Friday, December 1, 2017

Editor's Corner


December 2017


"Everyone needs a house to live in, but a supportive family is what builds a home.” --Anthony Liccione 
What? The end of the Year already? Is everyone amazed how quickly this year has entered the realm of "The Past." This is the last issue of the year but there is another issue to finalize this current volume of Pencil Stubs Online, the 20th one at that.

With the Thanksgiving holiday under our belt ( and a goodly amount of calories has found their way there as well ) we now enter the Yule season. Although our Thanksgiving is primarily observed in the USA, Christmas and the traditions - both familiar and newly being created - will occupy minds and hearts and busy hands for most of the month. Are you ready?

Bud Lemire's poem "Giving Thanks" is both timely and a good reminder, while his "All In A Year" notes how memories are made. "Why Take a Picture Of Me?" was composed by Lemire after he was asked that very question.
Bruce Clifford asks "Does Anyone Care" and expresses his fear of a "Nuclear Winter." Not sure his home in Florida will experience that kind of weather.

John I. Blair's poems for December are: "Hawk Day," "Extravagant Moon Poem," "Death," "November Celebration," "How Many" and "Sometimes." He confides that the cooler autumn weather has been conducive for his poetic muse.

Dayvid Clarkson, in his column "Reflections of the Day," has a few days mentioned which show why he chose that name. Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" focuses on the "Butterfly" and "Butterfly Song."

"Introspective" the column by Thomas F. O'Neill speaks of the season and its meaning to people everywhere. Mattie Lennon uses his column "Irish Eyes" to lighten moods and spread laughter this month.

Rod Cohenour in"Cooking With Rod," brings a timely recipe bearing in mind all those turkey leftovers. "Armchair Genealogy" by Melinda Cohenour shows how historical events can be a vital part in researching family trees. Her subject is Joshua Logan Younger – An American Patriot.

LC Van Savage in her column "Consider This," reminds everyone the importance in our lives of "Firsts." She also has a story "Glory's Glory" this month.

We wish all our readers to celebrate the Holidays that are as meaningful to them 
as Christmas is to your editor.
Both she and her cat Jesse (short for Majestic) hopes everyone will stay warm! 

See you in January !!!

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

Armchair Genealogy


Joshua Logan Younger – An American Patriot

Born: 11 May 1755 – Hampshire County, West Virginia, Colonial America
Died: 2 Aug 1834 – Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana, United States of America
Ancestral Information:

      Joshua Logan Younger was the grandson of Humphrey Younger and his wife, Elizabeth (evidence indicates her surname was “March” as her father, Dr. John March, names Humphrey in his Will), by their son John W. Younger and his wife, Sarah Kennard (one researcher insists England was her surname although most have accepted Kennard as fact for as long as your author has been researching – more than two decades). He was born 11th May 1755 in Hampshire County, West Virginia in Colonial America. Most family researchers agree he had five brothers and one sister, the uncertainty arising from the dearth of documentation from so long ago. Most known wives’ and children’ names are gleaned through the study of Deeds where the wife would be a signatory or Wills where the living offspring would be left a bequest or, occasionally, specifically excluded from heirship. (Deeds can provide clues when the heirs later sell all or a portion of the inherited property. Especially helpful is when the property has been given a name, as is the case with Humphrey Younger’s estate which he called “Sole.”) Although the documentation is sparse and researchers provide varying dates of birth, most agree Joshua’s siblings were: John (b. 1740, d. about 1789); Joseph (b. 1742, d. 1790); Thomas (b. about 1748, d. date and place not yet confirmed); Elizabeth (b. 1750, death place and date not known); Lewis (b. 1752, d. ?); and Kennard (b. 1760, d. 1851.) Other researchers attribute other Younger males to this family, but my research does not provide sufficient justification for me to do so. Of note is the youngest son being named Kennard, possibly paying homage to his mother’s family name.

      The Younger family at the time of his birth was living in an area where colonists were involved in the French and Indian War. The homesteads carved out of the wilderness in this new country comprised valuable land – land desired by more than one European country. The French and the English were engaged in war over the land and each had enlisted the aid of tribes they felt were either friendly to their cause or eager to barter in exchange for terrorizing the colonists. It was a time of turmoil and great challenges.

      When he was but a ten-year-old boy, the colonists were already feeling the oppression of British rule. The outrageous taxes being levied on every good or activity was stifling. One of the more outrageous was the Stamp Act of 1765:
“The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765. The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. Ship's papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards were taxed.”

      The condemnation of this overreach affected not only the early American colonists, but even the people of England. This gave rise to one of the most often repeated anthems, one that found its way into the discussions that gave rise to the Declaration of Independence and was a rallying cry: “No taxation without representation!” Undoubtedly, Joshua and his family were affected and these events would feed his passion for independence.

      Little is known of Joshua until 1772, when at the tender of age of 17 he married Elizabeth Virginia Lee in Kentucky where both were then residing. This marriage may well be one of the most discussed and researched among the family historians of the Younger Gang. For Elizabeth Virginia Lee was reputed to be a daughter of the famous Lee Family of Virginia, whose sons included General Robert E. Lee, Richard Henry Lee and his brother Frances Lightfoot Lee both of whom signed the Declaration of Independence, and their cousin Light Horse Harry Lee. Each of these men have been assigned paternity by various and sundry researchers. “The source of this information was a letter written by Cole Younger from Stillwater Prison to Hon. W.R. Marshall, Gov. of Missouri. Quote: "My grandfather Charles Younger was born in 1783-4 and he was the third and youngest child by my great grandfather's first wife who was a Miss Lee of Virginia." 

SOURCE: Posting to RootsWeb by Wilma C. Hillman, 21st June 2001)

Your author’s personal research has seemed to support Elizabeth Virginia Lee, first wife of Joshua Logan Younger, as being the child of Richard Henry Lee and wife, Anne Aylett. A daughter named Elizabeth was born to that union in 1755, but is listed as having died as an infant. Our Elizabeth died by all accounts 15 Sep 1787 in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Virginia, at the age of 32. The 1755 birth would have preceded the marriage of Richard Henry and Ann by some two years. It was not unusual for couples to post their bans of intent to wed, then live together until a traveling minister could perform the wedding ceremony. This, however, would certainly not have been the issue for the prestigious Lee family. The Lee Family of Virginia dismisses the idea of Elizabeth Virginia Lee being Richard Henry’s daughter on the basis of her not being included in his Will. That argument, however, does not hold water with your author in that she pre-deceased her father, had moved away from the family home, and her widower had remarried to another. It is also quite possible her marriage to Joshua had not been sanctioned by her father. Having recently invested in a DNA test that offers notification of matches to present day cousins or other relatives, a number have come back showing links to others who believe their lines descend from the Lees of Virginia. This would seem to support the claim of many family historians that we might, indeed, claim descent. Only time will tell as no documentation has yet been located other than family records and claims such as that made by Cole Younger. A mystery yet to be solved.

The names and dates of birth of the children of this union change depending upon the source - family tree, forum reply, and so forth. We can, however, be certain of two things: a) Joshua Logan Younger is an acknowledged Revolutionary War Patriot with much documentation to support that including his accepted Pension Application, Muster Rolls, a signed Certificate of Discharge from Colonel James Wood among other things; and b) many desiring to become part of the exclusive Daughters (or Sons) of the American Revolution will attempt to propose an ancestor with direct lineage to a Patriot in order to gain membership. Thus, we have encountered no less than some 30 children attributed to Joshua by his two wives!

Of certainty, the following are generally accepted as having been sired by Joshua: by first wife, Elizabeth Virginia Lee, although the vital dates for many are unconfirmed: Sarah “Sallie” (b. 1771), Elizabeth “Lizzie” (b. 1772, m. John Mack Lewis; d. 1859); Peter Logan (b. 1772 a twin to Lizzie? m. Abigail Dennis 1798, d. 1841), Charles Lee (our line, b. 1 Jan 1783, m. (1) Nancy Toney 13 Apr 1798 where Peter Younger put up the bond and consent to marriage was supplied by fathers Joshua Younger and Elexander Toney, m. (2) Sarah Sullivan Purcell 21 Aug 1807, d. 12 Nov 1854); a mere 9 months later records show sister Amelia Ann arrived (b. 26 Oct 1783, m. Isaac Hardin about 1802 in Kentucky, d. 27 Oct 1839 about 2 weeks following death of her husband). Additionally, other researchers show children to be: Joshua, Isaac, Sr. (b. 1775, d. 1847); Henry, Sr. (b. 1775, m. Ruth Gatch, d. 1829); David (b. 1776, d. ?); Andrew (b. 1781, d. ?); Rachel (b. 1782, d. ?); and Littleton (b. 1784, d. ?). All of these children may have been added by mistake to the line. Some may have been the offspring of other Younger males but accidentally attributed to Joshua and Elizabeth Lee Younger.

The children born to Joshua’s second marriage to Catherine Yoder following the death of first wife, Elizabeth, are more easily confirmed as documentation exists. Nimrod (b. 1790, d. 1860); Mary “Polly” (b. 1793, m. William Rabourn in 1811 in Kentucky, d. 1880); John (b. 1795, m. Elizabeth Kern in 1818; d. 1833); Stever (b. 1799, m. Sarah Kern in 1819; d. 1893. No children of this union); Lewis (b. 1803; m. Nancy Crose; d. 1890, 12 children); and Garrett (b. 1806, m. Polly Parrish in 1829; d. 1872).

Revolutionary War – Battles Fought with General George Washington

      In January of 1777, according to the Pension Application filed on behalf of Joshua, he enlisted for the duration of the war in Capt. William Vause’s Company, attached to the 12th Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel James Wood. From that date through his continued service, he would be assigned to various Regiments (the 4th, 8th and 12th in whatever configuration best suited the strategic plans of Col. Wood) as evidenced by an examination of the Muster Rolls and Payroll documents on file. The actual text of his Pension Application reads as follows:

   “Enlisted January 1777 in Capt. William Vause’ in the 12th Virginia Regiment an Continental establishment appointed and Commanded by Colonel James Wood and that he belonged to Capt. William Vaus’s Company and to the Brigade Commanded by General Scott and that he continued to serve in said Regiment and army until some time in May One Thousand Seven hundred Seventy Nine at which time he was discharged on account of having received a wound in said service.”
Battle of Brandywine – 11 September 1777:

   It may be assumed these Virginia Regiments, newly organized of farmers and frontiersmen spent a few months arming, drilling, training, and marching to their designated locations as directed by Colonel Wood. It was not until 11th September 1777 that the 12th Virginia Regiment engaged British troops near Chadd’s Ford Township in Pennsylvania, known as the Battle of Brandywine (or Brandywine Creek). American troops were under the command of General George Washington. This battle has been called “the most controversial battle of the Revolutionary War” for a number of reasons: More troops fought in this battle than in any other battle of the American Revolution, some 20,300 American forces under Washington’s command situated from Head of Elk to Philadelphia. On the day of battle, the Continental Army had amassed about 14,600 troops while the combined British and Hessian troops numbered 15,500. It is further distinguished as the longest single-day battle of the War, with “continuous fighting for 11 hours”. The British troops were commanded by General Sir William Howe and this battle has been noted as one of Howe’s “finest moments as a tactician and one of his most scrutinized.”
(SOURCE: The controversy arises from Howe’s failure to move rapidly to aid Burgoyne further north. He would ultimately resign following his Philadelphia Campaign.

Battle of Brandywine - September 11, 1777

   General Washington’s defeat by General Howe, precipitated by poor scouting that permitted Howe’s troops to attain a position at the rear of Washington’s right flank, did little to gain Washington’s leadership credibility. Washington’s troops were forced to withdraw toward Philadelphia and a complete rout was only avoided by a timely rear guard action by Major General Nathaniel Greene.

   This battle was followed shortly by the Battle of Paoli on the 20th September and in another brilliant move, General Howe outmaneuvered Washington and seized Philadelphia (at that time the capital of the United States) on September 26.

   By October of 1777, Howe had set his eyes on occupation of the American capital. He split his troops, a garrison to defend the capital while he moved the bulk of his troops to an outlying community known as Germantown. There, the Brits occupied a large residence known as the Benjamin Chew House. This time Washington’s scouts proved their worth. Washington determined to attack Howe’s troops while the force was split.
“After dusk on October 3, the American force began the 16 miles (26 km) march southward toward Germantown in complete darkness. To differentiate friend from foe in the darkness, the troops were instructed to put a piece of white paper in their hats to mark them out.[7]The Americans remained undetected by the J├Ąger pickets, and the main British camp was, subsequently, unaware of the American advance. For the Americans, it seemed their attempt to repeat their victory at Trenton was on the road to success. However, the darkness made communications between the American columns extremely difficult, and progress was far slower than expected. At dawn, most of the American forces had fallen too short of their intended positions, losing the element of surprise they otherwise enjoyed.” (SOURCE:

      It was unfortunate that a heavy fog worked against the Continental troops on the morning of 4th Oct, sending them into a state of confusion that pitted Anthony Wayne’s division to mistake Nathaniel Green’s approaching wing as enemy combatants. The two Continental forces attacked one another for a period of time. This permitted Howe’s forces ensconced in the Chew House and operating from the higher position coupled with the Hessian guard flanking the left, to impose severe casualties on Washington’s forces.
General George Washington conducting the American Attack on the Chew House at the Battle of Germantown on 4th October 1777 in the American Revolutionary War: picture by Alonzo Chapell Benjamin Chew House Battle of Germantown 4 Oct 1777

      In spite of the defeat, the brilliance of Washington’s strategic moves and the courage of his fighting men inspired France, long desirous of driving the Brits from the New World, to offer both monetary and military aid to the Continental Army.
Winter at Valley Forge: 19th December 1777:

      General George Washington, following the Battle of Black Hill (Edge Hill), sought winter quarters for his army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Strategically located to offer a superior defensive position, the higher ground surrounding the camp also provided a means to keep an eye on the British and prevent incursions by them into interior Pennsylvania.
Washington Crossing the Delaware - December 1777 - to Valley Forge

      The 12th Virginia Regiment would enter Valley Forge with 495 assigned and 164 fit for duty, among them our Joshua Logan Younger. Designated as Lafayette’s Division, Scott’s Brigade, the 12th’s Field Officers were Colonel James Wood, Lt. Colonel John Neville and Major George Slaughter. Its Company Commanders were Captains Andrew Waggoner, Steven Ashby, Michael Bowyer, Thomas Bowyer, Benjamin Casey, Rowland Madison, William Vause, and Andrew Wallace. The Regiment’s previous engagements included Northern New Jersey, the Defense of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia-Monmouth battles previously described. The men would leave Valley Forge aligned with the 4th and 8th Virginia Regiments, also under the command of Colonel James Wood. (*)

      Conditions were harsh when the men arrived December 19, 1777, but within three days the first log hut had been built. The men were resourceful and quick to build fortifications and shelter; however, the wet, damp weather created a perfect atmosphere for disease and discomfort. The relatively moderate winter still brought alternate freezing and melting of the ice and snow and food sources were scarce. Thanks, however, to the efforts of General Baker Christopher Ludwig, the men had fresh bread daily. Many of their horses died of starvation and hunger and the men fared little better, some 2,500 lost to typhoid, dysentery, and pneumonia. Disease was rampant and empty stomachs a constant pain. Many men deserted but those who stayed were toughened.
Valley Forge - Winter of 1777-1778

      The Continental Army was unable to provide clothing or food, but female relatives of the men did what they could to feed and clothe the men. The men were poorly trained due to a lack of manuals and professional soldiers among their ranks. All that changed when Benjamin Franklin sent his friend Baron Friedrich Willhelm von Steuben to Washington at Valley Forge, along with his high recommendations. Baron von Steuben did not speak English, but the highly trained Prussian soldier (who had served on the elite staff of Frederick the Great) did speak French. Being so close to the French colony of Canada, many of the men in camp were able to convert his instructions, given in French, to English and create the much-needed training manuals. Baron von Steuben was a "hands-on" instructor whose loud commands could be heard ringing over the noise of camp as he drilled the crew of half-starved, dispirited men into a well-trained military command.

      By the time Washington's army emerged June 19, 1778, six months after their arrival, they were able to respond to commands quickly, fire their muskets with efficiency and had learned to alternate shots so as to maintain a barrage of fire while the awkward firearms could be re-loaded by half the men while the other half fired their just-loaded weapons. The army marched off in pursuit of the British as the Brits moved toward New York. The war would last another five years, but the men of George Washington's army had gained a huge victory at great cost during their winter at Valley Forge. From a group of bedraggled, ill-trained men to a finely tuned army with high morale and a group of some 500 camp followers who helped maintain morale and health, they would go forward to win the battle for independence, the Revolutionary War. (SOURCE:
Additional Battles Fought by the 4th, 8th and 12th Virginia Regiment of Foot - 1778-1779: (SOURCE: )
  • 28th Jun 1778 – Battle of Monmouth, Continental Army under General George Washington engaged the British Army commanded by Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton
    Battle of Monmouth - June 28th, 1778
  • 3rd Mar 1779 – Battle of Brier Creek
  • Early May 1779 – Battle of Chillicothe
  • 10th – 24th May 1779 – the Chesapeake Raid
End of the War for Joshua Logan Younger – Winchester, VA April 1779:

      After more than two years engaged in the arduous fight for independence, engaged in some of the most noted battles of the Revolutionary War and serving constantly under the command of General George Washington, Joshua – unbeknownst to him – was approaching his personal conclusion of the War for Independence. He had bravely faced the most horrendous conditions, endured bouts of sickness that forced him to take furlough, and had come back from injuries to continue fighting. Then, in a skirmish so unremarkable it gains no lasting tale in the history of the Revolution, he was injured so badly his leg ruptured, leaving him “unfit for service.” He would take a few months at Camp Middlebrook while he recuperated sufficiently to make it home. He would no longer be able, however, to tend his farm and would, ultimately, be forced to apply for the pension in order to make ends meet. He and Catherine would live with one or another of their grown children and subsist on the small pension.

Researched and Compiled by Melinda Cohenour

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Consider This



      First times. Remember them? Do you ever think about them? So do I. Most were way cool. Maybe it’s the result of being quite nearly eighty, but I’m spending lots of time of late thinking about my personal First Times. And it’s fun to do that, fun to let myself slide back to those sweet First Times. And memory? If I don’t glance down, I cannot remember what I’m wearing today, but oddly, I can remember nearly all of my First Times. Weird, right?

       No, I am not going to write about that First Time. That’s private and sweet even if it was a bit bumbling, but we won’t go there, although it was right up there with the truly greats. No, this is a family newspaper so let’s all think about our other favorite First Times. For example, I seriously doubt if any of us can actively remember the first time we got up on our hind legs and walked, but I’ll bet it felt wonderful. I wonder if in some transcendental way we do recall that moment, but can’t really articulate it.

       I can recall the First Time I ever drank soda. It was Coca-Cola and it burned up into my nose but I was hooked for life anyway and have swallowed far more than I should have over the decades. The discovery that to garnish coke w/a big blob of vanilla ice cream was yet another great First Time!

       First Times fill our lives and, if we have been lucky, were likely mostly good. And happily, they don’t end in our youth years; we can continue having them until we dance off stage. But First Times can be awful too, like when you steal a pack of your step-mother’s Lucky Strikes and take them far from home into the woods and light up. That’s an OMG moment and that First Time gagging, coughing, retching fit is pressed sharply clear in memory.

      How’s about the First Time we got behind the wheel of a car and realized that by pushing down on that pedal thing on the floor with our right foot we could suddenly be flying! What an unforgettable feeling! Sure, it was in a large unoccupied parking lot at the back end of town, but wow, that sensation of flying was super. Remember? And when you first experienced the thrill of driving, didn’t one other thing joyfully occur to you right about that time? Yes, you know it did. The realization suddenly exploded into our brains that we now could actually get away from Mummsie and Dadda, far, far away. We were free! Well, as long as M&D paid for the gas, insurance, repair, tires and fender-bender bills. Lots and lots of Plans formed in our suddenly electrified teen-aged brains once we realized the old family buggy could easily take us to the Elysian Fields even though we were not quite where they were, just that we surely wanted to drive there and now knew we could.

      So many First Times as one wanders down Memory Lane. First puppy, first holding a baby chick against the cheek, first bra, first high heels, first soccer goal, first kiss, first date with a girl, first date with a boy, first dance, first taste of caviar, first crush, first airplane ride, first real party, marriage proposal, shave, tuxedo, view of the ocean, job, musical, discovery of beauty, daiquiri, wedding, first sight of a Matisse, first admiring compliment by a member of the opposite sex, first ride on a boat, first successfully completed cart-wheel, first baby, first I love you.

       Well, the list could obviously go on for pages because not everyone’s happy First Times are the same as everyone else’s. I think you’ll agree though, that the First Times of our lives don’t have to be the last times, but looking back at my almost 8 decades, most of them truly were the best times.

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On Trek


Butterfly Song

Hear the butterfly sing!
You hear no flap of wing
how can you hear her sing?
Listen with your soul deep within
Her voice will whisper with the wind.
©11/21/17 Judith Kroll


Among the sites of summer
is the noiseless butterfly
You hear no flap of wing
just sight him with your eye.
She dances thru the breezes
On a clear and sun-filled day
quietly she reminds us
Oh, how good, another day!!
©October 14, 2016 Judith Kroll

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Irish Eyes


A Fairy Tale for Christmas

I know not why I am so sad; I cannot get out of my head a fairy-tale of olden times.” -- Heinrich Heine.

At this time of year with pantomimes and what have you many of us think back to our favourite fairy tales from our childhood. I’ll bet that each and every one of you readers t had a favourite fairy-tale. I had a favourite fairy-tale too. And I’ve seen and heard adaptations of it over the years but not the version that I remembered until . . .

I was at Culture night in Blessington last September when a woman recited, if that’s the correct term, my Childhood fairy-tale exactly as I heard it more than sixty years ago. She was a blonde (well, apart from the roots.) I went backstage after the show and asked her if she would write it out for me. She told me that she was a very poor speller and that she was extremely slow at the typing. I said that didn’t matter as the spelling could be corrected and there was no rush with the typing.

When she said she was a slow typist I didn’t think she would be quite so slow. I only received her communication today.

The following is her submission as it was written:


* * * * *

An elderly woman, a neighbour of mine, died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, "They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead."

* * * * *

A west Wicklow business man walks into a post Dublin restaurant with his young son. He gives the young boy three €1 coins to play with to keep him occupied. Suddenly, the boy starts choking, going blue in the face. The father realises the boy has swallowed the coins and starts slapping him on the back. The boy coughs up two of the coins but keeps choking. Looking at his son, the father is panicking, shouting for help.
A well dressed, attractive, and serious looking woman, in a blue business suit is sitting at a nearby table reading The Irish Times and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the restaurant.
Reaching the boy, the woman carefully drops his pants; takes hold of the boy's testicles and starts to squeeze and twist, gently at first and then ever so firmly. After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the last coin, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand.
Releasing the boy's testicles, the woman hands the €1 to the father and walks back to her seat at the coffee bar without saying a word.
As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, "I've never seen anybody do anything like that before, it was fantastic. Are you a doctor?"
"No," the woman replied. "I'm with the Revenue Commissioners.."

* * * * *

Calling the Lacken Diaspora. Our Facebook page:

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Cooking With Rod

Let’s do Leftovers!

      Thanksgiving was really wonderful this year. Daughter Melissa prepared not one, but two turkeys for our dining pleasure along with her fabulous Corn and Cheddar Dressing. My dear wife contributed three classic family favorites – her own Fruit Salad, a classic Pea ‘n Cheddar Salad and a Waldorf Salad with a twist. Along with hot breads, plenty of pies, a few other traditional side dishes we enjoyed a feast fit for kings and queens!

      Now, we have leftovers. Enough for a few really tasty sandwiches of course, but what – Oh, What? will we do with all that leftover turkey? Well, my better half has a plan and it’s one I can really support in a big way because my mouth begins watering just thinking about the dish I know she will set before me – her famous Golden Turkey-Rice Soup!

      Gather round, chilluns – ‘cause here is the recipe.

      Bon appetit`!

Melinda’s Golden Turkey Rice Soup
(Melinda Cohenour – Thanksgiving 1998)
  • 4 cans fat-free chicken broth (in the event you do not have clarified turkey broth, a combination works)
  • 6 cups cooked, deboned, turkey (preferably majority white meat)
  • 1 bunch celery, finely diced, including leaves
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and dimed
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cans cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Italian seasoning, about 1 teaspoon or so
  • Poultry seasoning, about 1 tablespoon
  • Ground sage, about ½ to 1 teaspoon
   You will need a Large 8 quart stainless steel stewpot with lid.

   Dice cooked turkey in cubes of about 1 to 1 ½ “ square. Heat turkey broth (if you do not have reserved, clarified turkey broth, use canned chicken broth).

   Add vegetables to hot broth and cook until carrots appear to be tender, but not overcooked.

   When vegetables are cooked, add 3 cups rice (we prefer Mahatma long-grain, white rice) to hot broth, stir and permit to cook for about 10 minutes.

   Add turkey to vegetable-rice mixture, add water to almost top of large pan. Permit to cook until turkey is heated through again and broth is reduced slightly. Add soups and stir thoroughly, permit to cook for about 10 minutes more. Add 1 quart milk, turn off heat, stir thoroughly. Permit to stand about 5 minutes before serving to permit flavors to blend.

      Serve with hot bread and salad of your choice. (Fruit salad is an excellent accompaniment.)

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A group of teachers from the Suzhou International Foreign Language School where I teach here in China. Went out on Thanksgiving Day and enjoyed a traditional thanksgiving meal at a very popular restaurant here called Ollie’s. That really brought out the holiday spirit and the food was extremely delicious.

      The next day I explained to my students the history of Thanksgiving Day in America. I found it quite humorous that most of my students never tasted turkey, but they always tell me they heard that turkey, “is quite yummy.”

      I like to tell my students that I am one of those people who simply enjoys the sharing and to give thanks for the special people in my life. That truly makes this time of year special for me especially here in Suzhou, China.

      I surely have plenty to be thankful for because throughout my life people have gone out of their way to be kind to me and the people here in Suzhou are no exception.

      I once told my students in class when you care for others you are cared for and when you love others you are loved. This special season of giving should reveal our love for one another through kindness because loving kindness gives this special season its true meaning.

      Here, like in America, parents and children alike take great joy in Santa’s arrival on Christmas Day. I also enjoy seeing the young children’s faces light up at the sight of Santa the jolly old soul.

      There was a time though when I felt the season of giving was simply a common courtesy in order to receive and provide our significant others with material gifts.

      I now understand more clearly that this special season is for heartfelt acts of gratitude for having people in our lives. When keeping the true spirit of giving close to our heart it enables us to give from the heart all year-round.

      The yuletide season should be a time when our love comes to call because that love gives this time of year its true meaning.

      I have found over the years, though, that it’s not the material gifts that count in life but rather it’s the unrecognized, undetected and unremembered acts of loving kindness that are our greatest gifts and achievements in life.

      If we truly want to see a world of loving and joyous people we must be loving and joyous toward the people in our own lives. That potential is part of our humanity. When we reach out and touch others we touch part of the humanity that is within us. When we enhance the life of another in need we in turn enhance our own lives.

      Objects gift-wrapped in shiny paper can be forgotten over time but kindness whispered to those in need will echo endlessly throughout the community. Those small acts of kindness resonate with the giver and the receiver because they are gifts from the heart. Such priceless gifts can never be measured monetarily though because how can you put a price on love?

      From my heart to yours, I would like to wish all of you a very merry and joyous holiday season.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
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Reflections on the Day

    Sometimes I just feel simply overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by technology, politics, world challenges, and the vastness of the universe. There are so many paths, so many answers, and so many questions. We seem to scramble from bush to bush like little scared rabbits or we buy into a particular `movie` and attempt to live a role written by others. There does not appear to be a guidebook. I think I will just accept who I am with no defence, where I am at this moment, and where I am going wherever bound. It sounds simple enough and I have heard the foregoing in some form or another for many years. Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to understand. I trust your rest time this eve will bring you closer to your own understanding.
    Sleep well, dream deep. Humble bow, Dayvid
    Woodstove burning with the door open so I can hear the fire. I am sipping a cup of tea as I reflect and savour the visions of the day. The translucent mists floating over the lake seemingly lost. I have come to understand that I am not lost. I don’t know where I am headed, but I do know I am on my way. I know I will never fully understand nor comprehend this great mystery I am involved in. No one has the answers as they are as individual and unique as is every sentient being. What I do know is if I hold compassion and kindness with fervent respect the path seems that much easier. When I choose not to disturb, to entertain many ideas without feeling compelled to accept any, and truly try to understand my fellow travellers on this journey then I am headed toward the source. I am grateful to know so many like-minded folks. Believe you are on your way home and be diligent in walking others home.
    Sleep well, dream deep my Friends. Humble bow Dayvid.
Oct 27, 2017 9:27am
    As you prepare to enter the Dreamscape this eve allow the universal energy to enter your physical container. Fill it up and allow it to move through you relaxing and soothing until you feel complete. Pause and feel a deep sense of serenity within. Now, shoot the energy from your heart like a massive powerful fireworks display. The magic will travel to all you know, all you have met, and all that have crossed your path. Replenish them with your life force. Do not be concerned dear one for as soon as your energy flies to others you will fill again, renewed and restored.
    Sleep well, Dream deep my Friends. Humble bow, Dayvid
Oct 27, 2017 9:19am
    Reflecting at the end of the day I find most days are wonderful. Yes, there are trials and tribulations they are part of the journey. Then there are some days that are simply wondrous. Today was one of those days for me. I hope yours was as well. When you have one of those days the time for retiring behind the velvet curtain of sleep seems like a grand entry into the dreamscape. These types of days seem to affirm that you are on the right path. How does one achieve these wondrous days? Pay attention, be amazed, and tell about it. It is not enough to conceptualize such noble ideas as kindness, compassion, and selflessness the soul requires experience. One may know, but until you experience it you do not know it completely. Practice makes perfect.
    Sleep well, dream deep my Friends. Humble bow, Dayvid.

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Extravagant Moon Poem

I look there in the east
And see a brilliant glowing disk
Riding the horizon.

The mighty mountains of the moon
Make patterns on its face,
Lighting my imagination.

Is the moon a pagan beast?
A symbol of Selene?
A cast-off portion of the Earth?

On nights like this
I could consider all
As equally evocative.

Why choose,
Why limit,
Why take that risk?

©2017 John I. Blair, 11/10/2017

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November Celebration

Bees, butterflies, birds,
Bushy tailed squirrels
Fill my morning world today;

Seed pods hang
From old milkweed stems;

Yellow leaves and brown
Come flying down
From plums, elms, oaks ;

Acorns and pecans
Lay buried deep for winter;

While over all the blue sky
Sings with November sunshine,
Defying December cold.

©2017 John I. Blair, 11/6/2017

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All In A Year

The leaves on the trees have fallen
I hear the Winter winds calling
Snow has begun, flakes are in the air
Icy roads are found, almost everywhere
 Thanksgiving and Turkey, always sound great
Holiday goodies, I'll gain some more weight
The Christmas tree and gifts on Christmas Day
An end of a year that wouldn't stay

A new year, and freshly fallen snow
As my mind takes in all there is to know
Another year older, and wiser too
Picking up experiences that I never knew

More pictures to be taken
More poems I'll be making
Spring time cheer it'll be bringing
Birds come out and are singing
A Class Reunion, friends gather around
Mates in conversation, is a great sound

Summer brings heat, many on the beach
Fireworks high in the sky, out of reach
The butterflies fly away
It gets colder every day
Trick or Treat, it's once again Halloween
It's all in a year, and much more in between
©Nov 8, 2017 Bud Lemire
                      Author Note:
Every year brings so much. And every year
may bring the same events, but each year it
is different in its own way. Changes that
make each year more special.

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With all the best intentions
Things don’t work out.

Though I may cry and shout
The stars do not align,
The dice don’t fall right.

I might claim to know
What I’m about
But evidence shows otherwise.

It shows I’m not in full command
Of others or myself;
It also shows,

I hope and pray,
That at the end of every day
When night is near

I still can deal with doubt.

©2017 John I. Blair, 11/1/2017

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Does Anyone Care

Don’t mind me
I might turn the page
I’m not ignoring you
Nor am I in a rage
Just walking away

Don’t think twice
I might take a bow
It’s not the resistance
I never knew how
From then til now

I can’t take the pain
The broken promises and strain
Say it again
Show me one more time again

I can’t take the selections
They lead to nowhere
Does anyone care
Does anyone care
Does anyone care

Late at night
I might talk in my sleep
They can hear me from there
You can’t feel me from here

Don’t mind me
I might walk through a cloud
I’m not forgetting our time
Just thinking out loud
Pain should never be allowed

I can’t make those decisions
They lead to nowhere
Does anyone care
Does anyone care
Does anyone care

©11/10/17 Bruce Clifford

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Hawk Day

On this
November afternoon
I see hawk after hawk

Soar in the sky.
Each one seeks
A life to take
That gives life
In our world’s
Age-old scheme.

Each one radiates
Beauty and grace
That might seem
But aren’t.

©2017 John I. Blair, 11/2/2017

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Giving Thanks

Giving thanks, because I am living
Appreciation for the food that's been given
Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy
Cranberry sauce, the pumpkin pie will fill me

 Gathering with Family and friends
The thankfulness never ends
Cut the Turkey, so tender to chew
I take off my hat, and salute you

Green bean casserole, I'll try some
Although, it's not for everyone
So much food, to pick from
I'll just fill my plate some
My belly knows how much to eat
Yet my mind doesn't know defeat

Belly versus mind, the battle never stops
Until the button on my pants, pops
I can't eat all that food, no way
You have way too much, on display

I'll just have a dab of this and that
Maybe I'll get by without getting too fat
I appreciate the food that's been given
I give thanks, because I am living
©Nov 13, 2017 Bud Lemire
Author Note:

Thanksgiving is always being thankful
for everything you have. Food, and so
much more.

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No one understands death
Though many so have claimed;

No one knows what death will bring,
Only that we all will go there.

And when we’ve gone
We dare not tell the ones remaining

What they will face,
What that place is like.

They’ll have to find out
For themselves.

©2017 John I. Blair, 11/15/2017

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Why Take A Picture Of Me?

“Why take a picture of me?” said The Butterfly
Because you are so beautiful to the eye
“But I am just a Butterfly, nothing more”
Your wings are paintings, and you soar

 “Why take a picture of me?” a Rabbit asked of me
Because it's your beauty, that I see
“But I am just a Rabbit, nothing more”
When you are hoping, it's too beautiful to ignore

“Why take a picture of me?” a Robin asked of me
Because I love your song, and beauty is mine to see
“But I am just a Robin, it's all I have ever been”
I know, but you are so very special, my friend

“Why take a picture of me, said the Sun at Sunset
It was at Sunrise, that we had first met
It's because of your colors, and your light
The beauty we see, when we take in your sight

As two Teenage skateboarders, roll on by
They ask the question of why
“Why take a picture of us?”
All I ask is for your parents trust
For I see beauty in each human being
That beauty is worth being seen
©Nov 1, 2017 Bud Lemire
                      Author Note:
Every now and then I get some nasty feedback
on my photos. A recent one was that I took a
picture of their son and his girlfriend, who were
skateboarding down the sidewalk. There was
nothing wrong with it. Yet the Mother felt uneasy
that I had taken it and shown it on Facebook.

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How Many

How many are there like me
Who spend lives in sadness?

Who see past the hollow artifice
Of daily doings
To the empty end?

I cannot look to friends
For more than sympathy,
Though that is much.

I know that some of them
Are where I am, and weep.

I weep for them.

©2017 John I. Blair, 11/15/2017

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Nuclear Winter

It’s the nuclear winter
Trees of frost
Hide under the table
The broken and lost

It’s the nuclear winter
Blades in our head
Chosen and whisper
The long road ahead

We can’t see above the wave
Cracks in earths surface as we melt away
The sky is profound with shapes of red and grey
We can’t see above the acid rain

It’s a nuclear winter
Tomorrow was today
The fortunes of many
A whole world betrayed

We can’t see above the wave
Cracks in earths surface as we melt away
The sky is profound with shapes of red and grey
We can’t see above the acid rain

It’s the nuclear winter
As we count the cost
From over the rainbow
The broken and lost

©11/19/17 Bruce Clifford

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Gloria's Glory


     Our visits always ended with her standing abruptly.

     "Harold will be coming home," she'd always say, "Sorry—you have to leave. I've got to be ready for him."


    "Oh Gloria, not again," I griped.

     "Well, it's different in your home," she said. "You have a normal husband." And then, "Oh my, what did I just say?”, and she clapped her hand guiltily over her mouth.

    "Glo, you don't have to feel guilty for saying that."

    "Oh dear," she said, her large brown eyes filling. "He's so good to me, and I actually said that."

     "Said WHAT, Gloria?"

     "Well, maybe it's not what I said but what I didn't say." She looked nervously around, "I mean suggesting that maybe my husband is---well, you know."

    "What, Gloria? Your husband is what? Impotent? An alien? Weird? He wears women’s underwear? No. It must be that you mean he's a nutcase controlling chauvinist." I said. "Am I right or what?"

     "Oh you," she said laughing, and she slapped my arm playfully. "But really, you gotta go now. See you later."

     "Why do I have to go, Gloria? It's only 3 PM!"

     "Oh, if he doesn't see me cooking, he gets all sulky," she said, holding the door open for me.

     "Sulky?" I said incredulously. "Gloria. This is the twenty-first century. Real men don't sulk. And besides, all you have to do is put a couple of pots of water to boil on the stove and he'll think dinner's cooking. I thought every woman was born knowing that one."

    "Oh you," she laughed, but looked nervous. I left.

    Gloria was definitely no feminist, but she really was very sweet. Pretty, she had dark hair so long she could sit on it and have enough left over for a lap robe. She wore it in a long, thick braid wrapped around her head. Several times.

     And oh, how she hated that hair. "It takes me half an hour to wash and all day to dry, and it catches on everything!"

     "So cut it."


     "Cut it off," I said.

     "What??" she said again, her expression was as if I'd suggested she streak naked during High Mass.

     "I couldn't do that," she whined.

     "Why not? Short hair's been in for oh, 80 years or so, Glo. Flappers started it all."

     "Harold calls it my crowning glory," she said, suddenly beginning to paint her living room ceiling. In the kitchen, several large baskets of fruits and vegetables awaited preparation for canning later that day.

     Harold came home while I was there, and I couldn't resist the urge to not leave, so I didn't, and settled into an easy chair. Harold’s. Gloria immediately trotted off and came back with, oh I can't believe it, but it's true I swear, his slippers, robe and a chilled martini. He changed in the downstairs bathroom and handed her his business suit.

     "I always press it the instant he gets home so it'll be all fresh for him when he needs it next," Gloria explained apologetically as she raced off, ala Edith Bunker.

     "Right," I said. I continued to stay. Harold glared. I glared back. Oh, what an ass.

     "While you're up there, dearie," he called to his wife, "would you mind pressing the blue? I’ll need it for tomorrow."

     "Sure hon," she chirped back. I could smell the dinner cooking. Harold sank uneasily into another chair and opened the day’s newspaper.

     "Hey Harold, while the little woman is steam-pressing your suits, let's set the table, OK? Maybe get dinner on?" I asked. He looked out from behind his paper and glowered.

     "No thanks," he growled. "I'll wait for her."

     “Who’s ‘her’?” I asked sweetly. “Oh right, you must mean Gloria.” Harold glared.

     And suddenly, I can't think why, I clued into some strange triangular link between Gloria's hair, Harold's thing for vassalage and his wife’s wimpiness.

     "Oh, you silly," she said to me the next day when I dragged her out of her home to do some fun things together, although I had a definite plan in mind.

     "I told you I couldn't cut my hair. Harold loves it! He says it's my ..."

     "Yeah, yeah, I know. Your crowning glory," I said, pulling her into the beauty salon I’d already scouted.

     "Gloria," I said to her, "you HATE your hair. It's a terrible burden, and just one more thing for you to have to care for, and you only keep it for Harold. NO ONE wears their hair like that anymore. It's from the 1800s, and it’s unsanitary. It's also dangerous!"

     She wept when it fell to the salon’s floor in a brown thwump. I gleefully drove her home. And stayed. Gloria looked absolutely beautiful.

     Harold stopped in the doorway. He stared at his wife.

     "Gloria. Where is your hair??" He was ashen.

     "Gone," said she, standing there, kind of taller. And her voice was different, too. Deeper. Stronger. He marched past her, glared at me and went into the bathroom.

     "Slippers? Robe please? Martini?" he called through the door.

     "Get them yourself, Harold," she called back. "And from now on, you can drop your suits off at the dry cleaner’s on your way to work in the morning. And you can pick them up on your way home. And oh, and one other thing, tonight we're going out for dinner."

     I grinned at Harold. What was happening here was sort of skewed Fable of Samson; shorn of her locks that day, Gloria had broken her shackles and had become powerfully strong.

     Harold glared at me. I smiled sweetly back at him.

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