Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Editor's Corner

September 2015

"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." -- Mattie Stepanek. 
 
Collaboration in its best form for me is when the authors get their work in to be published and it does get released on time. Welcome to poet George Nelson aka geniii, long time chat friend from Spirit Web Chat days - the original chat from Switzerland. He has two tone poems this issue, reflective, whimsical, and the kind to set you to dreaming: "Alchemist" and "The Winds."

Bud Lemire, both poet and photographer, illustrates some of his poetry for September: "It's The Right Move," "Sweat," "The Journal of Life," "The U.P. State Fair Again," "The Ballad of Mike and Bev," and "Fun -eral." The last one there is not depressing but more of a 'what-if' idea.

Phil Hennessy shares another link to You Tube for his poem, "The Words" along with some background on its composition. "You're Looking Right Through Me Again" comes in from Bruce Clifford.

New column this month with "Armchair Genealogy" done as only she can, by your editor's youngest sister Melinda (Carroll) Cohenour. Enjoy! "Introspective" arrives from China authored by Thomas F. O'Neill, giving us some insight into life there. Dublin, Ireland, home of Mattie Lennon our "Irish Eyes" author, is filled with interesting personalities which Lennon brings forth with humor and respect. The "Cooking with Rod" Column with new author, Roderick Cohenour features Arroz con Pollo with his precise instructions including tips gained from long experience.

The article is by our co-founder and webmaster Michael Craner on "Veterans – The Unique Family." Good reading, and with a personal understanding, being a veteran himself.

Rebecca Morris' serial "The Adventures of Ollie Dare" continues with Chapter 5 "Ollie-Dare Goes Camping" for this issue. Share this with your reading youngsters.

Thanks again 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.

We will be looking for the return of Nancy Park and John Blair, both who let us know Summer activities were at the top of their priorities for the August issue, but expect to be refreshed and ready for writing soon.

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

Armchair Genealogy


      Genealogy is my passion. I dream of my ancestors and the fascinating lives so many led, the people they encountered, the struggles they faced and the impact they had on the history of our world. Every day I research I find some kernel of wonder, a source of amazement or a chuckle. Some of the stories uncovered leave me in tears but more often my thoughts turn to pride.

      Genealogists create their family trees in a number of ways. Some want “Just the facts, Ma’am” as Sgt. Joe Friday was wont to say – bare bones, direct bloodlines only, names, dates of birth, marriage and death and a list of the offspring. However, one of my favorite researchers is a cousin descended from our common Bullard progenitor from centuries past, Joseph Bullard (some list as Major Joseph Lindsey Bullard, choosing to use his rank as a Revolutionary patriot as well as a middle name attributed to him). This researcher, our modern day Joseph Bullard, does an awesome job, preferring to paint a full portrait of the life and times in which the ancestor struggled with the adversities and met the challenges in his or her path. To my knowledge, this cousin has confined his research to the study of maps, history books, paintings, family documents, court records, newspaper accounts and other documentation for only four individuals thus far: my 5th great grandfather Joseph Bullard, his son John Bullard (4th great grandfather), John’s son Isaac Bullard (next younger brother to my 3rd great grandfather Henry), and Isaac’s grandson, Paris, the researcher’s own direct line ancestor. Of course, he lists seven generations descended from Joseph Bullard, the Patriot; however, the full narrative texts replete with illustrations enlivening each narrative are currently confined to these four individuals. The treatment he has chosen creates more than a sketch, fully a rich tapestry that places the reader in the very midst of each generation’s culture. (See: bullardgenealogy.com )

      My preferred method of research falls, haphazardly – I fear – somewhere in the middle of these two widely opposing processes. First of all, our family tree was an inherited body of work from four primary family groups. My sisters, Mary Carroll Adair, Jacquelyn Carroll MacGibbon and I worked together to build our fledgling tree using the photocopied works handed down to us by our mother, our maternal aunt and their mother, our grandmother Joslin. We had materials from family historians concentrating on four surnames: Bullard, Hopper, Joslin and Godwin. Mary and Jacquie took turns reading to me while I entered the data into our very first digital family tree software application. It was laborious, yes. But, it was also tremendously fun. We marveled together at some of the names, the bits and pieces of history that had found its way into the photocopies and, admittedly, we argued a bit over some of the data and where it actually fit.

      There were mistakes in those original works. Redundancies had occurred as the creators of the histories had either lost their own place in whatever source documents they were using, or typed the same page again after stopping for a day or a week or a month before picking the work up again. Or, maybe they merely worked from oral histories, old letters, best memories of surviving relatives. For whatever reason, my research has resulted in some surprising disillusionment in many cases as I discovered family lore was not always substantiated by documentation.

      And now we come to the reason my tree is a mixture of lineal descent, painstakingly listing names, dates of birth, death, marriage and descendants and … stories. Wonderful stories discovered as I strove to document the lineages first entered. For it is imperative that the genealogist seek to document each fact entered. In today’s world documentation is at our fingertips through the Internet. Just type in a name, a date, a fact and thousands upon thousands of possible sources are offered at the click of your mouse. This is both incredibly helpful and, at the same time, fraught with opportunity for mistakes.

      My chosen method has been to work from my own core family as the starting point, with facts, names, dates and so forth that are known to me and familiar. My siblings, my parents, grandparents and children, nieces and nephews. For my purposes, there are certain sites used constantly all day long: Ancestry, Find A Grave, Family Search, RootsWeb and Google. These are my primary resources, a mixture of relatively cheap and free tools available to me from my “armchair” (you know, that chair with the wheels and arms that sits in front of your personal computer if you are not hooked up with a laptop or notebook computer?)

      Ancestry now has available to its subscribers literally millions of scanned original documents: census records from 1790 forward, including those from states, Indian enrollment lists such as the Dawes registry, military registration cards from the Civil War, each of the World Wars, the Korean conflict and Vietnam, marriage, birth and death certificates and a myriad of other sources. You can even find your more modern ancestors’ names in city directories complete with street address, often the trade or occupation of the primary and the spouse’s name. Never merely enter the data. Take the time to click on the original document. This is particularly informative with old Census documents. Our ancestors did not have the ease of mobility afforded us today. The field of potential mates was relatively small and usually included those whose families traveled cross country in those westward bound wagon trains with our ancestors or living with the neighbors whose farms were enumerated immediately before and after our own folks. The US Federal Census has evolved through the centuries along with our government’s most pressing need for information. The 1790 Census came about as a result of the recognition that the government needed to know the pool of families in each state from which soldiers could be drafted following the Revolutionary War. As tensions with other countries flared or waned, the census questionnaire varied. Perhaps taxation was the most pressing need; thus, queries about values of real and personal property appeared. Then it became clear familial relationships were becoming more difficult to ascertain as the population grew and our forebears migrated in search of richer farmlands, gold, adventure or to protect their family from hostile forces. Search those census records. Be alert for familiar names. I usually scan the immediate page, then at minimum look at the preceding and following pages.

      Find A Grave also affords the researcher immense data. This is the modern armchair genealogist’s answer to the work started by local genealogical societies from centuries past. My grandmother, Carrie Bullard Joslin, finished her chores, doffed her cooking apron, donned her sunbonnet, packed a picnic lunch, grabbed chalk and graphite, onionskin paper and lightweight construction paper and headed to the local cemetery. There she would trace the headstones for hours. She was not alone in this endeavor. Thousands of devotees provided their local historical society with these etchings, which would be turned into lists and made available through local libraries and to their memberships. Today’s tireless contributors use their iPhones and digital cameras to photograph the cemetery entrance, their GPS and maps to provide coordinates and directions for those off-the-path family cemeteries and pics of headstones. These are then researched at home in an attempt to find and utilize obituaries, family trees and other sources to provide as full a list of the persons who have found their final rest in that particular cemetery. Beware. Not all the information is accurate. Not even those dates etched into the stone. Be sure to document these dates by other sources as well. My hat is off to the volunteers who have enriched our lives with their work in this regard!

      Google and other search engines do the work for us across the ether. In the old days, one had to drive to NARA offices, libraries, cemeteries, courthouses and other places to search for hours in the indices for family names, scan microfiche, then handwrite, or pay for photocopies of selected pages. A full day’s work may contribute not much more than a name, a single fact, or nothing. Today, the armchair genealogist has available thousands of potential treasures. I caution again. Never, enter the data without attempting to cross-reference factual content with actual documents to ensure you are not putting someone else’s story into your tree.

      Similarly, the other Internet sources (RootsWeb, Family Search, Fold3, etc.) are replete with the work of other researchers, books that may contain reference to your ancestors, photographs others may have shared, or mention in historic documents.

      Another essential element for me is my printer/scanner. I have begun a project to scan in photographs from old albums. It is a tedious but rewarding project for sure. Many times I cannot identify the faces that look out at me from these yellowed, dog-eared pics of old. Often my attempts have been foiled by the practice of gluing down the photograph in the album, effectively obscuring any notes that may have been made on the reverse. And, to my dismay, I waited too long to begin this process, having lost my mother, her sister and their mother in years past who may have been able to provide those missing facts.

      This brings me to my final (for today) hint for you armchair genealogists: Scan those photos now. Include names, dates, places. Identify, identify, identify. Purchase a digital image editor. Such software provides immeasurable aids to make your photographs clearly legible. Higher resolution scans produce photos that can be viewed as a much larger pic without losing details. Water stains, tears and other damage can often be repaired. The software and a little practice using it is well worth the investment.

      Finally, simply enjoy your efforts. My mixed bag of bloodline relatives and distant in-laws, 8th cousins and so forth has filled my memories with some incredible characters. Most recently, a maternal great-grandfather of my grandmother’s eldest brother’s wife…who happened to be a Lenni-Lenape native American who became known as a Delaware (by the white settlers), a Chief of his tribe who spoke seven languages including perfect English, negotiated with the United States government, made several trips with John Charles Fremont at the behest of the government to California, fought in the Mexican War under Fremont, saved Fremont’s life and the life of his other close friend, Kit Carson, was a personal friend of President Abraham Lincoln and…of Sam Houston. Wow. James Sa-Gun-Dai (Secondine). Look him up. Stretch your imagination. Enrich your life. Become an armchair genealogist, or at the very least, an armchair historian and researcher.

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

 
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Cooking with Rod

Cooking with Rod


         At this time of year, all of us are fairly busy. Time for the kids to return to school, lots of changes in moving from relaxed Summer activities to more involved preparations for Fall and Winter.

         It is also the height of chile season. New Mexico cuisine is unique and I was blessed to grow up in the Land of Enchantment and to have been influenced not only by its incredible beauty but its artistry and culinary delights. This is one of my favorite classic New Mexico recipes made simple but retaining the authentic flavor of New Mexico, and prepared with love.


         This simple recipe is one that is sure to please you and your loved ones. Prepare, serve and sit back awaiting your compliments!

Easy Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients:
  • 4 Breasts of Chicken, boneless and skinless
  • 3 Tbsp red chile powder (reserve 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin (reserve 2 tsp)
  • 1 can refried beans (can use low-fat if desired)
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced OR
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced using both bulb and green tops
  • 1 8 oz brick of Pepper Jack cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 fresh Hatch Green Chiles
    or if not available 1 can Hatch roasted, peeled green chiles
  • 3 cups Instant rice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with Hatch green chiles (or use Rotel or store brand)
  • 3 cups water
  • Cilantro leaves, if desired (adds a wonderful freshness to the dish)
Instructions:
    Prepare fresh Hatch chiles: Rinse, place on broiler pan under broiler until skin is wrinkled and blackened (this char is essential to the flavor.) Place warm chiles in a plastic bag, seal and set aside.
    (TIP: make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the peppers and do NOT touch lips, nose or eyes.)
    Prepare chicken breasts: You may wish to spread the chicken breasts out and press them down to ensure the surfaces cook evenly. To these chicken breasts you add 2 Tbsp red chile powder and about half the ground cumin, thoroughly coating both sides with a thin layer of each. Once you have thoroughly coated the chicken breasts with the seasonings, set them on a baking sheet with a rack or a broiler pan and set them aside. Leave for the moment to permit the seasonings to be slightly absorbed by the chicken. While rice (see below) is being prepared, bake the seasoned breasts in 400ยบ oven. Depending upon size, the chicken should be fully cooked in about 30 minutes. (TIP: Chicken is fully cooked if juices run clear when pricked with a meat fork.)
    Mexican Rice

    Prepare my Quick New Mexico Rice: Put can of Hatch (or Rotel) diced tomatoes and green chiles including all the juice in a fairly large sauce pan, add water and the diced bell pepper and most of the onion, reserving about a half cup of the onion for later use. Now add reserved red chile powder and ground cumin to this liquid. Whisk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the seasoned mixture is boiling, add 3 cups Instant rice, stir to blend, turn the heat off and cover. After about 10 – 15 minutes, the liquid should have been fully absorbed by the rice. Now, fluff with a fork, cover and set aside. Easy, peasy!
    Prepare refritos: Place can of refried beans in 8” oven and microwave proof casserole dish. Top with reserved onions and enough of the grated Pepper Jack cheese to just cover. Reserve the bulk of the cheese for later use. Heat in microwave or oven until beans are heated through, onion is slightly softened and the cheese is bubbly hot. Set aside.
    Hatch Chiles Prepared
    Finish the Hatch chiles: Remove the cooled Hatch chiles from the plastic bag. Scrape off the easily removable skin, cut off stem end, split each pepper and remove the seeds (also membrane if you don’t want the heat, but leave it in if you do.) Then slice into long strips. (TIP, remember to wash those hands again!)
    Prepare your plates: Spoon about ¾ to 1 cup of the Mexican Rice onto center of the plate, top with one baked chicken breast, cover each chicken breast with grated Pepper Jack cheese. Now place Hatch chile strips over the chicken breasts. Put the plate into a still warm oven for 2-3 minutes to let the cheese melt. Then add refried beans to each plate. Garnish with remaining green onion tops, stand a few crisp tortilla chips up in the beans, sprinkle cilantro leaves over the plate.
One chile on one chicken breast

         This dish is delicious served with a fresh green salad using salsa for the dressing. Serve sides of guacamole, sour cream, more chopped onions, grated cheese, tortilla chips and small ramekins of chile con queso, if desired. Cold iced tea or lemonade is a great heat reliever!

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

Introspective


      I have been living and working as a Cultural Diversity teacher at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School in Suzhou, China for approximately 13 semesters now. I can honestly say, it has truly been fun and rewarding for me to teach here.

      When teaching I always try to insert humor into my lesson plans but when I first arrived in China. I quickly noticed that American humor is quite difficult for the Chinese to understand. Culturally speaking, what is humorous in one culture may not be entirely understood in other cultures. One reason for that is most humor is language based it’s a play on words and meanings.

      Physical humor on the other hand is universal and comic actors like Rowan Atkinson are very popular here in China. The Chinese, especially children, love watching short movie clips of Rowan Atkinson playing Mr. Bean.

      For me personally, I found out quickly from teaching here that I lack the proficient language ability to tell a good joke in Chinese. When I try to tell jokes to my Chinese students I’m told that I don’t have the right verbal cues that a Chinese person would use to make the jokes hilariously funny. My students do say, however, that I look funny when attempting to tell a joke in Chinese.

      When I was a kid I loved watching the old ‘Abbott and Costello’ movies on TV and part of their comic appeal was their ability to crosstalk, like in their classic, ‘who's on first’ routine. The crosstalk word play is an essential element in the ancient Chinese art of comedy as well. There is a centuries old tradition of Chinese stand-up called xiangsheng (crosstalk) and this sort of comedic art is funny in any culture.

      In most of the old comedy teams in America like ‘Abbott & Costello’ you will find a funny man and the straight guy. The same can be found in China and crosstalk is the major form of the comedy. Crosstalk began in Beijing where some comedic skits go as far back as the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

      In the 1960s comedy teams in America such as ‘Rowan and Martin’ used the politics of their day to bring in the laughs but here in China after 1949, political humor was banned. Modern times and modern politics have altered what can be funny in China and crosstalk was re-adapted. The humor is rather vanilla; this is the opposite of political satire.

      I have learned also that after 1949 comedians in China had to clean up their humor. They had to get rid of country bumpkin jokes because the peasants were the heroes of the Chinese revolution. Of course, all the sex and bawdiness was gone, too.

      What I find quite interesting though is that many young people here in China love ‘Jiong Situ.’ In English, Jiong Situ, is known as ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,’ Chinese netizens have taken to translating Stewart's show into Chinese and posting his humor online. The Chinese love posting political satire on the internet where they can remain anonymous from the internet police. Jon Stewart jokes are still a long way off from gracing Chinese prime time. His jokes are far too politically sensitive.

      A major source of internet satire in China is aimed at North Korea. In April of this year, a clip of a joke about North Korea went viral in China. Turns out jokes about North Korea are funny to both Chinese and American audiences.

      Improvisational comedy has become quite entertaining in China as well. If you have ever been to an Improv show, it's a pretty familiar scene. The audience shouts out suggestions, the players improvise a scene. Except that here in China players mix English and Chinese together it’s referred to as ‘Chinglish.’

      The topics at the Chinese comedy clubs are rather tame nothing to bawdy or political and I suppose that is a major reason I prefer American humor over Chinese humor. One thing I found interesting though in most of the Improvisational comedy clubs, the Chinese players do not want to be videotaped or recorded due to fear the videos or recordings will be posted online.

      I like to tell my Chinese students that in America, when it comes to political satire, such fear as to what we say or how we say it is unnecessary. We have our freedom of expression and that is something most entertainers in China envy about us Americans.

      I like telling my students that “laughter is the soul’s way of breathing,” it's also a natural healing power for whatever ails us.

      The Chinese have a saying “laughter is the shortest distance between people” and that saying is profoundly true in any culture.

      Humor has always been a perfect art form for connecting with others and I try to make the best of it in my classes here in Suzhou, China.
    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
    Email: introspective7@hotmail.com
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:
    http://thomasfoneill.blogspot.com

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

Irish Eyes

From SHAKESPEARE to CHRISTY MCCABE

“Shakespeare never has six lines together without a fault."

      Now what do you think of that? And who said it? Those words were written by Dr Samual Johnson. But my friend Pat Cavanagh, a member of Mensa and an all-round genius doesn’t agree. He has emailed me a list which is entirely made up by connecting phrases and quotes attributed to William Shakespeare, and I think it is very clever. Pat asks me to give some of the credit to Bernard Levin:
“If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is father to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness' sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.”

      Since I saw you last I came third in the International Storytelling Competition at the Sean McCarthy Memorial Weekend and the advice I got from the adjudicator, Pat Speight was, “Keep telling.”
Pat is one of Ireland’s best known storytellers. You’ll find him at Pat Speight.com

      Some time ago I wrote about how John Cassidy found an old Famine-pot in the townland of Cullinboy, in his native Donegal. Well that led to research which in turn revealed lesser known facts about the Irish potato famine. CIE Writers’ Group has now produced a historical DVD, “Famine Pot.” It is in the final stages of editing and if you have even a passing interest in Irish history this documentary is for you. Details at: irishfaminepots

       One of my former work colleagues, Christy McCabe, is a thinking and innovative man. He sent me the following;

      For those of my generation who do not and cannot comprehend why Facebook exists: I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles. Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell passersby what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later, and with whom. I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.

      I also listen to their conversations, give them the "thumbs up" and tell them I like them. And it works just like Facebook. I already have four people following me: two police officers, a private investigator, and a psychiatrist.

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

Veterans – The Unique Family


      They say only 1% of American’s will ever don a uniform and serve in the armed forces, so I guess that makes me a 1%’er in that sense. Curiously as I look through my friends list on FaceBook, I find a much higher percentage of vets as my friends and family. Perhaps there lies the keyword, “family”.

      Veterans of all branches come together forming a very unique brotherhood (Pardon my sexist terms, I have never been nor will I ever be politically correct.) that to my knowledge doesn’t exist anywhere else in society. People I’ve never known become instant close friends once we realize we’re both veterans, and I see this everywhere I look, it’s not just me. Despite the open rivalry between branches, against anyone and everyone else we are united as family, and we won’t let anyone talk bad about our brothers, even if they are squids, jar heads, zoomies, or even Coast Guards.

      I joined the Army well after Vietnam, just before the first gulf war commonly known as Desert Storm. Military still had far less respect from the public back then than they enjoy now. Nobody ever thanked us for our service until after 9/11 it seems when it became “en vogue” (to quote my company’s HR President last year) to do so. Getting a military discount at places was possible, but you had to look for it, and always had to ask for it whether in full uniform or not.

      I was always fine with that too. Like most vets, I didn’t join for the “great pay” or to be a hero. I had my own reasons and that was all I needed. Like most Vets, I don’t talk about my experiences or opinions with anyone other than family and my extended family of Vets. You wouldn’t understand it any more than I can explain well enough what I do for work now unless you too were employed in the telecommunications field. Then there are some things we just don’t want to talk about at all except to those we know would understand. My own wife, like millions of other spouses can’t understand that we think they wouldn’t understand if we told them.

      It’s not that we think they don’t care or that we don’t trust them, but we honestly think they won’t understand and I think a good part of that stems from our first day in the military. From day one it is beaten into our thick skulls that ONLY our buddy can help us. We don’t leave our buddy, they need us, we need them. We don’t leave anyone behind. Great heroes have risked life and limb to bring home lost buddies because of that principle. Even in basic training up until graduation we are led to believe even our leaders are out to get us, and in truth, they were. They are out to cull the ones who won’t make it. It takes a certain commitment and mindset to be a member of the armed forces and those who don’t have it will endanger themselves and others.

      So we learned to rely on each other and distrust everyone else from the beginning. In the field, down range, or wherever you want to call it is the crucible that sets and hardens the bond for a lifetime. When we finally come home, we will never again be the young boys and girls that ran off seeking a GI Bill or off to tour the world with wide eyes and soft feet. Every soldier, marine, airman, or sailor regardless of seeing combat will return different to varying degrees, but they will all share that common bond of brotherhood.

      Those who come home with deeper psychological scars will likely remain deep within their circle of brothers unless they can somehow overcome some of those scars and open up more, but they will likely never leave the circle completely. It’s who we are, and all we have when the VA turns against us, when the Government we swore allegiance turns against us, for some, even their families and communities turn against them. Even out of uniform for decades, our “buddies” still have our backs. It’s the only real insurance we have that is guaranteed.

      So if your Vet doesn’t want to talk about it. Don’t push, don’t blame them. It’s who we are, it’s how we survive and cope. Also please remember that Veterans Day is for all who served, past and present, alive or dead. Memorial Day is for remembering those who gave all. Please don’t thank a living Vet on this day, honor him by honoring the fallen.

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The Words

Another Poem that became a Song

Hello, Mary...!!

One Day, Jacqueline called by my place. We'd broken up as a couple some time ago, though still stayed friends, of course, as that's where we'd started. She said something that was (to me) quite profound. She said : "A piece of YOU came back, today". I joked, something like "I didn't notice anything drop off !", and she replied "It was a piece of your Heart, Phil". She had been out with some Friends, and got talking to a bunch of people in the garden of a local pub. As she got up to leave, one of the people said, (as a parting gesture) "Bless your Heart". Well, that's a term I use, you see.

Jacqueline said it reminded her of me, so that's why she came by to visit. It made me think quite deeply, because it was then that I realised how many terms, and words, or phrases and sometimes music, songs, even sounds and smells remind us of people we have known, past and present. It's not always the particular Words that we remember about those people, though - it's the way they made us FEEL that we remember most, I think, and the words are simply a trigger for that memory.

Tea, cakes and jam always seem to remind me of my Mum, and all those times she and I sat in a beach cafe at the local seaside resort and looked out, over the sea, eating scones, with cream and jam, and her telling me how that reminded her of Her mother, too. Funny. Certain Song titles sometimes remind us of a particular singer, or band, and then, beyond that, of someone we may have been with, the first time we heard it, and how we were Feeling, at that time. Know what I mean..?

As these thoughts entered my mind, I wrote them down on a scrap piece of paper, then later that day another friend (Daz) happened upon them, and started strumming a few chords on a guitar, and I said something like, "Oh, that sounds nice", to which he replied - this is a Song, here, not just a Poem. SO, my friends' words came Alive, and all the notes just fell into place.

Mary, here is the link to the Song.....*S*
*Bless your Heart*
Phil. The Words _ You Tube Link

The Words

A piece of you came back today
I spoke to someone in that way
that Special way, you speak out Loud
to raise each person from the crowd

Those words I spoke came straight from you
I passed them on, the same way, too
...that way you make each person feel
they're such special friends, so real

Each time I speak your words, I try
to use them Wisely, knowing why
...that corner of my heart for you
forever wide apart, ...so True

On every word I feel your smile
memories heard in sweet denial
no Caution, daring, intertwined
those thoughts we shared within our minds
©Published on Mar 24, 2015 Phil Hennessy

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The Journal of Life

 
I kept a journal of my life, each and every day
I captured all the changes, that happened along the way
In words, I wrote about my life years ago
I can't remember everything, but it's written so I know
Mom and Dad, my Brothers and Sisters, and my friends too
If you were a part of my life, there may be a part about you
I started out with a pen, but then switched to colored words
Each day was different, just like the many types of birds

Things that were forgotten, in my life long ago
Are cherished in these books, of those I use to know
Life is ever changing, people tend to leave
Yet they are remembered, within the life we weave

Another life it seems, has taken us to the present day
It's our own life, that brought us on the journey this way
Words upon the paper, day by day going by
Passing through this life, time sure does fly

As we get older, forgotten are some times
Ringing clearer in these pages, I heard once again the chimes
Every day and night, with each word I add
I think of all I have, and all the things I had
©August 3, 2015 Bud Lemire
Author Note:
I started my Journal, which I called Diary, in August of 1978.
I wrote down everything that happened to me throughout.
Events that happened in my life, people who were in my life.
I started out with pen, then by my second book, I was using colored
markers to change each day. These days, I type in my day's events.
I am now looking back, and seeing so much I forgot over the years.
The memories make me smile.

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You're Looking Right Through Me Again

You’re looking right through me again
Through my eyes
Through my mind
Every time 

I don’t know what to make of all these things
In your eyes
In your mind
Time after time

If I held out my hand to save you would you rather take a leave
If I walked away at midnight which story would you believe

You’re looking right through me again 
Through my thoughts
Through my dreams
Every time

I don’t know why everything must come to an end
Through my eyes
Through my heart 
Time after time

If I held out my hand to save you would you rather take a leave
If I walked away at midnight which story would you believe

You’re looking right through me again
Through my eyes
Through my mind
Every time 

©8/5/15 Bruce Clifford

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The Winds

 
Kingdoms come and kingdoms go.
For kings and queens are many
but always just Men and Women
Flowing through past what they know
 
Few born of women ever rise high enough
to secure from whence to watch civilizations
rise and fall
and such cycles for most all
can be hard to discern In the span given to most lives.

Even in a single life long of years
a word may change meaning
or a meaning can change words
and yeah the one living the life
may never notice
the flux that cut the bind
of the futured from the past.

Ere, long past memory of all alive,
common man knew
man could think thoughts large or small.
Even then few knew
the small thoughts
could gain power
as easily and perhaps more easy
than the large
for few in deed send out the large.

But small thoughts gather in coagulation
rather than pass through each other as different frequency notes.
In that gathering
they can become vastly larger
than the largest of individual thoughts
and in gestalt
bring forth a life all of their own.

In long ere times
men could perceive with mind
as well as eye
and they were called dragons.
For the forms could be seen
chasing the Past
as the dragons marched through the sky
in the opposite direction
of the progressions of times
Illustrated by the sun.

Men understood well
that it was the Passions of Mankind
that were the firey flames
emitted in the breathflow of the dragon
scorching all that stood in the way
of that which had become ordained
into life and action.

It was the way of the world
even before came death and taxes
had to be expected
that it was expected
that what went on the minds
became manifest and
affected the past
creating a new future
when the new sunrise
ate up the night
and caused to rise up another day
to go further and onwards.

Some dragons could be celebrated
for the golden gifts they left behind
but even the catastrophic
was considered to be beneficial
after the initial chaos
was reconfigured to benefit.
However the dragons
were a part of is
and life just was forced
to contend with.

Seasons came
and seasons went
and the eons
marched their ways
thru time
and the creation of man evolved anon
forthwith blustering through
to a focus differently
leaving behind the dragon lore
along with fairies
sprites and elves and trolls.
The existence remains
but the life is now
thus no longer known.

Man learned much
but still knew not
the freedoms of free will
that one could think what one learns to think
or even with training to think what one wants to think.
The dragons of afore
could be fought by the champion
and sometimes even slayed
but the ordinary had the view
and the saying came to be
that the wind blows where it wants to.

You hear its sound,
but you don't know where it comes from
or where it is going.
That's the way it is
and naught can be done about it
except accept
and live on.
Unless you're not the usual king or queen.

For it has come to be
in our current modern age
the fairies sprites
and elves and trolls
are only mythical
and unseen
and dragons are but trade winds
carrying the weather
from afar to near
and or
carrying away
yesterday’s clouds
for today's sun
or else the other way around.

The trade winds are vouchsafed
by all and sundry
to be moving and active
yet lifeless and certainly without consciousness,
and most certainly lacking
all or any attributes
of dragoness.

Yet still the wind is wild and free
and goes where it will
In spite of science
or dogma.
And if one earnestly whistles for the wind,
it will come to you
and caress softly a kiss
upon your cheek
even in the stillest quiet
of a stalled midsummer night.

And those greater Dragons also,
that today we think be just the wind,
they listen to more than whistling tunes
for their race is older than many
yet they have never ever aged
but rather just passed through
being this
or being that
in accordance to the rises and falls
that they are witness to.

Many a jack
and noble prince and king
they have watched
just as they have watched many a sweet unknown
in solitary closets
far from the marketplace
slowly elaborately
bringing forth extremely large thoughts
that would make a dragon want to frolic
in the autumn mist
In a land called honah lee
and travel on a boat
with billowed sail.

And now the age again progresses
ebbing and flowing
both in same
with an old ending
and a new emerging
and dragons peek out of caves
of isolation from mankind
and perceive the beckoning call
of those who once again
desire to play.
The eyes of dragons
serpents due
stirred by new delight
to frolic.

Priceless glittering jewels of thoughts
sent forth in asking
is anybody home
like a beacon
draws the attention
of constructs
of many commonnesses.
The dragons are leaving
the parts that formed the gestalts
to their own creators
and are lifting up their own cross
between creation and evolution
to go play a better game.

And all of science
and all of religion
and all of dragon slayers
and dragon hunters
and dragon wanna-be's
can go play their own games.

For the dragons know what they are looking for
when they see it
They been around for a long long long long time
and they haven't forgotten the play
that so many think is just nature
but is the God
of dragons too.
©circa mid-first decade of 2000's George Nelson aka geniii
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It's The Right Move

 
If your Mother's alive, do you visit her much?
If you live away, do you stay in touch?
She raised you, and did her very best
With her care and guidance, you are blessed
If you haven't been to see her in awhile
Because you're too busy, or because of the mile
Life is too short to neglect the good things
Soon she'll be riding upon Angel's wings

If you're holding some sort of grudge
That happened long ago and you won't budge
Think of how you'd feel when you get old
And your children won't visit because they are cold

Only you can bring out the sun
After all that is said and done
Only you can do the thing that is right
Shed some love and some Heavenly light
For once she is gone, you can't turn back time
You can't change a thing, you've crossed over that line

Do what you know to be right, and you'll be smart
You'll know it's the right move, feel it in your heart
Visit the one who was always there by your side
Do it soon, before it's too late and they've died

©August 7, 2015 Bud Lemire
                           Author Note:
So many people hold grudges against some family
member. And the grudges are so little and stupid,
and are held for too long. Forgive and move on,
and remember the good times you had before the
grudge even started. Don't hold onto that grudge.
Let it go, and set yourself free to be a better person.
Be there for the person who needs you there. Make
their last years happier and more pleasant. You
know it's the right thing to do. Look inside your
soul, and know, for the truth is there.

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The U.P. State Fair Again

 
I was at the U.P. State Fair again this year
As I watched all my money disappear
I enjoyed the barns and petting zoo
One of the monkeys reminded me of you
I saw kids in bubbles in a big swimming pool
The Mother and Daughter Trapeze act was pretty cool
Got stranded on Pirate Island and found some treasure
Eating Norm's fries was by the greatest pleasure

The Camel's face got too close to me
The Fab Four made me think of “Let It Be”
The Kangaroos were hopping around
Drowning pool shook me off the ground

The Art Exhibit had a great picture there
A Sunset at Indian Lake someone wanted to share
The Cheese Artist carved a big block of cheese
I'll take mine in small slices, if you please

There's always The Miracle Of Life at the Fair
You can see them happening everywhere
The Antique Village is a great place to see
I saw John eating popcorn under a tree

The Oriental place were selling their egg rolls
And I met some really wonderful souls
I saw many people having fun at the U.P. State Fair
So I took pictures, because that's why I was there
©August 21, 2015 Bud Lemire
                             Author Note:
I went three days to the U.P. State Fair this year and enjoyed each day.
I say this because I enjoyed watching people having fun. Which made
my photos even better. Because I could capture people at their best. I
did see Josh Thompson in concert and he put on a great show. There were
no birds in the barns due to the Bird Flu. But I saw all the other animals
that were there. the U.P. State Fair only comes once a year.
I enjoyed it as much as I could.

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See pic below

 

Sweat

 
On a hot and humid day I just seem to sweat
Underneath my hat, it's so very wet
Feeling so tired, energy is not there
All I want is to walk around in underwear
Ice in my glass, keeping liquid cold
Tastes so good to drink, and cool to hold
The fan is on, blowing air my way
Cooling down the place, on this summer day

Sweat on my back, sweat on my head
Into the shower, is where I am lead
I'm out again, and maybe I'll dry
Or boil in the heat, as the day goes by

A popsicle tastes good on this kind of day
Even ice cream or a rootbeer float is okay
So as I sit here, sweat runs down on me
I'll have me another glass of homemade ice tea

Oooh that tastes so good on this day so hot
Soothing cool, and seems to hit the spot
I guess I'll sit back and enjoy it anyway
As the sweat on my body trickles down on this summer day
©July 27, 2015 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
When it's hot, it's hot, but when it's humid, it's a wet day for all.
I keep cold liquids and ice around so I don't get dehydrated. It
feels good to keep me cool on a hot day. Also lotion is good so
your skin doesn't dry out. Lotion is good for that. Keep those
fans going, or the Air Conditioners going, and keep yourself cool.

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The Ballad Of Mike & Bev

 
Something happened most recently
Showing me again that love is the key
Two people joined, their love came together
To share a wonderful future, they could treasure
Mike use to live on my floor, I knew him as a friend
They were playing games together, time they would spend
Bev lives here also, she also played the game
Gradually their love grew stronger, which started the Flame

Who's to know who belongs together
Only they know the love that brings them pleasure
We never know who's a match to be
They listen to their heart and soul, very lovingly

It fills me up with happiness, whenever I see
Two loves come together, with all love can be
Life is too short to live without loving
Now they have a special bond, a little turtle doving

So what I want to say to you Beverly and Mike
Keep on loving each other, I'm going to ride my bike
Before I end this poem, I wish you both the best
The love you guys are sharing, is because you've each been blessed
©August 28, 2015 Bud Lemire
                            Author Note:
Mike & Bev, life is too short to spend alone. I am so happy you saw
the good qualities in each other and found the love that not everyone
can find. Life will not always be easy, but together as a team, you will
find a way through all the rocks on the road. Because your love will
carry you each through it all, together.

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Fun-eral

 
Everyone gathered for his wake
Each person there had their own take
Some of them knew him when he was a kid
They talked about all the things that he did
Some knew him when he was a man
Amazed by all he did and all he still can
Up until that moment when he had to leave
At this Wake though, no one came to grieve

Smiles on their faces, laughter out loud
Happiness settled, all over the crowd
At most Wakes you see faces with tears
At this one it was raised glasses with cheers

If you looked around, you wouldn't find a frown
Why among them, there was even a clown
He was taking balloons, and making all sorts of things
Making me think of the difference that every day brings

Boys and girls were dancing in the next room
It wasn't an ordinary Funeral as you would assume
All at once they gathered around
There came a squeak and another sound

All heads turned to the casket as it opened up
If you think this was it, you haven't heard enough
Up sat the deceased, with a smile on his face
Happy that all the people he loved, gathered in this place

He spoke loudly and here is what he said
“It's been a great party, but I'm not really dead
I thought it would be fun, and I listened and I heard
What you were saying about me, I heard every word
I realize now how much I touched you, and how much you touched me
I now understand just how our lives are really suppose to be”


Everyone was touched by what he just said
Then he collapsed and he lay down and was dead
But that wasn't the end of the story told here
He is remembered every day throughout every year
He touched so many people, and that's how it should be
When the soul is acknowledged, for what it gives to thee
©June 15, 2015 Bud Lemire
Author Note:
I always wondered how it would be if the Funeral and
Wake had a twist to it. We should actually be happy
that our loved ones who have passed are in a better place.
Yet we are sad because we no longer have their presence.
When we remember them each day as long as we live. We
keep them alive in our hearts and our souls. Until the time
comes when we shall meet them again in Spirit.

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Alchemist

 
In Twilight Dreamland's Sojourn's Journey's Pathways the Alchemist became aware of 
The Companion Joining
The greater light rose up and came down bringing forth the knowing that another day was awaiting
The Night was gone, it existed no more and with its passing the Alchemist found himself 
once more realizing
He was back in his humble home inside the catatonic body still wrapped in its slumber 
yet no longer sleeping
Memory of the night had been left behind as the first beginning lights of the breaking dawn flowed through the open window
From the loft, the Alchemist found his way down the ladder to the main room below awaiting
Spring dancing its awakening songs could be perceived in the scents and sounds of the early misty greyish gold hues of dawn
With a single sweeping glance the Alchemist assured himself that all was well and proper in the lab just as it had been those few hours before
All well and proper just as it had looked so many times before in all the decades of his pursuit's laborous endeavors and trials
The furnace had cooled back down to its black from the fiery glow yet the room still held the heat the fires had bequeathed to the rooms

The Alchemist paused at the foot of the ladder once standing upright to stretch forth his hands as he had countless times before
To the Universe he gave Praise and all Honor and Glory for bringing him back to its Beauty in thankfulness for his life
Drawing his hands together in bowing he gave Praise and all Honor and Glory to God for returning his Spirit to his Body
Rising erect he faced to the furnace itself and gave Blessings and Thanks for its humble faithful service
Exactly as he had done countless times before through the years of the decades he again went to the furnace

He already knew that in some Far Distant Future someday someone declared wise would be famous for saying
The definition of Insanity would be to Do The Same Thing over and over and over and Expect Different Results
And Religion and science and reason and wisdom of many of that day would insist that such was thus
Yet the Alchemist cared not one whit for that view for each and every time in all the countless times in all the countless befores
Just like this time as the Alchemist approached the furnace all the times of the past existed not in his zeal for the quest

The Alchemist worked the tools of his trade
With a great hook he opened the furnace and with a great rod he pushed aside the still glowing coals
With strong sturdy tongs he grasped the crucible and brought it to the altar with the greatest of care
The Chalice awaited there like a thousand times before to receive that which had been prepared

A thousand times and more the metal had been poured
A thousand times and more the metal had been left to cool
A thousand times and more the cooled metal had been recrushed
A thousand times and more he had been inspired to add this or a bit of that
A thousand times and more he had built the blazing fire
A thousand times and more he had placed the preparation in the furnace
And gone to the thousands and more dreams as the metal became fluid


Once more
chanting mindfully
praise to the All Mighty
Of which he had grown all these years to love greatly
The Alchemist poured the metal from the crucible to the chalice


Once more
chanting mindfully
praise to the All Mighty
Of which he had grown all these years to love greatly
The Alchemist took the cast ladle and drew aside the slag

The Alchemist paused
In the stillness of Awe


The metal!
Unlike the thousand and more times before
The metal was Crystal Clear
like the finest perfect gem that could be seen through
and seen within was an iridescent sparkling of an electric blue dancing

The Alchemist drew closer with heart beating in joy
Deep in the chalice the lights softly sparkled and glowed
thru changing hues the light rose to the surface to greet the Alchemist

The light broke through the surface to dance hovering in the air
to The Alchemist no thing in the world could ever matter again
as this wonderful blue light that enchanted his being

A tendril emerged and came unto The Alchemist
in a moment all the long years melted away
like slag off a metal the dust of years fell to the grounds
as The Alchemist straightened his back and lifted his head on his neck
The Alchemist merged into that light and two became one

And a tendril emerged from The Alchemist
and wove its way to the door pulling the Alchemist to follow

There before him were dancing in the light
all the new growths of spring
and the alchemist Knew them

All around The Alchemist all these years it had been there before him in open revelation
In all the birds of the air
In all the furry critters of the ground
In all the plants and their blooms

They were the codes, the knowledge he had been seeking
The matrix the dreams the kingdom the knowledge the very Quest itself in living revelation

All that is
All that ever was
All that will ever be

All That were tendrils
Emerging from the Alchemist to be what is becoming
In a great light that was made up of Knowledge and Wisdom Itself
dancing in embrace with The Alchemist

This great loving light began to flow
The Alchemist in great Joy followed rising to float through a window
In a seeming darkness of solidity the Alchemist could see a body in a bed in deep slumber
He knew absolutely it was his


The Alchemist returned to his still catatonic body wrapped in its slumber

The greater light rose up and came down bringing forth the knowing that another day was awaiting
The Night was gone, it existed no more and with its passing the Alchemist found himself once more realizing
He was back in his humble home inside the catatonic body still wrapped in its slumber yet no longer sleeping
Memory of the night's dream yet remained as the first beginning lights of the breaking dawn flowed through the open window
The Alchemist returned his awareness to the body and moved it to rise to the new day

The dream remained!

From the loft, the Alchemist found his way down the ladder to the main room below awaiting
Spring dancing it's awakening songs could be perceived in the scents and sounds of the early misty greyish gold hues of dawn
With a single sweeping glance the Alchemist assured himself that all was well and proper in the lab just as it had been those few hours before
All well and proper just as it had looked so many times before in all the decades of his pursuit's laborous endeavors and trials
The furnace had cooled back down to its black from the fiery glow yet the room still held the heat the fires had bequeathed to the rooms
The Alchemist paused at the foot of the ladder once standing upright to stretch forth his hands as he had countless times before
To the Universe he gave Praise and all Honor and Glory for bringing him back to it's Beauty in thankfulness for his life
Drawing his hands together in bowing he gave Praise and all Honor and Glory to God for returning his Spirit to his Body
Rising erect he faced to the furnace itself and gave Blessings and Thanks for its humble faithful service
Exactly as he had done countless times before through the years of the decades he again went to the furnace
He already knew that in some Far Distant Future someday someone declared wise would be famous for saying
The definition of Insanity would be to Do The Same Thing over and over and over and Expect Different Results
And Religion and science and reason and wisdom of many of that day would insist that such was thus
Yet the Alchemist cared not one whit for that view for each and every time in all the countless times in all the countless befores
Just like this time as the Alchemist approached the furnace all the times of the past existed not in his zeal for the quest
The Alchemist worked the tools of his trade
With a great hook he opened the furnace and with a great rod he pushed aside the still glowing coals
With strong sturdy tongs he grasped the crucible and brought it to the altar with the greatest of care
The Chalice awaited there like a thousand times before to receive that which had been prepared
A thousand times and more he had built the blazing fire
A thousand times and more the metal had been poured
A thousand times and more the metal had been left to cool
A thousand times and more the cooled metal had been recrushed
A thousand times and more he had been inspired to add this or a bit of that
A thousand times and more he had placed the preparation in the furnace
And gone to the thousands and more dreams as the metal became fluid
Once more
chanting mindfully
praise to the All Mighty
Of which he had grown all these years to love greatly
The Alchemist poured the metal from the crucible to the chalice
Once more
chanting mindfully
praise to the All Mighty
Of which he had grown all these years to love greatly
The Alchemist took the cast ladle and drew aside the slag
The Alchemist paused
In the stillness of Awe

The metal!
Unlike the thousand and more times before
The metal was Crystal Clear
like the finest perfect gem that could be seen through
and seen within was an iridescent sparkling of an electric blue dancing

The Alchemist drew closer with heart beating in joy
Deep in the chalice the lights softly sparkled and glowed
thru changing hues the light rose to the surface to greet the Alchemist
The light broke through the surface to dance hovering in the air
to The Alchemist nothing in the world could ever matter again
as this wonderful blue light that enchanted his being
A tendril emerged and came unto The Alchemist
in a moment all the long years melted away
like slag off a metal the dust of years fell to the grounds
as The Alchemist straightened his back and lifted his head on his neck
The Alchemist merged into that light and two became one
And a tendril emerged from The Alchemist
and wove its way to the door pulling the Alchemist to follow
There before him in the early light of dawn upon the still remaining snows of the current winter season
were dancing as lights all the new growths of a new spring shimmering in the view of the Alchemist
For the Alchemist Knew them now although their time was not yet upon the earth
The Alchemist now held the knowing that they all danced within him yearning to come out and dance with him
The Alchemist walked into the snowy yard and went down to his knees and kissed the earth in Love
Then he lifted up his eyes to shimmering skies lightening to a new day and gave a shout of glee
at last his life had now begun

©circa 2009 George Nelson aka geniii

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The Adventures of Ollie-Dare - Chapter 5

OLLIE-DARE GOES CAMPING

Summer soon came within the forest, and all the forest was busy gathering food for winter, and enjoying the Summer days. Many nights were spent sitting by the stream and reflecting upon days gone by. This was Ollie-Dare's favorite time of the day, and he enjoyed the simple pleasure of listening to the stream's music as the water flowed over the rocks. Throughout the evening all the animals of the forest would come and go, each bringing news of their day, and warm, good nights.

As darkness took over the evening sky, Ollie-Dare would make his way back to his cave and settle in for an hour or so of reading. And on this night, he had a new book to read that his friends had given him for his birthday. He read up into the night, and again the next morning with tea.

The book told of different adventures, and Ollie-Dare found one adventure that sounded like fun. Now it seemed people that lived in cities and towns like to go into the woods and stay for a thing called vacation. They cooked on the open fires, fished from the streams. Now since Ollie-Dare did all these things often, he couldn't understand why everyone seemed to think this was so great.

Ollie-Dare, being a wise bear, knew that he wasn't reading what the people were feeling. Ollie-Dare thought on the subject, and once again decided he must leave his forest to seek the answers.

Upon gathering by the stream the next day, he told his friends of his findings, and his plans to learn more about why people enjoyed camping. As usual, Jimmy the Rabbit begged to go along, but Ollie-Dare knew that without the forest walls, there would be danger. And he didn't want his friends to come to harm, so with a promise that he would tell them everything, he started upon his journey.

Now Ollie-Dare wasn't sure where he was going, where he should go, or how he was going to get there. He started walking along the river's edge, and he walked for miles before coming upon the area where the river widened. The river had grown into a huge body of water, and seemed to flow into the sunset. Ollie-Dare was amazed that the forest river would flow this far and grow this big. He made a mental note of this for Jimmy, and began to walk again. Now Ollie-Dare was a wise bear, so he took his time and listened for changes in the wind and in the sounds of nature.

He had walked several miles when he began to smell smoke, and sure enough, human voices. Slowly, Ollie-Dare walked until he came upon a clearing. There before him was a sight to see - a large canvas structure stood beneath the trees, a fire glowed just beside it, there were boxes of some sort, and a table, and hung on a metal pole was a lantern. Two men sat around the fire, and next to the water's edge stood long metal poles, with lines that disappeared into the water.

A smell of something filled the air that Ollie-Dare hadn't smelled before, he knew it was not tea. However, it had a pleasant smell, and Ollie-Dare was curious of what it was.

Ollie-Dare stepped closer, not quite sure if he should be seen, when one of the men looked his way. At first the man didn't say a word, just stared at Ollie-Dare, then suddenly a smile came upon his face and he called, "Are you Ollie-Dare the wise bear?"

At this Ollie-Dare was at a loss for words, for how could this man know of him. The man called, "I am a friend of Max the river boat pilot and he speaks of you often. Come, we mean you no harm."
Ollie-Dare, remembering his friend Max, joined the two men by the fire. They shook hands and introduced themselves as Keith the campground manager, and Jim the contractor.

The nice aroma Ollie-Dare soon learned was a brew called coffee, and even though it didn't have the same smooth delicate taste of Ollie-Dare's fresh tea, it was still quite tasty. Ollie-Dare listened to the often-funny stories that Keith and Jim told, and the fish tales that he was certain grew with each telling. He enjoyed the teasing between the two men, and felt at home. Ollie-Dare told them of his forest and his best friends, and asked many questions about Max.

Soon evening came and the sun was painting the sky with colors of warm orange. After telling the men of his quest, they had invited Ollie-Dare to join their vacation, so he settled in for a little much needed rest.

Sunrise came and again Ollie-Dare enjoyed the taste of coffee plus fresh pancakes that Jim had prepared. Keith was already busy gathering the equipment they would need for their day of fishing, and presented Ollie-Dare with a very nice gift of a fishing pole for his use. Ollie-Dare was looking forward to his day and happy that he had found two new friends.

Soon, off they went to do their fishing, and Ollie-Dare smiled to himself, for he had fished all his life and knew very well where the best spot would be. He thought he would just surprise his two friends come supper time. You could hear laughter as the three set off, and friendly words of teasing about how one would bring the others' meal home. It reminded Ollie-Dare of his best friends and how much he missed them. But soon he would return with stories to tell and long evenings to tell them in.

As the day wore on, Ollie-Dare loaded his basket with fresh trout. When he made his way back to camp, he came upon fresh berries that he stopped and picked, thinking he would surprise his friends with a fresh baked berry pie. He entered the camp about the time the men did, and upon seeing his catch, the men were laughingly ashamed of the few they had managed to bring.

Ollie-Dare volunteered to fix his first camp-site supper, with the approval of the openly pleased men. And as he started his work, the men asked questions on Ollie-Dare's fishing secrets. Ollie-Dare was all too pleased to share his knowledge, and offered more tips on staying in the wild. Keith and Jim gathered around and soon their plates were piled high with fresh trout and baked pie. Ollie-Dare had prepared fresh tea for them to drink, and cool water from the spring he had found. They were all happy and full, and once again the sound of laughter could be heard along the river's banks.

Ollie-Dare finally asked the question, "Why do you find camping so much fun, when I have read of the giant parks you enjoy, and the tourist towns filled with so much to do?"

Keith answered with a grin, "Well, my friend, those places are nice, but here we can relax and enjoy the fresh crisp air of morning, the cool breeze of dusk. Here, the birds sing, and the crickets call their soothing melodies. Time here, seems to stop, there are no telephones, or blaring horns. In our world everything's in such a hurry."

Jim added, "And don't forget the smell of wood in the air, and the aroma of fresh caught fish. There is nothing like it, my friend."

Ollie-Dare thought for a moment and answered, "Well, I can understand these things, but you must realize that my forest and its creatures must do this to live. We depend upon the fresh water streams to eat, and the wild berries. The open air is our home and the birds in song our music. We use the forest wisely, and respect it with our hearts. I have seen much destroyed by man that can not be replaced, for not all men are as kind and as wise as the two of you."

Knowingly, both the men shook their heads, and sadness filled their eyes. "Ollie-Dare," asked Jim, "How can we help you and your forest stay safe?"

Ollie Dare thought upon Jim's words before answering, "I am not sure, my friend, but reporting carelessness, and spreading the word to do this reporting, you can help keep our forest litter free, and green. Tell your children about the forest and how it needs protection. Teach them how to camp with safety and not start fires. Fish from our rivers, but take the trash with you, camp in and share our home, but respect it. I think in all these things we can live as friends."

"Those are very wise words, Ollie-Dare," said Keith, "and we will begin a campaign to see that our children learn these things, and we will report those that do not respect the land."

As Ollie-Dare left the camp-site the next morning, his new friends called to him with warm words of farewells. Ollie-Dare traveled for several days before he finally began to see the sights of home. In the distance he could hear Fanny singing, and Nibbles calling from her treetop nest. As always, Ollie-Dare was glad to be back within the forest walls, for there was no place like home.

Soon he entered his cave and it wasn't long before the fresh aroma of tea filled the air. Ollie-Dare, smiling, set out four cups and waited, for he knew that it wouldn't be long before his friends would be coming through the door. Not being disappointing, they entered several minutes later full of questions on Ollie-Dare's new adventure.

They sipped tea and listened with wide eyed wonder at the things that Ollie-Dare had seen, and done. Jimmy was excited that next year they would come to the forest, and he, too, could meet Ollie-Dare's new friends.

ACE asked "Ollie-Dare, can these new friends help in protecting our forest, or better yet, will they try?"

Ollie-Dare answered, "Yes, Ace, they can help, and by doing their part they can teach others. Yes, my new friends were men of their words. You and all the forest creatures can help also, by respecting man and by teaching others to care. By doing this, the forest and the land beyond the forest will be here for generations to come."

©2002 Rebecca Morris
Next month: Ollie Dare Has A Birthday

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