Sunday, November 1, 2015

Editor's Corner

November 2015

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but simply moving on with dignity despite that fear."--Pat Riley 
Making choices is a daily activity for each of us. From those choices we learn lessons, and as the quote suggests, courage can also be gained by proceeding in a dignified manner even when we fear it could be the wrong decision. Our beloved poet Phillip Hennessy wrote a poem a few years ago that he called "You Cannot Move On" which was published in our January 2014 issue.

 Recently he emailed us this news:
Hello, Mary.
Another of our Poems (You cannot Move On) has become a Song...
video of the song
Song info shows: Published on Oct 20, 2015
Music by Lilia Ricci
Lyrics by Phil Hennessy
Video "Estrellas del Bicentenario"

For those who like to follow along on the lyrics, we are showing them in this issue with the new song title of "It is Time to Move on."

We are planning our December issue already and need everyone to get their work in as soon as possible. We are showing the latest submission this month from Eric Shackle who has been inactive awhile, and LC Van Savage also contacted us with the desire to resume her column "Consider This." We happily welcome both.

John I. Blair sent along a poem, "Woodpecker," and "Don't Know What to Believe" and "You Opened up Your Heart" comes in from Bruce Clifford. The Don'ts have it this November with Bud Lemire showing "Don't Drink and Drive," "Don't Ignore The Signs," then a more positive title, "Heaven in My Eyes."

"Armchair Genealogy" by Melinda (Carroll) Cohenour, discusses coincidences in the past with the present family and friend associations. "Introspective" arrives from China authored by Thomas F. O'Neill, focusing on China's limited child policy. "Irish Eyes" from author Mattie Lennon, announces Barry Kinane's new album of Irish ballads. "Cooking with Rod" by Roderick Cohenour brings an excellent dish of Green Chile Stew.

Rebecca Morris' serial "The Adventures of Ollie Dare" continues with Chapter 7 "Ollie-Dare Has A Thanksgiving" for this issue. Your reading youngsters should enjoy this one.

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.

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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.

Armchair Genealogy

Lives Intertwined, Roots Buried Deep

    In the course of my genealogic research into my ancestors and their siblings, in-laws and, sometimes, their foes, the lives that have been revealed to me have often been eerily intertwined in ways that one might never imagine.

    For instance, I’ve discovered that ancestors of my great grand parents, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard and William Henry Bullard fought side-by-side to vanquish the English and their allies during the Revolutionary War almost 100 hundred years to the day before they married. Over-the-mountain man (**) from Burkes County, North Carolina, Captain Martin Davenport (Malinda’s great grandfather, maternal) and mounted rifleman Colonel Joseph Bullard (William Henry’s 2nd great grandfather, paternal) living in the Nolichucky settlement in eastern Tennessee joined the battle under two different leaders and from two different directions.

Gathering of the Mountain Men at Sycamore Shoals

    Although they had cleared land, built cabins and brought up children in adjacent states the distance between their homesteads (that would be merely a partial day’s drive in modern times) was so significant it is unlikely they would have shared the same spot of land without such a dire threat to their freedom. Those two ancestors shared the victory of King’s Mountain. Marching to the battle from eastern Tennessee and from North Carolina, respectively, they accomplished the defeat of the despised young British Major Patrick Ferguson. Ferguson was young, boastful, brash, and talented. No dummy, he was the inventor of the Ferguson Rifle. (*) He was from Scotland but fought for the British Army. He was so antagonistic toward Patriots and, reportedly, harsh in his treatment of those he encountered that his name became a rallying cry that ultimately led to his defeat and death at the Battle of King’s Mountain.

Colonel Cleveland's War Prize Oct. 7, 1780

King's Mountain, North Carolina Painting by Don Troiani memorializing the defeat of Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of King's Mountain
(*) The Ferguson rifle was one of the first rifles to be put into service by the British military. It fired a standard British carbine ball of .615 caliber and was used by the British Army in the American War of Independence at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, and possibly at the Siege of Charleston in 1780.[1] Its superior firepower was unappreciated at the time because it was too expensive and took longer to produce – the four gunsmiths making Ferguson's Ordnance Rifle could not make 100 in 6 months at four times the cost per arm of a musket.
The action was adapted from the earlier 1720 Isaac de la Chaumette design by Major Patrick Ferguson (1744–1780), who redesigned it around 1770. He received an English patent in December of 1776 (number 1139) on details of the design.
The largest battle in which the rifles were used was the Battle of Brandywine, in which Ferguson was wounded. SOURCE: Various extracts from Wikipedia at: (**) Over-the-Mountain Men (deriving from Westernmost North Carolina, now East Tennessee, and now Southwest Virginia), according to Professor Lyman C. Draper, the noted Frontier historian, in his authoritative book Kings Mountain and Its Heroes (1881)

    And the mention of Major Patrick Ferguson leads me to a further intertwining of lives and fortunes among my direct bloodline ancestors. Ferguson had adapted a rifle designed in 1720 and patented in December of 1776 as the Ferguson Rifle. “The largest battle in which the rifles were used was the Battle of Brandywine, in which Ferguson was wounded.” And research has disclosed that my 5th Great Grandfather, paternal line, Joshua Logan Younger, after surviving the deathly winter at Valley Forge, fought under General George Washington at the Battle of Brandywine. There he received a permanently disabling injury – possibly from one of those Ferguson rifles. Joshua Younger’s pension application of 6 Oct 1821 (Nicholas County, Kentucky) attests to that wound being the basis of his plea for recompense. (See attached my transcription of the original application.)
Kentucky, Nicholas County (to-wit) Joshua Younger appeared before me, a Justice of the Peace for said County and made oath that he entered in the year 1777 in Capt. Volpes – Company of the 12th Virginia Regiment of the Continental line commanded by Col. Wood for during the war and that he continued in service until he was wounded in the Battle of Brandywine and was honorably discharged at the Barracks at Winchester in the year (blank) by Col. Wood on account of his being disabled by said wound and that he has never rec’d nor sought bounty for said services.
Joshua Younger
Sworn to and subscribed before me and I certify that the deponent Joshua Younger is a credible witness on oath given under my hand on this 6th day of Oct. 1821.
John Carter JofP
Kentucky, Nicholas County (to-wit)
James Fitchpartrick a credible person on oath declares on oath that he was in the same Company and Regiment with the above named Joshua Younger in the Revolutionary War and well knows that said Younger enlisted for during the war in the 12th Virginia Regiment as he has just stated in his affidavit and that he knows that sd. Younger was honorably discharged in the year 1780 of inability on account of a wound he rec’d in the Battle of Brandywine and that he knows this to be the same Joshua Younger ----
James Fitchpartrick

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 6th day of October 1821
John Carter JofP

    The coincidences of association do not end here; however. In my research, I discovered that both Joseph Bullard and Martin Davenport were friends with Waightstill Avery and his son, Isaac T. Avery: In those same letters to Draper, (correspondence between Lyman Draper author of the book "King's Mountain and It's Heroes" and J.C. Harper of Patterson, NC.), W. W. Lenoir says of Capt. Martin Davenport, "He was a good hunter as well as a favorite soldier and scout of Cleveland and was in afteryears a favorite with Waightstill Avery and his son Isaac T Avery. He was often a welcome guest at their hospitable abode.”

    Joseph Bullard would have a professional relationship with Waightstill Avery: Waightstill Avery represented Joseph Bullard in a North Carolina courtroom where Joseph was charged to uphold his commitment to serve in the Continental Army for the duration of the revolutionary war. Avery won the case; Joseph Bullard was serving with Colonel John Sevier, who would become the first Governor of the State of Tennessee in 1796.

    Waightstill Avery played a large role in North Carolina history. Born in Norwich, Connecticut, he studied law at Princeton. He later emigrated to North Carolina where he was licensed to practice law in 1769. He settled in Charlotte and in May of 1775 when the first rumblings of revolution were heard in that state, he became one of the signatories of the Mecklenburg Resolves, basically a document declaring independence from the British rule. Cornwallis, in his wrath at that “affrontery” would order the law office of Waightstill Avery to be burnt to the ground – and it was, all documents, law library, and equipment and furnishings. Avery would; however, show his resolve by serving with the North Carolina militia. When then Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry, issued the Treaty of Long Island of Holston, 20th July 1777, Governor Caswell (North Carolina) named among his appointees, Waightstill Avery. Waightstill would go on to serve as the first Attorney General of the State of North Carolina, a position that he resigned after some disagreements among the militia members of Jones County. He then moved to Burke County in 1781 where he remained until his death in 1921. (SOURCE: Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851, Vol. II)

    In 1972, in Dallas, Texas, your author would meet Tod Robinson Collett, III, the 4th great nephew of Waightstill Avery (and the great-great grandson of Tod Robinson Caldwell, the first governor of the State of North Carolina. Gov. Caldwell was also an attorney and resided for many years in Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina.) When we met, I was employed as the legal secretary and paralegal to Bill E. Brice, an attorney of great intellectual and strategic planning capabilities. Tod was at that time the President of a subsidiary of Carterfone Communications Corporation which was then headed by James K. Devlin and chaired by Bill Brice. Mr. Brice’s representation of Carterfone in a case against AT&T would bring not only fame, but provide a landmark decision in law that still affects no less than three major specialties of law: communications, engineering, and monopoly. After several years of a professional association, Tod and I enjoyed a close personal relationship for a number of years following his divorce from the delightful Suzie Wigginton.

    These fascinating coincidences (is there such a thing as coincidence?) would never have become known to me without my love of genealogy and my drive to always pursue the story behind the facts. Through in-depth research of each person within my tree and my desire to confirm the facts, I often go beyond the normal search methodology and consider all the ways in which I can learn more about the person whose life I am revealing. Through the Internet we are given a virtually limitless source of material to bring each of the names on our tree to life. Use that resource! Think creatively to dig out those facts that seem elusive or intrigue your mind. There is no end to the satisfaction to be gained through armchair genealogy.

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Eric Shackle Column

W.S. Gilbert, a world-class rhymester, claimed in an open letter to The Graphic in 1887:
'It has long been supposed that there is no rhyme to 'month.' There is a rhyme to it--not any lisping version of such words as 'once' 'dunce,' etc., but a legitimate word in everyday use... 'millionth' as the best rhyme to 'month,' and I have the authority of the greatest poets in the English language for treating it as a tri-syllable,
if I feel disposed to do so.'

One of our favorite rhymes is:
Shake, shake the ketchup bottle,
First none'll come, and then a lot'll.

No, the famous U.S. humorist Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was NOT the author of that immortal couplet, although many people claim he was. (He DID write Candy / is dandy / But liquor / is quicker.)

One website, noting that August 19 was the anniversary of Nash's birthday, gave this circumstantial but misleading account:
"One summer afternoon in 1930, he jotted down a little nonsense poem and sent it to The New Yorker. The magazine bought it, and asked for more. Nash moved to Baltimore and for the next 40 years made his living entirely off of poems like:
You shake and shake the ketchup bottle,
nothing comes, and then a lot'll.

According to Nash's grand-daughter, Frances R. Smith of Baltimore, Maryland (and she should know) what he actually wrote was:
The Catsup Bottle
First a little
Then a lottle
(Catsup is another American word for ketchup. Brits and Aussies call it tomato sauce.)
Then, in 1949, another US humorist, Richard Willard Armour (1906-1989), seems to have gleefully seized on Nash's rhyme, and produced the couplet that many people enjoy reciting to this day.

Armour was a master of the comical one-liner. Here are three of his wisecracks:
  • Middle age is the time of life / that a man first notices in his wife.
  • It's all right to hold a conversation, but you should let go of it now and then.
  • A rumor is one thing that gets thicker instead of thinner as it is spread.

Apart from lot'll, it's not difficult to find a suitable rhyme for bottle. We can think of throttle, wattle, dottle (a plug of tobacco remaining in a pipe after a smoke), glottal and mottle.

Ogden Nash found a rhyme for parsley by slightly changing the spelling of ghastly. He wrote Parsley / is gharstly.

Posted by Eric Shackle at 14:22

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Cooking with Rod

Rod’s Green Chile Stew

Rod Cohenour - Halloween 2015

    Brrrr! This time of Fall heading into Winter, my thoughts turn automatically to warm soups and wonderful, thick stews which stick to the ribs and warm the bones. Nothing in the world – in my opinion anyway – is more wonderful than a great Green Chile Stew made with my beloved Hatch green chiles, of course. This is one that I am proud to share and hope that everyone who sees it tries it. It is remarkably hearty, tasty and economical as well. It can be made very hot (i.e., Hatch especiale chiles) to mild, but satisfying (using Hatch Regular or Mild chiles). Any way you make it, it is sure to be a hit. Each dinner guest can customize their bowl with condiments and toppings such as sour cream, pepper jack cheese shreds, sweet cold crisp radish slices, cilantro, tostado chips dropped in the bowl or served alongside. Sweet creamery butter on hot flour tortillas are my favorite along with a few fresh leaves of cilantro for that extra fresh bite.

    One other neat aspect of this Treat (pardon me, I could not resist this as it is Halloween) is that you can use it in different ways. Not only is it a superb stew, but using just the basic chile-pork-broth mixture with just a bit of flour or corn meal slurry stirred in becomes a marvelous topping for blue corn tortilla enchiladas and even to spoon over homemade pork tamales or rice. This is a really versatile meal for your cooking repertoire.

    Bon appetit!

  • 24 oz. frozen containers of chopped roasted Hatch green chiles.
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 lbs lean pork stew meat, cubed
  • 4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes, chunked, skin on.
  • 1 32 oz container chicken broth
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Vegetable oil, to spray pot and prevent sticking.
Spray pan, (I use electric skillet). Season pork cubes with cumin and Chile powder to taste. Brown pork lightly.
Add liquids, tomatoes, chiles to pan. Bring to boil, lower heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add potatoes, cover, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer about 1-2 hours.
    Wonderful side dishes to enhance flavors:
    • Warm flour tortillas with butter as an optional side
    • Crisp cold radish slices
    • Fresh cilantro leaves
    • Pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded or grated
    • Sour cream
    • Crisp tostados
    • Crackers
    • Sliced green onions, bulb and green portions

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Irish Eyes

The Hills Above The Valley

    Some years ago I was producing a DVD, "Sunrise on the Wicklow Hills” and it was a struggle to get fourteen or fifteen Wicklow songs. It would appear that there was a dearth of songwriters in the Garden County. All that has changed. Wicklow singer/songwriter Barry Kinane has brought out an album,
“The Hills above the Valley.”

    All are Wicklow songs which, in the true ballad tradition, tell tales of love, hardship, tragedy, hope and humour.
  • The Hills Above the Valley.
  • Where Brook Waters Flow.
  • Biddy Mulvey and the Landgrabber.
  • Mrs O’s Delight.
  • Mary.
  • Cockahoof.
  • The Ballyknockan Band.
  • Ballinahown.
  • A Stonecutter’s Journey.
  • Madonna and Lion.

    All songs are composed and sung by Barry, who grew up in Ballyknockan is married with two children and lives in Carrigacurra, overlooking the beautiful Blessington Lakes. He has been a songwriter and composer of music most of his life and started playing in bands as a teenager.

    In the past decade he has released eight albums, five with critical acclaimed band Glyder, a solo album, a project album with "Maggie Simpson" and an album with The Whole Hog Band. His music has been played on BBC, RTE and their equivalent stations in Sweden, Germany and Norway as well as rock shows all over the world. A track was played on the legendary “Nights with Alice Cooper" show which was syndicated all over the world. While in Glyder he toured all over Europe and opened for international acts like Metallica, Slash, Thin Lizzy and many more. Glyder were a well-respected band in the rock scene in UK and Europe and the albums were released internationally on SPV (Steamhammer) for Europe and USA and JVC Victor for Asia. In 2010 I released a solo album, “A Lifetime to Kill" described as "folk prog" by Hot Press magazine. It featured Johnny Cash's bass player Dave Rorick as well as top Irish musicians Rob Strong and Pat McManus. It got favourable press and some airplay in Ireland on RTE and regional shows.

    He recently released a country and Bluegrass album, which he recorded and produced in his own studio with The Whole Hog Band album called "Ordinary Days". It features some of Ireland's finest bluegrass musicians. It received the award of best debut album at the Leinster Entertainment Awards.
Details from Barry at:

    Barry has been finalist in many song writing competitions and in 2014 won the prestigious Sean McCarthy Ballad Writing Competition in Listowel, Co. Kerry. He says, “ I have written in many styles ranging from rock, folk, country, metal, pop and soul.”

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Consider This

Mrs. Olyphant's Frogs

   Mrs. Olyphant was probably one of the earliest hippies on record although the name had not yet been invented back then. She was tall, her hair thick, streaked dark blond and pulled back into a very long braid. She lived largely off the land high atop a tall hill, growing everything edible, and she wore long, flowing home-made clothing. She strummed her dulcimer at night while her husband who also had a very long braid, only his was grey, dozed in his chair near the fire.

   A good woman was Mrs. Olyphant who kept her own counsel. She hummed, sang or whistled tuneless tunes while she farmed her land. She loved all people and would share or give away anything she owned if a person expressed a need, and she was joyful.

   However, there was one part of Mrs. Olyphant’s existence that was off limits, totally forbidden and never shared; her collection of beloved frogs. She collected frogs from lakes and streams throughout the Northeast and then quartered them in a pond she’d dug and half-barrels she’d filled with water as well as a creek which bordered her property. Mrs. Olyphant loved newts and snails, turtles, caterpillars, most fish, snakes and worms too, but her frogs had the edge. She loved them with an unusual passion. She fed them exotic frog cuisine she sent away for, let them hibernate and procreate and she worshiped these amphibians that came from her far-reaching travels and were of every frog color and size.

   The good Mrs. Olyphant did not know that the young girl who lived a mile away also loved things that crept and slid, swam and slithered. Her name was Annie and she’d had her eye on Mrs. Olyphant’s frogs ever since she’d sneaked up the tall hill three years before and saw them all in the late spring, hearing them calling for mates, watching them leap, swim, dive and gleam. She loved them. Coveted them. Planned to steal them. But only when she could determine that the kindly Mrs. Olyphant was harvesting or planting things which would keep her away from the pond, creek and half-barrels.

   Young Annie crept up the tall hill carrying a blue plastic bucket and small net with which to snag and bring home her booty. She would care dearly for them, as had Mrs. Olyphant. Annie would feed, love and hold them and give them good lives in their new digs quickly after she’d scooped them up and oh so gently stuffed them in her pail and sped home on her waiting bike. In her mind she’d practiced often how to make the heist, being sure to not hurt the creatures. She’d fill that bucket and be back down the tall hill, onto her two wheeler and into her own back yard where she’d prepared a proper little pond with a few thriving lily pads she’d pinched from a neighbor’s small lake in the other direction.

   Gripping her bucket and net, Annie crept slowly toward the first half-barrel having staked it out a week before, knowing it was filled with beautiful frogs of an unusual color. She lowered her small net into the half-barrel. Suddenly Mrs. Olyphant burst from her highbush blueberries, saw Annie, and like an enraged mother tiger charged at the frightened girl. She stopped at the half barrel and began to run her hands through the murky water, turned and shouted “Annie, what have you done?”

   Annie stuttered, “Oh! Hello there, Mrs. Olyphant. Oh! Wait!! I hear my mother calling!” and she turned and ran fast down the tall hill toward her bike and raced away.

   “Mother indeed!” shouted Mrs. Olyphant. “You live a mile away Annie. Don’t you ever dare come back, not ever!”

   Annie skidded into her driveway and ran behind her home toward her own small frogless pond. She looked into her bucket and there saw 5 tiny amphibians shaky, wet, but unharmed. Looking over her shoulder to make sure Mrs. O. wasn’t hot on her trail, Annie tipped the frogs into her own pond where they lived and thrived and soon created thousands of beautiful, slippery descendants of Mrs. Olyphant’s cherished vertebrates, and Annie never regretted her caper.

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The Adventures of Ollie-Dare - Chapter 7

OLLIE-DARE Has A Thanksgiving

The cool days of Fall that had prepared the great Forest for Winter were slowly leaving. In their wake, cold northern air was creeping into the forest. Most of the animals had stored and prepared for the winter snows, and all was quiet within the forest walls. The days still gave way to some warm sunlight, and Ollie-Dare not wanting to venture in just yet, was taking an evening stroll along the river's edge. Winters were a lonelier time in the forest, for most of the creatures stayed snug and warm, and didn't go out and about. But Ollie-Dare knew that he would see his best friends out this evening, for like him, they lingered in the cold evening air. As he joined his best friends Jimmy the rabbit, Ace the coon, and Banjo the Fox, they began walking and reflecting on the days ahead. Now Jimmy wasn't one to let a little cold and snow stop him, but the other three would stay closed in for the next few months.

Ollie-Dare began telling his friends of something he had read. "It seems," he said, "that people celebrate a thing called Thanksgiving. Now I have read much about this and find it to be a interesting thing."

Ace asked, "And just what is a Thanksgiving, and why would anyone celebrate it?"

Ollie-Dare began to tell his friends of what he had read. "It seems that many years ago people came here from far away, and they settled. Now they came here to find new lives and adventures, and upon getting here found other people here. Now these people had been here throughout time, and they were called Indians. The trouble was that they spoke different words, and lived differently than the new people. The new people were afraid of the people they found, and the people here were afraid of the people that had come. But somehow, they did communicate, and soon the people of this land started showing the new people new things. They showed them how to plant corn, and other things. And the new people showed them how to do things like carrying things in wagons, and eating at a wooden table. The new people were called settlers, and the Indians showed the settlers how to hunt.

"Well," Ollie-Dare added, "the Indians hunted with something called bow and arrow, and the settlers hunted with something called a musket, which I have also learned is called a gun. Well, the settlers and the Indians got along pretty good up to this point. So one day, the settlers had a big feast and invited their new friends. And the Indians came and they brought a bird called a turkey to be cooked. Well, they all sat down and had a meal together, and gave thanks to their God for the bouniful harvest, and the land that they now shared, and they called that day Thanksgiving. And it is still celebrated to this day."

Banjo then asked, "And when is this day celebrated? And do they still celebrate the day together?"

Ollie-Dare answered, "Well, it's celebrated in this time of year right before the snows come, and I am not sure they celebrate it in the same way. It is a day of family gatherings, and food, and giving thanks."

"Ollie-Dare, why don't we have a Thanksgiving, for we have many friends and family here, and we have lots to be thankful for," asked Jimmy.

Ollie-Dare thought on this for a moment then with a smile he answered, "Jimmy, that is a wonderful idea. We shall have a Thanksgiving here at the forest, and we'll do it soon before the snows keep everybody in! Yes, indeed, the forest will have a Thanksgiving, and everyone is invited."

All four friends began speaking at once, excitement filling the air. For the forest was having a Thanksgiving! Plans were made and each of his friends went to tell others of what they had planned. Ollie-Dare headed to his cave to read some more on this event while they spread the word.

The next day, Ollie-Dare started off early in the morning to Beaver Joe's, and along with him he carried a book. Inside this book was a picture of a huge wooden table. Upon showing the book to Beaver Joe, Ollie-Dare asked Beaver Joe if he could fashion one for the Thanksgiving feast that was being planned. Beaver Joe kept the book and told Ollie-Dare that he was sure he could.

Ollie-Dare was so pleased with this, and once again carrying a list of measurements that Beaver Joe had given him, went to see Nibble the Squirrell. Here he asked if she could fashion a large cloth that would cover the big table. Nibble asured him she could with Bloosom the Possum's help. After also talking of food to be prepared, Ollie-Dare left to have some morning tea and think upon the coming event.

It was unusual for the forest to feel so active at this time of year, and Ollie-Dare was excited that the forest was going to celebrate Thanksgiving. On his way home all the forest creatures were stopping him and talking of the day. Each had wonderful plans for food and shared their views on how they could make it a great day! Ollie-Dare soon made his way into the cave, and after brewing fresh tea, sat and began to make notes on what needed to be done.

Soon the Great Forest Thanksgiving day arrived, and the forest came alive again with laughter and music. Beaver Joe had made a beautiful, long, wood table with benches, and Nibble's cloth to cover it with was the talk of the forest for days after. For it was delicate and colorful. It covered the table and made a grand sweep on the ends. Bloosom had brought a huge vase of dried flowers to set in the middle. Food covered the large table from end to end. Soups and cut vegatables, pies made from berries, cakes of honey and nuts. Fresh baked breads and corn glistened in the warmth of the sun. Cool winds could be felt, but everyone kept warm from the fire that Ace and Banjo kept going, and Jimmy passed around hot fresh tea. They all gathered around the table and Ollie-Dare gave prayer. As he began, all was quiet in the forest - even the wind seemed to still, to hear the words that Ollie-Dare spoke.

"Lord," he began, "we thank you for all that is gathered here today, for the plentiful food and drink. We thank you for the fire that keeps us warm, and the wood you have given us to tend it. Thank you for the cool water springs that give us drink, and the tall pines that shelter so many in the winter. We thank you for the warm earth where many live, and the caves that shelter us, also. We thank you for all the friends that are seated before you, and those that pass here from time to time. Most of all we thank you for your love. Amen."

Many amens could be heard as everyone started filling their bowls and plates with food. Laughter and talking filled the air, and for a time the cold days of Winter were once again put aside. Ollie-Dare watched as so many of his friends sat together and enjoyed such a sunny, Winter day. He felt so much pride, and his heart swelled with all the kindness shown, and the love that was so freely passed around. For surely they had so much to be thankful for, and silently he thanked those people that so long ago gave thanks, and in doing so, gave him this day to remember forever.

Ollie-Dare wishes everyone a Thankful Thanksgiving!
Next month the original Ollie-Dare:
"Ollie-Dare the Christmas Bear." ©2002 Rebecca Morris
Next month: Ollie-Dare, the Christmas Bear

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   I just recently had an open discussion in my Cultural Diversity class at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School in Suzhou, China. The discussion centered on the ending of China’s immensely unpopular ‘one child policy.’

   The one child policy went into effect in 1979 and those born after the policy was enacted are now aging. The aging population is of great concern for the Chinese government because those who are nearing their senior years will need to be cared for in the not too distant future. The policy has also caused a gender imbalance; there are now 33 million more male citizens than females living in China.

   The Chinese government estimates that the one child policy prevented over 400 million births. It has also resulted in hundreds of millions of people rising out of poverty in a nation with 1.35 billion people. A Billion more people than the entire U.S. population.

   China’s one child policy, however, has been highly criticized, especially, in the U.S. with horrific media stories of huge government fines, forced abortions, and sterilizations. China’s decision, however, to abolish the policy, allowing couples to have two children was done for practical reasons not due to criticism from the western media.

   The government hopes that there will be enough willing couples to turn the ageing tide but the one-child family has now become the norm in China. Working parents and house-bound grandparents helping to raise a child is a custom deeply embedded in China’s culture. The cost of living has also risen in China, and the economy, in relative terms, is less buoyant, so having a second child is a huge economic burden for the average Chinese family.

   For many in China, opinions, about their government allowing couples to have two children are mixed. I spoke to a Chinese teacher here at the school where I work. She has a three-year-old son and she was not surprised about the change in policy. She told me changing the one-child policy has been discussed in China for quite some-time.

   She went on to say, that many in China knew the government would have to abandon the one-child policy and there needs to be encouragement by the government for young couples to have more children.

   She also told me that she would not have another child in the near future. Because, she does not want to be faced with the high pressure from her second child’s education needs it’s a big sum of money. She also doesn’t think it would be affordable for people like her to have more children.

   There are, however, many couples in China that have a strong economic foundation and they would like the opportunity to have a second child. Many feel having more two-child households would benefit their society and it would be better for the next generation.

   There are still those, however, who feel it’s not necessary for their child to have a brother or sister. In school, their child can get along and socialize with other children without feeling lonely.

   The Chinese Government is predicting that 35 per cent of China’s population will be over the age of 60 by 2050. In the changing demographics, for every 2 people in China there will be approximately 4 senior citizens who will have to be cared for in the latter-half of this century. The two child policy is an attempt to address the future aging crises. There is also a fear that China will have less of a labor force as the aging population increases and people become too old to work.

   Many of China’s internet users feel China’s change in policy comes too late to make a lasting difference. Many remain unsure if the policy will prove successful. “It won’t help,” one user of Weibo, China’s Twitter, wrote. “Rocketing house prices, medical and childcare costs drive people to work harder. Women who work after having a second baby have a difficult time.”

   Couples in the past who broke the one child policy rule were forced to pay a fee in proportion to their entire year income. In some cases, rural families saw their livelihood in the form of their pigs and chickens taken away.

   In very poor rural areas of China girls who gave birth out of wedlock had to pay 43,910 RMB ($6,925.86 USD) known as a “social maintenance fee.” Those who have unlawful births outside the policy, including unmarried parents, must pay an amount to be determined by the authorities.

   One comment on China’s social media about the change in policy wrote, “I’m not sure if the policy will affect us [single mothers]”, and another person wrote, “I wonder how it will affect births out of wedlock.”

   China does pride itself and credits the one-child policy with preventing 400 million births and helping lift countless families out of poverty. But, many westerners feel there should be no limit to the number of children a couple chooses to have, and until the Chinese government removes itself entirely from their citizens most personal choices, the two child policy can only be considered a partial victory for the Chinese people.

   Most couples in developed Nations throughout the world have already chosen to have no more than two children for economic reasons. Many couples in China will limit their number of children not out of fear of a large government fine but out of economic necessity. It’s very expensive for an average couple to raise a child in today’s world and China is certainly no exception.

   Only time will tell whether China’s two-child policy will be successful or not. But, hopefully, I will still be around to enjoy my stay here with my youthful fresh faced students.
    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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It is Time to Move on

This is the song title youtube link - see link in Editor's Corner if this one doesn't work for you -
(originally published in Pencil Stubs Online in January 2014 with title "You Cannot Move On". See Hennessy's bio with list of his work.)

You cannot move on,
without letting go
You won’t move along,
with your Past still on show
Take what you want,
or leave it behind
For what lies ahead,
is all in your mind

When it’s out of your head,
and into your Life
Then the past is all dead,
and you come Alive
Each step that you take
is another step closer
There is no mistake,
it’s time to say “NO, sir!”

When you’ve made up your mind,
and your vision is clear,
Don’t be cruel, just be kind,
your mission is Here!

We’re all moving on,
alongside of you
For those left behind
are beside you, too
You could not share
your heart with them
because you care,
you're part of them

So focus on Love,
and that’s what you get
It’s time to move on,
it’s time to forget

Forgotten Heroes
and ill-gotten zeros
Are no use to you,
when you’re sayin' “Cheerio”
Look straight ahead,
with a smile on your face
‘cause you’re being led
to a different place.

It’s time to move on,
it’s time to forget
All that you think
is All that you get.

©2012 Phillip Hennessy

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Don't Drink And Drive

Keep other people alive
Stay sober behind the wheel
So they can have their next meal

Before you even start to drink
Use your brain, use it to think
Your reaction time will be too slow
The normal things, you won't know
You think you can handle anything, sure
But alcohol will slow you, so much can occur
In an instant, everything can go wrong
You'll end up in a place you don't belong
A life is gone, and you can't reverse
From there, the situation gets worse
Anger and sadness becomes a reality
People mourn the loss of their family
So please use your brain and think
If you're going to drive, don't drink
Do your best to keep others alive
When you drink, please don't drive 

©Oct 9, 2015 Bud Lemire
                                           Author Note:
You've heard it many times. But you
never listen. You're out there driving
drunk again. Each year more people
are killed by drunk drivers. Still they
go out and do it again. Here's what I
do know. For every life you take while
driving drunk, you will feel that loss
while on the journey of your soul.
You will feel everything that family
had to deal with. Stop it before it
happens. You'll be happy you listened
to me.

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The woodpecker, epitome of hope,
Evidently sees his world the same
Turned right side up or upside down.

On the bottom or the top
Of the branches where he hunts
The picking’s just as good.

Perhaps if I could learn
To hop around and feed off wood
I’d cope as well as him.

©2015 John I. Blair

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Heaven in My Eyes

If you look closely, you'll see Heaven in my eyes
From a distance, you'll only see a disguise
There's this Angel, who brings Heaven to me
She always with me, but it's her you will not see
Her presence is in spirit, although she is alive
At bedtime mostly, her spirit will arrive
We merge and our spirits become One
We stay that way until the day has begun

We draw on each other for strength, throughout each day
When we're in need of it, and love will come our way
Love of the highest quality, is what we share
Twin Flames having found each other, and are aware

The more time spent together, the stronger the energy
The grip of love becomes tighter, of all that love can be
I know her soul, and she knows mine
Our love together completely, souls of the divine

Two souls belonging together, never apart
Embraced in a deep love, touching the heart
This kind of love is one that never dies
Look closely and you'll see Heaven in my eyes
©Oct 9, 2015 Bud Lemire
                                   Author Note:
Thank you Vicki, my Angel. Your love is all I need
to get through every day. You make me so very happy
with all you say and do. You have a soul and heart
that I love so very much. Because of you, there is
Heaven in my eyes. As I dance with my Angel, she
smiles at me. I am taken to Heaven
each time she does.

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You Opened up Your Heart

There’s a part of the heart that never dies
There’s a will and way to live and fly
Each shadow passes through me as if I were the morning sun
Then I take a second glance at a new day that’s just begun

You opened up your heart
You opened up my soul
You followed my own will
You never let me go

There’s a part of the heart that burns to forever 
There’s a thought and a dream each life should treasure
Every raindrop that falls through the clouds and through the air
Then I take another look and know you are always there

You opened up your heart
You opened up my soul
You came into my life
You never let me go

You opened up my heart
You always came around
You accepted the worst in me
You never let me down

There’s a part of the heart that never dies

©10/2/15 Bruce Clifford

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Don't Ignore The Signs

If there's something that feels a little off with your body
Then maybe it's something that the Doctor should see
Feeling normal is something that we know
There are some things that that happen, that will never show
The Medical Staff can check it to see
To find out what the cause could be
One part of your body could be feeling one way
It might be another part, it's hard to say

It's better to catch it, as soon as you can
It'll make you feel like a better woman or man
I know it's so easy to ignore the sign
But letting it go, may give you a worse time

I'm guilty of letting things go
This is a lesson that I've come to know
I was afraid, and thought it would disappear
As it got worse, so did my fear

It's no fun to be afraid, so I was told
Best to have it checked out, I'm getting old
I'm feeling younger, when I'm feeling great
So if something is off, it can not wait
Get it checked out, do it today
You'll feel much better, in every way
©Oct 2, 2015 Bud Lemire
                                    Author Note:
Many of us are guilty of letting things go far
too long and ignoring any sign that we feel.
But we shouldn't be afraid to step forward
and let our Doctor know there is something
that isn't quite right with our bodies. Many
times we think it is much worse than it first
began to be, and many times it is little at
first and then does get worse because we
let it go too long. We make big things out
of little things, and then because of that,
they become bigger things in reality.
Catching it at the start, will stop it from
getting bigger. See your Doctor.

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Don't Know What to Believe

Are you sure it was a dream
I don’t much about anything
The price of reason the cost of the theme
I don’t know what to believe

Faithful and pure
The words that endure
Time is timeless
Every second there’s more

Are you sure it was a dream
I don’t know much about mysteries
The moment you capture the shadows and breeze
I still don’t know what to believe

I don’t know what to believe anymore
What really matters is what we’re living for

Are you sure it wasn’t the sky
I don’t know any other reason not to try
The night is reaching out to capture your dreams
I still don’t know what to believe

©10/14/15 Bruce Clifford

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