Sunday, May 1, 2016

Editor's Corner

May 2016

May is on a stumbling route getting here it seems, making her way through the diverse weather conditions April has spread around the world. Not content with the traditional 'showers' many have been deluged with flooded areas or blown here and there by the vicious tornadic winds. One hopes May will be more gentle.

Phil Hennessy realized he had failed to share the lyrics of the song (Joining Hearts) he composed as a National fund raiser in the UK last year, so he fills us in on the facts about it and includes a link so you can hear it sung by Paul Salvage and a school choir which included Phil's children. He also includes "My House Is Warm."

Bud Lemire checked in with "A Poem About Nothing," "Feel My Touch," "Created to Be Unique," and "April's Snow." Bruce Clifford submitted two poems for this issue: "Any Way You'd Like" and "You Can't Find No Relief."

One of the articles is by an author we have shown here before, Diane Terry Lynch aka Spirit0662 who discusses "Falling in Love." The other article lets LC Van Savage say something about Slinkys.

Thomas F. O'Neill, "Introspective," talks about the robot technology that goes beyond toys. He also updated his profile pic which I am placing below on this page.

LC Van Savage's column "Consider This" confesses what she always carries in her pocket. Would you believe - an elephant? Mattie Lennon in "Irish Eyes" details the historical attraction EPIC Ireland that visitors are flocking to this year. A collector's type DVD has also been released about the infamous "Famine Pot." Lennon explains his feelings about the census as well.

Rod Cohenour, "Cooking With Rod," tells how to make simple ingredients into a memorable and succulent meal, "Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy."    Melinda Cohenour, "Armchair Genealogy" begins the interesting facts surrounding David Motley Ellington, an American Patriot.

In "Adventures of Ollie-Dare" Chapter 13 by Rebecca Morris, the bear goes to the Circus.

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 June!

See Thomas F. O'Neill's new bio pic below.

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

Armchair Genealogy

The Story of David Motley Ellington,
An American Patriot

Part I

          David Motley Ellington was born the 15th day of January 1759 in Amelia County, Virginia, one of eleven children of Jeremiah Ellington and his wife, Frances Jones Ellington who was affectionately called “Fanny.” In 1759, the colonists of Virginia were establishing the foundation of their burgeoning country. Virginia was the home to indigenous tribes of Native Americans whose migration to the continent preceded the European migration by hundreds if not thousands of years. The time of migration was so ancient, most Indian oral traditions cited an origination of their people by spiritual creation in the very land they hunted and fished. (DNA testing now proves all Indians of both North and South America are genetically matched to the Siberian tribes who moved into Beringia some 23,000 years ago, after mingling their blood with a group of Australo-Melanese peoples in the ancient mists of time.)

         These natives first accepted the European arrivals and taught them to survive in the new land by the farming of corn, beans, and squash and introduced them to the methods of hunting and fishing that proved most successful. But as the European’s numbers increased and more and more of the Indians’ hunting, fishing, and farming lands were taken over by their thriving tobacco plantations and newly introduced African slaves, territorial issues occurred. Though attempts were made to ameliorate these differences, it soon became clear that the core societal differences of the opposing claimants to the land would prevent any long-lasting peaceful cohabitation. Soon those differences erupted into attempts by the Indian tribes to force the Europeans to leave their lands. These skirmishes provided the men of the colonies with valuable training in methods and tools of combat, knowledge that would serve them well in the years to come. The Virginian colonists thrived in their new land in spite of these attacks, producing more goods than they could consume. Their trade with England provided the old country with the newly harvested tobacco, a commodity that was highly desired – and highly taxed.

         By 1763, the English crown was severely in debt after the French and Indian War and more demands were made upon the colonists to pay ever-increasing taxes on their own goods and to comply with more and more attempts to control and direct the internal affairs of the new colonies. These frictions would eventually lead to the Revolutionary War.

         In 1778, in the county of Amelia in the colony of Virginia, David Motley Ellington enlisted to fight the British in the colonies’ fight to gain independence. He chose to leave his father’s plantation and take up arms for the cause which stirred his desires to live free from the restrictions and rules set down by a distant ruling hand. His decision would lead him to engage in some of the most definitive battles of the Revolution and view, firsthand, the culmination of all the colonists’ struggles to achieve independence.

         Our glimpse into the wartime experiences of David Motley Ellington is gained from a review of the extensive Pension Application package on file in the archives of our nation. It was not until 7 June 1832 that Congress passed an Act that permitted those who gained our independence to seek remuneration for their unpaid services. By that time, most of the patriots were already dead or so aged they required assistance to make application. Such was the case for our David, who had been “afflicted with a long spell of sickness, which has almost deprived him of recollection” as attested to by one of the many who attempted to support his appeal for benefits. Yet, David made application for his pension on 17 March 1834 in the county of Crittenden, Kentucky. Your author has reviewed the package and transcribed the text of the original application (extractons from which appear below this narrative.) From the text of the original application and the attestations appended to his various appeals, a picture of his participation in the Revolutionary War has been gained. For, whether or not the government clerks took the time to review records and justify payment to the many applicants for the monies, it is clear that David Ellington’s claims are supported by those who knew him and the parties involved with him before, during, and after the War.

         My narrative, therefore, shall include phrases directly from great grandfather Ellington’s application with details concerning the battles that have been shared by historians through the centuries since.
States that he Enlisted in the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated, to wit, Enlisted under Captain Pain in the County of Amelia in the State of Virginia, in the year of 1778, and marched under said Captain Pain to the State of Pennsylvania and joined the Fourth Regiment then commanded by Col. Howard,
          Almost immediately after enlisting, Ellington’s Virginia militia was marched to the nearby state of Pennsylvania. The Continental Army was in a state of almost constant disruption due to loss of troops from enemy fire, abandonment of posts, and health issues arising from the severe winter, inadequate nourishment, poor water sources, and exhaustion. Shortly after becoming a part of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, that regiment was disbanded and the surviving troops folded into a different command. On 3 December 1780, Daniel Morgan returned from retirement and accepted command as Brigadier General in the Southern Campaign. He met with Gen. Nathaniel Greene at Charlotte, North Carolina to establish strategic plans. It was determined that Greene would split his troops into three groups, giving Morgan command of those who would forage for food and supplies for the main body of troops and enemy harassment in the backwoods of South Carolina. Due to the small size of his command, the tactic would be harassment but avoidance of major skirmishes. Ellington was among the sharpshooters from Virginia who would follow Morgan’s command. (It should be noted that there is no record of the “Capt. Pain” referenced in the original application. About this time, in Virginia and the other colonies, a little pamphlet titled Common Sense was being circulated. This was a powerful and well-written document written by Thomas Paine, newly arrived in America in 1774. The name of Thomas Paine was then and is now closely associated with the causes of the colonists that sparked the Revolutionary War. Many enlistees were inspired to do so after either reading the pamphlet or hearing one of the impassioned speeches quoting from it. Perhaps this is why the name of “Capt. Pain” arose in the Pension Application of David Motley Ellington.)

         The 4th Regiment commanded by “Col. Howard” must refer to the 4th Regiment, Maryland, commanded by Col. John Eager Howard, which was present in Pennsylvania at this time. This is another group that fluctuated in size and nomination depending upon the vagaries of war. Ellington’s company would be absorbed by those following Daniel Morgan.
States … that he enlisted under the said Captain Paine for and during the war, and after he was attached to the said fourth Regiment in the State of Pennsylvania he was marched to the State of South Carolina under the command of General Morgain (sic)
         As Gen. Morgan continued the campaign of harassment of enemy troops, Ellington engaged the enemy on December 30, 1780, at Hammond’s Store in Abbeville County, North Carolina. On the following day, Tories and Brits were engaged at Williams’ Plantation in Newberry County. On 3 January 1781, the traitor Benedict Arnold attempted to land the troops aboard his ship at Hood’s Point on the James River in Virginia. This engagement may have been one that helped British General Cornwallis to identify Morgan’s location.
States … to the Cowpens where he had a severe Battle with the Brittish and Tories in which Battle we had a victory;
         Cornwallis had been made aware of Greene splitting his troops into three groups and decided to match the strategy by similarly separating his units. He set Colonel Banastre Tarleton to track down Morgan with the intent of annihilating his diminished unit. When Morgan learned Tarleton was trailing him, he chose to depart from the agreed strategy and, after conferring with his officers who had engaged Tarleton before, determined to directly confront him. Morgan chose his location carefully and mapped out a unique and creative battle tactic which has been described by one military historian as “the only new and creative battle strategy employed by either army.”
Illustration: A famous painting, depicting the convergence of Colonel Washington's cavalry, the Virginia sharpshooters under General Morgan, and the "fleeing" Continental troops, surrounding and soundly defeating the British army under Colonel Tarleton.

         From the website:American Revolution Website is a wonderful description of the Battle of Cowpens: Battle of Cowpens

         "The Battle of Cowpens" January 17, 1781. After Gates had been defeated at Camden, the Continental Congress authorized General Washington to appoint a new commander of the Southern armies. Washington selected General Greene, who had recently resigned as Quartermaster General. Greene headed south. Upon his arrival, Greene split his small army, sending General Morgan to western South Carolina to menace the British troops and attempt to threaten British Post 96. Cornwallis responded by sending Colonel Tarleton, with about 1,000 soldiers, to Post 96. There, he received further orders from Cornwallis to seek out and destroy Morgan's forces. Morgan had 600 Continental soldiers and seasoned Virginia militiamen, together with another 500 untrained militiamen. He decided to remain and fight Tarleton. Morgan placed his soldiers on a gentle but commanding hill, deploying them in three lines. The most reliable soldiers among the Continental troops and Virginia militia were placed just forward of the crest. Below were two lines of militia, the furthest forward being the best sharpshooters. Morgan did not expect that they would be able to stand against a line of British regulars, so he gave them explicit orders that they were to fire three rounds and then run to the place where the horses were being held. Morgan placed 130 mounted men in reserve under Colonel Washington. At 4:00 AM, Tarleton's forces broke camp, and Morgan was duly notified. At 8:00 AM, Tarleton reached American lines. Morgan went up and down the line repeating the famous words: “Don't fire until you see the white of their eyes!” A fierce cry went out from the British forces: Morgan responded loudly, “They give us the British Hallo, boys. Give them the Indian Hallo, by God!” A wild cry went out from the Americans. The sharpshooters took aim and fired. They did their job, firing two or three times and running back to the second line. The British continued to advance and, as the second line began to fire, the British began to run up the hill with bayonets ready. The second line fled. British dragoons then tried to cut down the fleeing Americans. Just then, Washington's cavalry appeared and chased away the British cavalry. Morgan was awaiting the militiamen where the horses were, and he managed to turn them back around toward the battle. Meanwhile, the final line of Continentals was holding off the British. The tactical situation forced them to retreat slightly. Tarleton thought the battle had been won, and he ordered a general charge. As they charged, Morgan ordered the retiring force of Continentals to turn and fire. At the same time, the militiamen were coming up on the left. Once the British were halted in their tracks, the Americans began charging with bayonets. Just then, the militia attacked from the left, and Washington's cavalry attacked from the right. In what would become a classic military victory, one of the most famous of the war, the entire British force was captured. The British had lost 910 men, 110 killed and 800 taken prisoner, as well as all of their supplies. The American lost only 73 people, 12 killed and 61 wounded.”
Illustration: The Battle of Cowpens was a decisive American victory that turned the course of the Revolutionary War in the South. Here Morgan gave the order" "Don't fire until you see the white of their eyes!"

          The story of David Motley Ellington’s service in the Revolutionary War is so lengthy that, in order to pay it due justice, I have chosen to separate the information into two columns. Therefore, next month’s column will continue with the story of his courageous service and will also include information concerning service by the other Ellington family members. Stay tuned!
Researched and compiled by author.

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Cooking with Rod

Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy/H3>

         This is one of my favorite meals, as prepared by my sweet wife, Melinda. She first prepared this for me when we lived in Guthrie, Oklahoma, some 25 years ago. She was kind enough to provide the recipe to me and I must give her credit for it.

         We have so many fond memories of our time in Guthrie at the old home place known as Yonder Hills. It was a wonderful time with family and friends in a beautiful place and this recipe reminds me of all those things.

         Bon appetit!

  • 2 lbs. ground round steak
  • ½ tsp. Celery Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 large onions, prefer Vidalia or Spanish, sliced ¼” to ½” thick
  • 1 15 oz. can Beef broth, unsalted
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup mix
  • Water as required by soup mix
    1.   Season ground round steak (best flavor!) with celery salt, black pepper and a scant sprinkle of garlic powder. Brown well on first side in preheated heavy skillet.
    2.   Turn and top with a couple of large onions, sliced ¼” to ½” thick. Pour in the dash of Worcestershire sauce a cup or so of beef broth. Cover to smother and let onion flavor infuse the steaks.
    3.   When browned well on second side, remove onions and meat from skillet.
    4.   Stir pan with wooden spoon to scrape browned goodies from the bottom of the pan.
    5.   Add a stick of butter and stir while it melts.
    6.   Add half cup of flour, season with a dash of ground pepper and stir while it thickens and flour roux loses its raw flour flavor.
    7.   Now, I add a package of Lipton onion soup mix and the amount of water it requires. Stir thoroughly until soup mix is done.
    8.   To this add the caramelized onions previously removed from pan. Stir to heat. Serve this gravy over ground round steaks and mashed potatoes.
This meal is perfected by a cold crisp salad and bacon seasoned green beans, hot rolls with butter and iced tea.

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Irish Eyes

Epic Ireland, Census, And Famine Pots

"If the King asks you to form a Government you say 'Yes' or 'No' not 'I'll let you know later' "
- Clement Attlee.
There has been a lot of “I’ll let you know later” going on since the end of February.
 Now, at the time of writing,
exactly nine weeks after our election
it appears that they are getting close to
cobbling together some sort
of a minority government.

And that able Kerry politician,
Michael Healy-Ray, is hotly tipped for
the position of Minister for Rural affairs.

      I spent last Sunday evening filling out a Census Form in which, it appeared, I had to give every detail about myself. Apart from my inside-leg measurement! (One letter-writer to a national newspaper suggested that the next census should include the question, “Have you been offended by any question in this census.”

In this year when Ireland as a country is commemorating the people who fought and died in the 1916 insurrection many other aspects of Irish history are being aired.
EPIC Ireland which is described as a “dramatic 21st Century visitor experience showcasing the unique journey of the Irish people around the world through the ages,” is centrally located in the vaults of the 1820 CHQ building. It has twenty one galleries, using cutting-edge interactive technologies which will enable visitors to explore the many tales of migration, the forces that have driven it, and the impact that it has had on the world. This is the authentic and epic story of 10 million journeys and the roots of 70 million people, told with memorable style and passion.
If you are in Dublin any time for EPIC Ireland must be included in your visit. It is located at the heart of Dublin, at Custom House Quay on the River Liffey, the original departure point for so many of Ireland’s emigrants. This is Ireland’s 21st century visitor experience, telling the story of 10 million journeys and the roots of 70 million people.

      Visitors will be taken on a journey that starts on the island of Ireland and ends with the global presence of the Irish today. The exhibition occupies over 40,000ft2 / 3,716m2 and is spread across the 21 galleries, and brings to life the story of Ireland’s communities overseas - past, present and future – in a way that is highly entertaining, engaging and educational. EPIC Ireland is a recommended first stop for visitors to Ireland as it captures an authentic and widely encompassing picture of the history of Ireland and the Irish nation. It acts as a ‘jumping off’ point for visitors and locals alike, suggesting onward connections to other centres and museums where visitors can follow-up particular areas of interest in more detail. Visitors begin their journey by receiving a stamped passport as they enter the exhibition. They will follow a path through the 21 remarkable galleries organised into four thematic groups,. This experience is an introduction to Ireland and the arrivals and departures that have shaped it, why people left Ireland and the stories of adventure and tragedy. Also the influence that Irish had overseas, and the extraordinary part they have played in their adopted homelands in politics, business, science, sport and the arts.

       Still on the subject of Irish history, Irish Famine Pots have brought out a documentary titled appropriately enough The Famine Pot which is now available on DVD. It tells the story of this grim period in our history. It includes footage of areas which were worst hit by An Gorta Mor and features interviews with historians, Professor Christine Kinealy, Rob Goodbody, Dr Ciaran Reilly, Sean Beattie, Rev. Jack Lamb, Dr Gearoid Moran and Colum Cronin. Matthew Jebb, director of the National Botanic Gardens gives a scientific account of the nature of the potato blight.

      The DVD is now available. Details and price from:

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Consider This

Pocket Pachyderm

      I have an elephant in my pocket. Really, I do! He’s been in all my pockets for years except for when I lost him once and for when my pockets are too short and I’m afraid he’ll fall out and get lost again. He is so far nameless and I love him. Do I think he brings me good luck? Dunno. I’ve never believed in talismans. We either have good luck in life or we don’t, but a little nudge I think, in the direction of “what if??” in the form of a lucky stone or coin or whatever, can’t hurt, right? So I have my little elephant. He’s about a half inch high, an inch long, he’s silvery and yes, his trunk is raised.

      Does an upward trunk on an elephant bring good luck? Word out there is yes. Elephant statues and charms and things are popular all over the world and in some places it’s believed that one should always buy an elephant picture or carved icon and place it facing one’s front door, trunk up, to keep good juju in and bad juju out. Those things will bring the occupants success, longevity and much knowledge, not to mention providing stability and wisdom and chasing away all negatives. Is all this true? Who am I to judge? After all, I carry a pachyderm in my pocket!

       Word is that the raised trunk brings good fortune, but if lowered, not so good. Some say that if you happen to pass a stray elephant on your way to Hannaford or somewhere, and its trunk is upright, you are pretty much in clover, maybe even for life, so make an effort to cross directly in front of one of those magnificent, intelligent animals. It’d be kinda prudent.

      Anyone remember elephant hair bracelets? Very popular back in the day. They were supposed to bring good luck and great wealth and babies or something. I was skeptical. It made me think about those believers who wear a shark’s tooth around their necks and jump into chum-filled waters knowing absolutely they’ll be protected. I’ll give you one guess about who’ll not surface that day. At least elephants never ate people who wore elephant hair bracelets, none that I ever heard of at least, and one hopes it didn’t cause the great beasties any pain to sacrifice their hair for human adornment ala mode.

      The great tragedy about these wonderful sensitive family oriented animals is that they’re being ruthlessly slaughtered by poachers for their tusks, their huge bodies left to rot where they fall. I try to think about those poachers; maybe they are horribly poor with children to feed and they have no other means of income, but it’s extremely difficult to be sympathetic when it comes to poachers. And why is there still a market for ivory tusks? By themselves they are just teeth. But they’ve always been desired for carvings because it is beautiful, ages well and doesn’t splinter. Fabulous ornate ivory carvings are in museums all over the world.

      When I was growing up all pianos had ivory keys. Now when I look at an ivory keyboard and think those keys once were in the heads of gorgeous, intelligent animals, beasts who can be trained to use tools and to help humans the way we’ve always used animals, wondrous beasts that were tortured for centuries into performing humiliating circus tricks, animals that loved and protected their babies and other elephants,--- well it’s hard to play the piano on those keys. Of course I can’t play anyway, but that’s not the point, is it?

      And elephants do in fact have long memories and are superbly intelligent; they are emotional, and even Aristotle, the ancient Greek philopher, wrote that elephants surpassed all other animals in wisdom and could express grief and compassion. They also have the largest brains of all mammals, and know how to use them. We could learn from “effaluntz,” as all little kids call them. But will we? Does my little pocket elephant bring me good luck? Who knows? I’m not even sure if she’s a girl or a boy elephant, although I’m leaning toward girl. Anyone have any suggestions about what I should name her?

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   I can remember back when there was no personal computers, internet, or cell phones. The things my students take for granted are things I enjoy bringing up in my classes at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School in Suzhou, China.

   I asked my students in April of this year to do a project about where they think technology will be when they are my age – by the way I’m 53 years old and still ticking. The reports ranged from cellular powered plans, driverless cars, underwater cities out at sea, and an international space station on the Moon. Space travel was a huge topic of interest for my students, who feel that in the not too distant future, they will be able to freely travel anywhere in the world within a few hours due to being able to own their very own spacecraft. One student wrote about artificially intelligent robots. In her vision of the future, you will be able to own your own artificially intelligent robot with internet capabilities sort of like having your own personal assistant that goes everywhere you go.

   On April 21 2016 there was a Hi – Tech fair in Chongqing China. It was held at the Chongqing National Defense University, a hotbed of Chinese military innovations. These Hi – Tech fairs are ways for companies throughout China to show off their technological innovations to the world.

 The Ministry of Public Security was also very excited about revealing their police robot referred to as Anbot. They boasted about how Anbot can patrol autonomously and protect against violence or unrest.

   The robot is approximately 5 feet tall (1.5 meter) and weighs roughly 165 pounds (78 kg). The robot can understand Chinese and English but it gives you the feel as if you stepped into a sci-fi film with a more subdued R2D2 from the star wars movies.

   The robot has enough battery power for 8 hours of operations, autonomous navigation and intelligent audiovisual analysis. It can reach speeds of 18 kmh (approximately 12 MPH) to chase down fleeing criminals or respond to emergencies. It can also rush over to the scene if a bystander cries for help, and it can even recharge itself without human intervention. In addition to standard police patrolling, the Anbot can undertake riot control, by remotely firing its electroshock weapons.

   One fascinating feature is bystanders and civilians can use the Anbot to call for help through an SOS button on the robot’s touchscreen. The National Defense University has programmed the robot to use its audiovisual sensors to recognize and record illegal activities, identify fugitives, and autonomously decide where to patrol. The Anbot has the most advanced facial and audio recognition software so fugitives beware in the very near future there will be no hiding in plain sight.

   The robot’s electrically charged riot control tools has become somewhat controversial especially among University students who feel it’s being overly emphasized by Anbot’s creators.

   The robot has the capability to Taser unruly individuals or use another devise similar to an extendable cattle prod. It has enough room to mount other law enforcement gear, like tear gas canisters and other less lethal weaponry. One selling tool about the Anbot - it has enough artificial intelligence to respond to situations without fear or hesitation. It is being billed as the first intelligent security robot but it does have its critics.

   One obvious drawback is the Anbot is unable to walk up and down stairs. It is unable to apprehend suspects without knocking them off their feet or without using its Tasers. The critics point out that police robots lack social and emotional intelligence, and like all robotic platforms, they are vulnerable to cyber intrusions.

   The critics are correct in pointing out that machines are not people. The police robots don’t have the human attributes needed to be effective in apprehending suspects, in analyzing crime scenes or in responding to the emotional needs of crime victims.

   On the other hand the Anbot needs minimal human supervision, it has autonomous response capabilities, and the ability to find persons of interest by collecting audiovisual information. The Anbot is not designed to fulfill all the needs of law enforcement but rather it’s a hi-tech aid in enforcing the law. The Anbot also has its electrical weaponry for assisting law enforcement officers in riot situations.

   I can see police robots, in the not too distant future, taking a more active part for interested police departments not just in China but throughout the world.

   What was once science fiction in the world of robotics has now become a science reality. I once told my students that in the very near future robots may also take up many of our daily household tasks from cleaning our homes to picking up groceries.

   My students also see a brighter future not just for the world of robotics but for human relations both globally and domestically and that is certainly a good thing.
    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
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:
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The Adventures of Ollie-Dare - Chapter 13

OLLIE-DARE Meets The Circus

         Spring was in the air and the Great Forest once again was alive with activity. The creatures of the forest were busy planting, and enjoying the new Spring air. Flowers were beginning to bloom in a colorful array, and the meadows were becoming greener. Ollie-Dare and his best friends, Jimmy the Rabbit, Ace the Coon, and Banjo the Fox, were having tea when suddenly strange music filled the air. Ollie-Dare and his friends followed the sounds into the meadow that lay on the edge of the Great Forest, and before them was a sight like none they had seen.

         Huge wagons with colorful pictures and writings were assembled in a large circle. Men and women in strange costumes could be seen running to and fro. Noises like none the creatures of the forest had heard before filled the air, and music with a bell rhythm sounded out from the wagons. By now the forest walls were lined with creatures of the forest, some openingly staring, and others peeping through willow branches and tall grasses.

         Ollie-Dare being the wise bear he was, decide to venture closer, while telling the others to stay where they were. Slowly Ollie-Dare walked to the big wagons, where he was met by a tall man with long grey hair. At first, the man stopped and stared, and then with a smile said, "May I ask who you are, for you are not one of our animals?"

         Ollie-Dare stood straight and tall, and in a gruff voice answered, "I am Ollie-Dare, and you have entered my forest."

         "I am Wilford the Circus Clown, and before you is the greatest show on earth, The Circus," said the man. "We mean you no harm, for we need only to rest because we have traveled far, and are headed for the city just over the mountain. We are to perform there next week. Come, let me introduce you to all here at the circus, and you shall see that we are harmless."

         Ollie-Dare entered the large circle of wagons to see all shapes and sizes of men and women, and creatures like none he had seen before. First he was introduced to Rick, the ring master, a tall slim man with a large mustache, and a very tall hat. He was then taken to see Leo the lion trainer, and some of the biggest cats you could imagine. He met Beth the horse woman, and her beautiful horse Silver Streak, then there was John the Trainer and his animals, the elephants.

         Ollie-Dare was amazed at the sight before him, and lingered watching the graceful movements of such large animals. He met clowns of all different sizes, a fire-eating man, the strong man, all kinds of dogs doing tricks, and a strange and funny creature called a monkey, and rope-walkers, and dancers.

         Everyone was very nice to Ollie-Dare and he was happy that once again strangers had entered his forest with new things for him to see. He also knew that his friends would be very worried by now, and with invitations for all the forest creatures to return later for a small show, Ollie-Dare said his fare-wells.

         On re-entering the forest, creatures large and small gathered to hear what Ollie-Dare had to tell. With eyes of wonder, they then left to tell others within the forest of the strange events taking place, and of the invitation to see it themselves that very day.

         As dusk settled upon the forest, Ollie-Dare and all the forest creatures gathered at the meadow's edge for the beginning of the night's event. One by one, Ollie-Dare let his forest creatures enter into a huge tent structure wkere they were seated on wooden seats, and the strange music filled the air.

         Suddenly, the Ring Master appeared and in a loud voice announced "Welcome to the Greatest Show on earth, The Family Circus!"

         Tall and short men appeared dressed in bright costumes with hair of many colors, and round, red noses. They ran here and there, tripping and throwing things in the air, and making everyone laugh with glee. Then entered the elephants and their trainer to the gasp of the forest creatures. Large though they were, the elephants performed gracefully, bowing and parading before them. They did tricks, and Nibbles the Squirrel rode the back of one of the elephants to the amusement of her forest friends.

         Next entered a large man with arms the size of tree trunks, and he bent and twisted metal pipes. Following him came a beautiful lady and her horse. On his back she twirled and turned, and went on and off. Large cats called tigers performed by leaping through fire rings; rope-walkers and high wire acrobats, dogs and monkeys, gave performances to lots of applause and laughter.

         At the end of the show, Ollie-Dare and his friends were given a sweet called cotton-candy, and caramel-covered apples, along with a cool drink. Balloons that swayed back and forth on long stings, and pictures of all the performers were handed out. The time soon came for Ollie-Dare and his friends to return home. So with promises of returning the next morning to say farewells, they went on their way.

         And as the sun appeared over the meadow the next morning, a stream of forest animals could be seen coming and going from the circus wagons, each taking their new friends a small gift from the forest. Some gave baskets of food, others small tokens from the forest walls.

         Later as Ollie-Dare, Jimmy, Ace, and Banjo sat drinking evening tea, they talked of the things they had seen. Ollie-Dare again thought of how his old eyes had seen much in his years, but there seemed to be so much he hadn't seen yet. He gave thanks for each new day, and the wonders they always brought with them.

         And as Jimmy talked of all the wonders of his day, and how he would like to go with the circus traveling around the cities, Ollie-Dare smiled. He thought of what wonderful treasure lay awaiting them, right here in the Great Forest!
©2002 Rebecca Morris
Next month: Ollie-Dare Goes to The Great Lodge

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A Poem About Nothing

I've never written about Nothing, so I think that I will write
Something that is not there, in fact it's out of sight
I've written many poems about something, but Nothing's on my mind
The subjects are so varied, but right now they're hard to find
When I write a poem about Nothing, there's not much I can say
In fact when I think of it, there's Nothing to this day
Some days it's good to have Nothing, there's not a thing to do
Relaxing and peaceful, sitting back in the recliner too

I try not to think of anything, while Nothing's on my mind
Yet something always pops up, at least I am not blind
I let my mind drift, to a place that is nowhere
Where Nothing can be found, because Nobody is there

A great visit it was, to be nowhere at all
When the phone rings, and it's nobody who made the call
We talk about Nothing, and as the time passes quick
I hear the clock upon the wall, going tick tick tick

There's Nothing more that I can say, if only you believe
When your mind is blank, there is Nothing you receive
Since it is Nothing, and there can be Nothing more
Why should I continue, when it's Nothing I'm writing for
©Apr 26, 2016 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
I usually write about something, so it's a nice change to
write about Nothing. There's really Nothing to it. I just
keep on writing about Nothing, and Nothing comes easily
to me.

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Joining Hearts

the lyric...
All those who Give, this Christmas
will have a time of Joy, and Cheer
Some children know that this must
be another Lonely year

When you need somebody,
all you have to do, is Say
What if, they just can't hear your way
Kindness looks another way

Reach out your hands, to Help them
let's join our Hearts as One
Togetherness is all it takes, so
Come on, Everyone

Love is all Compassion
giving others Happiness
Sharing, yields Affection
Helping some of those with Less

Reach out your hands, to Help them
Let's join our Hearts as One
Togetherness is all it takes, so
Come on, Everyone

© 2015 Phillip Hennessy

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the song...
Joining Hearts on You tube
Author's Note:
I simply can't believe I haven't shared this song lyric
with you before...this is Joining Hearts, a song I wrote
for a national charity (Children in Need) here, in UK.
All the proceeds went to the charity, which is Run by the BBC here,
and they also used it as the theme tune that year

I will soon be doing a New version of this, so that we can raise
funds for a local Homeless charity that I'd like to support.

Oh, that's not me,'s a friend of mine, Paul Salvage
who is a well known singer here, and the background vocals are my
children, together with their school choir.

It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, in the same room that
the Beatles recorded "All you need is Love"

Created To Be Unique

No two people are ever the same
Even if they have an identical name
Some may like music, some may like sports
Some wear long pants, some will wear shorts

Some like reading, some like traveling places
So many personalities, among the many faces
What makes us each special, what makes us each unique
What makes us that way, are within the words we speak

How we present ourselves to others, helps to make you be
You in every way, comes through for all to see
Not everyone will agree, on what you have to say
Their interests are different, but that is still okay

Our personalities reside within our soul
It nourishes our spirit, and it makes us whole
By doing everything that we love to do
That is what makes you into You

You can't always like what someone else might like
A drive in a car may override riding a bike
You may not always understand others, though you may try
They are following a journey, that helps them get by
You can't be like them, they can't be like you
We were created to be unique, with all things that we do

©Apr 13, 2016 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
Like a snowflake, we are each unique in our own way.
We can't always understand others, because that is not
our journey. Why they do things they do, or why they
have things they do. It is not our journey to understand.
It is our journey to accept them for who they are, and
that should be enough. What makes them special and
unique is something some of us won't understand. But
know this, it is making them whole and who they are.

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My House is Warm

My house is Warm,
because of You,
My heart is Warm,
cuz you Love me, too

Thank you so much
for Helping me
I get a bit lost,
sometimes, you see

I've woken up Cold,
in really strange places
Today, I am warm,
with familiar faces

I'm glad I am Safe,
and still, I can Feel
thank you so much
for keeping it Real

© 2015 Phillip Hennessy

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Any Way You'd Like

I’ve never been to any place that didn’t matter
I’ve never touched a soul that never cried
I’ve never listened to all this emptiness of chatter
I’ve never waited for this moment to arrive

You can take this any way you’d like
It doesn't matter much to me if you think I’m just not right
If you looked deep within the reflections of my eyes
Then you will finally notice none of this should be any surprise

These things should never matter when the past is laid to rest
These things should never matter when you’re giving it your best

I’ve never taken a second chance that didn’t matter
I’ve never listened to a vision in the wind
I’ve leaped over the hills only to scatter
I’ve never said there wasn’t a place for us to begin

You can take this any way you’d like
It doesn’t matter much to me if you told me to go fly a kite
If you looked deep inside the meaning of my heart
Then you would finally notice there was a single place to start

©4/3/16 Bruce Clifford

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April's Snow

As you gaze upon April's snow
A second winter out your window
The birds have come and they seek food
A little snow shouldn't cause an attitude
Mother Nature is never the same
It's not her that we should blame
Everything is changing these days
Planets are going through a certain phase

The Weather is changing with each passing year
We must take what we get, and enjoy with good cheer
Warmer weather will come, but right now it's turned around
Soon we'll be wearing less clothes, wherever we're found

We never know what the weather will be
Only to wait and then we will see
Enjoy every season, no matter what it is like
It won't be too long, before I'm riding my bike

April's snow may have hit, when we least expected it to
But the snow will melt, and we'll make it through
Keep warm thoughts in mind, summer is on its way
Until that time arrives, just enjoy every day
©Apr 9, 2016 Bud Lemire
                     Author Note:
It's been awhile since we've seen this much snow
at this time of year. Year to year changes, yet we
always get a summer, and we always make the
most of each season. Each season is to be enjoyed
to the fullest. So enjoy!

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You Can't Find No Relief

You can’t take the rage
You can’t join the rave
It’s like three jokers trying to make the grade

You can’t work it out
You can’t run around
It’s like the end of a record just before the last sound

You can’t look at me
You can’t go to the east
You can’t reach for the sky
You can’t keep getting high
You can’t find no relief

You can’t be talked down
You can’t come around
You can’t stand to dance
You can’t come down from the trance
You can’t get to the riverside

You can’t fake the fall
You can’t lead a call
It’s like a lost memory tied up in a medicine ball

You can’t look at me
You can’t head to the sea
You can’t go for that pie
You can’t keep getting by
You can’t find no relief
©4/18/16 Bruce Clifford

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Feel My Touch

It was sad, my time came too soon
Before I realized it, there passed another moon
I was on The Other Side, in a blink of an eye
Never realizing, that it was my time to die
I left behind so many, so it came as no surprise
When I looked and saw, what was before my eyes
There she was, the one I knew I had waited for
Now I have passed, when I wanted so much more

Our time together could have been longer,
     but didn't last long at all
That's when I listened, and heard the Angels call
She's beautiful in every way I'll ever know
From this view, I see her familiar glow

I move closer to her, letting her feel my touch
Just to remind her, of my love and how much
She senses my presence, and feels the tingles too
Looking around, she smiles for the memories that she knew

“I know you're here, I love you my man”
“You were the best thing, in my life span”
“You brought me pleasure, and so much fun”
“Your love and presence, compares to no one”

I can not leave her without a warm hug
My arms go around her, as she stands atop the rug
She closes her eyes, to take in the feel
I whisper in her ear, “Yes, all this is real”
I glance back to see her smile, it's time to go
But she knows I'll be back, with another warm hello
©Apr 14, 2016 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
The connection between two who have a strong love
never dies, even after one has passed. That love is felt
even after death. For one really doesn't die at all. The
body dies, while the spirit continues the journey with
love and guidance, as always.

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         Did you ever own a Slinky? Me too. Fascinating toy, right? Kind of like holding a ferret. They are wonderful! Slinkys I mean, not ferrets, although they’re awfully cute too. Slinkys can’t do much except to walk/fall/flop end-over-end down stairs and across floors but that’s enough. It’s magical and funny how they do that, but isn’t it incredibly disappointing when you get one tiny little bend in one of the coils and the Slinky won’t work anymore? One small bend and done. Heartbreak.

         I well remember when my little brother at age 5 stole my Slinky from me, squashed the 2 ends together, held it up proudly and proclaimed it a “lollypop Slinky.” He’s now 74, I’m 78 and I only mention it to him every few months now instead of weekly. I’m all about forgiveness.

         As you know, I love to learn the history of stuff and things, and the history of the Slinky is a good one. Wanna know it? I knew that you would. There was a young man named Richard James who, during WW II was assigned to a battleship to test the horsepower of its engines by using a torsion meter. We all know exactly what that is. The ship lurched and that meter thing fell off a table and bounced end over end across the floor. You know where this is going, right? Richard had a Eureka! moment, thinking that torsion gizmo might make a great child’s toy. He passed the idea by his wife Betty who thought it would indeed make a terrific toy, she figured out a name for it (I know--- you’re way ahead of me here) and Slinky was born.

         Richard, a smart guy, patented the device in 1945, named his new company “James Industries,” borrowed $500 to make 400 prototype Slinkys and put them into a store. However, Slinkys sitting still alone on a shelf are boring, so a demo was needed, but where? Gimbel’s Dept. store in Philadelphia let Richard be demo-dude in a small space at the end of their toy department. Close to Christmas, Betty worried that no one would buy any Slinkys so she and a pal decided to act as shills and to buy a lot of them to attract customers. No need. Betty found her overwhelmed husband having trouble keeping up with the crowds waving dollar bills at him. Their Slinkys were quickly sold out.

          Talk about Great American Entrepreneurism! Sales of Slinkys boomed, and in 1946 it was named Toy of the Year. The Jameses opened a small factory in Germantown, PA, advertised, and the Slinky became a TV star, even appearing in a few movies, and they went into millions of homes. In 1945 the price was $1. but by 1996 it had only increased to $2.

         However, there’s a little drama and juice along the way; Richard ran off to Bolivia to join a religious cult, leaving Betty to run the Slinky business and to also raise their 6 children. What a guy! Betty managed to get a new plant built; she hired a tiny advertising agency (still to this day advertising the toy) who created the jingle, “Everybody loves the Slinky” (still extant) and she became a multi-millionaire. So did Richard because he held the patent. He remarried and died in Bolivia.

         Sometimes we can see Slinkys made of plastic, but folks they’re just not the same. They don’t work. They don’t walk. They don’t charm. They do break. Buy the real deal. They are still wonderful and comical and the only changes are that they are incorporated into the bodies of lots of other toys (see the remarkable “Toy Story” animated films for example) and they are now color coated.

          A Slinky is on display in the Smithsonian Institute and the Metropolitan Museum of Art right now. Can’t get much better than that.

         In 1995 Slinky celebrated 50 years of success and 400 press kits were sent to TV stations all over the USA, containing a T-shirt and a mahogany box holding a 14 carat gold plated Slinky. How beautiful. Can you imagine? One wonders though---can gold plated Slinkys flop down stair cases and walk across floors?

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Falling in Love

         When we fall in love the world seems to stand still at times. Then at other times it feels like someone has pushed the fast forward button. All the excitement of getting to know someone new. All the stories shared; All the emotions, heartaches, and love. Yes, love; Sexual love, physical intimacy, and heart love. There is such a surge of energy that comes with falling in love. Then one day ‘it’ hits us. We’ve felt this before! Oh, we can see where there are some differences, but it’s that FEELING that seems so familiar. Then we think. And remember. And then think some more. And then we start looking for all the similarities to THIS relationship as compared to the ones from the past that just didn’t work out. We not only look for similar physical characteristics, but similar gestures, words, and energy. THAT is when things go wrong. They go wrong you see, not because they are similar, but because we start feeding that FEAR. That fear and hurt that lives inside of us from relationships ‘gone bad.’ And the more energy we put into that FEAR, the more it comes to life. Because you see, energy creates and thoughts are energy. Therefore, when we think something, we give it energy. And the more we think it, the more real it becomes. Even the FEAR.

         So, what would happen if we looked at ALL new friendships/relationships (as any interaction between two people is a relationship….for that matter even the interaction we have with self is a relationship) as NEW. Totally unrelated to anything from the past and not assume that because ‘John’ just happened to look at you the same way as that f**ker who left you $3000 in debt and heart broken, he IS NOT that f**ker. He is ‘John’….just John, nothing else…no more…no less. And what would happen if we looked at this as JUST a friendship rather than a new relationship. Cause you see, to me, it seems that if we look at this new relationship as a new friendship then it seems that no matter where this leads (if anywhere) you have a friend. However, if you look at this new relationship in a way that portrays a partner type relationship it seems to me that if it doesn’t work out…you have nothing left. Whereas, if you enter a relationship as friends and then it blossoms into a partner type relationship…well, what a bonus!!! Besides, you’ll have a lot more to talk about after you’ve been together for 50 years.

         Now, it seems to me, that if we CHOOSE to fall in love with our friends, as friends…. Well, gosh, imagine all the fun WITHOUT the complications. Talk to him about old girlfriends, without the jealousy. Stop comparing yourself to HIS past relationships, just like you have quit comparing him to yours. LISTEN. And with open ears and heart. HEAR what he says not only with his words, but with his gestures, and with his heart. There is much knowledge you can gain about this new friend, when you ARE a friend. And guess what happens next. You fall in love with a friend. I mean really care about this friend, to where you truly want what’s best for them. You learn to cry with him, laugh with him and do absolutely nothing with him and you feel comfortable. And you take the pressure off of everybody. Yourself included.

         Oh, I hear you. Well, what about the sex. Well, what about it? Sure, you can have sex…as friends. Remember, we are keeping this simple not complicating it. The minute you start making demands, like don’t sleep with anyone else, you are trying to control not only the outcome of this friendship, but him. And do YOU like being controlled???…I didn’t think so. And then you think ‘oh, I just can’t stand the thought of him kissing someone else.’ (I know your thinking this, because I have.) Many, many times I have cried myself to sleep wondering if he was snuggled up next to another woman. Touching her, caressing her the way he does with me. Well, what if he is? Do you REALLY think that you moaning about it is the way to stop it? In case you’re really pondering that thought I will tell you, NO it’s not. Would YOU want to be around someone who was constantly trying to control what you did, or thought? And the moaning. For gosh sakes, woman, stop your f'ing whining.

         Put your fears away, luv. The more energy you put into it, the more you bring those fears to life. Let him be. Give yourself a break. Enjoy your friend. Learn from him. Teach him. Share with him. Take all the complications out of love, and you WILL smile. I promise. © 04/10/06 Diane Terry Lynch

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