Thursday, December 1, 2016

Editor's Corner

December 2016

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."--Einstein.
 
It will soon be Christmas again, and although there are other celebrations this month, that is the one your editor grew up anticipating. All the networks it seems are showing holiday stories, movies recognizing both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but mostly the latter.Maybe it is because the season seems to fly by and focusing on it prolongs the excitement and joy. Prayers for Peace and well being are voiced throughout the land, indeed, the world. May all your days be bright and merry no matter what celebration you choose, have fun, be kind, be safe.

To emphasize the reason for Christmas, here is the link to my poem "Tiny Miracle" which has been published and reprinted in Pencilstubs a few times. Tiny Miracle
 
John Blair's poems for this issue speak of many subjects, family, hobbies, history, Love, and "Books," the latter is even the title of one of them. Other titles are: "Soil," "Love Spoken Here," "Watering Flowers aat Midnight," "You Who Went Before," and "Cousins." Bud Lemire shares "The Picture That Wasn't There" and the poignant "Last Dance at Christmas" while Bruce Clifford declares it is "One Last Time," and adds "Wicked."

Judith Kroll's column shows her deep feelings about human shortcomings and her hope for a better way with"I shed a tear..." in her column "On Trek." LC's column is more light-hearted, discussing little known facts about the ubiquitous hot dog. Her article, "Bringing Stella Home," is a perfect gift idea.Barbara Irvin submitted the other article "ESSAY:I Can Always Count on Three Things." "A Friendship That Began in December," a story, is also by Barbara.

Thomas F. O'Neill, "Introspective," admits how surprised he was because his predictions were not how things turned out. "Reflections of the Day" by Dayvid Clarkson, includes a couple of days in November, and his way of ending each day with hope and peace. Mattie Lennon of Dublin Ireland, (Irish Eyes) advises his fans of the Christmas Reading with Billy Keane and also of the innovative publication by Ballpoint Press "Then There Was Light" detailing the rural electrification  process.

Rod Cohenour's "Cooking with Rod," blesses us with "Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas" for twelve servings, and tells how to pretty it up as a casserole if you are fortunate enough to have leftovers. Melinda Cohenour's "Armchair Genealogy" begins the saga of trying to chase down with research, a named relative with enough documentation to tantalize and prove his existence, but not the linking records farther back. Part Two promises to report her progress.

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.

Watch for us in January which ends our current year's Volume 19.!

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.

Cooking with Rod

Rod’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

It is rapidly approaching my favorite time of year – Christmas and New Year. While the weather outside may be “frightful” this recipe is truly “delightful.” It is also the one recipe most often requested – nay, let’s be honest – DEMANDED by my grandchildren when they visit. It is rib-sticking, warm, and downright comfort food. It is a great recipe to take for a party or just to watch TV and settle next to a nice warm fire with loved ones nearby and enjoy good company, good times and great food!

This recipe will easily feed twelve people, but if you’re planning to only feed four, no worry – it keeps beautifully and the flavors merely become more wonderful when you reheat in the oven to serve again. No one has EVER refused this dish as a leftover at my house!

So fire up that oven, get your cutting boards out, and enjoy building this delicious concoction. It will become your family favorite as well, I believe.

Feliz Navidad and Prospero Nuevo Ano!

Bon appetit~!

Rod’s Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

  •   42 Corn tortillas (7 layers, 6 tortillas per layer)
  •   1 can Green Chiles
  •   4 cans Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
  •   2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  •   1 lg. Purple Onion, diced
  •   4 Chicken Breasts, broiled and cubed
  •   Garlic Powder, 1 Tbsp.
  •   Chili Powder, enough to coat chicken plus 1Tbsp. for sauce
  •   Cumin, enough to coat chicken plus 1 Tbsp for sauce
  •   1 lb. Four-Cheese Blend, grated
  •   ½ lb. Sharp Cheddar, grated
SERVES 12
DIRECTIONS:
    Season chicken with garlic powder, chili powder and cumin on all sides before broiling. Mix green chiles, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken soup in a large bowl and whisk. This is your chile mixture.
    When chicken is cooked through and lightly browned, remove from broiler, permit to cool slightly and then cube.
    In large roasting pan, prepare seven (7) layers as follows:
    •   Chile mixture (small amount to prevent sticking)
    •   Tortillas (6 per layer)
    •   Chile mixture
    •   Onion
    •   Chicken
    •   Cheeses
    (Repeat for each layer.)
    Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Should be nicely browned and bubbly. Serve hot with tortilla chips, salad and preferred side dishes.
To reheat, carefully ladle casserole layers into a smaller pan, top with a touch of additional cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes.

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

Irish Eyes

CHRISTMAS READING

from BALLPOINT PRESS


         I told you last month about the launch of “The Best of Billy Keane.” I was there. I bought the book and I have read it. It is a collection of 59 articles by one of Ireland’s best loved columnists, authors, after-dinner speakers and genuine gentleman. The blurb describes this all-rounder from Listowel Co. Kerry, as “ . . The discerning sinner turned confessor.” In this collection Billy covers most aspects of human life from “Born Again Virgins” to the tragic death from cancer of teenager Donal Walsh. Donal died from cancer as a teenager. In the months and days leading up to his death he pleaded with anybody contemplating suicide to change their mind. He wanted to live but knew he couldn’t. On his deathbed he asked his Parish Priest what was on the other side. The priest said, “I don’t know Donal, but it’ll be a far better place with you in it.” Billy writes, “The boy who changes lives has changed mine. Donal’s message is easy to get. Live. Live and make the most of it.”
         John B. Keane had the most balanced approach to the Catholic Church of anybody I ever met. Billy is following in his footsteps. He has no problem criticising the approach of the Church to certain matters. But when writing about pure Christians like his old school Mate Father Pat Moore and Father Padraig Walsh the spiritual side of him is very evident. He can even turn Agony-aunt dishing out advice on how to cope with the “. . . Imaginary but sometimes barbed-wire border under the duvet. From the swallows returning to Listowel (their old homes demolished during Celtic-tiger years) to “Born again Virgins” it’s all there.
         Bill is a publican but he always modestly describes himself as “a barman.” His father once said that you can write a thousand words about anything. His son took him at his word. Who else could pen a lengthy article on the installation of a stainless steel urinal in the gent’s toilet of the pub. When he initially suggested the new urinal his 86 year old mother and the barmaid, Phil, claimed that “There’s nothing wrong with the old toilets that a bucket of water couldn’t fix” they were informed by Billy, that they were going on about something that they knew nothing about ” . . . because neither of ye are men.” Billy got his way. The gleaming stainless convenience is in position,. I tested it. Making a sound like a hosepipe being played on a hubcap.
         And there is the story of Paddy Joe Keane from Kill nard , Co. Laois. In late 2011 Paddy Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer and told that he had only a few months to live. He said, “ I don’t want everyone to be at the wake when I can’t be there myself.” He planned, and held, his own wake while he was still alive. A typical Irish wake was held in the Thatch pub. He died on February 16th 2012. His son Paddy said later, “ My take is Paddy Joe was saying to his family and friends,’ the memories of the last stand will keep me alive and keep ye happy’. Billy Keane sums it up, “Paddy Joe Keane, the clever handyman from Kill nard, might just have figured out a new and better way of dying.” Which I’m sure would be a good thing. “
         Billy doesn’t confine his observations to this little island. An eye on international affairs. He was delighted when Donald Trump got the Republican nomination in 2015 his joy knew no bounds when The Donald was elected. Why. Well, according to Billy, if Trump hadn’t made it to the Whitehouse he had his eye on the position of Taoiseach here. Eamon DeValera, who was an American, ran for the British House of Parliament ,as a candidate for County Clare, in 1917. He was elected by an overwhelming majority. He eventually became Taoiseach and later President of Ireland. If Trump followed the same route the author reckons he would have built a wall around County Clare, “to keep the Tipperary hurlers out.”
         He also has some revelations about “The Man Who had it All Figured Out”. He paints a comprehensive picture of this individual but doesn’t tell us who he is.
         In a valuable piece to men who are reluctant to visit a doctor about ailments of the reproductive organs he quotes a character from one of his father’s works; “I’ll let know man look at my apparatus until I’m being washed for the grave.” Billy is a man who can get a bit of humour into almost any piece of writing and come up with titles like, “Who Needs A Man When You’ve Got Your Pension Book?” but he can dish out some valuable advice. His writing about his own vulnerabilities have, in my opinion, saved lives.
         Great writing from a great man.

* * * * *

         Ballpoint Press has also recently published Then There Was Light a collection of stories from fifty seven people about the arrival of Rural Electrification. The scheme was rolled out seventy years ago when the first pole was raised at Kilsallaghan, Co Dublin on November 05th 1946. These stories are from ESB employees, and people from rural Ireland many of whom remember the “’lectric light” being installed in their homes and the interaction between the locals and the ESB crews.
         Former ESB engineer Noel Mulcahy tells of how he was chased out of a cabbage field by an axe-wielding farmer. As he ran up a boreen, barely ahead of his pursuer he was lucky enough to flag down a passing car. He learned later that the Yankee driver was none other than Baron Handley, the man who offered $50 Million to the Queen to buy the six counties which he planned to give to the Republic.
         Interaction between the crews and the locals wasn’t always friendly. Con Foley from Knockananna, County Wicklow tells of the night of the big “switch-on” in his village in august 1957. There was a dance and a row broke out. Con writes that it , “ . . .always reminds me of John Wayne fighting as Sean Thornton with squire ‘red’ Will Danaher in the film, ‘the Quiet Man.” He goes on the explain a Wicklow man’s approach to fighting. By way of illustration he tells the story of how one local fellow left a girl home after the dance. On his way home he was attacked by three or four fellows whose swinging punches connected. He later said that he had a perfect night, “ a court from a good looking woman and a fight to round off the proceedings.”
         Eamon Ginnane from Carrigaholt, County Clare, gives a vivid account of how sabateurs risked electrocution in their bid to disrupt the “big-switch on” .
         There are titles such as A Narrow escape With First Electric Blanket” and “ Sir, I’ve No Homework Because The New Light Blinded Me.” And of course some of the “Wire-men” who arrived in rural areas were considered “Ladies Men” but you’ll have to read to book to find out about them.
         BALLPOINT PRESS

Happy Christmas


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

 

Armchair Genealogy

Taking the Chisel to a Major Brick Wall: 

What we know about P. R. Joslyn
 

Part I


      One of my most puzzling and annoying issues in all my genealogical research has been the quest to identify the parents of my 3rd Great-Grandfather, William “P. R.” Joslyn. As has been mentioned in prior columns, our family legend was that Riley Joslin was the “Son of William, son of William, son of William.” We were told by our grandfather, James Arthur Joslin, that his father migrated into Missouri from “Caney County, IllEnoise” (in the peculiar vernacular of the Ozarkian/Appalachian kindred, that translates to Kane County, Illinois).

      Much research has been devoted to identifying the parentage of P. R. Joslyn, to no avail. My maternal uncle agreed to submit his DNA years ago in the hopes of finding a close relative with that information documented and willing to share. We found a few close relatives whose family trees were well documented and provided proof that we are related to the Immigrant Thomas “Jostlin” who brought most of his family to America aboard the good ship Increase in the year 1634/35. To my dismay and deep disappointment, however, none had documentation to finally and forever forge the link to that illustrious Joslin/Joslyn/Josceline/Josselyn, etc. historic lineage reaching back in the mists of time to Charlemagne and beyond to his earliest known forefather, his 3rd great-grandfather Pepin of Landen also known as Blessed Pepin or Pippin for his generous and saintly nature or to his earliest proposed ancestor, 7th great-grandfather Clovis I, King of the Franks (c466-511).

      What we did discover was that my uncle’s DNA matched most closely to a man who had been adopted in the aftermath of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 responsible for the loss of millions of lives around the world. That DNA hit brought me in touch with two other researchers whose quest was similar: discovering the missing link in their own heritage. One was the descendant of one of the twin sisters who survived the epidemic (the other twin and their mother, wife to our DNA match’s father having, sadly, not survived). The second was the daughter of the man who, at a tender age, was adopted by a loving family. Together we three set out to help one another. The result has been edifying, but has not provided that one last brick of knowledge. Alas!

      I set up a separate, private, tree to assist in researching that scintillating but elusive tie between the DNA match (the adopted son of the hero of the epidemic who almost lost his own life trying to save that of his wife and infant twin daughters) and our own P. R. Joslyn. Our DNA match’s father we shall call DNA Primary. DNA Primary’s life was fairly easy to research. I was able to discover documentation placing him in various places by virtue of the Census, newspaper records of his heroic exploits aiding the overwrought doctors battling the Flu, birth and other records. That led to his parents and later to his grandfather, Edward S. Joslyn (often spelled ‘Joyslin” in various city directories and other records). Edward S. was a skilled watchmaker, a silversmith who was born May of 1826 in Cohansey Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey. That was an intriguing bit of information as we know the forebear known as the Colonel William of Deerfield (1701-1771) settled in the Cumberland area before meeting and wedding our 4th great-grandmother, Christiana Garrison (a fact now also proved via DNA matches). It was written in the Joslin book published by Edith S. Wessler:

      "He left Fairfield Township about 1730 and purchased land at the Indian Fields (East Bridgeton). At this place, he married Christiana Garrison, daughter of Jacob Garrison, Jr (1676-1751) who lived nearby. "

      

(NOTE: Per Roland Joslin CD information provided by Carol Treadway on Ancestry message. Cohansey Township, N.J., was formed from Hopewell Township, N.J., 6 Mar. 1848; became part of Bridgeton, N.J., 1 Mar. 1865.)

      Edward S. Joslin appears to have apprenticed in his early years, age 24, in the home of an established “watchmaker” along with others who have been found through the author’s research to be related by blood or work association. That information was provided through the 1850 US Federal Census, and was both enlightening and very disappointing, as the 1850 Census was the first documentation that provided genealogists with family information for so many. It was the first Census to list Head of Household by name, date and place of birth, and to provide Household Members’ names, dates and places of birth and relationship to the Head. Since our Edward S. was apprenticed out, we have no clue to his parentage. It does provide us with his age (23) and place of birth (New Jersey). We know that Edward S. also traveled to Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky where he married his wife, Nancy A. Roser. They lived there for awhile, for their first daughter, Harriett Leeds Joslin was born there 12 Dec 1856. (It is believed her middle name was given her as a nod to his long-time friend and associate, G. Howard Leeds who appeared in the 1850 Census along with Edward S., and was shown to be 31 years of age, also born in New Jersey.) Notations by the author in Edward S.’ Profile for two separate 1860 Census enumerations are as follow:

      “7 Jun 1860, Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky: Listed as a watchmaker. (Enumerated two times in 1860 in Paducah. Clearly same family, house 413.) Name Age E S Joslin 34 N A Joslin 27 Harriet L Joslin 3 Julia A Joslin 2 Louisa Joslin 3/12”

      “28 Jul 1860, Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky: Listed as "Jewelry Merchant." Name Age E S Joyslin 34 Nancy Joyslin 28 Harriet L Joyslin 3 Julia R Joyslin 2 Louisa Joyslin 4/12”

      We find by 1863 the Edward S. Joslin family has returned to Illinois, for Military records reveal the following:

      “1 Jul 1863, Illinois, United States: “Civil War Draft Registration lists Edward as a "silversmith" born in New Jersey. Shows former military service as "mexican war."

      By 1870, the US Federal Census shows Edward S. has once again made a move:

      “1870, Camden North Ward, Camden County, New Jersey: “"Works at silverplating." Name Age Edward Joyslin 44 Nancy A Joyslin 37 Harriet Joyslin 13 Julia Joyslin 17 Louisa Joyslin 10 Mary Joyslin 8 Walter Joyslin 6”

      Without boring the reader with the various city directory entries, research shows Edward S. set up a successful business enterprise in Camden, NJ, where he and his daughter Louisa, a professional seamstress, maintained their offices. We also discover an occasional record of his expansion of services to other nearby cities. The 1880 Census shows his family still esconced in Camden”

      “1880, Camden, Camden County, New Jersey: “"Jeweler." Household Members: Name Age Edw. S. Joslin 54 Nancey A. Joslin 47 Lilie Joslin 7 Nancey Joslin 5”

      The 1890 Census was lost due to a fire and ensuing water damage caused in the effort to salvage the documents. Therefore, we resort to substitute records to document location and occupation of our subjects: For Edward S. we find the following:

      “1890, Camden, NJ: “Name: Edward S Joyslin Residence Year: 1890 Street Address: 450 Liberty Residence Place: Camden, New Jersey Occupation: Silversmith Publication Title: Camden, New Jersey, City Directory, 1890”

      Our final documentation of the life of Edward S. Joslin possible close relative to our P. R. Joslyn is the following Census record which also provides us with clues as to the married names of Edward S. Joyslin’s daughters:

      “1900, Upper Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey: “Enumerated in home of daughter, Julia Joslin BROWN and her husband. Also in home is daughter, Harriett now widowed and last name: Forby. Household Members: Name Age William Brown 40 Julia A Brown 42 Edward S Joyslin 74 Harriet S Forby 43”

      All this information is provided in the hopes someone will read the column, recognize key names and provide documentation that will aid in the final conclusion as to how Edward S. Joyslin, talented silversmith/watchmaker, is related to our own elusive William “P. R.” Joslyn. (Interesting to note, my maternal uncle Jack Oakley Joslin was a talented watchmaker – a tinkerer who was fascinated by and could resolve any issues associated with watches or clocks of any kind!!)

      Now, back to P. R.

      No genealogical research occurs in a vacuum. We rely upon documents: Census records are key, also Family Bibles where loving parents and grandparents have penned the names and dates of birth for children and their children, marriages celebrated, deaths mourned. Also relevant newspaper articles and obituaries as well as the modern-day equivalent: the marvelous Find A Grave website where photographs of graves and cemeteries have been submitted by a drove of generous folks interested in preserving family heritage. Thanks be to God for these people! But, a word of warning: even those dates chiseled in stone can be in error. Be certain to provide cross documentation for every fact where you can.

      My research has relied heavily on the paper trail provided by my mother, grandmother and aunt: Lena May Joslin Carroll, her mother Carrie Edyth Bullard Joslin, and my aunt Linnie Jane Joslin Burks. Additionally, other family researchers paved the way with their many trips to local libraries, NARA sites, and publication of family trees and stories. Also, in my case, the two closest contributing and assisting researchers are now gone: my cousins Joyce Schumacher and Pat Joslin Steiner. We three collaborated via phone, email and snail mail for years – weighing the latest finding carefully to give each the “sniff” test of reliability before placing that particular fact in our tree. I must also give full credit to the work and research of a distant “shirt-tail” cousin, David Lewis, whose relentless searching of Census records divulged the trail blazed by P. R. Joslyn and his children.

      Our earliest record of William “P. R.” Joslyn appears as a tantalizing bit of “maybe” – a marriage between a William Joslin and Lois Bennett on 23 Sep 1795 in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Many researchers believe this is our William “P. R.” As a researcher, I would be remiss if had I failed to at least include the listing as a possibility – although I tend to discount this particular hint. The marriage, among other facts, is recorded as “Cumberland County, New Jersey genealogical data: records pertaining to persons residing in Cumberland County prior to 1800.” (Original data: Craig, H. Stanley,. Cumberland County, New Jersey genealogical data : records pertaining to persons residing in Cumberland County prior to 1800. Merchantville, N.J.: H. Stanley Craig, 19--?.)

      Next, we find a Census record enumerating William Joslin’s household as follows (the enumerator’s count is a bit puzzling – as there is no other evidence William Joslin traveled with slaves in tow. The count appears to have been at least doubled by some miscalculation. It would appear there were 7 males (2 under 10, 4 between the ages of 16 and 25 and one male aged 45 and over.) Additionally, there appears to have been 7 females (3 under 10 plus 2 aged 10 thru 15, and 1 aged 16 to 25, plus the matriarch aged 45 and over). This would appear to comprise a household of 7 males and 7 females, not 28 persons.:

Name Wm Joslin
Home in 1820 (City, County, State) Deerfield, Morgan, Ohio
Enumeration Date August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10 2
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 18 1
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25 4
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over 1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10 3
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15 2
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25 1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over 1
All Other Persons Except Indians not Taxed 14
Free White Persons - Under 16 7
Free White Persons - Over 25 2
Total Free White Persons 14
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other 28

      By tracking later records, we find the children of P. R. and the woman who gave them birth routinely cited their places of birth as New Jersey until we find Isaac Joslin, who says he was born about 1814 in Ohio. If we accept that William “P. R.” Joslin fought in the War of 1812 as some records suggest, it is likely he began his migration Westward to accept bonus land awards. His family’s appearance in Ohio and birth of a son in 1814 would coincide with that information. However, without a fixed date of birth for P. R., and the arbitrary date of 1760 which we’ve ascribed for purposes of research (which also fits with known age ranges for the Census records), he would have been 52 years old. A bit long in the tooth but, then, fit and able men fought. A fact not yet accepted as truth yet but used to further our research.

      Our next documentation for P. R. find his family in 1830 in Berlin, Knox County, Ohio. This record would appear to place P.R.’s age between 60 and 69.:
vName William Joslin
Home in 1830 (City, County, State) Berlin, Knox, Ohio
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14 1
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29 2
Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69 1
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19 2
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29 1
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59 1
Free White Persons - Under 20 3
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49 3
Total Free White Persons 8
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored) 8

      And, for this first part of the story of William “P. R.” Joslyn, we shall conclude at this point. Stay tuned for the conclusion in next month’s issue of PencilStubs.com.

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

Reflections on the Day


      Nov 26: A spiritual journey is never easy, as it is fraught with detours and pitfalls. It takes patience and perseverance as we seek our own truths. The journey is also exciting and exhilarating as something deep inside urges us on.

      I ask that you are mindful this is your journey do not compare it to others or try to live the paths of others. I do not speak to dead people, I do not see auras, I do not astral travel, and I do not sit cross-legged to meditate.

      In this day of social media, everyone has advice, how to lucid dream in seven easy steps, ten easy exercises to cleanse your chakras, twelve health changing foods, and ‘back handed’ spiritual messages. I simply ask you to awaken in the morning start where you are, use what you have, and just move forward. vThere are no measurements of how far along you are or how far along others are; it is not a race. Please know there is at least one other person who understands.

      Sleep well, dream deep my Friends. Humble bow, Dayvid


      Nov 27:The windsong carried me along this eve. Grand Mother Moon gently chided me to wash behind my ears so I could hear the silence. The sound between the whispers quickened my heart. A sense of accomplishment filled my soul.

      Yet I don’t know what I accomplished. I pause and quietly look around trying to see what is not there. I talk in riddles to myself; yet I know, surely I know. Surely I know.

      The mist draws about me and I am ready. It is time, it is time. I shall venture forth to see the new day but take time with the night. For at this time and in this place a peace shall surround me and I will share with all. This is our time.

      Sleep well, dream deep my Friends. Humble bow, Dayvid

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Bringing Stella Home


      Number three son Paul and his wife Kate who also happens to be my good friend, decided it was time to get another dog after their last one died, a great, sweet-natured dinosaur of a beast, a placid Bull Mastiff named Brody. Kate, who is a card-carrying dog lover, wanted to replace Brody with something larger, droolier and hairier, which was a little hard to imagine because dear old Brody filled their house, doorways and pathways to the max. He was an unending obstacle course challenge; trying to step over slumbering Brody was like attempting to scramble over a fallen Sequoia. Time for Grannie Me to spring into action, asked for or not. Time to start thinking small.

      One day in idle conversation Kate happened to mention liking the looks of Boston Terriers, called “Boston Bulldogs” when I was a kid. That was all I needed to hear. I admit to shifting into high gear and got overly excited at which I am most good. I began raving about the breed, to convince Kate that having a small dog has its advantages; for example, they have a far more difficult time knocking over garbage pails, stealing the Christmas roasted goose or flattening the pizza delivery guy.

      I have always loved “Bostons” and in fact an old friend who owns one rated the breed from one to ten as “15.” They really are terrific dogs. Furthermore, my mother, a woman I never actually met due to her demise at my birth, owned one. I have a photo of her in a middy blouse, black bloomers, black stockings with a huge white ribbon pinned into her long curly brown hair playing with her Boston probably around 1916, when they started to become popular. Accepted by the esteemed AKC the males were called “The American Gentlemen” because of their tuxedoed appearance. My mother was about 12 in that photo, so I decided if Kate got a Boston it only stands to reason that it would be a very distant cousin to my mother’s pet, about a million times removed. It could happen! Hey, with that kind of pressure poor Kate had to cave and focus on a little Boston instead of a Newfoundland, St. Bernard, or Great Dane. She is a good daughter-in-law and listens to me.



       And so, we went on a huge search. Bostons are not easy dogs to find, but Kate did. A litter born in Skowhegan. She got in touch with the owner, got in the car with her family and went to see the pups.

      There in a gaggle of fat, beautiful Boston Terriers babies lay the runt, unspoken-for. Instantly smitten, Kate lost her heart. She’d never owned a small dog and never a female, but immediately took ownership.

      We all anxiously awaited the day when Stella could be adopted into our family. It came on November 11th and Kate, granddaughter Hannah and I drove to Skowhegan, which was a surreal experience in and of itself, and we entered Stella’s first home, a wondrous art gallery/workshop occupied by a magnificent horse and a big sweet Airedale, a motherly Boston and their big, kind farrier owner ---- and there was Stella, zooming about and waiting for us. Small maybe, but completely self-aware and beyond adorable.
      


      Stella has not had one instant of anxiety or adjustment from being taken from her first home and brought into Paul and Kate’s. She instantly wriggled her way into our lives, all but trains herself, has bonded instantly with our son’s family, captures the hearts of everyone who crosses her path, and I get to play with her until she gets cross and then hand her back to her real owners. Perfect! Like having grandchildren.

      Yeah I’m gushing. Isn’t every puppy adorable? Of course. Isn’t every new dog-family member unique and perfect? Of course. Dogs rock, as most of us know. They are forgiving, loving, so willing-to- please creatures, underappreciated by many. Not us. This little Tuxedo Tornado is already deeply embedded in our lives and hearts. Feisty, crazy, adorable, smart, bossy, exhausting and utterly captivating, Stella Nova Scott Van Savage has come home to stay.

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

 

On Trek

I shed a tear...

I shed a tear for all the sorrow the human race must bear.
Is it fair?
The refugees, the homeless, the vets away from home,
Those displaced by floods and fires, and tornadoes that always roam.
Why do we have to endure all this? Why must we feel this pain?
Is happiness a dream? Has the world gone insane?
No, the world is a beautiful place and we share this planet home,
We keep our love afloat knowing we are not alone.

. When someone falls, we pick them up, we try to make them better,
We share this planet home, but no one is the same.
Some of us are old, and some of us are sick,
Some of us are hateful, and some of us are kind,
Until we all become one, in our heart, and not our mind,
The true love we all seek, we will never find.
I remember our nation, not to long ago, murdered Native Americans,
And stole the land from them. We were vicious and cruel, we killed and plundered,

We stomped on the love we said we had.
We took people from their homeland, and made them into slaves
And we treated them with hate because of the color of their skin.
We stomped on the love we said we had.
We send our men to war, to try to make some peace,
We bring them home and strip them of the promises we gave,
They hurt, they cry, they wonder why,
Oh why am I still alive?

Do we see a pattern in our modern day?
Are we any different than that time of far away?
We are stomping on the love we said we have
. The people are rising up because they feel the love.
They want to make the changes we are always speaking of.
Let us join the ranks of those that care,
And send more love thru the air, For all to breathe and all to share,
And change our tears of sorrow, for joy.

The flowers give us beauty,
And we might stomp them down,
But they come right back with joy,
To spread the love around.
. Judith
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Consider This

The Delicasy from Aught Six>/h3>


      Food. It’s been on all our minds during this recent American Holiday –-- Thanksgiving. We all know what the traditional dishes are for that day. However, there are other American traditional foods that are typically not served on Thanksgiving Day, but certainly on every other day, and one of those foodstuffs is, yes, the hot dog.

      We all surely know the history of the Groaning Board thing on the last Thursday of each November, but what exactly is the history of the hot dog you ask yourself, and lucky you, I am here to provide you with some answers.

      Back in aught six and I don’t mean 2006, sausages were a kind of novelty to Americans. They were well liked when people could get them and had a variety of names; frankfurters, red hots, franks, dachshund sausages and yes, I know what you’re thinking, wieners. But America is and always has been, over-stuffed with brilliant entrepreneurs and one of them back in aught was one Harry Stevens. He used to sell hot sausages to the ballgame goers at the old home of the NY Giants, the Polo Grounds. His hired hands strode about shouting, “Get your red hot dachshund sausages! “while carrying an insulated metal case full of the delicacies slung ‘round their necks.

      That was a little awkward to shout out---kind of clumsy sounding, right? And kind of gross to those who owned and loved dachshunds as pets, so in time Harry and his workers just yelled out, “Get your red hot dogs here!” Or in New Yorkspeak, “Gitchya red hot dawgs heeah!” And another American tradition was born.

      Funny though---the term “hot dog” kind of shot off in all directions. Who knew? “Hot dog!” became an exclamation for “Way cool!” or before that, “It’s good! I’m happy!” and even the beloved “Gee willikers!” and I have no idea of where “willikers” came from or what it means. But we all said it.

      Then there was “hot diggity dog!” and I also don’t have a clue where “diggity” came from but I’ll admit to saying it a whole lot. And those of us of a certain age right now this moment can sing, “Hot diggity, dog diggity/ Boom what you do to me!” and yes, I can sing that whole song too, as did Perry Como in 1956.

      And, a “hot dogger” became the phrase applied to humans who do dangerous, impossible and stupid things on skis, surf and skate boards, in airplanes, at the ends of bungee cords, and manage to mostly live and brag about it all later on.

      Hot dogs, the kind we eat, appear to be a totally American invention, although I’ll bet the rent that other countries will demand equal time and insist it all started with them. Oh, but then another guy, a famous American cartoonist, named Thomas Aloysius Dorgan claims he started the name “hot dogs” although after years of research no one has found even one of his cartoons with a rendering of a hot dog in it. Everybody wants to get in on the act.

      But who cares? Even with all the dark and frightening “news” of what “they” put into hot dogs, with all the negatives and bad press over the years, hot dogs have prevailed. Hey, they are delicious, fun, simple, can be eaten anywhere in any season, in or out of a bun, smothered in ketchup or mustard or relish or sauerkraut or all of the above, cooked inside or out on a grill, and they can even be nuked. I swear they are not made of ground dachshunds and folks, as we already know, hot dogs are here to stay.

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Introspective


      Last month I predicted that Hilary Clinton would be our next President, boy, was I shocked on election night. She did win the popular votes, that much I predicted accurately, but unfortunately Donald Trump was triumphant with getting the magic number of the electoral college votes. Many of the Chinese who followed the election here in Suzhou, China are also amazed in Hillary Clinton’s lose. My Chinese friends and my students are wondering what the future may hold for America - I tell them that only time will tell but I don’t think Donald Trump will be a great leader for the American people.
      I don’t dwell on Trump’s victory and I told my students that I am one of those people who simply enjoy the sharing and to give thanks for the special people in my life. That truly makes this time of year special for me especially here in Suzhou, China.
      I surely have plenty to be thankful for because throughout my life people have gone out of their way to be kind to me and the Chinese here are no exception. I once told my students in class when you care for others you are cared for and when you love others you are loved. This special season of giving should reveal our love for one another through kindness because loving kindness gives this special season its true meaning.
      The cities in China are all lit up now with Christmas lights and they are so beautifully displayed that also brings out the Christmas spirit in me. The Chinese also enjoy celebrating this special season with the lighting of bonfires. Some sing songs and dance around the large glowing fires. They set off large firework displays as well in the night sky. It is an ancient tradition that goes back thousands of years. It’s one of their ways of coming together as an entire community to celebrate their abundance and to be thankful for having one another in their lives. That is just one of the reasons I find this season so special here.
      The first time I participated in a Chinese Christmas festivity was seven years ago and little children ran up to me wearing Christmas caps and yelling “Merry Christmas, Mr. Tom.” They then handed me a chocolate candy bar. I quickly pulled out my BlackBerry phone and tried to capture the moment on video. The Children playfully jumped up and down in front of my BlackBerry as I recorded them dancing around a bonfire. The children here are extremely affectionate and funny and they know how to pull on your heart strings. The adults here are also gracious especially when I participate in this festive season with them and I always have a great time with the kids.
      Here like in America Parents and children alike take great joy in Santa’s arrival on Christmas Day. I also enjoy seeing the young children’s faces light up at the sight of Santa the jolly old soul.
      There was a time though when I felt the season of giving was simply a common courtesy in order to receive and provide our significant others with material gifts.
      I now understand more clearly that this special season is for heartfelt acts of gratitude for having people in our lives. When keeping the true spirit of giving close to heart it enables us to give from the heart all year-round.
      The yuletide season should be a time when our love comes to call because that love gives this time of year its true meaning.
      What intrigues me about the Christmas season here in China is that the majority who celebrate this time of year are non-Christian. The Buddhists have embraced the season as a way of giving thanks.
      I have found over the years though that it's not the material gifts that count in life but rather it's the unrecognized, undetected, and unremembered acts of loving kindness that are our greatest gifts and achievements in life.
      If we truly want to see a world of loving and joyous people we must be loving and joyous towards the people in our own lives. That potential is part of our humanity. When we reach out and touch others we touch part of the humanity that is within us. When we enhance the life of another in need we in turn enhance our own lives.
      Objects gift-wrapped in shiny paper can be forgotten over time but kindness whispered to those in need will echo endlessly throughout the community. Those small acts of kindness resonate with the giver and the receiver because they are gifts from the heart. Such priceless gifts can never be measured monetarily though because how can you put a price on love?
      From my heart to yours I would like to wish all of you a very merry and joyous holiday season.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    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
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Love Spoken Here

 
If I chose a word
Closest to my heart
I know that “love”
Would top the list.

“Love spoken here”
Is the message I display
In a plaque upon my wall;
I made it
With my granddaughters beside me.

The word is overused, misused, tired
Of being used, and yet
Cannot be replaced.

What all religions teach
And we too seldom do.

©2016 John I. Blair

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You Who Went Before

 
You who went before:
I know your names,
I know your faces.

I’ve learned where you lie
In grassy graveyards
Far away.

How can I imagine
From my soft city life
What you had to do

For those such as me
To even be,
Much less thrive?

The endless toil,
The heat, cold, wet,
Drought, dirt

That you endured
Just to stay alive
There in a land

So wild and lonely,
Full of risk, of opportunity,
Love and loss,

Amaze and terrify us
As they must have you;
And yet I’m here today,

To testify you made
A future happen
You would never see.

©2016 John I. Blair

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Watering Flowers at Midnight

 
Texas in the summer
Can kill trees
And is pitiless to plants.

Keeping them green
Requires a lot of care
Involving water.

Not dropping
In the heat myself
Desires discretion.

So I water flowers
At midnight
Lit by moon and stars,

Guided at times no doubt
By my imagination
Where the pots are placed.

And when I guess aright,
My grace is hummingbirds,
Butterflies, bees.

©2016 John I. Blair

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Cousins

 
I strive to be
A keeper of the links
That bind us all,
All us cousins,
Children of four sisters
And a brother.

There were twenty seven
Including those adopted
And one who died at birth.

And now so few are left
I have to stop and think
Each time I make the list,

All of us descended from
Or allied to a pair who passed
Years before
Most of us arrived,

All of us connected
In some wise
To Oklahoma,

All the offspring
Of the westering
Our family made
Across the plains
More than a century ago,

All different,
Yet half of each the same
And tied that way together
Inextricably
Even after we are gone.

©2016 John I. Blair

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A Friendship That Began In December


      My merriest holiday memory did not actually occur on Christmas Day. It took place the day after. I remember it was on a Sunday in 1999. I had recently had the Internet installed in my home and was spending a leisurely evening browsing the World Wide Web. I’d heard about this biography of an actress from the Forties and Fifties I wanted to add to my growing reading list and found the website of the person who’d written the book. Her name was Elsie Van Savage, and she had several other books to her credit. On a whim, I decided to contact her and ask her some questions about the biography that interested me so much. I had no idea one Email could launch an enduring friendship, but that is exactly what happened.

      She replied to my message that same night. This was one of my first correspondences with someone over the Internet, and she seemed very nice. Elsie asked me a couple of questions. I wrote back, never expecting to hear from her again. You can imagine my surprise when I did. For a while, we exchanged one message per day. These were long and much like letters. We would discover more about each other every time. Receiving one of her Emails was the equivalent of having being given a present. I never knew what she was going to say next. I’m sure Elsie felt the same way when she heard from me.

      Having Elsie as a friend meant a great deal to me because she had a sort of grandmotherly impact on me. I never knew what it was like to have grandparents, so I found someone with whom I could share the daily goings on of my teenage life. We connected when I was sixteen, and she was in her early sixties. It did not matter that we lived miles apart from one another. Just having the luxury of communicating by this technical marvel was nice. It still is.

      Elsie helped me get through some tough experiences. I recall one instance in which there were two girls at school who kept teasing me. They would say the vilest things to me when they were together. They were always making fun of my weight. I could not understand how anyone could be so cruel. I’d never done or said anything to them to make them dislike me so much. Every night after getting home and doing my homework, I poured out all of my pent up anguish into a lengthy note to Elsie. She responded by offering words of sympathy and encouragement. From her, I learned how to use writing as a way of dealing with problems. I will always be grateful for this.

      I credit Elsie for helping me to become a professional writer. She always insisted I submit stories to publications, but I did not take her advice until years later. It wasn’t that I did not want to write. This had been my dream even before I got to know her. As I look back now, I realize I felt nervous about taking that first step. Fear of uncertainty stopped me. Elsie taught me how to do what I believed in and hope for a positive outcome. Once I began conquering my trepidation, I started to see all of the things I could achieve, both in writing and in other areas.

      Elsie’s birthday is on New Year’s Day, and I call her every year on that day. She does the same on my birthday, which is the thirtieth of April. This is our present to each other. These conversations are all too brief, but they are always enjoyable.

      When I graduated from high school, I sent her a photo of myself. She told me she tacked it to her refrigerator, and the picture is still up there. It’s nice that someone who lives so far away would think of me as a part of her family.

      As I write this final paragraph, I am astonished at how much time has gone by since introducing myself to Elsie. No greater gift can compare to friendship. It is important to reach out to others and make those you care about feel special. This is what I try to do in my frequent correspondence with Elsie. I know that someday she won’t be around, and I don’t like thinking about when I will not be able to talk to her during those instances when something is bothering me or I just need to be told some reassuring words. So, I enjoy the time we have. Without friends, this world would be a lonely place. They bring us joy, make us laugh, and help us through the toughest of times. And we do the same for them. That is what friendship is all about.

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Wicked

 
Feeling like a million bucks
Precious time and out of luck
Intrigued spaces out of synch
Close your eyes and never blink

Pointed rest stops two and fro
Guided charters in yesterday’s soul
Feeling like a million bucks
All the maniacs who run amuck

Some say I’m wicked
Some say I’m blind
Some say I’m challenged
Some say I’m well timed

Feeling like the more I shake
Lessons learned in a casual break
Calculated motions risk the blur
Close your eyes and create a stir

Some say I’m wicked
Some say I’m blind
Some say I’m challenged

Some say I’m well timed
Wicked and well timed
Wicked and falling out of line
Each and every time

Feeling like a billion bucks
Quiet spaces of beginners luck
Moments of spiraling out in the brink
Trying to find a brief moment to think

©11/28/16 Bruce Clifford

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Books

 
Books were in my life
Since earliest remembrance,
As if I had been born
Into a story.

I played with books
Before I had begun
To understand
What writing meant.

I touched them, smelled them,
Heard the whispering pages turn,
Made imaginary worlds
Using books as blocks.

I learned to read
Sitting in my Mother’s lap
Looking at the letters
While she hugged me.

As I grew my book love grew;
They were my companions
Day and night, beside my toys,
My dog and cat, my brother.

Eventually my world
Was built on books,
As I wandered through
What I conceived as scholarship,

Years of study, work,
Of reaching out to wisdom
Surrounded by my books
(And their surrogates, computers).

But now I wonder:
What might I have missed
When I so gave myself to glue,
Paper, ink, the printed word?

©2016 John I. Blair

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The Picture That Wasn't There

 
There was a picture that wasn't there
It seemed to have vanished into thin air
Where could it have gone, I wonder where
For I'm quite positive I saw it there

 I was in the Lakeview Cemetery, taking a picture of me
But liking each picture, is always the key
I deleted the ones that didn't quite fit
Even though Autumn colors were sunlit

I returned home and posted them on Facebook
So they would be there to see, and people could look
My Cousin who is spiritual, was looking for one
But she couldn't find it, and my posting was done

She went over them until her eyes were sore
I told her those were all, there were no more
The next morning she said “It was the one where you're hugging the stone”
She shared with me, what she saw, what was shown

She saw me and my true love Vicki, in the clouds in the sky
For my Cousin you see, has what is called a Third Eye
I deleted that picture, it never got on a post
Yet she saw me there, with the one I love most

That's not the end, days later I returned to the Cemetery
Another picture was deleted, where she saw my brother Terry
Why is she seeing people in the pictures I delete
Whatever the reason, it's a blessing and a treat
©Nov 12, 2016 Bud Lemire
                         Author Note:
My Cousin Karen is in tune with the Spiritual world. She sees
things that most can't. Somehow it was a message to let her
know they are there for her and me, to see, and to know. We
are never alone. Our loved ones are always watching over us.

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Soil

 
What does the soil
On which we’re born
Do to our souls?

The soil on which
We live, on which
We set our feet

When we are children
Playing, or farmers,
Gardeners sowing seeds.

I grew up in a river valley
Where soil was brown and warm
And plants sank roots deep.

In my childish games
I got that soil into my pores
Not to be removed by baths.

It left its trace
Some place in me,
Don’t you suppose?

©2016 John I. Blair

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One Last Time

Just a memory
A brief moment in time
Flashes by me
One last time

Just a photograph
Time in a trance
Voices and noisy laughs
One last time

One last time to be strong
One last time to fight on
One last time to be wrong
One last time

A memory wall
The exchange of words
You stand, you fall
The message is heard

Just a photograph
The scent of the rain
The fork, the road, the path
The end of the game

One last moment to be strong
One last reason to write a song
One last second to move along
One last time to be wrong
One last time to be strong
One last time all along
One last time

Just a memory
A brief moment in time
Flashes by me
One last time

©11/3/16 Bruce Clifford

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ESSAY: I Can Always Rely on Three Things


      It is 6:30 in the morning. Only minutes earlier, I arrived at my job, which is that of a packer of CDs and printable labels. I am now seated in the break room. My tablet is with me. It is turned on. I am either listening to music or responding to E-mails I did not have a chance to read the night before. Sometimes, if the mood presents itself, the music is playing as I check my mail. In between this activity, I take sips of my hot tea. The sweetened liquid warms me, like a fleece blanket would on a cold day. It also gives me the energy I need to get my work done more effectively.
      This is a ritual I go through every Monday through Friday. The work bell rings at seven, and I am grateful for the half hour of relaxation I have before submitting myself to eight hours of stuffing products into boxes. During those thirty minutes, I put my headphones on and allow myself to block out all of the mundane chatter surrounding me. Through music, I am able to retreat into a world where everything is tranquil. Interacting with friends online provides me with the stimulating conversation I am unable to find among my coworkers. Those who do not have access to the Internet or have mobile devices think people who are constantly using their phones or tablets during breaks in the workday spend far too much time around electronics. What these individuals do not take into consideration is technology is a part of life. It is all around us. Why not embrace it? As long as we get our work done to the best of our ability, there isn't any harm in indulging in a bit of recreational computer time. That is how I see it, anyway.
      But getting back to the tea. Once I take that first sip, I immediately feel the rush of caffeine. By the end of the workday, I will have consumed enough to keep me going another few hours.
      There are times when I will drink tea on the weekends. This is especially true during the winter months. There is nothing like sitting in your favorite chair, holding a steaming mug in your hand, and looking out the window on a snowy morning. The view outside is so spectacular that it could provide inspiration for an artist.
      Just as listening to music or using a tablet has other advantages, drinking tea does as well. Sometimes I will find myself facing a dilemma that seems impossible to solve. I will ponder my situation and the various options I can choose. Tea tends to help me think better. Music provides a means of escape. It allows me to forget about what has been troubling me for a bit. Because I communicate more efficiently in writing, I reach out to friends through correspondence. If I am seeking advice from a friend, I will send her an E-mail. It might take a day or so for the person to reply, but I know she will eventually.
      I am a firm believer in the power of friendship. I think it's important for women to cultivate friendships with one another. There is nothing more comforting than being there for someone during a difficult hurdle and knowing that you have friends you can count on when faced with a challenge. If more women confided in each other, I think there would be less of a need for therapists. I have never been a supporter of psychiatry. If you feel speaking to someone will aid you in solving a problem, there isn't any reason you should rule out trusting those you care about for advice. I am sure they would be glad to offer whatever assistance they could.
      The wonderful thing about music is that different styles can evoke certain moods. Hearing a special song has the power to bring back so many cherished memories. I will play something I really enjoy whenever I've had an extremely busy day and need to unwind. The pleasure I derive from doing this is as strong as the feeling I experience after having a cup of tea.
      To continue discussing the subject of my favorite beveridge, I must not forget to include the wide assortment of flavored brews. If I'm in the mood for something with a kick to it, I will have either lemon or mint. Peach, raspberry, and apple are also favorites of mine. The aroma of the tea is as pleasing as the taste itself.
      Without having access to music, the Internet, or tea, I would not be at my most productive. All of these luxuries have become such a significant part of my life that I cannot imagine ever being without them. I couldn't even go without one, unless I absolutely had to. It is amazing how many little things on which we depend.

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Last Dance At Christmas

 
She wondered when her life would end
Right now she sure could use a friend
“Why do they stay away from me”
“Was this the way life was going to be”

Diagnosed with Cancer earlier this year
She lives each moment, now in fear
She experiences pain, no child should go through
The people who know her, haven't the faintest clue
She sits alone in her bedroom, reading a book
The Fantasies she reads, give her a new outlook
She drifts far away, to another place
Which stops her from thinking of all she must face

The Chemo has worn her down, she lost all of her hair
She tries not to think about, how life can be so unfair
At night she cries and asks “Why me?”
“I never asked for this, so why should it be”
Time was passing quickly, Christmas time was almost here
She reserves all her strength for some Christmas cheer
But inside her, there dwelled all this fear
“Would I still be around for Christmas this year?”

The pain was too much, for her to take
If not for love, she would surely break
Her parents gave her the very best
They supported her through every test
As Christmas drew closer, she really missed her friends
And wondered “Is this really how my life ends?”

Then one night, there came a light
The Angels danced, and it was so bright
“We've come to give you, one last chance”
“To join us in, this Awakening Dance”
She looked around, and saw all her friends
“Dear Armelia, this will be how your life ends”
One friend took her hand “Please come with me”
They wandered outside, for everyone to see
Liam bowed and asked her for this dance
She smiled and then she took a glance
A circle of her friends, were all around
In the middle, she and Liam were found
They danced until she could dance no more
She was so much happier than she was before

Liam whispered “Our parents didn't understand your disease”
“Which made them all, in a state of unease”
“The Angels who have brought us here”
“Have banished all of our parents' fear”
Armelia looked up, she knew her time was here
All of her pain was gone, and she had no fear
Armelia entered Heaven, and she had a new role
Helping those with disease, to uplift their soul
And upon this very Christmas night
In the sky hight above, was a new star shining bright 

©Dec 3, 2016 Bud Lemire
                      Author Note:
Remember everyone, people who are going through
such a disease, need a friendly face to see in person.
Don't be afraid to stop and see them. It will only take
a moment to bring so much happiness and comfort to
someone who you treasure in this life. Because once
they are gone, you can never have that chance. Armelia
went on to help thos battling the disease here on Earth,
and she knows the value of friends. Don't let your fears
be the thing that causes you not to see your friend who
needs you even more now than ever. Go see them.
.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Editor's Corner

November 2016

"Why not go out on a limb?
Isn’t that where the fruit is?"--
Frank Scully
 
Or perhaps we could each strive to be bigger in our life, our thought, our generosity, our forgiveness. What if we each put forth the effort the single wild Sunflower, in the pic at the bottom of the page, expended making its way to the rooftop amidst an overgrowth of thickly leaved and stemmed and blossomed Princess Vine. We could shine out as an example.

The month for Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving, brings to mind the sacrifices made to bring both into being named as observances. We honor our Veterans and celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends in a large part due to what the veterans have preserved of our way of life. Be certain that you read "Last Ride" which is about the only reference we have this issue to veterans.

For some interesting and detailed info into the subject, we have chosen to reprint the article "ASTROLOGY: Defined, Historical Background, Principles, and Anything Else You Wanted to Know but Didn't Ask" as it was simply defined by Leo C. Helmer in an issue several years ago.

John Blair, usually upbeat, adds "Headache" to his other poems for November. They are: "The Moon Wanes," "Another Night without A Moon," "Aledo's Faith," "Mars by Starlight," and "Two Poems."
"Last Ride" by Terry Finley, a veteran's tribute to veterans previously published in January 2003, is reprinted this issue in recognition of Veteran's Day. Bud Lemire's three are "Dark Clouds," "Halloween," and "Hear, I Can Not."

"Moments of Regret" and "Monuments and Extremes" are by Bruce Clifford. New to our ezine, Barbara Irvin, lets us join her for "A Theatrical Thrill." Welcome, Barbara. Judith Kroll's "Mama, How Will I Know" is our final poem for November.

Thomas F. O'Neill, "Introspective," called on his students recently for their opinions of America's election year which made for interesting viewpoints."Reflections of the Day" by Dayvid Clarkson, is good reading thaat could be beneficial for everyone.  He closes his column with an example of one of his nightly "good nights" to friends and family on Facebook.

From Dublin, Mattie Lennon pens two tributes in his column "Irish Eyes" for Brandon Kennelly and Billy Keane. Both are famous for their literary achievements. He adds an updated link to the interesting data on Ireland's Famine Pots.
 
Rod Cohenour's "Cooking With Rod," brings some cold weather cooking that can be modified with a neat twist to the recipe, and Melinda Cohenour's "Armchair Genealogy" touches close to home, dedicating the column to our shared ancestor, famous in her own way, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard, as her voice lives on in national archives.

Here is a link to your editor's own poem about the Ozarks. Ozark Born and Bred .

A tale for children, "The Red Purse in the Trunk in the Old House" by LC Van Savage will delight them. However, her other tale this issue, "The Gift of The Intercom" is strictly for adults.

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.

Watch for us in December!

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

Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard – or
Linnie Bullard, the Songbird of the Ozarks


    This column is devoted to the story of my namesake, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard, a remarkable woman whose years on this earth were chronicled, in part, by the United States Census where her existence was documented from the year 1850 (when she was just a five-year-old girl) to the year 1930 (the last Census taken before her death in 1937) a total of NINE Census enumerations. Unfortunately, as all seasoned genealogists are aware, the 1890 US Census records were damaged in a fire, but destroyed by the water damage caused in attempts to salvage those very records.



    Malinda Ellen Hopper was born 21 December 1845, almost exactly one hundred years before the birth of the child who would be granted use of her name – her great-granddaughter, the author, who was born 6 January 1946. My mother was blessed to have the opportunity of knowing her grandparents on both sides: Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard and William Henry Bullard, maternal, and Sarah Jane Godwin Joslin and William Henry Joslin, paternal.

    My inspiration for chronicling the life and times of Malinda Hopper Bullard was the chance viewing of a movie, Songcatcher, released in 2000 but not viewed by your author until last night. The parallels of the story line of the movie and the life and times of my great grandmother were amazing and the inclusion of two of her folksong ballads, Pretty Saro, moved me to tears. My night was a restless one, seeking out the soundtrack of the movie, listening endlessly to the songs of the mountains, then dreaming of the bits and pieces known about the remarkable woman, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard. Rosanne Cash performs another of her ballads, Fair and Tender Ladies.

    Malinda was the second child and second daughter of John David Hopper, Jr. (b. 27 Jul 1823, Hamilton County, Tennessee; d. 19 Jul 1895, Jane, McDonald County, Missouri) and his wife, Mary Johnson Young (b. 11 Apr 1821, Lafayette County, Missouri, d. 22 Jun 1896, Jane, McDonald County, Missouri). Her mother, Mary Johnson Young was the daughter of John Young (b. 1792, Burke County, North Carolina, d. 1850, McDonald County, Missouri) and Sarah “Sally” Hopper (b. 1796, Burke County, North Carolina, d. 1854, Lafayette County, Missouri) who was the sister to Napa Charlie Hopper who led the Bartleson-Bidwell party in 1842 from Missouri to California, an historic journey memorialized in several State’s history books.

    Malinda’s grandmother, Mary “Polly” Davenport Hopper (b. 24 Feb 1793, Chattanooga, Tennessee d. 3 Mar 1876, Brushy Knob, Johnson County, Missouri) was the daughter of Capt. Martin Thomas Davenport, Jr. one of the Heroes of King’s Mountain and the subject of one of the author’s in-depth research studies provided in an earlier column. Mary “Polly” was Martin’s daughter by his second wife, Martha Jane Browning (b. 1755 in Virginia, d. 1821, presumably in North Carolina).

    Mary “Polly” Davenport was a strong influence on Malinda Hopper Bullard. She was a midwife of great esteem and a courageous woman. From another family historian’s book, the following story was told about her:

    “Ida Hopper Cox has this to say about her G-Grandmother, Mary Davenport. “My G-Grandmother was a mid-wife and used to ride all over the country on horseback and attend to the sick. We often heard my mother tell of her starting to confine some woman and an awful snowstorm came up and she lost her way. They expected to find her frozen to death. She had taken off the saddle and blankets and laid down and covered up with them the best she could, and the poor horse stood over her all night and blew his breath on her feet…she came through unharmed.”
SOURCE: Source This story was also related to our Aunt, Linnie Jane Joslin Burks, who had included the story in her handwritten family tree records.

    Like her grandmother before her, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard would become an herbalist, Ozark midwife, and provide medicinal care to friends, family, and neighbors.

    Malinda lived a hard and demanding life. In her early teens, the conflicts preceding the Civil War would disrupt her life. Her father was a member of the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and, therefore, a conscientious objector. At that time, no man was granted that right. Soldiers for either side upon finding an able man not committed to one side of the conflict or the other considered him a traitor and rendered judgment immediately. The only punishment for treason was death. Thus, John David Hopper, Jr., spent a good portion of his time in hiding in a cave near the family farm. That left the job of running the farm to Malinda. The family legend is told that early in the conflict a group of Union sympathizers or soldiers arrived at the farm. Such a visit was typically prompted by need of food, water, shelter or even care for their horses. On this occasion, the young officer in charge of the small group “took a shine” to young Malinda who was reputed to be not yet 15 years of age. After having their demands acquiesced, the Lieutenant ordered his men to “burn it.” Alarmed, Malinda pled with the Lieutenant not to destroy their farm, her mother and young siblings and all their livelihood. “Well, let’s see…a pretty young thing like you, begging for this favor, must be willing to give a favor in return, right?” With that, Malinda responded, “I’ll give ye not more than a Yankee dime, as that’s what’s said you barter in.” The Lieutenant, rather than be angered found her retort to be charmingly na├»ve. He said, “Well, if that’s what you have to offer, guess we just may have struck a bargain.” With that, Malinda put a boot toe into his stirrups, pulled herself up and planted a kiss upon his cheek. The soldiers were ordered to pass the farm by – and to pass the word on that it should not be harmed in future visits.

    The Census for 1860 shows the family in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri, but the 1870 Census enumerates the family in nearby Jane, McDonald County, Missouri. The entire area of McDonald County at that time was filled with Hopper, Young, Russell, Davenport, Coffee and Bullard families. In 1880, Malinda Ellen, now age 34 was found yet to be faithfully caring for her aged parents on the family farm in Jane.

    Malinda grew up in a community largely populated by relatives. Two of her best friends were Susan Caudill, about two years younger, and her just older cousin, Eliza Coffee (Pitts) whose parents were her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth “Betsy” Hopper (elder sister to her father) and Meredith Coffee. Just after the War, the family legend is that one day the three friends were coming back from market when they saw a handsome young man with rich auburn hair and a lush auburn beard came riding by on a fine horse whose color closely matched his hair and beard. His saddle was not the ordinary “every day” saddle, but a very fancy one of leather adorned with brass fittings. The three girls each said, almost as one, “Oh, my! I think I must marry that very man one day!” And, as luck would have it – all three would, indeed, be wed to William Henry Bullard, Confederate hero of the Civil War.

    First, Susan D. Caudill, the youngest of the trio would be married to William Henry, and come to bear three sons: Jacob Alexander Bullard who would survive a mere 13 years, James Russell Bullard who would succumb as an infant, and Thomas Jeremiah Bullard who would survive to adulthood. Only two years following that third birth, Susan Caudill Bullard passed away. It is believed she did not survive a fourth pregnancy, but records have not been located to prove that to be true.

    After the death of his first wife, William Henry Bullard would take his second wife, this time wedding the recently widowed Eliza Coffee (Pitts) in 1875. By May of 1880, this second wife would die, leaving William Henry a second time widower. In June the US Census would record William Henry Bullard and his young son, Thomas just 9 years old, living in White Rock, McDonald County, Missouri. By October of 1880, William Henry Bullard and Malinda Ellen Hopper would be wed, “sitting horseback in front of Parson Scogg’s cabin.” Malinda and William Henry Bullard would have seven children of their own: Stella Lee Anice “Stell” Bullard, Vincil Clarence “Vince” Bullard, Lilvia Acenith “Lil” Bullard, Azalia Lovethia “Zail” Bullard, Mary Ester Zenobia “Nobe” Bullard, Evan Ones Bullard and Carrie Edyth Bullard.

    When Carrie married James Arthur Joslin it raised eyebrows around town. For Carrie had remained home to care for her aging parents much as her mother before her. And James Arthur Joslin was, perhaps, THE most eligible bachelor in town, dapper, tall, handsome, charming, and several years her elder. But, that was not the biggest reason for the townfolk’s interest in this prospective union but the history of the two fathers: William Henry Bullard, Confederate veteran, Democrat, Methodist and William Henry Joslin, Union veteran, Republican, Baptist. In spite of this, the wedding proceeded, but it was always said a family reunion was more like a reenactment of the Big War!

    Malinda Ellen was widowed in 1911. By 1920, the US Census would find her heading the household that included son Evan (who never married) her daughter Carrie and her little family, husband Artie and new baby daughter, Lena May.
Malinda Ellen in mourning attire – circa 1911

    The household was filled with music, as always had been true. The families of Hoppers, Russells, Youngs, Davenports and even the Bullards came from the mountains of North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee – the Appalachian Mountains. And those mountains were filled with immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The music of the Appalachian Mountain range is renowned as the origins of Bluegrass. Plaintive songs of life: struggles, unrequited love, and loss, war and conflict, and the inevitability of death. Those songs were carried down in the family by oral tradition, each generation learning the tunes and the lyrics of age-old ballads. And Malinda, known to all as “Linnie”, was born to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother and her mother before her – midwife, herbalist, medicine woman and bard. Her fame was widespread as one who knew more of the old tunes and lyrics than any other around.

    Thus, it was, that Vance Randolph would seek her out in 1926 to document what he believed to be a vanishing treasure – the folksongs of the Old Country, carried to the Appalachians and now beyond. Ironically, it is now believed the mountains of the Ozark are merely a continuation of that largest and most extensive of all American mountain ranges, beginning in the far North in New York state, to Alabama, and extending to what is now believed by some geologists to be a continuation on the Ozark Plateau. An extract from Appalachia and the Ozarks reads as follows:

 

The Appalachian Uplands, stretching from New York to Alabama, and the area of the Ozark-Ouachita mountains are separated by some 400 kilometers of land. They are actually two parts of a single physiographic province that have a strong topographic similarity and an unusually close association between topography and human settlement. Early settlers, when they reached the shores of colonial America, heard tales of a vast range of high mountains to the west. As they moved into those mountains, they discovered that their elevation had been exaggerated. Only in a few small areas do the Appalachians or Ozarks approach the dramatic vistas so common in the West.
Nevertheless, most who concern themselves with such questions would agree that much of the Appalachian and Ozark topography should be called mountainous. Local relief is greater than 500 meters in many areas, and it is sometimes greater than 1,000 meters. Slopes are often steep.
The human geography of Appalachia remains closely intertwined with its topography. Without the mountains, the area would merely be a part of several adjoining areas, such as the Deep South. With them, Appalachia and the Ozarks exist as a distinctive and identifiable American region. Source

    “Vance Randolph was a folklorist and professional writer” begins the biography of this extraordinary man SOURCE His story alone is remarkable. He fell in love with the unique quality of life in the Ozarks, the incredibly beautiful landscape, and the equally unique people who had settled the area. To quote from the bio again: ‘He had first visited nearby Noel, Missouri, in 1899 as a boy while on vacation with his parents. It was then at the age of seven that he came to believe ‘the Ozark country was the garden spot of all creation.” It was the beginning of Randolph’s life-long love affair with the Ozarks of southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.’

    He moved to Pineville, Missouri, in 1919 and in the course of his research and documentation of the Ozarks and the way of life, learned of Mrs. Linnie Bullard, bard extraordinaire. He began visiting Linnie on her front porch and soon obtained her agreement to let him capture her ballads and folksongs on the wax cylinders he had created for this purpose.

    And, here, if you have seen Songcatcher you will recognize the incredible parallels between that movie, the musicologist heroine, Dr. Lily Penleric and our Linnie Bullard and her own musicologist, Vance Randolph. In the film, Dr. Lily visits her sister in the Appalachian Mountains and ends up falling in love with the land, the people and, most importantly, the MUSIC. She visits various people who are known to “have the music” and documents their songs by handwriting the notes and lyrics but also on a machine she creates, thus the title Songcatcher.

    Over the course of time, Vance Randolph would record Linnie Bullard’s version of many Old Country folk songs and ballads: The following is a list of songs recorded by Vance Randolph on handmade wax recording cylinders in 1926 by my great-grandmother, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard identified by the name by which she was normally called Mrs. Linnie Bullard. These recordings now reside in the Library of Congress. The index created originally by the University of Missouri and included by Jane Keefer in her Index.]

    Bullard, Linnie - Appearance as principal performer:
  • 1. Banks of the Nile - I (Men's Clothes I Will Put On), Ozark Folksongs. Volume I, British Ballads and Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p216/# 42A [1926]
  • 2. Becky at the Loom, Ozark Folksongs. Volume IV, Religious Songs and Other Items, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p123/#677 [1926]
  • 3. Brown Girl and Fair Ellen/Eleanor (Brown Girl IV), Ozark Folksongs. Volume I, British Ballads and Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p 97/# 15C [1927]
  • 4. Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies/Maidens (You Fair and Pretty Ladies), Ozark Folksongs. Volume I, British Ballads and Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk
  • 5. Green Bed/Beds (Johnny the Sailor), Ozark Folksongs. Volume I, British Ballads and Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p251/# 53B [1926]
  • 6. Homespun Dress, Ozark Folksongs. Volume II, Songs of the South and West, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p263/#215 [1928]
  • 7. Hunters of Kentucky (Hunter from Kentucky), Ozark Folksongs. Volume IV, Religious Songs and Other Items, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p104/#666 [1926]
  • 8. Lonesome Grove (Lonesome Dove - I), Ozark Folksongs. Volume IV, Religious Songs and Other Items, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p 39/#607 [1926]
  • 9. Lord Lovel/Lovelle/Loven/Lover, Ozark Folksongs. Volume I, British Ballads and Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p115/# 17B [1925]
  • 10. Mary Hamilton (Four Marys/Maries), Ozark Folksongs. Volume I, British Ballads and Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p151/# 26 [1926]
  • 11. Ocean Is Wide, Ozark Folksongs. Volume III, Humorous & Play-Party Songs, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p390/#580 [1926]
  • 12. Pretty Saro, Ozark Folksongs. Volume IV, Religious Songs and Other Items, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), p222/#744A [1926]
  • 13. Southern Encampment, Ozark Folksongs. Volume II, Songs of the South and West, Univ. of Missouri, Bk (1980/1946), P275/#223 [1926]
SOURCE


    For my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I urge you to listen to the soundtrack from this movie, Songcatcher, which includes a version of Pretty Saro by Iris Dement that is what I believe to be closest to the song my grandmother Carrie Bullard Joslin sang to me. Grandmother Carrie never believed she had the voice that her mother was blessed with, but strove to keep alive the oral tradition of this historic music. ‘Pretty Saro” has been recorded by Bob Dylan, by Doc Watson, by Judy Collins and many, many more. The current best link to hear it is a rendition on YouTube by Iris DeMent singing Pretty Saro from Songcatcher Here is the link: Pretty Saro on YouTube ris DeMent singing Pretty Saro from Songcatcher/B> I youtube.com
    Notable artists who have recorded Pretty Saro include: (Artist and Album)
    Derroll Adams – 65th Birthday Concert
    Sam Amidon – All is Well
    Judy Collins – A Maid of Constant Sorrow
    Shirley Collins and Davy Graham – Folk Roots, New Routes
    Iris Dement – Songcatcher
    Jay Munly – Galvanized Yankee
    Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)
    Pete Seeger – God Bless the Grass
    Doc Watson – Home Again
    Chris Jones – Cloud of Dust
    Ashley Monroe featuring Aubrey Haynie – Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War
    “During his Self Portrait sessions in March 1970 at Columbia Records' New York studio, Bob Dylan ran through "Pretty Saro" six consecutive times. While none of those versions made the final cut for the album, the song remained in Columbia's vault, until it was released on Another Self Portrait, a 35-track box set of songs cut for Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning.”
    SOURCE:This is an excellent link for it provides links to the artist’s actual music.

    To add just one more bit to the mystique that seemed to surround Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard, several years ago while researching the Bullard family, I found among thousands of entries one intriguing hit on the search engine. A lady named Marilyn Carnell living in California had obtained, by chance, a series of letters among members of the Bullard family written in the Civil War era. She did not want those letters to be lost so had posted online. I responded to her post and after a series of emails she determined I had sufficient documentation to be entrusted with the letters. She mailed a package to me of the original letters and I was, ultimately, able to identify the writers and recipients of each letter. During the course of our email correspondence, I was amazed to learn that Marilyn Carnell had a link to Pineville. In fact, when my great-grandmother Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard passed away, the undertaker who crossed the swinging bridge to the island home where she had lived was Lee Carnell – Marilyn Carnell’s great-grandfather!

    Our great grandmother lived long enough to see the birth of my eldest sister, the Editor of PencilStubs.Online. There is a wonderful four-generation photograph of Malinda Ellen, her daughter Carrie, her granddaughter Lena May and her great-granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Carroll. (See pic below)
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    On the 4th of February in 1937, Malinda Ellen Hopper Bullard watched her last sunrise, looking out the window of her room across the wide river from the island home she shared with her daughter, Carrie. She was buried beside her husband in the Pineville Cemetery, Pineville, Missouri, among the graves of so many family members.
Compiled and Researched by Melinda Ellen (Carroll) Cohenour
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.