appear from time to time.

As this new volume kicks off with this issue, we again thank Mike Craner, webmaster extraordinaire, for his insights and patience with keeping us going. We thank all our authors and look forward to continuing our association. It is a joy to know that many who started out publishing in our ezine have become published book authors. Both experienced and beginning writers find Pencilstubs a good vehicle for finding and keeping their audience.

We will be seeing you in March right here in Pencil Stubs Online!

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

By The Numbers


In a Numerology chart, the Challenges are the real issues of life, the types of behavioral patterns and situations that might drive a person into therapy. I attach a great deal of importance to the Challenge numbers. The Challenges are derived from the Birth Path components, and these aspects represent the only time in Numerology where subtraction is the mathematical process used.

The Challenges represent major stumbling blocks on the road of life that is the Birth Path. There are three minor, or Sub­Challenges, and one major or Lifetime Challenge. The major Challenge is a life lesson that remains until it is learned. The sub­challenges cover specific periods of time during the course of your life.

If they are learned, they clear themselves and you continue in life unencumbered by them. If they are not handled and cleared, they will remain in your life, adding to the other challenges that come about, and the individual must deal with multiple issues in his or her life. Additionally, at all times the characteristics of the various Challenges will be a part of the person’s existence adding the dynamics of the particular aspects to their life, thus affording the opportunity to work through and overcome/become the Challenge(s) at any given time. Anytime a number appears more than once in the Challenges, it amplifies itself and shows itself to be the one major issue which will prevent you from obtaining all your goals and all you desire in life. Everyone has a Challenge to meet in life. Some have two, three, or four Challenges, but one fact remains...they must be identified, met, and overcome if you are to gain the successes in life that you desire.

Challenges number from 0­ - 8 and gain intensity and drama incrementally, as the number increases. The most common challenges are 1, 2, and 3. When one encounters the 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Challenges the issues become more likely to create greater difficulty in the individual's life and it is important that they are addressed and cleared from the life.

This is an important piece of information for any individual to gain from a Numerology reading. It can help explain and identify the root cause for events in your life and better prepare you to understand, accept, and overcome and then become them. Challenges may show up as personal feelings or bad habits, or they may be antagonistic behavior patterns that manifest as a lack of friends or associates, and in many cases, the challenges may manifest as “untrained behaviors” which have little or no use. The Challenges will also represent situations and conditions that exist in the family and interpersonal environment.

The Challenges can be compared to a “weak link in a chain” in that one weak link affects the strength of the entire chain and a Challenge, once it is discovered, worked with, and strengthened can provide an impetus for constructive expression and success in the external affairs, as well as an improved internal situation with the “traumas” of life. If the Challenges are not dealt with they can sabotage one's life and subsequent successes. They represent underlying weaknesses that with proper execution, when reversed can become strengths and assets in one's life.

The important thing to remember is that the Challenges occurs below the Life Path, thus they affect the things of the material and three­dimensional plane. The lesson of the challenge is this: RECOGNIZE IT…OVERCOME IT...and then, BECOME WHAT IT REPRESENTS. At that time it becomes an ASSET FOR FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUCCESS. Challenges unmet present the dynamic that creates the “I can’t believe this is happening to me, again” scenario. These are internal issues which will manifest in the everyday life of the individual. What needs to be done is for the person to look inward at their fears and feelings and gain understanding of what is represented by the Challenges. If you are courageous enough to look at your life, then you must be courageous enough to take FULL responsibility for it.

The solution in the realm of the Challenges is this:

  • 2. ACCEPT IT.
  • 3. WORK WITH IT.


  • 1 – The Challenge of Independence and Individuality. Learn to stand on your own two feet! Learn to accept and work with authority figures without being confrontational or domineering.
  • 2 – The Challenge of Cooperation, Tolerance and Sensitivity. Overcome your shyness and learn to accept and appreciate those in your life. Be willing to work with others and understand their place in your life.
  • 3 – The Challenge of Self­Expression, Self­Esteem and Optimism. Find your voice. Accept that what you have to offer has value.
  • 4 – The Challenge of Self­Discipline and Control. Create order and self­control in your life and allow others to 'be'. In relationships with others, understand that the best control is no control.
  • 5 – The Challenge of Learning the Value and Meaning of Freedom. Create balance and focus in your life. Direct your energies and curiosity into that which you enjoy.
  • 6 – The Challenge of Responsibility and Service. Understand the importance of family and community and doing for others. Develop healthy, non­codependent relationships.
  • 7 – The Challenge of Analysis and Inner Guidance. Overcome your fear of life through study and knowledge. Beware of living in your head too much.
  • 8 – The Challenge of Judgment, Efficiency, Organization and Self­Control. Direct and channel your power for positive means. Understand that anger is allowing others to steal your power.
  • 0 – The Challenge of Choice and All Challenges. Either EVERYTHING or NOTHING needs your attention. In many instances, you can pick and choose the things to which you devote your time and energy.


In determining the Challenges, subtraction is the mathematical process involved. To calculate the Challenges you first subtract the number of the month of the birth from the number of the day of the birth. This provides you the first Sub-Challenge. The second Sub-Challenge is obtained by subtracting the day of the birth from the year of the birth. The third Sub-Challenge is obtained by subtracting the number of the first Sub-Challenge from the number of the second Sub-Challenge. The fourth and final Challenge, or the Lifetime Challenge, is obtained by subtracting the month of the birth from the year of the birth. You must first reduce the birth date to three single digit numbers and proceed from that point. This is one of the only times in Numerology where you will reduce a Master Number to a single digit.
3 4 17/8
EXAMPLE: 12/4/1961
First, reduce each component to a single digit. The month is 3, the day of birth is a 4, and the year, 1961, reduces to an 8 (1 + 9 + 6 + 1 = 17 = 8).
    1st Challenge: Subtract 4 - 3 = 1 (the month from the day)
    2nd Challenge: Subtract 8 – 4 = 4 (the day from the year)
    3rd Challenge: Subtract 4 – 1 = 3 (the 1st Challenge from the 2nd Challenge)
    Lifetime Challenge: Subtract 8 – 3 = 5 (the month from the year)
In these calculations, you must remember to subtract the smaller number from the larger number. It does not matter which is the greater number, the important fact is the difference between the two.
The time frame covering the challenges is figured by subtracting the number of the Birth Path from the number 36. This calculation provides the number of years that the first challenge will be in effect. To determine the second challenge, add the number 9 to the ending year of the first challenge. The third challenge is determined by adding the number 9 to the ending year of the second challenge. The Lifetime Challenge is in effect for the entire life.
Michael John Fierro has been working with Numerology since 1984. He is the author of YOU KNOW YOUR NAME...LOOK UP YOUR NUMBERS. He is available for private sessions, corporate and private events, lectures, workshops and book­signings.
Click on Michael John Fierro for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

ALWAYS LOOKING – People Who Made A Difference XIV


John Muir - farmer, inventor, sheepherder, naturalist, explorer, writer, conservationist, was one of the earliest advocates of the national park idea and its most eloquent spokesman. He was born on April 21, 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland. In 1849, when Muir was still a boy, the Muir family emigrated to the United States, settling in Wisconsin. Muir's father, a harsh disciplinarian, worked his family from dawn to dusk. But whenever they were allowed a short period away from the plow and hoe, Muir and his younger brother would roam the fields and woods of the rich Wisconsin countryside. John became more and more a loving observer of the natural world.
John Muir
After three years at Wisconsin university, where he studied botany and geology, Muir left Wisconsin to travel the United States and Canada, odd-jobbing his way through the yet largely unspoiled land. Eventually he walked a thousand miles from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico, then sailed to Cuba and later to Panama, where he crossed the Isthmus and sailed up the West Coast, landing in San Francisco in March, 1868. From that moment on, though he would travel around the world, California became his home.

Tour 2011 John Muir Home
It was California's Sierra Nevada and Yosemite Valley that truly claimed him. In 1868, he walked across the San Joaquin Valley through waist-high wildflowers and into the high country for the first time. "Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light...the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen."

By 1871 he had found living glaciers in the Sierra and conceived a then-controversial theory of the glacial origins of Yosemite Valley, later recognized as valid by Louis Agassiz who was the premier geologist of the day. He began to be known throughout the country. Famous men of the time - Joseph LeConte, Asa Gray and Ralph Waldo Emerson - made their way to the door of his pine cabin.
Beginning in 1874, a series of magazine articles by Muir entitled "Studies in the Sierra" launched his successful career as a writer. He left the mountains and lived for awhile in Oakland, California. From there he took many trips, including his first to Alaska in 1879, where he was the first Euro-American to explore Glacier Bay. In 1880, he married and afterward managed his father-in-law’s fruit ranch with great success. But ten years of active ranching did not quell Muir's wanderlust. His travels took him to Alaska many more times, also to Australia, South America, Africa, Europe, China, Japan, and of course, again and again to his beloved Sierra Nevada. It’s said that his wife, noting his restlessness, would occasionally “shoo” him off from the ranch and tell him to go to the mountains for the sake of his soul.

John Muir Home
In later years he turned more seriously to writing, publishing a remarkable opus of 300 articles and 10 major books that recounted his travels, expounded his naturalist philosophy, and beckoned everyone to "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings." Muir's love of the high country gave his writings a truly spiritual quality. His readers, whether they were presidents, congressmen, or plain folks, were inspired and often moved to action by the enthusiasm of Muir's own unbounded love of nature. Muir felt a spiritual connection to nature. He believed that mankind is just one part of an interconnected natural world, not its master; and that God is revealed through nature.

Through a series of articles appearing in Century magazine, Muir drew attention to the devastation of mountain meadows and forests by sheep and cattle. With the help of Century's associate editor, Robert Underwood Johnson, Muir worked to remedy this destruction. In 1890, due in large part to the efforts of Muir and Johnson, an act of Congress created Yosemite National Park. Muir was also personally involved in the creation of Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon national parks. And his writings influenced the later establishment of several other national parks and monuments. Muir deservedly is often called the "Father of Our National Park System".
Quotes by John Muir
Johnson and others suggested to Muir that an association be formed to protect the newly created Yosemite National Park from the assaults of stockmen and others who would diminish its boundaries. In 1892, Muir and a number of his supporters founded the Sierra Club to, in Muir's words, "do something for wildness and make the mountains glad." Muir served as the Club's president until his death in 1914.

In 1901, Muir published Our National Parks, a book that brought him to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1903, Roosevelt visited Muir in Yosemite. A three-night camping trip they made together could be considered the most significant camping trip in conservation history. There, together, beneath the trees, they laid the foundation of Roosevelt's innovative and notable conservation programs.
President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir with backdrop of some of Yosemite rugged terrain
John Muir was perhaps this country's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He taught the people of his time and ours the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage. His words have heightened our perception of nature. His personal and determined involvement in the great conservation questions of the day was and remains an inspiration for environmental activists everywhere. Muir Woods National Monument, (see pic below) a grove of redwoods north of San Francisco, is named in his honor, as are the 211-mile John Muir Trail, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir, and Muir Glacier.

LINKS for information obtained (from articles at the following sites)
John Muir, life and biography
Muir and National Parks
John Muir in wickipedia
Researched and compiled by John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.Below: Scene in the Muir Woods National Monument


Encore - Cookin' With Leo

Texas Style Chicken Fried Steak

Seems like a while back I had a recipe from the days of cattle drives and how the range cook had to make do with what was at hand. Even told about my great, great, grandfather's buffalo rustlin' uncle, Billy Bob, might not a' been his real name, but then my great, great, grandmother never brought up the name in family circles. I only knew of him from pictures of a hangin' tree, that some of my aged fore bearers referred to as where one of the black sheep of the family got hung for buffalo rustlin' whatever. Might'a even been Roy Bean standin' by it. Story goes that great, great, grandpa was a cattle drive cook way back when.

Well, I don't know how far back when, and I am sure he never had a recipe book or even had the ability to write. But, from stories that was handed down over the years, he must have been a pretty good cook. Well, he had to be, as I hear it now most a' them range cooks never lasted through the first drive if they wasn't good cooks. Seems, he lasted a lifetime, or at least the stories never end. Any way here is one of his recipes that some ancient cowhand had written down on the back of Uncle Billy Bob's wanted poster (he was worth a thousand bucks back then), and I found it in grandma's recipe collection, wherever. Necessity, and my great, great, grandfather, probably invented this method of makin' tough old steers, tender tastin' tidbits. As I said, along the trail, ol' cookie had to use what was at hand, and surely he would never be allowed to use a steer that was worth any money. If he killed one of the cattle, it was probably one of the old, lame, and about to fall over, that had to be shot before it died on the trail. So ol' gramps had to use it up to feed the hands, and thus he came up with Range Style, or Texas Style, Chicken Fried Steak. Sort of a fancy name put forth to please the palate in spite of a dead issue.
So here is a recipe for Chicken Fried Steak.
And here is what you will need for 4 servings:
Get a nice fairly thick sliced round steak, cut away any fat and remove any bones, pound it with the rough side of your meat mallet to tenderize it. Slice it into 4 nice pieces. Salt and Pepper on both sides and set it aside while you do this. Beat an egg with about 2 tablespoons of milk until frothy.
Now dredge each piece of meat in flour, knock off excess
Dip into the egg mixture, and then back into the flour.
Now set it aside so that coating will set.
You do not want it to come off in the skillet while it is cooking.
Meantime get your cast Iron skillet with its tight fitting lid and heat up some bacon grease.
About an inch of grease in the pan will take care of the 4 pieces of meat.
Get the grease hot enough so that when you shake a few drops of water into the grease it will spit back at you. That should tell you it is hot enough to start cooking the meat.
Gently add the meat and cook it till it is a golden brown on both sides.
You should only have to turn it once.
Remove the meat and pour off any excess grease in the pan, add a few tablespoons of water (gramps said coffee, but that's all he had, water holes were few and far between), return the meat to the pan, cover it, with its lid and let steam for at least 5 minutes.

There you have it, 4 nice pieces of grandpa's Range Style Chicken Fried Steak. And now for the cream gravy:
Don't clean the pan. Use a bit of butter to melt in the pan and scrape loose all the tidbits in the pan, sure they stay in the pan, just make sure they are loosened from the pan. Pour in a cup of coffee cream, and any flour left from coating the meat, dump that in and heat and stir constantly until you have a thick creamy gravy. Cut the heat when the gravy thickens so as not to burn it. Spoon that over each piece of meat and serve.
Mashed potatoes and any green veggies with a salad will go well with this... An' some of grampa's home brew was a good thirst quencher.

Take Care Now, Ya'heah!

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

Eric Shackle's Column

Who Invented Lamingtons?

"Who really invented the lamington, widely regarded as one of Australia's culinary gifts to the world?'' asks Eric Shackle.

Who really invented the lamington, widely regarded as one of Australia's culinary gifts to the world? For those unfortunates who have yet to taste one, it's a small cube of sponge cake coated all over with soft chocolate and desiccated coconut. It was named after the second Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1895 to 1901. Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland all claim to have made he first one.

"The world-famous Australian Lamington turned 100 years on 19 December 2001," said a story on (of all unlikely places) the Ipswich (Queensland) City Council's website. "The national icon, consisting of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut, was created through an accident at work by a maid servant to Lord Lamington.

"The nervous maid servant was working at Government House in Brisbane when she accidentally dropped the Governor's favourite sponge cake into some chocolate. Lord Lamington was not a person of wasteful habits and suggested that it be dipped in coconut so as to cover the chocolate to avoid messy fingers.

"The maid servant's error was proclaimed a magnificent success by all! And so the humble lamington was born!"

That's a good story, but sadly that's probably all it is - a story. Here's another version:
John Hepworth (1921-1995) journalist, playwright and poet was for many years editor of the Nation Review, which he helped establish. In its July 1977 issue, he records this incident as having occurred at a glittering banquet in the outback town of Cloncurry, Queensland: “An irascible diner seized a piece of sponge cake which had dropped into a dish of brown gravy and hurled it over his shoulder in a fairly grumpy manner. The soggy piece of cake landed in a dish of shredded coconut which was standing on the sideboard waiting for the service of an Indian curry.

“A certain Agnes Lovelightly, in a flash of genius, saw the possibility of substituting chocolate sauce for the brown gravy, and so the lamington was born. It would have been nice ... had this great good gateau been named for the humble genius whose invention, or divine perception, it was. But in the snobby bumsucking manner of the day it was named in honour of Baron Lamington, who was Governor of Queensland at the time.“For many years lamingtons were served on state ceremonial occasions in Queensland and won universal approbation. But Baron Lamington himself could by no means abide them. He invariably referred to them as ‘those bloody poofy woolly biscuits.’"

Quoting that extract from Hepworth's article, Frederick Ludowyk, editor of the Australian National University's Ozwords, (who modestly signs his article with his initials, F.L.) added: "The village of Lamington in Scotland may be a false eponym, but [in England] there is Leamington (Spa) in Warwickshire, and Lemmington in Northumberland. It is just possible that the lamington has its origin in a British place name. Do any readers have an ancient English recipe book which includes a recipe for a lemmington (or leamington) cake?"

Some Scots claim that a sheep shearer's wife in the village of Lamington made the cake for a group of itinerant shearers. We decided to Ask Jeeves about Lamington, Scotland, and found that it's a village in Lanarkshire on the left bank of the Clyde, 37 miles south of Edinburgh. Alexander Dundas Ross Cochrane Baillie was Conservative member for Bridport, Lanarkshire, Honiton, and the Isle of Wight at various periods from 1846 to 1880, when he became the first Baron Lamington. He held 10,833 acres in the shire. "His mansion, Lamington House, finely-seated on the hill-slope a little E of the village, is a modern Elizabethan edifice, with pleasant grounds."

Video – How to make lamingtons

Written by Eric Shackle - Published on June 25, 2013 08:48 AM | Permalink
Shown in the English webzine "Open Writing"
©2013 Eric Shackle
Click on Eric Shackle for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Angel Whispers


I have had the privilege of being a part of Pencilstubs for almost 5 years and I have loved each moment of all I had shared with all of you.

 Life is bringing me elsewhere, it seems, and so I will be giving my notice to the e-zine and that this is my last article, until things are less hectic for me.

I want to thank all of you, who read my monthly column and hope that each of you enjoyed the articles I wrote each month. The angels are definitely taking me on a journey and it’s a bit crazy to say the least.
Display of Peg's book at the Fair
Photographer, Jonathan F. Jones

I know that it’s all for the good, and I have Mary to thank for all she had done in letting me write for this wonderful e-zine. Mary has truly been the catalyst for me, in helping me to stick with my writing, and to help me in writing creatively such as writing my book and now it’s finally published, which is a definite miracle.

In closing I would like to share a poem, I had written about two years ago, it’s called going with the flow.

Just Going with the Flow

Did you know, there is an art to letting go?

It means we don’t sweat the small stuff and we go with the flow.

There was a time in my life when every issue in my life was so concerning

That I would not let the issue alone, never learning

I could speak of the issue, from day till night, never noticing of all, who took flight.

It was all about me and never about you; it’s seemed I never ceased, speaking of that issue.

So on and on I would go, not going with the flow , nor would I ever think of letting go.

A thought came to me one day, as I was speaking of the issue….

Why is this issue so important to you? It’s only making you very mad and very blue.

I thought about that for a long time and know that there was no reason and no rhyme.

I thought if I could just let go and go with the flow that I could feel a lot more joy, no longer feeling so low.

Something more came to my brain that day, which helped me to truly go with the flow

If I just let go and go with flow, I would not be depressed or sad and not glow

It’s not my concern of what others see, or if they truly agree with me..

Not everyone has to agree, it’s really ok, I can choose to let it be..

So when I let go and go with the flow, it helps to know you as you are.

I can accept me as I am, for I am me and you are who you are……

God bless us all, in all that we do,

Being open minded can help us all, to go with the flow

and lastly to truly learn the art of letting go
 © Peg Jones

Just one more thing, I am offering an angel communication class that is starting on February 19th at 7 pm, if anyone is interested or have questions please contact me. ( or go to my site to check out the write up on the class.

I wish everyone a warm February and a month where the heart of each one of you is full of joy, love, and laughter..
Peg Jones, ALC February 2014

Click on Peg Jones for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
Below: Peg Speaking at a recent Fair. Photographer, Jonathan F. Jones


Irish Eyes

Tea With The Dead

You are embalmer. It’s a Monday morning. You have just embalmed a corpse, dressed it in its finery ready for the funeral parlour. Having discarded your rubber gloves, put away the fluid and syringes, you turn into the little adjoining kitchen for a well earned cup of tea. You have a habit of asking rhetorical questions of the corpses. (I suppose that is the only kind of question you can address to a dead person!)

You ask “Would you like a cup of tea?” Not surprisingly there is no reply. You then ask, ”How many sugars?” When the answer is “Two” you turn around to see that the corpse has left the slab and is sitting at the table. This is repeated, with a different corpse each day of that week. How would you react? This happened to Frank Finnegan an easy going middle-aged embalmer in Ballyconneely, Conemara, Co. Galway.

Still with me? You don’t believe me?
One corpse, Patricia, is 66 years old and grew up in Donnybrook Cottages. She tells the story of her adoption in 1947 and relives memories of her happy childhood growing up in Dublin. Then, she tells of finally making contact with her biological mother in 1993. Her story is a perfect example of the tone of the entire series, a charming snapshot of Irish life as experienced by Patricia. Mixing humour with tragedy and juxtaposing tender moments with harsh honesty.
Another corpse “interviewed” grew up in Dun Laoire, married Tommy who worked on the ships, they got engaged when she was 19. They had 6 children but they had some interesting things happen along the way, like most Irish people, Ann tells her story the only way an Irish person can.

And a male who got up off the slab told a story of growing up in Wicklow, working on the buses and being the victim of loneliness until everything changed leading to a happy ending.

Producer Susan Broe told me, ” The scripts will be 95% transcribed from interviews we've done with the public. We will advertise for people to send in their stories and we'll choose the most appropriate. We'll set up interviews and record the chosen stories. The interviews will not be scripted at all and the interviewer will say the minimum possible, a la Michael Parkinson.”

Tea With The Dead's creative intentions is to show how the landscape, culture and attitudes of Ireland and its people has changed over the last seven decades, and at the same time concentrate on the one constant that is ever present, the ability of the people of Ireland to connect, move and uplift through the art of storytelling.

As Susan says, “Tea With The Dead won't just be Frank sitting across from the deceased having a chat. We will be transported back in time as the deceased reminisce about the past. For instance, when the deceased is talking about walking on the pier with her husband, a sea gull will land on the table.

The next shot will be Frank and the deceased sitting at the table on the pier watching the deceased as her younger self. Then with a simple 'click' of a teaspoon against a tea cup, we will be instantly back in the kitchen.”

Frank Kelly, of “Father Jack” and “Ballykilferret” fame will play the lead character, embalmer, Frank Finnegan. The other voice recording artists will be from the public, who, more likely than not have never been recorded professionally before. So it's important that the atmosphere for the voice recordings are really relaxed so the interviewees are themselves and their genuine personality comes through.
The entire show will be a working week in Frank Finnegan’s life with each episode corresponding to a different day. Frank meets 4 deceased clients from Monday to Thursday and so has 4 different conversations.

On Friday the opening sequence will be different, the shots will be the same but Frank and the deceased won’t be there. Eventually Frank comes in. He pours himself two cups of tea. Frank looks at both cups. On screen we hear “Hurry yourself up, Frank”. Frank’s wife is sitting at the table. Frank and his wife have a wonderful conversation.

The theme of Tea With The Dead is primarily how Frank Finnegan deals with the death of his wife. Each chat he has is simply Frank projecting his grief by imagining conversations with the dead. The show acts like a therapy for him.
Susan says, “It’s important that we get a balance of humour and tragedy, something that is inherently Irish. Irish people are known for their unique, exceptional storytelling. This will be the heart of the show.”

Tea With The Dead will be shown on television, worldwide, later in the year. Watch this space and go to wiggleywoo

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


Science and Technology Advancements

Most Americans resent the vast amount of cheap goods landing on U.S. store shelves with the ‘made in China’ labels. They also resent the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs to China. At the same time, however, Americans are buying the Chinese made products due to the low-price.

The average American is also unaware that the U.S. companies that moved to China have actually contributed to China’s economic boom.

Over the past 20 years more than 400 million people in China have moved out of poverty into China’s middle class. That is more than the entire U.S. population and it’s China’s middle class that is driving their country’s economy. The goods that are coming to the U.S. from China are deliberately being kept at low-cost for the American, consumer market, but mostly for America’s shrinking middle class.

Many in the U.S. view China as an undeveloped country that perception of course is false. What they don’t realize is American consumers have helped China become the second largest economy in the world. The cities in China are large and modernized they are also designed to attract tourist from all over the world including America.

The majority of Americans are also unaware that China is becoming the number one superpower, economically, and in the area of Science and Technology. As China’s economy continues to grow so too are vast sums of money going into their country’s research and technology.

China now has two rovers studying the lunar surface of the moon, although, recently one of the rovers is having major mechanical difficulties and may not complete its mission.  China’s goal, however, is to have the first female astronaut land on the lunar surface by 2025.

The Chinese also have the fastest supercomputer in the world. It would take a laptop computer approximately 480 years to accomplish what China’s supercomputer can accomplish in less than one second. This technology will eventually lead to superfast internet servers and vast amounts of data sharing among China’s Schools, Universities, and Government agencies. However, China has also been accused of using similar technology to steal sensitive data from U.S. companies and various foreign agencies throughout the world.

One key area of research that’s drawing vast sums of money from the Chinese Government is the area of genetic engineering. They are now using and developing highly sensitive equipment to scan, read, and sequence human genes. This is nothing new but the amount of money being poured into this research is giving China an edge over private companies in the U.S. China now has the resources in terms of manpower, and equipment, to carry out their research quickly and efficiently.

Genetic engineers have been doing research on animals in China for decades but China has recently made some remarkable breakthroughs. They have for instance produced mice with human brains in order to do brain research. Genetic engineers have spliced genes from Jellyfish and mice to create mice that glow in the dark. They have also produced Chimpanzees with human eyes and ears in order to do optical and auditory research on them.

China is also spending vast amounts of money in the area of cloning - imagine one day in the future - a person discovers they are suffering from heart disease. A private medical doctor extracts some of that person’s genes and sends them off to a lab. Then, in a matter of weeks or months the patient can have a bran-new cloned heart transplanted in them free of all defects.

Failing organs in the future may very well be replaced with cloned organs and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia, might be cured with cloned neurons. Some of China’s top genetic engineers believe this can become reality in the next 20 to 30 years.

The vast amount of money being poured into research, especially, in the field of Science is certainly giving China the upper-hand. I’m sure this has become a huge concern for the U.S. Government because no one in America would want to see China as the number one Superpower, especially, when it comes to advanced Technology.

Many Scientists in China envision a future with cloning factories, providing huge medical benefits, where human organs can be cloned and perhaps genetically altered to benefit the patient’s individual needs.

Scientists in China have already learned a great deal from cloning animals and from performing genetic research on those animals. This is being done in order to gain insight on how to produce stronger and healthier species of animals. This is also giving the Scientists insight on how to potentially cure various human diseases on the genetic level. Scientist are giving various animals genetic traits in order to do medical research on them.

Many Government agencies in the U.S. are beginning to question the moral and ethical ramifications of China’s research. For most Americans this sort of research makes for good science fiction - now leading toward - science reality - with unknown consequences.

The Chinese company BGI is now the leading company in the world for animal cloning. The company (BGI) also has the most sophisticated gene splicing machines. They have bought an American company that produced the machines for research and development. The Chinese, however, have found new ways to produce the machines much more cheaply and now they have the largest number of gene splicing machines in the world.

BGI’s ambition is to use their machines to read and sequence genes in order to improve human health. They are also discovering new ways to improve crop yields, and produce stronger and healthier livestock for farming through genetic sequencing. The company (BGI) is always discovering new ways to use genetic engineering for industrial use in creating new and healthier foods for human consumption.

How science and technology is evolving in China and the direction it is taking has many questioning whether we are ready for this sort of technology and now that cloning can be done should it be done?
When it comes to animal research and the foods we eat much oversight needs to be put in place. The critics are questioning whether the oversight is sufficient in China, especially, when it comes to animal safety and food consumption.

The Chinese, however, believe their growth in scientific knowledge may lead not only in healthier human beings but possibly the eradication of world hunger.

I like to tell my students at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School, in Suzhou, China, that knowledge is only as useful as its proper application and the wise know how to properly apply their knowledge for the greater good.

Let us hope that China’s advancements in science and technology can be used wisely for the greater good as well by enhancing the lives of those in need not only in China but globally.

But only time will tell ……
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:

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Eternal Love

Simple pleasures abound within.
Timeless treasures to begin
when breath meets air and soul meets Earth
as lovingly we celebrate birth.
The spirit learns to grow and soar
traveling unto many shores,
wearing Ego's human face
sharing mind and body space.

While nurturing, its path becomes
bringing happiness, to some.
While others must take simple fare
with fleeting moments, sometimes shared -
amidst chaos of an oft torn world
filled with sadness, filled with scorn.

Yes, the true emotion held in deep,
ever present underneath
is not the hurt and pain that's brought
by careless fools and those without
faith in love. To them we carefully
send healing light and mindfully
pray for old wounds to mend
allowing love to never end.

We wrap spiritual arms around hearts,
knowing as one we never part.
Our mission completed in this lifetime
with softness, joy, and peace of mind
we gently exhale our place in time,
eternal love we leave behind.

©1-28-2014 Martha A. Bradley

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An Eternal Birthday Wish

My wish is not for gold or wealth or houses on the sea.
I don't need fancy cars or a plane to carry me.
I don't need massive riches, or to travel far from here,
all I want forever is for you to know I care.

I want to make a difference in all the hearts I meet
and will a smile to always find your lovely face to greet.
I think that I have spent life striving forward to this goal
and that's a treasure I feel each and every heart should hold.

My greatest sadness is for those that do not see this gift,
so they seek to fill their emptiness with things, and endless drift.
Their eyes behold a sadness of stories yet untold,
their lives reveal an emptiness of love they can not hold.

So, on this day that I celebrate every year while I still breathe,
I wish for those around me a life with greater ease.
I wish for you sweet tenderness, and deep abiding love.
I wish for joy and happiness, always sunshine up above.

If I leave a smile on your heart someday as I pass on,
then I know my wish will carry on, softly as a song.
Love in your heart always, is the best gift I offer you.
I also wish to hear how beautifully you will sing it, too.

©1-14-2014 Martha A. Bradley

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Sneaking A Peek

I’m sneaking a peek at you there
On the railing that borders my deck,
Twisting your neck, looking for lunch,

Black-hooked beak, golden eyes,
Fierce as a raptor can get
Who weighs only two pounds at most.

By summer I think you’ll become
A full-sized hawk, Cooper’s,
Competent capturing crows;

But right now even a rat
Could give you a fight;
So you’re waiting for sparrows.

I’m going to be neutral in this,
OK with setting the bait
But hoping you’ll find some place else

To practice your trade, some place
Where I won’t know the names
Of the dinner guests.

©2013 John I. Blair

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Another Egret Poem

Although I’ve run this theme
Into the muddy ground,
How can you ask me to be tired
Of fundamental beauty?

On such a dreary morning,
Distracted, cold and wired,
Driving the countless thousandth iteration
Down my hopeless, hapless freeway,

As ever I was scanning
Roadside marshes, borrow ditches, fired
With the need for signs of life, of worth,
When, in a rain-filled puddle

Where a gravel truck was mired,
A brilliant white, a flash, a flame,
Ecstatic, dancing, snowy egrets
Anticipating mating time.

Leaping, weaving narrow necks
One upon the other, they transformed
That sordid venue into paradise regained,
With serpent unexpired.

©2004 John I. Blair

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What You Hear, What You See

So you think I'm crazy, is that what you believe
Of these messages from spirit that I receive
You can laugh at me, but what I hear is true
These spirits have given me a message for you

When you experience something, only you will know
Of the messages that will touch your soul
They can't tell you that it's not true
It didn't happen to them, it happened to you

When people seem different, people stay away
It made me think of a winter day
I wore a warm coat and I wore my *chook
The ones without hats gave me a funny look
What I want to say, doesn't matter how you dress
As long as you are warm and comfortable, no less

Those born different, will cause a stare
From those less understanding, and aren't aware
Some are prejudice, and will always be
No matter in this world, they will see
Open minded is the best key
It works very well for me

Close minded puts up a thick wall
Preventing you from seeing it all
God gave you love, so you could embrace
Understand others and situations you face

Not to judge them by color or appearance too
Or by what they hear, see, or do
Use your heart, listen to your soul
Treat everyone equal, and you will know

You aren't them, and aren't in their shoes
You haven't experienced being them, no inside news
It's not about what they do, hear, or see
It's all about the kind of person you choose to be
©Jan 6, 2014 Bud Lemire
*Chook – a stocking cap worn in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Just remember, you do not know their journey or what they can see or hear.
An example, you may love someone and feel the love, but others can not see it
coming from you, yet it is there within and between two.
One thing that always bothers me is this: People tend to think they know everything about the
the other person, when they haven't even been in their place. How would they know?
You are just judging them from what you know and learned from your journey and experiences,
not from what they know and see and feel. That's the way so many of us do.
Everyone is an individual, and some may smell the fragrance of a flower,
and you may say...”I don't smell it.” Some may see someone
who looks like someone they know, you may not see that.
Do you think anyone can openly judge someone truthfully and honestly,
if they're judging them from someone else's point of view? No!
We can only accept them for who they are, and where they are coming from.
Accept others for who they are, for you don't know their journey or experiences.

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Gone are the Days

Sometimes I can feel the world falling beneath my feet
Trying to climb back up, but falling in the deep
Sometimes I try to catch myself before the fighting begins
I’m going to find my way back up to let this record spin

Gone are the days when everything would matter
Hearing you say this was all static and chatter
Gone are the days where time and space would matter
Now we are here in a world full lies and splatter

You broke my heart into a million little pieces
You broke my heart into a million little pieces
I’m not giving up but you broke me apart
You broke my heart and that’s a real fine way to start

Sometimes I can feel the world crumbling beneath me
Feeling the air rush inside my faded memories 
Often I try to gather the pieces before they are carried away
I’ve tried, oh yes I’ve tried, and maybe our love will find a brand new day

You broke my heart into a million little pieces
You broke my heart into a million little pieces
I’m not giving up but you broke me apart
You broke my heart and that’s a real fine way to start

Gone are the days when everything would matter
Hearing you say this was all static and chatter
Gone are the days where time and space would matter
Now we are here in a world full lies and splatter

Gone are the days
Gone are the days
Gone are the days
What else really matters

©1/2/14 Bruce Clifford

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Everyone has to draw the line somewhere,
But how that barrier will run for me
Must be my choice, not yours,
And my line has moved and blurred.

In the many years since I was young
And shut myself from much of life
I’ve learned my judgment’s not infallible
And find I am no closer to omniscience.

Some day, should I grow old enough,
I may discover that the line I’ve drawn
Will dim into invisibility
And I’ll regain the all-embracing
Breadth of soul I had in infancy
When I drew lines for no one.

©2004 John I. Blair

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Life Is Your Classroom

Life Is your class room, even when it's cold
You learn every day, while you're growing old
Even when it's sunny and hot outside your door
You take in what you learn like never before

You attend every day, no matter the weather
A solo class, or one where you're together
No matter how many, no matter the place
You learn from the lessons that you have to face

A lesson hard learned, is a lesson in grief
Until you rise higher in a sigh of relief
You come to believe the possibilities are there
To rise above the pain and go anywhere

Learning new things in every day
Molding your life as if it was clay
Some things you learn don't sink right in
Only when they do, do the lessons begin

You learn from others, they learn from you
Teachers and students, with knowledge anew
You never know who will come along
A lesson you learn may come in a song

Experiences are lessons taught as you go
Especially when it touches your heart and your soul
You think it's school that teaches you it all
But that's just a study place behind the wall

It's after school where your greatest lesson will be
When your life takes you ahead to your destiny
It's what you are learning you never assume
Because in this world, life is your classroom

©Jan 5, 2014 Bud Lemire

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An Everlasting Touch

I feel your grief
I bring relief
I see your tears
I know your fears
Feel my embrace
A kiss on your face
Feel me touch your hair
Know that I am there

Feel my loving energy
That came from me
An everlasting link
I'm closer than you think

I watch you endlessly
You mean the world to me
I may be unseen, listen to your soul
You may feel, and you will know

For you see, I didn't die
Out of my body, I saw you cry
I'm watching and see all you do
My love will always help you through
©Jan 27, 2014 Bud Lemire For all my friends who are grieving.
Hope this helps take away some of the pain.

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The Imaginative Genius of Terry Goodkind

There's Sisters of the Light, there's Sisters Of The Dark
There's even Mord-Sith, feeding chipmunks in the park
Richard and Kahlan, and then there's Zedd
And then there is Denna, all dressed in red

There's the Palace of the Prophets with Verna, Warren, and Ann,
There's Darken Rahl, he's such an awful man
There's the Mriswith, who you can't see
Nathan and his prophecies, what can they be

The Mud People, Adie, Shota the Witch woman as well
Jagang and the Imperial Order sure put them through Hell
Cara on hand, able and ready to defend
The Mother Confessor is her agiel sister and friend

There's Nicci, who's keeping Richard and Kahlan apart
Always someone doing that, right from the start
The Wizard's First Rule, The Stone Of Tears
An adventurous journey to battle one's fears

The Temple Of The Winds, The Blood of the Fold
A love between two, while they're growing old
The Faith Of The Fallen, The Soul Of The Fire
The Seeker of truth and the Mother Confessor's desire

A wondrous journey in this world within
The characters come alive, I say with a grin
Never know what will be found, inside the mind
Of the imaginative genius of Terry Goodkind

©Jan 18, 2014 Bud Lemire

Thank you Terry, for the wonderful characters you brought to life!

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Donna, A Caring Soul

I've worked with Donna for many years
She may seem tough but I've seen her tears
I've worked with her through my years with Bob
I know she gives her very best at every job

She's not afraid to give her all
And answers when she gets the call
Some days I feel she doesn't get a rest
But I know her clients always get the best

She even helped my Mom several years ago
I came to know this woman with a caring soul
She's been keeping people clean for so very long
Her thriving willpower is so very strong

You probably see her thinking she lives here
She comes around often because her client is near
In her years she's seen so many go
Passed away, to become a Heavenly soul

I do know this, it doesn't matter where
If she's around, someone's getting the best care
So I honor her, she deserves this poem
For her caring efforts, of which I have known

©Jan 14, 2014 Bud Lemire
This one is for you Donna. For your dedication and reliability for always being their and giving the best to the people you care for.

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Magnetic Energy

Every moment flashes like lightning
Gathering dust clouds in a field
Magnetic energy in a wasteland
What is false and what is real

You took me down and said it was instinct
You brought the powers from within
All that’s left is a memory or two
Everyone else has left without me and you

I couldn’t believe this was the real thing 
I never thought this is how it would be
Chemical waters dance in a rainbow
First I had none, then we had three

Every moment flashes like lightning
Gathering dust clouds in a field
Magnetic energy in a wasteland
What is false and what is real

©1/9/14 Bruce Clifford

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Together Forever

John Pike Forest was the only son of John W. and Helen H. Forest, a retired Naval Officer. John W. became a wealthy man from selling his electronic word processor invention after perfecting the application and obtaining a patent. With more cash in his pocket than he had made in all of his life, the family moved to the agreed large city far from the seas.

John P. Forest had never seemed to be interested in the opposite sex all of the days he had attended public schools. At fifteen years old with five years of experience playing football, he entered the new school in his new resident community as eagerly as he had the many other schools while following his father. John P. had always been a happy person although he spent copious hours in study of the normal school subjects in addition to the use, construction, maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of household furniture due to his lifelong dream of being a furniture expert. At the young age of twelve years John P. Forest had already gained a satisfied customer base. In the new city, large enough to make a good living doing what he dreamed of, John P. entered his new school with a glad heart.

As he joined the throng of children from the age of ten years through the age of eighteen years, 
middle and high school grades, John felt at ease. Having visited the school shortly before the school year began John knew which hallway led to his home room, the first classroom every morning. As he was looking at all the students moving along with him and those who were passing him, John suddenly felt as if he had been covered with a warm blanket, all over his body. As he stopped dead still, the warm feeling receded to somewhere in the area of his heart as other students bumped into him. As quickly as it had hit him, the wave of intense joy passed leaving John P. Forest gasping as students looked at him strangely.

Jillian Whisper Patterson was only twelve years old when she entered the ninth grade at the school where she had spent the last three years in middle school. Having been accepted into the world wide Mensa program at the age of eight years, the lean but strong smiling female laughed inwardly as the older high school students looked at her. Being a foot shorter than any of the even fourteen year old freshman students, Jillian knew she looked to be out of place. But, having passed over one grade in elementary classes and one grade in middle school classes as well as already taking college courses that complimented her high school subjects, Jillian was not one to brag about her high IQ rating.
Having always leaned toward athletics, Jill had been an active part of the volleyball, basketball, and baseball programs in all of her grades. Finding that she was very good in gymnastics, Jillian was able to join the middle school cheerleaders. Jill was looking forward to trying out for the high school cheerleader program, a group she and her parents had watched often when they attended the high school football games.

Since Jill W. Patterson had willingly devoted all of her free time to studies approved by her parents, she had never made many friends and certainly no male friends other than during school hours. As she was trying not to get tromped on that first morning headed for her homeroom, Jill suddenly stopped in the middle of the hallway as a wave of warm something covered her causing her to gasp for air. As her heart beat rapidly, Jill looked around searching for that one person who could cause that intense feeling of joy in her chest.

Jillian W. Patterson had always had an artist touch drawing on heavy paper with charcoal sticks. One of her favorite pieces was of a young man’s head. When her mother asked who the man was, Jill had gleefully said he was Jack, her husband. With Jill being only four years old at that time, her mother only smiled and did not pursue the subject. But, although all of Jill’s drawings had been given away by the time she was ten years old, the drawings of her husband remained firmly fixed to the walls in her room with the largest one above her bed. Sometimes after she had finished her studies for that day, Jill would lie on her bed staring at that drawing that caused a warm feeling that covered her and held her tight.

With the popular honor student who was two years younger than most of her fellow students who were always kidding her or laughing at the way she would walk through the halls with a big grin on her face looking for Jack, Jill would cause the students in the hallways to part passing her when she would suddenly become rigid with her eyes closed and that big smile on her face. No one could have known that the new addition to the high school football team was stumbling along gasping for breath and holding onto one of the other boys was the cause of Jill standing still close by.

Although Jillian was not as mature physically as the other female cheerleaders, she nonetheless was accepted into the current group since she showed that she knew and could perform all of the cheers and movements required. There was some hesitancy in her being accepted until the teacher who had been assigned to lead the girls for that year told the girls that to shun the lean bodied younger female could cause trouble since she was the smartest child in the entire school. Although she would not be performing with the other five girls who looked more like women than just teenage girls, Jill was happy to be suited and close by in case she was needed.

John P. Forest had no problems in being accepted into the high school football program for that year after the tryouts. Instead of being assigned the quarterback position that he held in middle school, John happily took the running back position knowing that he was qualified for it and that he was one of the fastest runners on the team. The only problem with John being on the school’s football team was that sometimes during the evening practices, he would feel faint as he ran along the sideline close to the home team’s bleachers. Although John easily talked to the coaches who questioned why he stumbled along the fifty yard line when running along the edge of the field, no one could come up with an easy answer after the school appointed doctor had checked his heart. No one could even think that John’s faints were caused by an almost shapeless young, lean, pretty cheerleader jumping and screaming on the sideline near the fifty yard line.

Although Jillian Whisper Patterson was not to perform during the night time football games, she was included in the practice sessions after school as the football team practiced on the field. The first evening when the team was charging around like warriors without an opposing army, sometimes her teammates would gather around Jill whenever she just simply freeze in place with her eyes wide open as she gasped for breath. But, Jill would quickly laugh and continue her performance as the intense feelings that made her pause passed. The other cheerleaders all thought it was marvelous when Jill explained the apparent reason for her actions. The day after they had all learned that the twelve year old genius was waiting for her husband, the team would look around for a boy whenever Jill went rigid in the cheering line.

When the football game started on the fifth week of the season, Jill joined the other regular cheerleaders. She had been asked if she was ready shortly before school was out for the day. With Jill dressed in her cheerleader costume, she and her parents were giddy with joy as they arrived at the football field on Friday. Running out onto the field for the first time with the entire school football players, Jill was more excited than her teammates. As the game progressed, all of the home school supporters cheered on the team. Jill saw that her parents were seated close to the bottom center of the bleachers. Jill had informed them about the first time she had to pause on the field screaming that Jack was somewhere close. Her parents had already guessed that the boy their daughter had been infatuated with all of her life must be one of the boys on the football team.

Then it happened, suddenly and without warning. John P. had the ball and was running along the sidelines in front of his benched teammates who sat in front of the five lovely bouncing female cheerleaders screaming their heads off in support of him and his team. Everybody seated on the benches jumped up and dodged out of the way as two large boys from the opposing team hit John solidly. As the three heavily padded players sailed over the benches and landed near the five females, a warning scream caused the girls to jump to avoid being tackled. Things moved swiftly as the tackle team got to their feet and moved away. All of the cheerleaders stood watching their team man struggling on the ground gasping for breath as he was trying to get his helmet off. Then, apparently in some kind of distress, they all watched the injured player roll toward the cheerleaders as the smallest girl was running toward him. As John struggled to his knees, Jill was standing in front of him grinning widely.

John could never tell why he suddenly spoke reaching out for Jill, “I have been looking for you, princess.”

As he felt faint, feeling his entire body being warmed, John collapsed looking up at the beautiful face of the one female he knew he would always love. As her arms encircled his head, John smiled as she spoke.

“Oh, Jack, I have waited for you for so long. Oh, my darling, finally, here you are. You will marry me, won’t you, Jack?” Jill was shaking all over as she stared into the brown eyes of the only man she would ever love.

When she bent to kiss him, John felt that he could only breathe as his wife breathed. Her lips were warm and sweet as she held him tightly and kissed him so tenderly John felt calm. Even as the medical team arrived and put him on the stretcher, he could feel the firm grip of the angel close to him.

As the entire school and all of the football players watched, a cheerleader walked beside the stretcher carrying a football player to the waiting ambulance. The other cheerleaders held hands as they cried and listened to the silence in the stadium.

By the time the doctors at the hospital were laughing with John and Jill who were holding hands, the parents of both of the children came walking into the emergency room. John’s parents stood in amazement at their son who was sitting on a chair with a cute young cheerleader on his lap. None of the adults spoke of how Jill had her arm around John’s head and he had his arm around her trim waist. When the doctor told them they were dismissed, all of the adults stood smiling as John stood up holding Jill in his arms. As the girl kissed John on his lips, his father held onto his arm guiding him out of the hospital. Neither of the children seemed to care that John’s mother was carrying his uniform and paddings.

As John and Jill stood holding each other a short distance from the four adults, the two families discussed how the two kids had arrived at that point in their lives. John’s parents were amazed to learn that Jillian had known who Jack was from the early age of four. And Jill’s parents understood when they were told John had never even talked to a girl like he was talking to Jill. With the agreement of his parents John and Jill kept kissing as they were ushered into the car of her parents. As the father of the bride drove he kept track of the young man’s parents following.

The Patterson adults did not try to talk to the strange male in the back seat of their car holding their young daughter as they drove home. John held onto Jill as they followed her father into their home closely followed by her mother and John’s parents. Jill seemed perfectly happy to being carried by the strong young man. As the adults loudly laughed and talked about their strange children, Jill was in her bedroom with her husband, John, who was marveling as his future bride was excitedly telling him how she had known he would someday find her.

Click on  Cayce B. Shelton for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.