Friday, May 1, 2015

Editor's Corner

May 2015

"Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?" -- Frank Scully.

A brave quote for your editor who admits change has always been a frightening prospect, yet one she has often found herself amidst. The best changes however are those concerned with growth: personal, financial, family relationships, etc. The positive changes for her recently are of the latter category: family. A new great grandchild (Emma Jaine) and a new great-great grandchild (Hunter Lane) joined us in April. Joy and more joy!

The prospect of warmer weather has apparently roused our authors into renewing their writing skills and we have some interesting results thereof.

Nancy Park's "Mind, Body & Spirit Connection" discusses her amazing gift of mediumship in a forthright and understandable manner, encouraging others to recognize their own gifts. Judith Kroll aka Featherwind's column "On Trek" discloses her intense viewpoint in protecting life, wherever it occurs, focusing on birds this month.

Melinda Cohenour, your editor's youngest sister, begins her column with this issue, "Genealogy Unraveled." She has contributed several intriguing articles for this ezine previously, derived from her extensive research in genealogical records both national and from Europe, and is a respected member of the Find A Grave research community on Ancestry. Her tales are never dull and through the years she has discovered links to many different family lines. Perhaps we are kin?

Adrea Heisler, Leo's first grand daughter, returns with another of her easy to do recipes, in "Cookin' With Andrea." Thomas F. O'Neill ("Introspective") speaks of China's out-sourcing to take advantage of more economical bases of labor. Mattie Lennon ("Irish Eyes") returns to a reflective mood, but with him, a joke is always right around the corner.

John I. Blair's column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference IXX" features William Batchelder Greene, a mathmatician who advanced the process of 'mutual banking,' some level of which is now employed by anyone shopping online. Blair's single poem, a poignant verse, is "I Do Not Dare."

Phillip Hennessy's poetic work sometimes comes in short bursts of insight. Some of those brief verses are presented together in "Dream Wisps" and "Reflections of Reality," along with the selection, "A Lifetime of Faith."

Bud Lemire's two poems "Universal Transalator" and "RyKrisp" should bring a smile. The inspiration for the latter, was once a staple in this home. Bruce Clifford's two poems are "All I Ever Wanted to Do" and "I Can't Slow Down."

Jeremiah Raber, one of the Amish young people who allowed their "Breaking Amish" to be filmed on TLC network, shared a few of his songs with us before. This poem is called "Devil Kin." The new Season may include some appearances by him as well.

Rebecca Morris' serial "The Adventures of Ollie Dare" continues with Chapter 2 "A Better World" this issue. Good thoughts for your little ones.

Mark Crocker who recently entertained us with the Lexi serial, returns with his "Rabbo Book Five," presenting chapter one: "New Endings."

Kudos to Mike Craner for his expertise and patience that allows this little ezine to continue its mission of encouraging writers, experienced and beginners, and to promote reading. TV has done a lot to discourage reading as a pastime, but we are holding fast.

See you in June!

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This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Always Looking – People Who Made A Difference IXX

William Batchelder Greene

         William Batchelder Greene (1819-1878) was a prominent figure among the Massachusetts idealists during the middle of the nineteenth century. He was the son of the Democratic journalist and Boston postmaster Nathaniel Greene. Educated at the U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1839, Greene did not graduate due to ill health. Despite not graduating, he was commissioned in July, 1839, as Second Lieutenant, Seventh U.S. Infantry. After serving in the second Seminole War, he resigned in November 1841.

         Subsequently, Greene was connected with the Brook Farm movement, after which he studied theology at Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1845. He served as pastor at a Unitarian church in Brookfield, Massachusetts, and was a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1853. Later he left the ministry and went to Paris until the Civil War began. He immediately returned to Massachusetts because, although a Democrat, he was a strong abolitionist. He was commissioned and mustered as Colonel of the Fourteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry on July 5, 1861. This regiment was ordered to the defenses around Washington. In January 2, 1862, the regiment was changed to heavy artillery. Greene resigned his commission in October, 1862, to continue his travels and writings.

         Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking, which proposed an interest-free banking system, and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school. In 1850 and 1851, he had organized citizens of Brookfield, Warren, and Ware, Massachusetts to petition the state's General Court for a charter to establish a mutual bank, which was denied. Similar attempts by the New England Labor Reform League in the 1870s met with similar results. Greene's mutualist banking ideas resembled those of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as well as the "land banks" of the colonial period.

         Greene had an important influence on Benjamin Tucker, the editor of the anarchist journal Liberty. According to James J. Martin, in Men Against the State, Greene did not become a "full-fledged anarchist" until the last decade of his life, but his writings show that he had as early as 1850 articulated a Christian mutualism, drawing heavily on the writings of Proudhon's sometimes-antagonist Pierre Leroux.
“The existing organization of credit is the daughter of hard money, begotten upon it incestuously by that insufficiency of circulating medium which results from laws making specie the sole legal tender. The immediate consequences of confused credit are want of confidence, loss of time, commercial frauds, fruitless and repeated applications for payment, complicated with irregular and ruinous expanses. The ultimate consequences are compositions, bad debts, expensive accommodation-loans, lawsuits, insolvency, bankruptcy, separation of classes, hostility, hunger, extravagance, distress, riots, civil war, and, finally, revolution. The natural consequences of mutual banking are, first of all, the creation of order, and the definitive establishment of due organization in the social body, and, ultimately, the cure of all the evils. which flow from the present incoherence and disruption in the relations of production and commerce.” (The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium 1857).

         Greene was also a fine mathematician, and was versed in Hebrew literature and in Hebrew and Egyptian antiquities. Around the end of 1876 he went to England and was still there when he died a year and a half later. His remains were transported to Boston, to be buried at Forest Hills, Roxbury (Jamaica Plain).
Compiled and Adapted by John I. Blair from several sources including: 
William Batchelder Greene 
Mutual Banking
Find a Grave

Mass. Soldiers..., 5: 557; History of the First Regiment of Heavy Artillery... by Alfred Seelye Roe (1917), pp. 87, 333-34.

Blair adds this personal note: Greene is connected with a “bad” word – anarchism – but his basic ideas were directed at what he hoped would be doing good for common people; and he never advocated the violence that became associated with later anarchists like Kropotkin and Bakunin. I think he was appalled by it.

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Below:William Batchelder Greene,
pic by e3b0071d186c44b530cf78bce1eabe2d-pearlsquare-1


Genealogy Unraveled

      For those of you who may have explored one or two of my prior articles concerning various lines in my family tree, you may be familiar with the fact that my interest in genealogy arose as a result of my Grandmother Carrie Bullard Joslin’s lifelong enthusiasm for “meeting our ancestors.” Grandmother Joslin was wont to recite family lineages and groups often, enhancing the recitation by one or two colorful stories relating to a family member. For a young girl, the lists of innumerable names became confusing as I made my first attempts at figuring out Who, exactly, was Who? How did those names fit into my life? As my childish inquiries were made, Grandmother Joslin would say, “Well, Melindy Ellen. You see, you come from a long line of folks with lots of names, like Bullard and Joslin, Davenport and Young, Hopper and Godwin. Then, to make things interesting, we must not forget the Russells and the Gambles, the Buzzards and the Brownings – Oh! And we must NOT forget the Moucks and the Muskrats!” So many times I heard those family names recited that – to this day – the names stick in my head.

      Now, my father’s mom also knew her family lore. She was just not so involved in naming the names, making the lists, visiting the cemeteries, penning the pals. Her tidbits of family lines came more often as an outburst or a caution: “Do not forget, you descend from Baron von Hempleman of Germany! Young ladies of that line do not…(wear holes in their new dress, sully their fine white lace on their new apron, wear their Church gloves outside to ride the “horse” in Grandpa’s old salt cedar where his last jockey’s saddle hung).” Or, “That Carrie! She thinks she’s such a much! Prancin’ that bustle in the ole James movie! Why, I was COUSINS to the boys!” (It should be known that Grandmother Joslin was an extra in the Jesse James movie filmed in their hometown of Pineville, Missouri, and did indeed toss her bustle with the best of the ladies!)

      Those two lines alone sent me on decades long searches to investigate and prove the alleged relationships, especially the Baron von Hempleman line. For Grandmother pronounced the surname as she had heard it pronounced, undoubtedly by her father Lew Wallace Alexander, and it bore little resemblance to the proper spelling given herein. It sounded more like Hoppelman or Hauptman or something similar but research into those names came to dead ends. It was not until I found a cache of records kept by Grandmother that included some birth, death and marriage certificates that I began to branch out and research the line of her father. As I searched further and further back beyond even the Revolutionary War, I came upon the Baron von Hempleman name finally along with a romantic story that one day I will attempt to relate here. For George and Adam Hempleman, brothers of the Baron, sailed to America before the Revolutionary War, along with Marguerite Duffy. Marguerite was a commoner and Baron von Hempleman apparently was indisposed to permit his son, George, to wed her. Thus, the brothers gave up their titles and lands and came as indentured servants to America. The three were separated upon arrival as each traveled to their place of service. The brothers would both fight for America’s Independence and not see one another again until late in life.

      The Jesse James movie line from Grandmother Nora Alexander Carroll King gave me fits. Then, one late night of research in Phoenix bore fruit. I had located records documenting my great-grandmother Flutie Creek’s father and mother. Absolom Creek wed Martha Ann Wade in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. As I did further searches for Absolom I came upon the name of his father, Jacob Haudenscheldt Creek, who had wed Virginia Lee Younger. As I sleepily continued my research, all of a sudden my tired brain began to fire off little peals of hints: Liberty…Clay County…Younger…what does that mean? Oh, my! Could it be? The Youngers of Clay County infamy? Well, yes it could be and was. Turns out my father’s side of the family had some fascinating tales to tell as well.

      More recently, the Moucks and the Muskrats of Grandma Joslin’s litany came to mind. My wonderful uncle Dr. Edgar H. Burks, Jr. is a spry, alert, humorous, 94 year old who has led an exciting life. He and my aunt, Linnie Jane Joslin Burks were missionaries to Nigeria, Africa, for many years before retiring to Springfield, Missouri. A few years ago, Aunt Linnie Jane went to her Heavenly rewards. At her funeral were many family members and friends, including the Moucks and the Muskrats. Uncle Edgar’s mother was Mary Louisa Mouck and her younger sister, Elva May Mouck wed Jacob “Jake” Claude Muskrat of the Cherokee tribe. The Mouck sisters were raised in the Indian Territory before it was admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma November 16, 1907.

      This year I finally decided to see exactly how the Muskrat Cherokees fit into our tree. In the course of documenting their family history I found one extremely wonderful Cherokee woman, Ruth Margaret Muskrat Bronson. Her life’s story is one worthy of an entire column devoted to her achievements, alone. Additionally, I found some of those coincidental occurrences that make genealogical research so intriguing. The threads of those stories weave a fine tale that stretches from the wilds of old Virginia in the early 1700’s to the fight for Independence in the State of Texas, from the shores of the Tennessee rivers to the land of the Red Man, Oklahoma. That will be a fine fabric to present in a later column, as well.

      One discovers as the trek into the past proceeds, the paths of our ancestors are diverse and filled with exciting adventures, mundane records of everyday events, and some rare finds which are increasingly within reach as the Internet spurs a greater library of original documents available to the inquisitive genealogist. In the months to come, I hope to prepare columns featuring some of these colorful, romantic, infamous or courageous ancestors. Those whose stories warrant further exploration and may bring a smile to the face of the reader.

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Mind, Body, & Spirit Connection

Nancy's Mind Ramblings ~ Tuning in to "Synchronicity"~the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection

The Amazing Gift of Mediumship

       I think it began long before I realized it. The 'seeking' of knowledge beyond what I was taught, somehow an awareness of there being so much more. I had what may be called 'visions'. Clear movies that ran in my mind's eye, complete with color, sound and vivid details, always with a complete sense of this being something I felt undeniably had happened. Life has a way of interrupting though and your days get filled with what's on the list of things to do and time slips away. Looking back now, I see the wisdom in how slowly spirit does the work, allowing the awareness to unravel in little bits. Each life's journey a chosen path that comes in increments, allowing for the present journey to be fulfilled, but in the background, a sense of that something more.

       Each event that unfolds in our lifetime, brings with it a lesson, an opportunity. That mindset is not something that is easily accepted, in fact, often totally dismissed. That's their journey. It has been my experience that we always have the choice once we've worked it through, to try to grow from the experience. Seeds. My seeds led me to continue to search for answers,I became a book hound, famished to fill and understand this sense of something more.

       And so, my search began more in earnest when my Mother passed. I found a website that was for those who were grieving, to share and heal from the experience. Unable to resign myself to her being gone, I visited the cemetery each day, sitting and talking to her. One day, while sitting there, feeling bereft and completely alone, I clearly heard her say "You don't have to come here to talk to me, I'm everywhere you go". I had no doubt I had heard my Mother. While driving to work shortly after, on the highway one day, I was in a very bad accident, suddenly catapulted up onto the guardrail, I again clearly heard her voice, "God didn't want you today".

       Her presence in my life, and my ability to hear her clearly, somehow, was something I could not deny.

       I was drawn to a website that was for those who were grieving, to share and heal from the experience. Over the years, I was privileged to hear so many people share the depth of their grief, the anger, the fear as they struggled to incorporate this loss into the fabric of their life. And so it was that while speaking with others who were grieving, I became more and more aware of thoughts, "messages", things that were coming to me as I was talking to them. Movies that ran, but with details of their life. Names were called, pieces of information would flow repeatedly.

      At first I didn't realize or understand what it was spirit wanted from me. It took me quite some time before I could venture to pose questions to them, gently entering their grief, and finding more and more that once the "connection" was made even more information would flood in. I would see the movie running in my mind's eye - it could be that I was taken to a place of their childhood, where spirit would remind them of something only they would know. A loved one's name would be called, familiar connections numerated. Specific details of that person's life would flow which were of course unbeknownst to me.

       Over time I began to venture to share my thoughts, carefully posing respectful questions, sharing the details of the "movie" that would be running, only for them, in my mind's eye. Over and over confirmations came, people found comfort in the memories I could share with them, their memories, poignant, loving messages to let them know that they are fine, that life goes on and that regardless of being 'in spirit', they saw each moment in their life, guided them with love and prayers and most importantly, that "Life" continues after the death of the physical body.

       "Life", consciousness, continues after the death of the body. I believe it breathes on the tether of love. Our loved ones await only the invitation, the openness to the dream, the sign we see over and over, a song, a feather, something that instantly allows us to know they are near. All life is energy, and energy cannot be destroyed, it only changes form - and so it is that spirit remains, by their soul choice, of course, near.

       I have been very blessed to have been able to share this journey with so many and I am very grateful for this gift. I personally believe we all have this ability, greater or lesser. I have come to know that we are more than the physical body, that we are loved beyond measure, guided always and that when the body tires, and we release this journey and return home, our soul, the essence of who we really are, will remain complete. The story of this lifetime embossed upon it. We will then join all our loved ones once again.

       Look for the signs. Be open to the dreams. Talk out loud to your loved ones, just as if they were there, and they will be.



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Irish Eyes

A Nose That Knows

"Those who in quarrels interpose
Must oft wipe a bloody nose"
-- John Gay.

       With all due respect to Mr Gay one doesn’t have to indulge in pugnacious behaviour to get an injured snout. My mugshot at the top of the page is slightly out of date. I have now less hair and more jowls and I’m wearing spectacles full time. But one thing hasn’t changed; my olfactory organ still has a Grecian bend.
A battered beak is synonymous with toughness.
I wasn’t ever tough.

      Some sports have an intimate relationship with the power of the broken nose. I have absolutely no interest in any sport. I didn’t acquire my nasal fracture through walking into a wall, falling down, or being hit accidently. No. It happened in Blessington more than fifty years ago when a civic-minded man, named Sean Tyrrell, head-butted me on the grounds that I had been using un- parliamentary language in the company of females. I didn’t wish the man any harm but I’d be a total eejit to forget the incident.

      When I’m asked “what happened your hooter?” I don’t have as interesting a story as the man who walked into the doctors surgery with a broken nose, black eye, and a dislocated jaw. Doctor asks "Jesus Christ, what the f* happened to you?"
    "I sneezed", replied the man.
    "A sneeze?! How can you get a disfigured face by a simple sneeze?" asks the doctor.
    The man replies "Turns out a simple sneeze while hiding naked in the neighbour’s wife's closet when her husband comes home early from boxing practice can do that to you."

      There have been many famous broken noses down the centuries. Michelangelo met his own Sean Tyrrell in the person of a young man named Torrigiano, who was jealous of Michelangelo’s talent and taunted him. When Michelangelo answered, Torrigiano punched him in the face and left him with a permanently misshapen broken nose.

      I have it on good authority that Leo DiCaprio didn’t break Daniel Day Lewis’s nose when filming Gangs of New York. It would appear that my fellow (honoury) Wicklow man acquired the crooked nose when he head-butted a sandbag or something similar.

      I have, over the years, been at the receiving end of comments about the shape of my most prominent facial feature but to date nobody has quoted “A nose, kind sir! Sure, Mother Nature, With all her freaks, ne'er formed this feature. If such were mine, I'd try and trade it, And swear the gods had never made it,” for my benefit.

      Crissy Milaggo has this to say: “Human beings are curious, observant, and compelled to communicate with one another about their surroundings: all things that make for rude commentary, which is a skill that many human beings seem to pride themselves in honing. For those of us with ~distinct~ features, this commentary is normally geared to pointing out the obvious. It is obvious that my nose is crooked, that I broke it juuuuust a teensy bit, in such a way that it did not demand correction.”

      One commentator said of Sarah Jessica Parker that she “ . . . just looks better in certain angles than others.”

      When asked the cause of my misshapen proboscis I could, of course always say that a calf’s head collided with me, that I walked into a door or that it was a deformity from stage two congenital syphilis. Any of the above would be a lie. Besides I wouldn’t want to deprive Sean Tyrrell of the kudos of his handywork.

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Below: The Honourary Wicklow man, Daniel Day Lewis

Refer a friend to this Column

On Trek


      The hardest thing in life is to be able to know ourselves fully. When people throw the proverbial arrows at us, we duck and twist and turn and try every way possible to avoid the arrows. What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment from so called friends.

      You don't have to do anything. Why do some people shoot birds out of a tree? Because they can. Because the birdies are there, and they are singing and minding their own business, but some person comes along and decides to have some fun at the expense of the bird. Some people listen to the bird and smile, and wish the bird well. Some people want to shut them up. What kind of person are we?

      People shoot birds because they can. There are bullies out there, and they continue to be bullies. Most people, to keep peace walk away. Soon the bullies will stand alone. They already are alone, and they can only interact with other bullies and they, together, hurt other people. By hurting other people, they hide their own hurt. They hide their own dissatisfaction of themselves. I don't need friends. I don't need anyone. On and on they convince themselves they are ok. They keep their own power by destroying the power of another, or trying to destroy it.

      Think of what a bully tries to do. They try to take the peace and happiness away from someone else. If they cannot find inner peace, why should you have it? What kind of person are we?

      Walk away if you can, and someday the bullies of the world might truly love themselves. A person cannot truly love another unless they love themselves first.

      If you can get up in the morning, and be thankful for the singing birds, the beautiful sunrise, yourself, your own inner peace, then continue to do so. It does rub off, and you will attract more birds, and more beautiful people, and true love in your own life. People can change, but it is truly up to each one of us to change ourselves. No one can make you happy, and it should never be expected of us that someone else make us happy. If we have those kinds of expectations, we are in for a disappointment. We set ourselves up for disappointment if we expect others to make us happy.

What kind of person are we?

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         For many years China has been the factory for manufacturers throughout the world but that may soon change. Many companies are now turning to cheap labor in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos drawing increased numbers of manufacturers to Southeast Asia.

         Economists are now predicting that by 2030 more than half of China’s population will be under the age of 30. They will certainly be part of China’s emerging middle-class with high rates of consumption. The rise in China’s wages has forced many factories in China to also move to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in order to take advantage of the cheap labor in those countries.

         Many economists have stated that the Southeast Asian countries will most likely take up China’s mantle as being the ‘world’s factory.’ This will take place over the next 10-15 years as more companies move to take advantage of the cheap and abundant labor in that region of the world.

         Many economists also believe that the Southeast Asian nations could lift their regional trade to $1 trillion by 2025. Foreign direct investment into the Southeast Asian market from the major economies could climb to $106 billion in 2025. Foreign investments into the Southeast Asian market have already eclipsed investment into China for the first time in 2013.

         What will coincide with this economic growth shift in Southeast Asia will of course be the low income labor market in places like Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, cost-effective manufacturers in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, and sophisticated producers in Singapore and Malaysia. Southeast Asian nations have resolved to establish the Asian Economic Community by the end of 2015 to enable the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor between the 10 member states.

         The rapid economic growth may now be slowing down in China but the higher standard of living has given hundreds of millions of Chinese the disposable income needed to boost their domestic economy.

         China is now moving away from being the manufacturing factory of the world to a more domestic economic powerhouse for their own Chinese market place. China’s domestic economy has now surpassed the U.S. economy due mostly to China’s larger and continuously growing middle-class.

         The shrinking middle-class in America is having an adverse effect on our Country’s standing in the world. Most economists seem to agree that there are no quick fixes to prevent our country from becoming the world’s second superpower behind China in the not so distant future.

         But, as I've said before, I suppose 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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I Do Not Dare

It’s been more than a year
And yet I do not dare
Think of her,
Her face, her voice,
Her scent, her feel.

I do not dare
That I lie here
In the hollow set by her
Into this bed.

Nor do I dare

©April 2015 John I. Blair

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Cookin' With Andrea

I used left over chicken breast for this recipe and since that part was already cooked this meal takes about 15 to 20 minutes from stove to table.




Andrea's Chicken Fettuccine

  • 1 lbs cooked chicken breast
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 - 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • Teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 tbsp butter
  • 1 jar of favorite Alfredo sauce
  • Chicken seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb fettuccine noodles
    In a large frying pan heat two tablespoons of olive oil then put in the great peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 min.
    Cut up the chicken into bite sized chunks while that all cooks.
    Add the chicken to the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and chicken seasoning. You can add some seasoning Salt if you like. Once it's all mixed up well, drop in the 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter and cover.
    Just let it heat enough to start to melt the butter then mix it all up and cover and cook over medium heat while you cook the noodles. Once noodles are done toss with the alfredo sauce. Serve noodles topped with the chicken mixture .

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Devil Kin

My mind is wandering, begging for rest
It's always spinning, it never will sleep
Feelings in my heart push for the best
I can't breathe because I'm in to deep

Arms flailing, grasping for some hope
The demons won't stop in my head
Making life feel like it's on a slope
Day after day they have to be fed

Always pushing. Driving me to sin
Always saying just one more beer
No matter what. I can't seem to win
So I'll tip the bottle as I hold back a tear
Knowing that the devil is my kin

© April 2015 Jeremiah Raber

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Reflections of Reality

You Always Hurt The One You Love

You always hurt the one you love
The one you love will hurt you
The hurt will fade, and go away,
Though Love will not desert you.
©19 July 2012 Phillip Hennessy
* * * *

Maybe This Time

Maybe this time.
Maybe next time.
Every time's the first time,
Until it is the last time.
That was the first of never,
The last day of remember
The second day of bloom
And the fourth of true lie.
©19 June 2012 Phillip Hennessy
* * * *

With Nothin' to Say

With nothin' to say,
And plenty to do
What's coming today
Is long over due
©24 May 2012 Phillip Hennessy

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Universal Translator

As I walked and listened to the birds
I wished that I could understand their words
Just to know what they had to say
As I listened to them every day
We call it a song that they sing
To me it's a wonderful feeling that they bring
Just like all the other creatures too
What if we truly understood what they say and do

Like a show I use to watch on TV
A Universal Translator was the key
Each planet they went to, their language was known
Came to us in English, every word and tone

What if we had one to use on birds
And other creatures to understand their words
It would really be great
If we could communicate

And the words we say would translate too
They would understand the words from you
Just think how well we would get along
If we understood the words to their song

©April 13, 2015 Bud Lemire
                            Author Note:
It may never be, but it does make you think.
To know exactly what they are saying and be
able to communicate with them like
Doctor Doolittle did.

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A Lifetime of Faith

A lifetime of faith
A moment of glory

Two seconds of fame
And some inside story

Ten years of worry
Two hours of pain

A few days to go
It's coming again.

You're dead when you die
And then it's all over
©19 June 2012 Phillip Hennessy
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It's funny how we crave the things from so long ago
Things we haven't had in years call out to our soul
Our taste buds wish to experience them once more
To find out if we like them as we did before

I remember long ago we ate RyKrisp, Mom loved them a lot
So just recently, that's exactly what I got
They tasted just as I remembered, absolutely great
With a little butter on top, it is what I ate

With some green olives, and slices of cheese
Enough to fill me up, not a chance to tease
My taste buds were dancing all over the place
Memories flashed back, causing a smile on my face

I took a bite and there was that familiar crunch
A bite of cheese and a green olive, what a wonderful lunch
What a wonderful taste that brings me back in time
So many pleasant memories passing through my mind

I recall those days with Mom, as we munched away
Eating RyKrisp seasoned perfectly on each and every day
Every time I'll think of Mom, as I take a bite
I know she is watching me, as I crunch in delight
©April 6, 2015 Bud Lemire
Author Note:
It is so wonderful to visit again the taste of RyKrisp. It tastes the
same as I remember it, and I wonder why I got away from it. But
I am glad it is in my life again. Because when something tastes good,
it's the best thing for your taste buds.

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I Can't Slow Down

Is there a meaning to this history
A story within the mystery
Taking second chances on the fly

Is there a color to this destiny
The ever turning chemistry
Going out on a Sunday morning drive 

I can’t calm down when it’s getting so late
I can’t slow down when I’m feeling great 
The attitude of admission 
The lonely and betrayed
I can’t slow down when I know I’ve got it made

Is there a meaning to these shapeless clouds
A reason why the world’s so loud
Taking every moment that i can

Is there a diamond in the central trunk
The wise man said he was on the hunt
Doing all these things the best I can

I can’t calm down when it’s getting so late
I can’t slow down when I’m feeling great 
The attitude of admission 
The lonely and betrayed
I can’t slow down when I know I’ve got it made

I can’t slow down
I don’t know how
I can’t calm down
I can’t slow down right now

Is there a meaning to this history
A story within the mystery
Taking second chances on the fly

4/28/15 Bruce Clifford

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Dream Wisps

Nightmares Aren't

Nightmares aren't
about dreams
which go wrong,
They're the wrongs
about which
we dream.
©06/18/12 Phillip Hennessy
* * * *

If You Want to Live The Dream

You cannot live the dream
and think there's rest to take
If you want to live the dream
You got to stay awake
©9/26/14 Phillip Hennessy

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All I Ever Wanted To Do

I’m not used to running up stream
I can’t decide if I want a laser beam
I’m not the type to wake up mad
All I ever wanted to do was be in a band

I’m never quiet, but I’m not too loud
I never thought this would make any sounds
I’m not the type to get things out of my head
All I ever wanted to do was this instead 

I’m not crazy, I’m not going mad
You’re the best thing that i ever had
I’m not lost, but I’m never found
This whole world inside of me has turned upside down

I’m not used to running out of space
I can’t remember the lines on her face
I’m not the type to fall into the dark
All I ever wanted to do is be who we are

©4/9/15  Bruce Clifford

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The Adventures of Ollie-Dare - Chapter 2

A Better World

Deep within the great forest lived Ollie-Dare the wise old bear. Now, being that Ollie-Dare was a Wise old bear, everyone within the great forest would come to him with their worries and woes. Ollie-Dare wasn't sure where his wisdom came from and wondered at it often.

One day Ollie-Dare decided to gather all his forest friends together and ask them what they would have him do with his wisdom, for he was sure there was something he should be doing to better the world. So invitations were sent out to Jimmy the Rabbit, Ace the 'Coon, and Banjo the Fox - his best of friends.

As they all sat around drinking their tea and talking of the worries and troubles of the great forest, Ollie-Dare listened with silence. For with all his wisdom, he felt he didn't know what he should do.

Jimmy the Rabbit wanted gardens and gardens of fresh vegetables planted. Ace the 'Coon wanted a forest of forever green with no winter to trouble their days. Banjo the Fox felt the forest should be supplied with fresh meat, so the forest animals would not have to hunt for food.

Ollie-Dare knew these were not the things he needed to do. For not all animals ate fresh vegetables, and the beauty of winter would be lost with a forest forever green, and fresh meat supplied to the animals would mean that some animals would grow lazy and selfish. No, he knew that he would have to go beyond the great forest for his answers, for surely the good to be done would be found there.

Ollie-dare told his friends he would leave in the spring and seek his answers beyond the great forest.
The first day of spring finally arrived and Ollie-Dare said his good-byes to his forest and friends, and gave advice on how to care for the forest until his return.

The first road that Ollie-Dare came upon he met an old man and his cart loaded with fresh fruit. Ollie-Dare walked awhile with the old man, and asked him many questions. He asked "If you could do anything to better your world, what would it be?"

The old man answered "I would kill off all the insects so that fruit would never spoil, and everyone would have fresh fruit all the time."

Ollie-dare thought for a moment and replied "But if all the insects would die, how would flowers grow wild, for bees and other insects carry pollen. How would birds feed their young, what would many small animals do for food? No, I think insects are as important to life as fruit."

Traveling on, he came upon an old woman tending her garden. Ollie-Dare sat and drank cool water and ask what she would do if she could change something to make her world a better place.

"I would have youth again and no one would grow tired with age," she answered.

Ollie dare once again thought for a moment and said, "I, like you, wish that youth could stay awhile longer, for I, too, have grown with age. But without age, would our wisdom be as great? Would youth be as precious? Would we find time so very important? No, I think life is about aging, with the good and the bad of it."

So on Ollie-Dare went on with his quest. He had walked many miles before he came upon three small children playing in a yard. Ollie-dare watched for a while at the silly games they played. Finally he walked up to them, and sat down. The children gathered around Ollie-dare and began asking questions.
    "How do bears eat?"
    "How do they sleep?"
    "Where do they live?"
Ollie-dare listened patiently and answered their questions one-by-one. Then he asked, "If you could do one thing to change your world, what would it be?"

The first child said he would never have any school, so he could play all day. The second child said he would eat ice cream every meal and never any vegetables, and the third child said he would get new toys everyday.

Ollie-Dare smiled and said, "If you never went to school how would you learn new things? You could never count your marbles, or spell your name, or read fairy tales. If you ate ice cream all the time, your body would not grow, and you would never be able to ride big bikes, or climb trees, or play ball. If you received new toys everyday, birthdays and Christmas would never come, and you would miss the joys of birthday cakes and christmas trees. No, all these things are important to you and must never change."

So Ollie-Dare said good-bye to his small friends and set out to find other answers. Soon Ollie-Dare came upon a crooked tree, its branches frayed and weak, and it seemed very old. Ollie-Dare sat beneath the old tree for shade and rest.

He had sat there for a short while when he heard a whisper. Very faint were the words, so he listened harder. "What is it that you seek?"

There they were again. But there were no people about, no birds or animals - where could the words be from?

Suddenly he looked up to see the old tree smiling. "How do you know that I seek anything?" asked Ollie-Dare.

"I know that you are Ollie-Dare the wise bear, and why else would you be among us so far from your great forest?" answered the tree. "For I, too, am wise, and I have lived for many years, for I am 400 years old."

Ollie-Dare was indeed impressed for he knew no one that old. "Then you are the one I seek," said
 Ollie-Dare. "What should I do with my wisdom to change the world and make it a better place?"

The old tree sighed, then said, "I am not the one you seek, for I, too, find that wisdom at a loss. But why do you feel a need to change things? Why can't you just make them better? I have lived many years, I've fought the wind and rain, and been home to many creatures. Children have climbed my branches, and I have often given shade to such as you that are tired and weary from the sun. My branches are broken and weak, my roots hard and cold, my body rotten and soft. But I have only done the best I could and sought nothing else. I have given seed to many of the young trees you find along the road, and I would not change a thing. Maybe we should seek the wisdom to better that which is, and not to change anything."

Ollie-Dare settled down on the soft grass and thought. "I will return to my forest and tell all there, the things you have said," Ollie-Dare told the tree. With farewells and best wishes Ollie-Dare started his trip home.

Upon entering the forest of his home he stopped and listened to the sounds so dear to him. The birds were singing, the wind whispered through the trees. In the distance he could see Jimmy the Rabbit hopping down a trail. Ace the 'Coon came running from the stream, and Banjo the Fox could be seen working his way through the tall meadow grass. Ollie-Dare called to his friends and told them to meet him at home for some fresh-brewed tea.

As they settled down with their tea, Ollie-Dare told of his travels and all he had seen and heard.
Jimmy the Rabbit scratched his head and asked, "But how do these things help your wisdom make the forest a better place, or make the world a better place?"

"Jimmy," Ollie-dare said, "I have learned the most important thing of all. We must not change what God has intended for us all. We must work to better that which is, by being kind to the aged, understanding of youth, and tolerant of those that labor in work. In all these things, we could make the world a better place. My wisdom is not to change, but to help those in need, teach those that need to learn, and to cherish age.

"So my friends let's drink our tea, and tomorrow we shall start a new day."

©2002 Rebecca Morris

Watch for the next chapter in June !

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

Rabbo Book 5 - Chapter 1

New Endings

      Rabbo sat under the bush with the rain pouring down hard.

      It had started to rain when he was about seven miles from home and just about half way between the two great forests. The only shelter he had been able to find was a rather small and compact bush that the sheep had not gotten to yet. Rabbo eyed the sheep who where huddled together in the middle of the meadow under a rather old looking oak tree.

      The plan had been that Rabbo would set off early in the morning and head up the track in an easterly direction though the great forest and out past the settlement towards where the rolling hills that separated the next great forest where. The night before Merwyn, Athena, Merryn and he had sat talking about the reports from the local settlement that the iron people or Romans had started to march down the track that ran all the way from the great hill fort of the maiden.

      Rumor had it that they had a huge siege at the fort of the maiden and the Romans had won and turned the few surviving people into captives and slaves. The locals where now worried that the iron people as they called them would move westward and do the same to them. Even the people at the hill fort of Hembury where worried and they had sent a couple of elders to confer with Merwyn.

      Rabbo had sat very still while he listened to the elders and Merwyn talk about the iron people.

      “They took the maiden” said one of the elders “and her people have been enslaved. What few survived”?

      “That they did. But they fought against them” said the other elder. “I’ve heard told that those who did not fight were killed just the same”.

      Merwyn sat thoughtfully listening to the elders.

      “They do say that those of the Durotriges would not give into them” said the first elder. “Aye Ive heard that. But the Belgae did not fight them ,in fact they welcomed them with open arms. They gathered all the elders together and told them that they had to pay tribute and those that helped would be rewarded” said the second elder. “and they did; and some I hear are starting to dress and act in the ways of the iron people”.

      “That is against our laws and customs” said the first elder.

      “The fact is that those who work with the iron people seem to be doing very well. Even if they are now going against our laws and customs” said the second elder. “What we need to do is unite against the iron people and drive them out” said the first elder. “We need to get all the nations together and push these iron people back into the sea from whence they came”.

      “And how will we do that” said the second elder. “We can’t even unite or agree on simple matters like what day is a holy day”.

      “That is a small matter next to the very surivial of our way of life” said the first elder. “If we unite all the nations together we can and will beat those iron people”.

      “Would you like a cup of wine” said Merwyn placing two wine goblets down on the table.

      Both elders nodded.

      “Who will lead us” said the first elder. “Not Caratacus? He is full of his own power and glory”

      “Caratacus would make a great war leader for all of us” said the second elder.

      Merwyn started to pour the wine into the goblet nearest the first elder as the first elder started to speak again.

      “Who would follow Caratacus other than his own nation? I know as a Dumnonii I would not follow him nor would the Dobunni or the Cornovii”. The first elder turned and looked at Merwyn “You are spilling the wine. Did you not see that my goblet is full”?

      “Much like your mind with your own ideas” said Merwyn looking at both elders.

      The seond elder turned and looked at Merwyn.

      “You are right” said the second elder. “We come to you for advice and we talk and talk and do not give you a chance to speak”.

      “What are your thoughts” asked the first elder.

      Merwyn turned and looked towards the corner where Rabbo had been sitting. “Come join us Rabbo” said Merwyn as he pulled a chair closer”.

* * * * *

      Rabbo shivered as a rain drop dripped down on his nose. “Soon enough we will get a closer look at those um Romans” mused Rabbo to himself.

      The rain was coming down hard now and crossing the meadow in gray bands of rain that showed now signs of letting up. “Did you check the weather before you left” muttered Rabbo to himself mimicking Merwyn’s voice. “You know better than to race off out without checking the weather. And what lesson have you learned from not checking the weather” continued Rabbo.

      Rabbo listened hard, but other than the wind, rain and the odd sound of the sheep Rabbo heard very little. “Well I’m not going to learn much sitting under a bush, am I”?

      Rabbo set off across the meadow running fast towards the great oak tree and the sheep. His logic was that if he ran fast enough he would not get as wet from the rain. But when he was less than half way between the bush and the great oak tree Rabbo knew that his idea was a waste of time as the rain had started to soak though his fur. So he turned around and started to return to his bush as some cover was better than no cover.

      About half way back Rabbo heard the sound of running feet so he half turned and looked back to see a wild hare being chased by three large and hungry looking wolves. Without thinking and no fear or panic Rabbo turned towards the wolves who had not yet spotted him. Summoning up all his creativity Rabbo suddenly grew in size to that of a huge giant rabbit over twelve feet tall with blood dripping from his claws and mouth.

      The wild hare just kept running and ran right past Rabbo while the wolves stopped took one look at the giant bloody rabbit and turned around and with tails tucked between their legs and ears down the wolves turned and yipping and yelping they ran away. Rabbo held his nightmare form until the wolves disappeared in a dip in the meadow. He then shrunk back down to his normal size and turned to continue his soaking wet hop to the bush.

* * * * *

      On the eastern edge of the great forest eight Romans legionnaires stood looked towards the middle of the great meadow. Slowly as a group they started to huddle together muttering between themselves. “Did you see that giant creature in the middle of the plain?” asked one of the young legionnaires.

      “It was giant rabbit by the looks of it” said one of the more seasoned legionnaires. “In my ten years of service I’ve seen nothing like it. The gods are strange in this land”.

      The avocati walked forward held up his arms “BE SILENT”.

      Once the seven other legionnaires were silent the avocati spoke calmly and slowly measuring his words as he spoke. “Whatever it was it was not bothering us. It was focused on the wolves that are running off over there” said the avocati pointing towards where the wolves could be seen running as if something horrific was still chasing them. “We are here to set up the marching camp for the rest of the legion. As long as we behave and are respectful the gods of this land they will not bother us. So lets get to work and measure out the camp’.

      The legionnaires stood muttering for a moment and then picked up their tools.

      “Oh one last thing” avocati said “when the others arrive I don’t want to hear talk of this giant rabbit. If I do I will have the speaker stoned. GOT THAT?”

      So the legionnaires got busy measuring and laying out the lines for the matching camp yet every so often they would look around for signs of the giant rabbit.

* * * * *

      Rabbo sat under the bush using his creativity to drying himself and the wild hare. “Well my friend what are we to do. The rain has eased up a little I think. But it’s getting into mid afternoon and it will take me a long while to hop back to my home”. Rabbo paused looked around and returned to drying himself and the wild hare.

      “Where are you Rabbo” said Merwyn’s voice in Rabbo’s head.

      “I’m out looking for these Romans” answered Rabbo telepathically.

      “What? on a day like this?” asked Merwyn with an amazed tone in his voice.

      “Last night you said we needed to get a good look at these Romans. So I set off early so that I could get a good look at them,” Rabbo said trying to sound smug.

      “It’s raining, Rabbo. Did you not check the weather before you left” Merwyn asked totally unaware that a while before Rabbo had been mimicking his voice and pointing out how stupid Rabbo was for not checking the weather.

      “I knew you were going to say that” said Rabbo with an amused tone in his telepathic voice.

      “You know better than to race off out without checking the weather. And what lesson have you learned from not checking the weather” Merwyn said.

      Rabbo could not help but giggle at Merwyn.

       “I don’t think that’s funny at all, Rabbo. More than likely you are soaked” Merwyn said his telepathic voice taking a tone of no humor at all. “Have you succeeded on your self appointed mission?”

      “Sadly no” answered Rabbo. “I go interrupted by three wolves that where chasing a wild hare. I scared the wolves off but I was so wet that I returned to a bush that I had been sitting under to keep dry”.

      “How did you scare the wolves off” asked Merwyn.

      “I made myself into a giant blood covered rabbit. Which made the wolves turn and tuck their tails between the legs” answered Rabbo with pride. “Did anyone see you” asked Merwyn.

      “Of coarse not” Rabbo said with total conviction in his voice.

      “Are you sure of that? By my guess and how they march they should be either at the edge of the great forest or already in the downs” Merwyn said thoughtfully.

      Rabbo scanned with his ears and picked up the sound of wooden shovels and metal picks digging into the ground. So he climbed up the bush until he poked his head though the top and looked around. Rabbo could not see much so he levitated himself until almost all of his body was out of the bush.

      This gave Rabbo almost two extra feet of height and he could just make out the far edge of the forest and a long line of Romans coming out of the forest as well as Roman legionnaires already digging into the turf and digging ditches. Rabbo closed his eyes so that the image was imprinted in his mind and he climbed down the bush and onto the ground.

      “Merwyn, it looks like they are just arriving and digging one of their camps that they dig every night” Rabbo said.

      “Ok then come on back and please be careful. I don’t want you as guest of honor at a meal” Merwyn said with worry in his voice.

      “I’m on my way back” said Rabbo as he came out from under the bush and headed west toward home.

* * * * *

      It was almost dark when Rabbo turned down the track towards his home. The wild hare had kept up with Rabbo the whole way back. Rabbo had stopped only once on his long hard hop back and that was so that he could dry himself and the wild hare again. As Rabbo and the wild hare turned down the track to Rabbo’s home they were met by Athena who was sitting at the side of the track with an invisible umbrella over her.

      Rabbo hopped over to Athena and looked her up and down.

      Athena reached down and picked Rabbo up putting his paws over her should. “You better ask your friend to come alone so that it can get dry”.

      “It’s a friendship of gratitude” Rabbo said. “I saved the hare’s life as it was being chased by wolves. And now the hare seems to have tagged alone for some reason I don’t understand other than it thinks I am some kind of protector?”

      “Have you asked the hare?” said Athena.

      “Don’t be silly the poor thing can’t speak rabbit for one thing and another I don’t think its smart enough to understand” Rabbo said briskly. “Maybe it will keep the other three hares company that inhabits our meadow”?

       “It seems smart enough to understand that you protected it. Plus smart enough to know that it’s safe around me” said Athena smiling. “Anyway let’s head back to the cottage as I think the rain is falling harder”.

      Athena walked down the track with Rabbo on her shoulder and the wild hare following along behind her. Once they came out from the trees the wild hare stopped looked around and moved closer to Athena and Rabbo.

      Rabbo looked down at the wild hare and then struggled against Athena so that she had to put him down on the ground. Rabbo then lead the wild hare over to the barn where there was warm hay and some fresh grass that was growing just outside the barn wall. Rabbo sniffed the grass and took a couple of bites before entering the barn. The wild hare did likewise and once the hare was in the barn Rabbo showed the hare where the best hay was to curl up in.

      It took Rabbo a little while to get the wild hare settled in and settled down, but once the wild hare had made itself at home in the warm hay Rabbo left and headed into the warmth of the house and its kitchen.

      Sitting at the kitchen table was Merwyn and Merryn deep in conversation. “Tell me again what you saw and learnt when you where in Rome” Merwyn said.

      “Dad, how long are we going to go over what I saw” Merryn said with a tired tone to her voice. “I mean how many times can I say the same thing”.

      “Each time I learn a little more. Remember I’ve never been to Rome” Merwyn said. “So let’s go over what you saw once again”.

      “No” Merryn said. “Not until I have eaten and had something to drink. We have been going over the facts for a while and I am hungry and thirsty”.

      “It would be easier and faster if you would let me into your mind”.

       “As I said earlier, no. There are things I don’t want you to see, Dad” Merryn answered kindly but very firmly.

       Merwyn turned and looked down at Rabbo. “You speak to her” Merwyn said a little crossly and then stood up and walked out of the kitchen.

      Merryn reached down and picked Rabbo up and placed him on the table in front of her. “He still thinks of me as a little girl” Merryn said as she started to stroke Rabbo’s ears. “I’m over fifteen hundred years old and all he sees is me when I was eight years old. If he knew that I went to some of those parties that the Romans like, Dad would get upset and be very shocked”.

      “Tell me instead” Rabbo said trying hard not to roll his head at the pleasure of Merryn playing with his ear.

      Merryn laughed softly.

       “If it’s something I don’t think your father should know I won’t tell him” Rabbo said. Merryn laughed again “either Dad is being very clever getting you to do his dirty work or” and again Merryn laughed.

      “Or what”?

      “I need to bathe” said Merryn as she stood up and picked Rabbo up off the table.

* * * * *

      It was some hours later that Rabbo sat with Merwyn talking about what Merryn had told him about what she had learn about the Romans. “Do I understand that they are very much a patriarchal society” Merwyn said more as a question than a statement.

      “Very much so” said Rabbo.

      “And that is what Merryn wanted to keep from me. The fact she had to shape shift into a man”?

       “I don’t know” said Rabbo. “You and your quaint humanoid customs”.

      Merwyn gave Rabbo a sour look and looked closer at Rabbo. “And you are holding back on what she told you?”

       “I happen to agree with what she said not to tell you. Beside I have told you all that she is willing to tell you other what she asked me not to tell you” Rabbo said with a smile on his fur covered face.

      “That’s a feat and a half” Merwyn said looking at Rabbo’s smile. “But even in the small details that she does not want me to know there could be key information”.

      “Maybe I should talk to Merryn” said Athena who had just come into the room.

      “That might be a good idea. And take this furry freak with you. His smile is upsetting”.

      When Rabbo and Athena returned to Merwyn he was sitting in the same position as if he had not moved a muscle.

      “Well” Merwyn said.

      “I totally agree with Rabbo and Merryn. You don’t need to know the details of what she is holding back. Those details bear no weight on what you need to know”.

      “So what am I going to tell the elders tomorrow when they arrive here again for council?”

      “I don’t know. If I did know what you where going to say tomorrow we would not need you. Have you spoken to Bastet” asked Athena.

      “Yes. But I wanted another person’s point of view on the Romans” suddenly Merwyn laughed “is that what Merryn is hiding”. Merwyn stood up looked at Athena and smiled. “I can understand why she does not want to talk about that”. With that Merwyn walked over to the cabinet in the corner and got out a clay bottle of wine and poured a glass for Rabbo, Athena and himself.

      Athena sat down by the fire and looked into the fire before turning back to look at Merwyn. She patted the ground next to her for Merwyn to come and sit next to her. Instead Merwyn walked over and sat down in the chair by the fire. For a while Athena and Rabbo sat watching the fire sipping on their wine and talking privately and telepathically.

      Merwyn sat sipping on his wine deep in thought going over all the facts and details that Merryn had told him and the facts that Rabbo had told him.

      The main issue was not what the Romans would do but what would the local people do. The Romans always won even if they took some major losses in battle and it seemed that they learnt very well from defeat. There had only been one time that the Romans had been so defeated that they had withdrawn and that was from Germania. Somehow a war chief called Arminius had unitted his people and beaten the romans so badly that they had never returned in force. However there was still trade between Germania and the Romans.

      But was that the right thing to do? Unite the celtic people and drive out the Romans. Would it be better to bow before them and take on their ways and become like them? If the celtic people unitted they could drive the romans out. But if it was not a total victory then the Romans would keep returning until they won.

      The thing was,that Arminius had united his people, but in the end it cost him his life. Merwyn thought deeper and looked at the pros and cons of standing against the Romans. On one hand if the celtic nations could unit they could drive the romans out and remain as they were. But on the other hand if they welcomed the romans with open arms they might end up being enslaved or worse. There again they could profit and change and take what they needed from the romans and become better and wiser than the romans. If he could sit in the shadows and manipulate the elders for the betterment of the celtic people then they would profit and in so doing so the genes that he, Athena, Bastet and his children had introduced into the celtic people would grow and spread out.

      But if things went wrong then the Celtic people and the genes they now carried would be wiped out and everything would have been for nothing. Suddenly Merwyn chuckled softly. “If he could sit in the shadows and manipulate the elders?”

      “What’s so funny?” asked Rabbo.

      “Nothing” replied Merwyn.

      “Nothing is something” Rabbo answered.

      Merwyn stood up and stretched, his bones popping ever so quietly that only he and Rabbo heard them. “Time for me to get some sleep” Merwyn said. “You want to join me” Merwyn added has he turned and looked at Athena. Athena just smiled and stood up.

* * * * *

      Rabbo woke early before dawn and headed outside to take care of his morning needs before the day started. He sniffed the morning air in the half dark and then turned to head back in. “I should check on the Romans” Rabbo mused to himself.

      Rabbo hopped up into a chair by the fireplace and closed his eyes. An hour later he opened them and heard sounds of breakfast being made in the kitchen behind him.

      “Your timing is nothing but perfect” said Merryn as she started to pour beaten eggs into a pan. “Mom and Merwyn should be up soon”.

      Rabbo hopped down from his chair and walked over to the ramp that led up to the sink. On his way Rabbo stood up on his hind legs grabbed a cup for water and when he reached the sink he poured a cup of water to drink and clear his mouth. As Rabbo headed back down the ramp he heard a faint thumping sound coming from upstairs.

      “Sounds like Mom’s awake” Merryn said with a sly smile on her face.

      “When’s Wenna coming over?” Rabbo asked.

      “Not until after the baby is born,” Merryn answered. “She is pretty close, maybe a couple of weeks at the most”.

      Rabbo laughed softly “How many has she had”?

      Merryn looked at Rabbo and smiled before answering. “More than I have had. We did have a contest to see who could have the most children but I stopped at twenty one”.

      Suddenly Merryn’s eyes lost focus then they refocused, “The elders have just left the village. I guess they will be here in about an hour. I guess I better let Mom know she can finish up her morning workout” Merryn’s said with a hint of a giggle in her voice.

      About ten minutes later Athena came walking downstairs wearing her short robe and grinning. Behind her walked Merwyn who looked freshly cleaned.

      “Rabbo can you go and check on the Romans and see what they are doing. I want to know how close they are to breaking camp or if they are already on the march” Merwyn said with a calm tone to his voice.

      Merryn placed two plates on the table and looked at Athena.

      “Athena and I were talking about what we should tell and suggest to the elders when they get here” Merwyn said as he sat down.

      Merryn looked first at Athena and then at Merwyn and barked a laugh before walking over and getting two glasses of milk.

       “I’ve already checked on the Romans” said Rabbo “and they are still in their marching camp. They have patrol out and a work party has started to cut trees from the forest. To me it looks like they are planning to stay there for a while”.

      “Good Rabbit” said Merwyn as he started to eat his breakfast.

* * * * *

      It was about forty five minutes later when the elders arrived and Rabbo had just finished briefing Merwyn and Athena in great detail of what he had seen at the roman marching camp. When the elders arrived they were led into the main living that was in semi darkness due to the curtains being closed. The living room was very gloomy and the elders took awhile to adjust to the semi darkness of the room.

       “It’s dark in here Merwyn” said the first elder.

      Merwyn looked over “Could you light the oil lamps please. I’ll pour you both a glass of wine”.

      Once the oil lamps had been lit and the glasses of wine had been served Merwyn sat down facing the two elders.

      “Have you any thoughts or suggestions on how we are to deal with these iron people” asked the first elder.

      “No I have not” answered Merwyn. “I have been giving much thought about the arrival of Bastet with her ship full of goods and trade items”.

      “I do hope she has that fine fabric. My wife loves that fine fabric and has been going on at me to see if I can get a full bolt” said the second elder.

      “I put in an order for that light fresh red wine” said the first elder holding up his wine so that it could catch the light from the oil lamps.

      “I do believe that she has citrus with her” Merwyn said.

      “Oh I remember those from my handfasting to my wife” said the first elder. “I do hope Bastet has those healing herbs for my wife’s joint illness”.

      The elders and Merwyn talked at great length about the trade items that Bastet would possible have on her trading ship.

      “What is Merwyn playing at?” Rabbo asked Athena on her private telepathic mode.

      “I have no idea. But I am sure that Dad is up to something” answered Athena on the same mode. “He sent Merryn off in a hurry when the elders arrived. So Dad has to be up to something”.

* * * * *

      Bastet and one of her crewmen sat in the small dingy as it sailed up the river. The dingy was loaded down with wine amphoras and olive oil amphora’s as well is a couple bolts of silk and a crate of oranges.

       “Why are we loaded down with so much stuff” said the sailor with Bastet. “We could have unloaded down at the other river instead of carrying everything over that pebble covered stretch of beach”.

      Bastet turned and looked at the sailor and smiled “We use to come in that way long before your grandfather was born. Beside it’s the only way we can get to the river. The other river would mean an overland walk of about half a day without all these items”.

      As they rounded the bend in the river Bastet spotted Merryn who was sitting on a rock throwing small stones into the water.

      “Ahh there you are” Bastet said on Merryn’s private telepathic mode.

      “I’ve been waiting nearly two hours” said Merryn on the same mode.

      “What is your father up to?” Bastet asked ,still using the telepathic mode as the dingy was still to far away for normal speech.

      “I have no idea. I was hoping you would tell me. All he’s told me is that these trade goods you have are very important in his plan”.

      “I would have thought that he had more important things to be worried about than wine, silk, olive oil and oranges” Bastet said not hiding the tone of confusion in her telepathic voice.

      “Would you like me to increase the wind a little so you can get closer quicker”?

      “That would be nice. I’m not as strong as I use to be” said Bastet.

      Merryn reached out with her mind and conjured up a gentle breeze that filled the sail of the dingy and pushed it towards her. Once the dingy was close Merryn let the wind go and reached out with her mind and pulled the dingy up onto a small beach.

       “Here grab the line and tie me off” said Bastet as she jumped out of the dingy.

      The sailor unloaded a small cart and started to place the amphoras on the cart. Bastet grabbed the bolts of silk while Merryn garbed the crate of oranges. The three of them set out across the fields heading towards Merwyn’s house that was hidden by the trees.

      “How far away is the legion” asked Bastet.

      “About 8 miles” said Merryn as she adjusted the crate of oranges.

      “That close?” said Bastet, sounding a little alarmed.

      “Rabbo went and looked at them this morning and he said that they were not on the march. Dad thinks they will rest for a few days”.

      “Merwyn is cutting things fine if he’s going to do something” said Bastet as they entered the forest. “Is he going to fight or get the locals to fight” said Bastet her voice starting to fill with worry.

      “I don’t know” Merryn said with a little fear starting to creep into her voice as well.

      “I don’t see how he can beat the Romans. If he could unit the nations like Arminius did in Germania then he could. But these people would not stay united and the Romans would come back. He would have to defeat them totally and not just drive them into the sea but wipe them out with no mercy and no survioers to tell the tale. And that’s not Merwyn’s style” Bastet said becoming very thoughtful.

      They all became silent as they walked though the forest.

      “Merwyn” Bastet hailed on Merwyn’s private telepathic mode “what are you up to”?

      “What? me up to something?” answered Merywn.

      “How many centuries have I know you, Merwyn?” Bastet asked.

      “Too many to count” Merwyn answered as his voice fade out of Bastet’s minds.

      Finally Bastet, Merryn and the sailor came out of the forest into the meadow. As they moved across the meadow the long hair cattle started to move towards them and then fall in behind them. “Don’t do that” Bastet said to Merryn.

      “It’s not me” said Merryn looking at Bastet and then back at the sailor.

      As they got close to the stream that separated the meadow from the gardens and the house a soft giggle escaped from the middle of one of the bolts of silk.

      Bastet stopped and Merryn and the sailor bumped into her. Bastet then opened the bolt of silk that the giggle had come out of. “I told you to stay on the ship Soft eyes” said Bastet looking upset at the daft rabbit.

      Soft eyes looked up at Bastet and blew a loud raspberry and leaped down and bolted across the bridge making rude and crude sounds as she charged up the garden towards the cottage.

      Soft eyes stopped at the back door of the cottage and looked at the small flap door that was on the bottom of the door. She leaned forward sniffed the little flap door bowed her head low. Then with great care and reverence she pushed the little flap door open and hopped into the kitchen. Soft eyes looked around and saw the empty water bowl in the corner and tears welled up in her eyes.

       “I miss him too” said Rabbo who was sitting in a high back chair.

      “I still can’t get over his passing. Even after all this time” Soft eyes said not wanting to mention Cat’s name.

      “I know” said Rabbo. “I can’t believe it’s been over a thousand years. To me his passing is so fresh it feels like yesterday”.

       “I know, I was there” said Soft eyes her tears running down her furry nose. “I remember his last words before, umm, before he passed”. Soft eyes was silent for a few moments then she cleared her throat “No love is deeper when life is traded so that friends and loved ones may live”.

      “I remember hearing that when he hailed us on the family telepathic mode” Rabbo said as his tears started to well up. After a few minutes both Rabbo and Soft eyes regained their composure and they sat face to face just looking at each other. Just as Rabbo was about to speak the door pushed open and Bastet, Merryn and the sailor struggled in with there load of trade items. The sailor went back outside with Bastet while Merryn sat down in one of the kitchen chairs and looked around. Once all the trade items had been brought in Merryn got up from the chair and started to boil water.

      “Did you been those herbs from the land of Chin?” Merryn asked. “Dad so loves them in hot water”.

      Bastet reached into a box and pulled out a block of dried leaves and threw it at Merryn who caught it with one hand.

      “I have to admit I like chai, too” Merryn said as the water started to boil.

      Athena came stomping out of the living room and looked at Merryn. “I don’t get your father” Athena said. “We have a roman army about two hours away and he’s talking about trade. That man! I just don’t get him”.

      “If your dad thinks it’s a good time to talk about trade then it’s a good time to do so” said Rabbo looking at Athena and then at Merryn. “Besides, I’ve never known him to do something without a good reason”.

      Merwyn came walking out of the living and so prevented further conversion and speculation on what he was up to. “Athena dear, could you make lunch for our guests?” Merwyn said. “Oh Merryn, I have a little mission for you”. Merwyn took Merryn by the hand and lead her outside. A few moments later Merwyn returned alone.

* * * * *

      It was an hour after lunch and the elders had come out into the kitchen with Merwyn to look at the trade items.

      “Oh, olive oil for lighting and cooking” said one elder “oh, and the herbs my mate needs for her joint illness”.

      “Ahh, that fine fabric that my bondmate has been asking about. Oh, and that light red wine that is refreshing” said the other elder.

       “Oh, citrus” both elders said together.

      “Ok let’s talk price” Merwyn said getting ready to haggle.

      Merwyn, Bastet, and the elders quickly got down to haggling over what could be traded for the items that Bastet had brought with her.

      Athena, the sailor, Rabbo and Soft eyes looked on in total bemusement as first tin and copper where offered and turned down then grain and lastly iron and wool was offered.

      “Tell you what. Throw in a extra bolt of that fabric you call silk and I’ll throw in my youngest daughter and we have a deal” said the second elder.

      “What?” said Bastet looking at the second elder with shock in her face.

      “Look she’s no use to me and I can’t marry her off as the last lad her age left with a black eye a bloody nose and two teeth less than she had when he tried to win her hand. Besides from what my bondmate said, she is more into girls anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my youngest daughter. But she is a handful”.

      “You are offering your daughter to me as a slave” Bastet said trying to keep an outraged tone out of her voice.

      “No, no, no, you misunderstand me” said the second elder. “I want to get her away from here before she gets her pretty neck cut. I offer her to you so you may help her and keep her out of harms way. I don’t want her ending up losing her head the way my aunty did”.

      As the elder spoke there was a faint ding and Merwyn looked over at Athena. Athena closed her eyes for a moment and then opened them. “There is a young woman in chariot who has turned down our little road” Athena said telepathically to Merwyn. Athena got up and left.

      “So you want me to take your daughter and show her the world and keep her safe at the same time” Bastet said to the elder.

      Merwyn smiled and looked at the elder and then at Bastet “I don’t see how your daughter is a trade item. But if you throw in a torc made of gold I’m sure Bastet will take your daughter on as an umm servant or something”.

       “No not as a servant” said Bastet “more as an apprentice. Plus if you throw in her weight in grain we have a deal”.

      “Done” said the elder.

      Just then there was a loud voice in the kitchen and the door burst open and in walked a young woman dressed in a form fitting dress with leggings and the brightest mop of red hair. She was slim and fit and clearly not a young girl but a woman in her early twenties. Around her hip was a wide belt with a sword hanging from it. The sword looked very old and as Bastet looked down at it she saw that it was a sword that she had once carried.

      But the anger that invaded the room in the young woman’s wake made everyone take a step back. “What have you done?” said the young woman looking at the second elder her face red with anger.

      “I’m trying to save your life daughter” said the elder.

      Suddenly the young woman levitated about three inches off the floor and her body went ridged.

       “Enough” said Merwyn.

      Bastet walked over to the young woman and looked her up and down. Then Bastet turned and walked away before looking back at the young woman that was being held by Psychokinesis by Merwyn.

       “Tell me about your sword” Bastet said in a low calm voice that had a hint of sensuality to it.

      “It’s mine” said the young woman as her anger turned from her father towards Bastet who she believed was holding her in some kind of mental embrace.

      “Tell me about the sword” Bastet said as her voice changed from one of sensuality to one of commanded.

      “It was my grandmothers who got it from her grandmother” said the young woman who was no longer able to control herself.

      “Have there been any breaks in the line” asked Bastet.

      The anger in the young woman’s eyes started to fade as she realized that if she was to gain control of herself she should do as she was told.

       “None” said the young woman.

      Bastet turned to Merwyn “let her down”. Merwyn released the young woman who stood free from her mental bonds shaking.

      Bastet took the young woman gentle by the hand and smiled “let’s talk”. Bastet turned and looked at Merwyn and smiled “could you finish up here for me?”.

      “I’m sorry about my daughter” said the second elder looking first at Merwyn then the first elder and lastly at Athena. “She is very different from most women and I apologize for her anger”.

      “There is no need to apologize” said Merwyn smiling. “My daughters have the same anger issue from time to time but thankfully they know how to control it”.

      Athena let out a snort and shook her hand.

      “Let’s finish things up please so we can talk about the Roman issue” said the first elder. For the next few minutes they talked about how many ingots of iron and how many sacks of grain and how many bundles of wool. Finally they all shook hands agreeing that the amount of ingots and sacks of grain and bundles of wool was a good deal all around.

       “Now let’s go back into the living room and work out what we will do about these Romans” said Merwyn winking at Athena before leading the two elders back into the living room.

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