Monday, August 1, 2016

Editor's Corner

August 2016

Having been born to young parents, your editor became first child, and first grandchild to three sets of grandparents as one couple had remarried, and first great grandchild to a maternal side great grandmother and to paternal side great grandmother and great grandfather. This formed a sense of continuity and tradition at an early age, a foundation of gentle manners with encouragement to develop ones talents and lots of leeway to expand ones personality as well.

 It also fostered a feeling of being appreciated and of having responsibility to uphold values and always exhibit good character. Now as the next to the oldest remaining family member (Uncle Rex Joslin), and being a GreatGreat Grandmother of four so far, it isn't as easy to pass on tradition and values with the electronic distractions (to name one) youngsters and indeed, adults as well, have today. Trying but missing the mark would be the kindest judgement at this point.

Four generations with Great Grandmother Bullard, Grandmother Joslin, Mother Lena May Carroll,   Baby Mary Elizabeth.
Our authors were inspired however, especially the poets, so we bring you fourteen poems this month. One each by Blair and Lemire commemorating the Fourth of July, but several years apart in each poem's period. Blair submitted six more poems, and we are thrilled to see him getting back his writing muse. This group is: "Fourth of July at Grandpa's House," "Humming Bird Season," "In High Summer," "A Poem for A Day without Poetry," "Squirrels at My Window," "These Old Hands," and "When Trees Sing."

Bud Lemire's poems are: "The Pond" and "This 4th of July." Bruce Clifford also sent us two: "I Was" and "The Bloodline." Two of our columnists added some poetry this issue: Judith Kroll included "Harmony" and "All I Want is A Little Faith;" LC Van Savage penned the nostalgic "Lace Doilies."
LC Van Savage is showing an article "Maybe It is Our Job," and the second article is Dianne Lynch's "Packaging."

Thomas F. O'Neill, "Introspective," sends his column from Suzhou, China, with a perspective perhaps from his home town of Pennsylvania. Mattie Lennon in "Irish Eyes" tells of a lighthearted play currently popular in his country which spoofs the workhouse situation. The play is popular but the true facts of that era are much grimmer he explains, and similar to Alcatraz has now become a tourist venue.

Judith Kroll's "On Trek" asks us to be kinder in our perceptions of others and most importantly, of ourselves. LC Van Savage's column "Consider This" confesses to the "Mounds of Sins" she has held against herself that are rather normal procrastinations and good intentions unrealized. Don't we all relate? For August, she also includes a tale for children "How to Be A Dragon."

The other story is Chapter 16 of The Adventures of Ollie-Dare which has the bear beginning plans. This delightful series soon concludes but is available from the first chapter by clicking the author's name. Rebecca Morris originally wrote these whimsical tales with a gentle moral for her nieces and nephews.

Both Rod Cohenour's "Cooking With Rod," and Melinda Cohenour's "Armchair Genealogy" are delayed this month since she suffered a heart episode, not yet completely diagnosed, and is hospitalized undergoing a multitude of tests. We are expecting them to be on their toes again soon.

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 September!

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

Consider This

The Mounds of Our Sins

      I’ll bet you uncountable pots of money you’ve never once made mental piles of your individual failings, am I correct? Well, not sayin’ I’m better than you, but I actually have. Made mental piles of my sins. (Heavy word, “sin.” Eye of the beholder etc.)

       As I rather too rapidly get closer to the big Eight O which will arrive with a nation-wide celebration on Jan. 1, 2018 I find myself most reluctantly making separate piles out of my life, piles of positive and negative memories of the things I’ve done. Or have not done. Or wish I’d done. Or wish I hadn’t done. Or should have done. Or---well you get the idea. You do, right?? Good. I knew that you would.

       So here’s the deal. I am actually spending time making mental heaps of all the really good things I’ve been responsible for in my life and yes, all of the really bad things too. I know you’re wondering which accumulation is the largest. Guess! So here I sit with these multiple imaginary mounds in front of me and oh my, some of them are Everest high. For example, I struggle to remember how many times I’ve made even the slightest effort to walk in another person’s moccasins to see how they feel about things before I go roaring off into judgmental blatherskiting. That mound is really tall. The times I’ve successfully walked in other people’s moccasins and have truly made a strong effort to understand why they are, who they are, and why they are doing/being/saying what they are, is pretty wanting, and I’m awfully unproud of that fact.

      The stacks of the times I’ve gone out of my way to be kind or thoughtful to another human being isn’t nearly as large as I’d like, so I’m working on that. There’s still time. Will that thoughtful pile ever get to be as large as the thoughtless pile? I can only hope. I can make an effort. But, will I? At this moment of writing today, I’m saying yes. But it’s only ten AM.

       And then there are the masses of slothfulness and no, I’m not plagiarizing the Bible, but it’s a good starting point. I can so easily nod off while folks about me are working triple shifts and regret I feel no shame in doing that. I’ve always been a great champion of good hard long solid avoidance sleep. My sloth pile is way too big although I recently once read that laziness is genetic. Phew. No more guilt. It’s my ancestors’ fault. I’m so relieved, I think I’ll sleep on it.

      The pile next to it is that old nasty gluttony. It’s way too big, most of it caused by my milk chocolate addiction. Can I ever give in and not eat m. c. when it’s in front of me? No. I just add that onto my growing mountain range of sins, but to my mind, that particular mound is forgivable.

      Coveting? Come on. Anyone who says they’ve never wished they had something their neighbor has and they don’t, is lying, and lying is yet another pile. You’ve never coveted? Never lied? Seriously? Then your life is lots more mound-free than is mine. But don’t forget—avoidance of truth is yet another mound, so beware!

       Gloating is another heap of mine that isn’t too huge, but it’s there. I will confess to giving in to gloating when someone who’s been an evil human gets busted, and has to pay dearly for doing bad things. Hitler comes to mind although his badness went on far too long. I’m not too ashamed of my righteous gloating when appropriate, and fiercely gloat when anyone who’s hurt a helpless human or animal gets smacked down and is punished severely for doing that. That is a mound I intend to keep and add to as I go along.

       My vast conglomeration of stupid pride is rather too large and while I desperately and daily try to maneuver my way around the multiple, disparate life-stacks of my own making, I occasionally focus on my Golden Rule mounds, and they ….. well, let’s say they could use a little work.

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On Trek

Our Enemy

      Most of the time we are our own worse enemy.

      One of the problems we all face, is how we view our past. We tend to continually run ourselves ragged worrying over what we did in the past. For Example: How we raised our kids, why didn't I do it this way instead of that way. How we treated people, or how we let people treat us. Etc etc.

      So how about we look at our "mistakes", this way. We cannot use our forty, fifty,sixty etc, year old minds, to condemn our ten, twenty, thirty year minds and actions. We have changed, and our perspectives have changed. We are not the same people we were. So our decisions we made back when, would not be the same decision we would make now, as as an older adult.

      For example, a young person might decide to get married at a young age. They are in love, and they know what they feel. Later, thru the years, they think if they had their whole life to live over, they might not jump into a marriage so young. They might consider getting a good job first.

      We make our own decisions, and we get buy with them. But some people condemn themselves forever for things they had done as a young adult. The truth is, we should never condemn ourselves at all.. We need to let it go and move forward.

      Try to help others to rethink their decisions while they are young..If not, they will learn a good lesson, if they survive the foolishness.!! And remember, controlling people is NOT the way to do it. Everyone, has FREE WILL. If we choose wrong once, get back up on our feet and don't make the same "wrong" choice for ourelves again.

      Our path our life, our free will, our lessons to be learned. We lift a helping hand when needed for others, but we never condemn forever..we all are changing..and changing our thinking and ways constantly.

      That is why we keep moving forward, not getting stuck in our ruts we make for ourselves.

      Happy journey to all!!

      Judith, July 25, 2016

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Irish Eyes

Portumna Workhouse

      Lady Gregory, in her play, “The Workhouse Ward” took a humorous look at life in an Irish workhouse. Two paupers, Mike MacInerney and Michael Miskell, are in neighbouring beds in Cloone workhouse. They are bitter enemies. However when the sister of Mike MacInerney comes up with a plan that would separate them it doesn’t work out. They refused to be separated as they would be lost without each other’s company. As soon as Ms MacInerney’s back is turned they begin their bitter arguments and commence to exchange insults once again. Of course, in real life, there was little to laugh about in the workhouse.

      The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna is the only centre in Ireland dedicated to telling the story of the Irish Workhouse. It is located in a real workhouse in Portumna, one of the best preserved workhouses in the country, with all seven main buildings intact. Steve Dolan told me, “The first workhouses opened in 1842, before the famine, with 163 built in total. The workhouse was the last resort of the destitute poor from the 1840s and life in the workhouse was particularly harsh. Family members were split up into separate quarters with both young and old expected to work. In return, these ‘inmates’ received just enough food to survive. As an institution, the workhouses were hated and the stigma was such that, for generations, few people would admit to having had relatives there.”

      At Portumna, visitors enter the workhouse via the waiting room, the actual room people came through when seeking admission to the workhouse. A short film is then shown in what was the girls’ classroom. After this, visitors are guided through the yard and dormitory block, including the matron’s quarters, the nursery, the women’s workroom and then the laundry. Visitors also have the opportunity to see on-going conservation and restoration work in progress. The guided tour lasts about one hour. The centre is open 7 days a week, from 9:30 to 18:00.

  The centre will have three Workhouse / Famine-related events for Heritage Week - To launch Heritage Week, on Saturday August 20th the Workhouse is offering free guided tours for families. Tours take place every hour on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm. On Sunday August 21st at 1:30, accomplished writer & poet Margaret Hickey looks at the history of Ireland through food and drink. This is also a free event. And on Monday August 22nd, Aileen O'Dowd of the Irish Workhouse Centre presents a special talk on the history of Portumna Workhouse through artefacts uncovered during its restoration. This again is a free event.

      You will find more information at: Irish Workhouse Centre

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In High Summer

In high Texas summer
Heat slams down
Like a crock pot lid,

Sealing me in to simmer
Slowly in my own sauce,
Breathing a toxic option.

So I don’t go out.

At this point my intent
Would be to praise the name
Of Willis Carrier;

But it doesn’t match
My poem’s meter; thus
I’ll honor him in cool stillness,

Chilling beneath my A/C vent.

©2016 John I. Blair

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When Trees Sing

Sometimes late at night
When stars shine at their brightest
And day sounds fade

I step out on the deck
And listen to the darkness,
Open to anything.

On summer nights
If I am still
I hear the trees sing.

Most often it’s a soft song,
Wind through leaves,
Branches brushing one on one.

But last night
A noisy chorus
Filled the air,

Rising, falling, rising,
Celebrating wetness
Left by sprinkler spray.

I’ve heard this song before;
I call it tree frogs, though I think
Tree frogs don’t inhabit urban gardens.

But thinking’s out of place
When it’s late, and dark,
And trees are singing.

©2016 John I. Blair

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These Old Hands

There they are at the ends
Of my hairy arms,
More familiar than my nose
(Which I can’t see without a mirror).

Each vein, each spot,
Each scar, scab, groove
Has tales to tell
If I cared to share.

But it’s too soon;
New stories of my hands
Unfold each day; let’s wait
To catalog

Until the morning comes
When these old hands
No longer move.

©2016 John I. Blair

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Squirrels at My Window

Squirrels at my window
Wrap around the feeders,
Picking out the sunflower seeds
As if born for that.

And perhaps they were:
I’ve been feeding squirrels here
For thirty years.

I wonder what effect I’ve had
On squirrel society in my vicinity.

Squirrels evolved across millennia
To forage forests, scavenge shrubs,
But in a single generation
Learned these plastic tubes
Are restaurants, cafes –

Much as the local bobs
Have learned to like
The taste of puppies, cats,
So conveniently corralled
Behind suburban fence,

An unintended lesson
Made all the more effective
Since the student motivation
Mates hunger with convenience.

©2016 John I. Blair

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The Pond

I remember as a kid, watching the pollywog
On Aronson Island, soon to be a frog
A pond at the entrance, and the old dirt road
Behind it were plenty of frogs, even a toad

 Green Leapers jumped fast and so very high
You'd have to be quick, or they'd all be bye bye
The toads just hopped along, they were slow
You'd always find them, wherever they'd go

We'd bring the frogs home, and put them in a box
One got away, because we didn't use locks
Into Mom's bedroom, and never to be found
No sleep for Mom, it was now Heaven bound

These days as I walk the Island's shore
I found a pond where frogs are galore
Instead of capturing them with my hand
I capture them with my camera, as I walk through the sand

It brought a big smile to my face
Bringing me back to my childhood, a wonderful place
From a pollywog to a frog, as time moves along
From a kid to an adult, in the Universal Song
©July 15, 2016 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
Back then Aronson Island was all dirt roads, and it
was called Sand Island, and at times Seagull Island.
Right at the entrance was a big pond in the middle of
the sand, and it had Pollywogs in it. Behind that was
grass and many Green Leaper Frogs. Me and my friends
would be there catching the frogs. It was a lot of fun for
us kids back then. These days it is enjoyable just to see
the frogs and pollywogs and capture them with my camera.
Oh, the memories.

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The Bloodline

The bloodline is gone
Everyone’s at rest
Tomorrow arrives
Each and every test
Rest rest rest

The bloodline has faded
Chemical rage
I’ll wake up and see you there
At the County Fare
Rest rest rest

It’s not about what we are today
It’s doing without all the charms of yesterday
They go away

The bloodline is gone
And so is the rave
We move to live on
They rest in their graves

The bloodline has left
It’s remembered by the few
It was never a test
It was all that we knew

©7/16/16 Bruce Clifford

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Lace Doilies

Could anything possibly look so fine
As the sight of lace doilies hanging out on a line?

It brings to my mind olden cozy things
Like lemonade and wicker, country fairs and brass rings

And antimacassars, pies and skittles
And old men talking softly midst the curls of their whittles.

Seeing white doilies swinging up high
Washed lovingly by hand and pinned up there to dry

And then taken down, starched, and put on plates
So things will look fetching like cookies or dates.

Is really a sight just ever so fine
AS bright white lace doilies drying out on a line?
©2016 LC Van Savage

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How come a leaf, part of the tree,
doesn't wiggle and scream, look at me, look at me.

 The tree is so beautiful , and each tree has a shape,
every leaf is blended, a great picture it makes.

Now yes, each leaf is not standing apart, trying steal the show..
They smile together as one big group..And this is what they know.

The beauty comes from each part of the tree, weather branches, or leaves, or roots.
No one singly blows its trumpet, to make itself noisy with toots.

The tree could not be, magnificently,standing tall for all to see..
if it had no harmony.

Put that tree, in the middle of the forest, with a zillion other trees
not one tree, stands out you see, because again they show harmony.

The whole picture is where the beauty is, of every tree standing tall.
There could be no grand display if it were not for them ALL.

People of earth, look at the earth, and see..We are one, we are blended, we
are the All you see. Imagine the view that we could make, if we all were in harmony.
©7-1-2016 Judith Kroll
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I Was

I was never sold on leaving others behind
I was never told I was cutting in line
Every step I took I was looking for peace
I never knew it was right within reach

It left me empty in a crowded room
All the truth and resistance left far to soon
I was never told to reach for the sky
I was never shown the true ways to fly

Every move I make I watch for a sign
I never understood it to be a moment in time
I was never given the keys to the light
I was only seeing the stars of the night

Every step I took I was falling behind
I never knew I was one of a kind
Living in a world where the chaos collides
The powers of the mighty and the commoners keep in stride
I was never sold on leaving others behind
I was never shown the true ways to fly

©7/12/16 Bruce Clifford

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All I Want is A Little Faith

All I want is a little faith,
just enough to get me by
I'm not greedy, Lord, not at all
just a little faith to help me die,
to help make it thru this life,
to have a day without the strife
to smile more than I shed tears,
to help me rid my life of fears.
That night I prayed like never before,
it was like the universe opened her door,
Then within my soul, a voice I heard
"why do you limit what you can have? A little faith is quite absurd.
Here is tons of faith just for you,
to make your world work for you
The more you get the more you share,
faith my friend is everywhere.
You are not greedy, not a bit
you ask we give and that is it.
Without Limit".

I changed my prayer that very night,
Oh lord its faith I need you know,
I want to see the world glow,
But first it needs to start with ME..
so, thank you lord.for your faith in ME.
©Feb. 2012 Judith Kroll
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A Poem for A Day without Poetry

So many days now
Just seem to have no poems in them.

I drag from hour to hour
With nothing but survival on my mind.

My old cat Gracie sits by my knee,
Mewing for attention.

One of my endless run of CDs
Plays Mozart in my ears.

Outside the kitchen window
Finches fuss and bluejays flap.

Young squirrels clamber
On the feeders that I keep there.

Trees sway in the evening breeze;
To the east I hear the school band marching.

Friends on the phone
Share tales about their lives;

And I think about my own,
Wondering what to write about.

©2016 John I. Blair

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Fourth of July at Grandpa’s House

(I wrote this in a different style in 2003.
Here it is completely rewritten,
specially for the day.)
The drive through Kansas took three hours;
But time flew by as we rolled down
The narrow highway through the hills,
Stopping as always for home-made honey

From a roadside stand –
Jars on a table by the curb
Sold on trust –
An empty jar for money.

By the time we saw Missouri,
Coal mines ruled the land,
Dipper buckets, draglines
Like dinosaurs of rusty steel.

But suddenly rock piles faded back;
The fields were green and flat;
The town tree-filled and calm;
We soon took care of that!

My uncles always stocked the shed
With fireworks for us boys:
Skyrockets, cherry bombs, two-inchers,
Packs of lady fingers.

As soon as dark began,
Off we ran onto the lawn,
Careful not to trip on mole runs,
Lighting each firecracker from the last,

Tossing them at each other, at the drive,
Thrilling as they banged and boomed and burst,
Echoing off the shingled walls
Of Grandpa’s house.

And look out moles!
We blasted holes in tunnel walls,
And filled the inky country sky
With flaming roman candle balls.

By ten, when all good people go to bed,
We were worn out, half-deaf,
A burn or two to show,
Ready for watermelon, lemonade,

Then climbing steep stairs to the loft
For sleep, and dreams of glorious noise.

©2003, 2016 John I. Blair

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This 4th Of July

Sitting by the Bandshell, in Ludington Park
The Fireworks will start, right after dark
They start off a little bit slow
After awhile, then they let go

 I sit with my camera, snapping away
Hoping one of the shots, will be okay
A green one, a blue one, a fantastic white
Up in the sky, on this 4th of July night

Sparklers are seen as kids run on by
As I take in the surroundings, with my eye
The City Band played earlier, before it got dark
A magical evening spent in Ludington Park

Oohing and awing, at each display in the sky
I know some people, that have just walked on by
Never knowing how each Firework will look like
I walked here tonight, left behind my red bike

The finalé is close, and spectacular to see
All shot close together, a great light show to me
It's time to leave, another year is done
This 4th of July, sure was a lot of fun
©July 04, 2016 Bud Lemire
                          Author Note:
Even though the fireworks don't change that much.
It's fun to sit in the dark and watch as they open up
in the sky, to be what they are. Never knowing what
color, or how big it will be. The reaction of the kids,
the gathering of people, and the feeling of just being
there and enjoying the time. Wishing everyone a
Happy 4th Of July.

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Hummingbird Season

All it took was one look
At a fanned tail
By the flame acanthus
On the garden path

And I yelped with glee,
Knowing this year’s
First hummingbird
Was here. What cheer!

©2016 John I. Blair

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      From day one of Donald Trump’s election campaign he has been telling the American people how he will bring the manufacturing jobs back to America. But many people have pointed out that most of Trump’s brand products are made overseas.

      In June of 2015 Donald Trump began using his ‘Brand Name’ as an example of how American workers are benefiting from manufacturing his products. However, most of Trump’s products such as his shirts, neckties, suits, cufflinks, vodka and glassware — are made elsewhere.

      The question is - how will Donald Trump bring back American manufacturing jobs?

      He himself made millions and continues to make millions by outsourcing his products overseas. The "made in" labels of many of Trump’s products, which includes suits, accessories and eyewear are being heavily criticized because of where they’re being manufactured. Trump’s opponents quickly point out that the Trump shirts are made in Bangladesh. The Trump shirts that have been purchased on Amazon were not only made in Bangladesh but many have been made in China.

      Trump neckties are also made in China and many of those neckties went up for sale on eBay.

      Trump suits are made in Mexico and his opponents have pointed out that many of his suits are also being made in India and in China. Trump has even gone on the record stating that he has made some of his clothing lines in Mexico.

      Trump cufflinks are also being made in China and many people have also purchased them on Amazon and on eBay.

      Trump Vodka is being distilled in the Netherlands according to online liquor sellers. You have to wonder with his strong support from Russia if Trump will soon be shipping his cheaply made vodka to Russia.

      Trump crystal barware is made in Slovenia and some of Hilary Clinton’s supporters have stated that Slovenian glassware producer Steklarna Rogaška partnered with Trump to sell the glassware under the Trump name in the United States.

      Donald Trump has stated that he alone can save America from its shortsightedness by stopping the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs overseas. He failed to mention, however, during his numerous campaign stops that - Trump shirts are being made in Bangladesh, Trump suits in Mexico, Trump Vodka in the Netherlands, Trump crystal barware in Slovenia and his cufflinks and ties in China.

      Trump’s credibility gap seems to be widening with each passing day and I for one cannot take the man seriously and neither should the American people.
    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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How to Be A Dragon

      Once upon a time a long time ago a mother dragon laid her eggs deep in the forest in a thick, soft nest she’d built out of pine branches and leaves. Thinking they were safe, she went off in search of food; she knew she would be back soon to guard them. However, while she was gone a hungry fox found the nest and stole one egg, planning to come back for the others later.

      But a huge raptor chased the fox who dropped the egg and ran for his life. The egg popped open and out rolled a baby dragon who had to learn very quickly how to stay alive with no mother to protect him, and to hide from that raptor now eyeballing him. Badly frightened, he looked around and saw an old rotted-out log and ran for it, stumbling because his legs were still pretty weak. He made it to the log, ran inside and curled into a ball in the soft, warm rotted wood and cried as he fell asleep.

      Time passed because that’s what time does and the little lost dragon would occasionally creep out of his log wishing he could see other dragons around him, wishing he had a sister or brother dragon, wishing his mother would come to find him to teach him how to be a dragon. But none of these things ever happened and eventually he learned how to find worms and bugs, snails, salamanders and larvae to eat, and to drink water from streams, and puddles left by rainfalls.

      He knew he was growing too because the soft nest he’d made for himself inside of that big safe log was beginning to feel too small, his arms and legs hung off the sides and he simply could not make his wings fit anywhere. He knew he’d eventually have to locate a new place to sleep, and so the little lost dragon one day ventured out of his log in search of new lodgings.

      He instinctively knew he had to avoid animals who liked to eat dragons so he kept looking around as he walked, but he was not bothered. In fact, he noticed to his surprised confusion and a kind of sadness that some animals looked at him as he walked by and then quickly ran in the opposite direction. “Hmmmmm,” he thought. “Why is that?” And he kept on walking, wishing, wishing he knew how to be a dragon, but there were just no dragons around to teach him.

      And then there she was, standing like a gleaming dragon statue at the edge of the woods ahead of him and she was so beautiful with her shiny dragon scales, her large dark eyes and her big, sleek wings. She shone in the afternoon sun and did not run away from him, no not at all. In fact, she smiled at him and all her dragon teeth flashed brightly as she flapped her wings and stamped her feet rhythmically on the soft earth.

      He walked toward her, his heart oddly hammering in is chest, and the little lost dragon realized he was maybe still lost but was no longer so little because when he got next to her he found himself looking down at her, and she up at him. He knew she was a dragon, but somehow different, and so he spread his great wings, flapping them hard to show off for her, and to his astonishment he was suddenly soaring up into the cool, bright air.

      He looked and saw she was flapping and soaring right next to him and the two dragons laughed together as they flew and skimmed tree-tops, looped and dove in and out of the clouds and the sky. When they landed, the now big but no longer lost dragon threw back his head in enormous joy and was stunned when a great roaring blast of fire came shooting from his throat and mouth, and right then and right there, he knew he had finally learned how to be a dragon. ©2016 LC Van Savage

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ARTICLE: Packaging

      Have you ever given someone a gift and they refused it because of the packaging? Oh, we know they were never blatant about it, but you could see it in their eyes...the disappointment, the longing for what they "think" they really want.

      Little did they know that inside that package pushed over to the side is the one thing they've wanted all their life. But because we have certain ideas in our heads as to how we "think" that one thing we wanted SHOULD be packaged, or look, or feel, we keep passing it by.

      Then I wonder why we package things the way we do. Are products that we sell not supposed to be pleasing to the senses in order to attract consumers? So, why would one choose to package a gift in a way as to not bring attention to its contents?

      Is it possible that what's inside is so important to the receiver, and we know this, that we feel they must be looking everywhere for it....even in unpleasant packaging? And therefore, would take the time and awareness to see what's right in front of them all along? But that isn't how it works in REAL life.

      And then I ask myself, what kind of person would actually look over an unpleasant package? Is it because they are snobby? Egotistical? Embarrassed? Ashamed? And if the person receiving this gift IS those things, then why should they receive the gift at all?

      It's kinda like watching two people who are so right for each other fight it. Unconsciously of course, but fighting it none the less. They keep seeing all the things that make their relationship "wrong" instead of seeing all the things that make their relationship "right."

      Then again, right and wrong are just perceptions, right??? But yet, when you ask either what is it they want in a partner, they describe the other perfectly. Absolutely amazing to witness.

      Sometimes, I think it's that we fear having what we really want. Because we've wanted it for so long, either we don't recognize it when it's in front of us, or once we experience it, we feel the emptiness that is left inside from all the years of "wanting."

      That seems to make sense to me, because of our "want" is fulfilled, and moves on, an empty space is left where the "wanting" was. And because of the sadness we feel from the missing "want" we associate it with what took it, i.e.., the other person.
© 05/10/06 Diane Terry Lynch  

ARTICLE: Is It Maybe Our Job?

       Years ago there was a popular comedian named Bill Dana, stage name Jose Jimenez. He claimed Bolivia as his birthplace and emphasized the native pronunciation of both Js in his name as Hs.

      Anyway, Jose was a really funny guy, but by today's rapidly rising standards of political correctness, his shtick was fairly insulting to Spanish speaking people. During his routines he spoke with a heavy accent and portrayed Latinos as lazy and stupid. He always said, with a dull look at the TV camera, "My name Hoe-ZAY Hee-MENN-ez."

       But Jose's favorite phrase, his trademark, which he managed to work frequently into every performance, was "Ees no my chobe." Translation; "It's not my job."

       Using that phrase, Mr. J. would eschew all tasks reasonably expected of him. Spoken in his thick, phony Spanish inflection, the phrase caused his audience to laugh merrily.

      I don't know where Senor Dana is now, but wherever, the guy and that saying made a huge impact on the American populace and lexicon, and I am reminded of him and his joking words about his “job” nearly every day. Here's why;

       Have you ever been standing in a supermarket check-out line in a long queue of exhausted shoppers at the end of a hard workday, and there stands that grand customer, (no sexism here; most shoppers are women,) her eyes fixed blankly at a point above the madding crowd, ignoring the huge pile of food purchases in front of her. There's the poor cashier trying to ring up the purchases, take the woman's money, count her coupons, cash her check, wait while she balances her checkbook and pack her dozens of bags, alone. Heaven forfend Lady La De Da should pick up a bag and help to pack maybe just a couple of her own foodstuffs. Oh my no. She stands there idly, an omnipotent queen, because, you see, it's not her job.

      I recently watched a patron pour himself some coffee in one of our local coffee shops. It missed his cup and splashed onto the floor where it spread like oil on water. He looked down, poured a fresh cup, stepped widely over the mess and sailed to his table. Did he lean down with some napkins to staunch the lake? No. Did he contact any of the staff to tell them of the problem? No. Did he care that someone might slip or step in that coffee puddle? No. You see, it was not his job.

       Weeks later I watched a woman diner knock over her tall glass of iced tea, thoughtfully watch it pour over the table's sides, pick up her meal, move to another table and ignore the mess for others to clean up. Because, you see, cleaning it up or advising the staff of the situation, was not her job.

       Once at a giant hardware store I saw a guy ram his basket into a huge display of wooden things, knock them to rolling everywhere, step around it all and blithely move on, because, you see, picking up those things was not his job.

      And then there was the man in his big black car who hit and killed a little girl’s unleashed dog that ran from its yard into the roadway, who then quickly checked his rear view mirror before he accelerated away from the weeping child. He did not stop to help because yes, you see, it was not his job.

      How come we behave this way? I guess too many of us have copied Mr. J. How could this comedian have so ingrained the "It's not my job" philosophy into our daily attitudes?

       Or has he? Maybe we're born this way. Or sadly, maybe we were taught this caste-arrogance my-gentry-is-better-than-your-gentry as kids. Who knows?

       I know! Next time I accidentally bash my head against a tray of filled soup bowls a waiter's carrying, and everything splashes horribly all over the floor, his legs, and some customers, I'll look down at the gross splattage and will consider strolling away, thinking oh now really, helping to clean that up is just not my job.

       OK, no. I swear I won't do that. No way, Jose.

©2016 LC Van Savage

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The Adventures of Ollie-Dare - Chapter 16

Ollie-Dare begins Planning

      The Great Forest was fresh and clean this morning, for there had been a storm in the early morning hours. Ollie-Dare loved to smell the fresh clean air! Looking over the forest, he saw everything still sparkled with the rain drops that lingered on the trees and plants. As he walked down the garden path toward Blossom the Possum's home, he thought of the wonderful things that the forest had to offer. There were always good friends coming to visit, and food to eat, and all seemed to be well with the forest this day. Yes indeed, he thought, life was good, and he had been blessed.

      He was checking in on Blossom this morning for she had been a little under the weather, and he needed to ease his mind that she was doing fine. Blossom gave so much to those in the forest, and it was very unusual that she wasn't out and about either digging in her vegetables or flower garden. As he came upon the little stone pathway that led to her home, he could hear her singing merrily, and smiled to himself, for this was a sure sign that Blossom was on her way to being well. Blossom, looking up from her garden patch, called to Ollie-Dare that she had fresh tea brewing, and to come sit for awhile.

      Ollie-Dare, always ready for fresh tea, began to tell her of the forest news. Woodchuck had finally finished the long wooden table that would sit in the Great Lodge, and Ollie-Dare told her of the wonderful carvings that had been placed upon the boards. Woodchuck had detailed life in the forest throughout the great table, and Blossom smiled at the mention of her and her gardens being carved right in the middle of the huge table.

      Ollie-Dare told her of his new book that had been delivered by Ace from his parents, and that CuCu and Nibbles had brought in many of their young relatives to start their home here in the Great Forest. Jimmy the Rabbit had been bringing news back of other places, and Banjo had found, somewhere in his travels, a strange looking vegetable that he would soon be bringing by for her to see. Ollie-Dare had looked up the vegetable, and telling Blossom that the plant was call a beet, laughingly spoke that it was very colorful. Blossom had not heard of this plant and was very excited that she may have yet another vegetable for her garden.

      Ollie-Dare returned home with fresh dried fruit for his cooking, and a jar of her best honey. Fresh flowers were now in every room, giving them the sweet smell of summer. Ollie-Dare made a mental note to tell Banjo to call on Blossom very soon, and to send Jimmy along there with some new teas he had been given by Max on his last visit.

      Thoughts of Max once again had Ollie-Dare thinking of the Great lodge and how proud he was that they had built it, for it already had given the Great Forest so much pleasure. Soon the lodge would have all the seating it needed, and with the grand table that Woodchuck had prepared, they would hold a big feast to celebrate. And other than his books, Ollie-Dare loved a gathering of his friends here in the forest.

      Settling down for his evening tea and book Ollie-Dare heard Jimmy calling on his way up the path. Ollie-Dare smiled, for Jimmy was always so happy and full of life. Jimmy entered as Ollie-Dare had placed another cup of tea and a slice of honey bread on the table, and never wavering, Jimmy started talking as he took a bite of the bread. "Ollie-Dare my friend...I have some wonderful news today," he said with a smile. "It seems that there is to be a wedding within our forest!"

      Ollie-Dare, looking surprised, asked "Jimmy, who is getting married?"

      "Well, Beaver Joe's oldest son...Billy... is taking a bride! Isn't it wonderful, Ollie-Dare, we are going to have a wedding!"

      "That is great news, my friend," answered Ollie-Dare, "and we shall use the Great Lodge, and hopefully, my parents will come and some of the Elders."

       "That's what I was thinking, also," answered Jimmy. "I am going around telling everyone, so they can start preparing. Beaver Joe said he would stop by and talk with you in a few days, and Nibbles already is making plans, for I saw her on the way up."

      "Wonderful, wonderful! The Great Forest is having a wedding," Ollie-Dare said as he rose from the table, "Our first wedding here, Jimmy, isn't that exciting!"

      Jimmy smiling and taking his last drink of tea said, "It is indeed, my friend, and I must start my journey now for I have many to see."

      Ollie-Dare said 'Goodbye' to his friend, and began taking notes on his thoughts. A wedding, and their first wedding, was something that needed his attention. Their first wedding and their first official ceremony in the Great Lodge, all in one.....yes indeed, Ollie Dare is good!!

      Ollie-Dare began piling up books on his table, for one thing he knew, he didn't have any idea how to plan a wedding, and his thoughts were that he hoped Nibbles did, for he was going to need some help on this one. His candles stayed lit into the early morning hours, as he went from one book to the next making notes. And as the lights dimmed within the cave, Ollie-Dare could be heard humming a tune that the Forest creatures hadn't heard before.........
©2002 Rebecca Morris
Next month: Ollie-Dare Has A Wedding

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