Saturday, September 1, 2018

Editor's Corner


September 2018

"I think being in love with life is a key to eternal youth.” —Doug Hutchison

On August 15, 1945, news of the Japanese surrender was announced to the world. This sparked spontaneous celebrations over the final ending of World War II. On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was held in Tokyo Bay aboard the USS Missouri. At the time, President Truman declared September 2 to be VJ Day.

Your editor was ten years old on VE Day (Victory over Europe) May 8, 1945, and to her and her sisters Noralee and Jacquelyn and her best friend Billy Charles (William Charles Meacham) who lived across the street, VJ Day that August meant now the war was over so !bicycles! We had been saving our allowances for the duration, and had been admonished by our patriotic parents that we could not spend our piggy bank funds for bicycles until the war was over. How could a child understand that first the factories had to clear excess materials, dismiss many workers, arrange funding, and most importantly - retool - before manufacturing bicycles. I finally got my girl's blue Swinn approximately two years later. The story "Remembering VJ Day...The First One" is the personal account of that event as it happened.

The excitement and celebration of VJ Day was usurped as a September remembrance in a deadly and atrocious manner by the events occurring 9-11-2001, when the hijacked planes crashed into New York's Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Commemorating the date and the effect of the loss is the reprint of the poem by Chris Alaniz who was in the 5th grade then - "9-11 Poem."

Bruce Clifford's poems are "Crystal Clear" and "Deep in Thought" for this issue. Judith Kroll's poem is titled "All Things Joyous" which is a echo of how Judith prefers to regard life. Bud Lemire has two poems, "Do You See Me?" and "Some of My Friends Are Butterflies," with one of his photos to illustrate the latter. Bud has a Bud's Poetry Blog and a Bud's Photo Blog to add to when he finds time in his busy days.
John I. Blair sent six new poems for September. His goal each month is to compose at least six to challenge himself. He does it so well. Here are the titles: "Jewels of Opar," "Distant Thunder," "When A Gnat Dies," "People Who Smile," "Mars Summer 2018," and your editor's favorite of the group, "When I Allow It."

Linnie Jane Joslin Burks, your editor's maternal Aunt, was a prolific poet, even during her 32+ years serving as a Southern Baptist Missionary with her husband Dr. Edgar Burks. This issue we share her poem "Parents." The picture shows the two of them after retirement from the missionary field settled down in Springfield, Missouri. Your editor was there to visit in 2007. Both are deceased now but their good works live on.
The Burks with Mary E. Adair

Marilyn Carnell is our new columnist whose column "Sifoddling Along" brings her experiences to share in an engaging manner. We introduce her in an article "Meet New Columnist Marilyn Carnell" which will remain as her Bio. She also has a poem for September, "I Am Enough."

Melinda Cohenour's "Armchair Genealogy" focuses on the extraordinary saga of one of America's patriots who belatedly chose to turn his coat and side with the British - Benedict Arnold.

Thomas F. O'Neill in his "Introspective," is pleased to hear from his former students via email while he is back in the USA for a year's sabbatical. His column discusses the importance of teachers in our lives.

Rod Cohenour being under the weather, we present an "Encore Cooking With Leo" with one of Mary's breakfast recipes. The link is to Leo C. Helmer to allow readers to access his other fascinating recipes and articles. Judith Kroll aka Featherwind discusses handling changes we may be facing and tells of some reassuring instances in her experience in "On Trek."

Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" handles an array of subjects from the Pope to Scumbags with his usual aplomb. Always on top of things in Ireland, he reports in goodly humor and an exactness seldom found in the newspapers.

LC Van Savage "Consider This" found delight in the visit of several young friends which evoked memories of herself growing up.

Ovation for Mike. We heartily appreciate our webmaster Mike Craner without whose patience and expertise this ezine would not have been in its 21rst year.

See you in October!!!

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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

The Arnold Family - England to America
A Patriot and A Traitor - Cousins

      Once again, earnest research has turned up another of those eerie coincidences. Some call it Fate, some think it only coincidence. Regardless of your view, dear reader, an honest examination of your reaction will certainly include a few tickles of the spine if not outright tingling. The Arnold family lines extend to our generation – though most don't know it!

      William Arnold, born 24 June 1587 in Dorset County, England, was the sixth generation descended from Roger Arnold of historic English fame. William and wife, Christian Peake Arnold, born 1583, had four children. Elizabeth, born in England 23 Nov 1611, wed William Carpenter. Benedict, born 21 Dec 1615 in Dorset traveled with his parents, siblings and their brother-in-law Carpenter to America. William, wife Christian, their four children, and their son-in-law William Carpenter arrived 24 June 1635 in New England, going first to Hingham, Massachusetts. Soon thereafter, whether motivated by the need for more land or in appreciation of the teachings of Roger Williams or other issues, they relocated to the little settlement of Moshassuck, arriving 20 April 1636. Roger Williams had become infamous or famous (dependent upon personal beliefs) for his stance against the charter of the church which permitted the taking of native Indian land in the New World without payment therefor. (One of the native Americans poorly treated by the first settlers was Metacomet, a son of Massasoit who had greeted the first Pilgrims at Plymouth. Wamsutta, eldest son of Massasoit, would become tribal leader following his father’s death but would soon also meet his death. Metacomet then succeeded to the role of tribal leader. Metacomet was given the English name of King Philip and would become famous for instigating King Philip’s War, a costly and historic confrontation for Colonial Americans.)

      Roger Williams, by this time having been sanctioned by both the Church of England (thus, the English king) and the officials of the church at Hingham had avoided possible imprisonment or lynching in England by escaping across the Seekonk River to an area unclaimed by the British Crown. He purchased the land from the Narragansett Indians and named his little settlement, first, New Providence – later to become simply Providence, an apt name for the freedom it offered its settlers. It lay upon the boundaries of the Moshassuck River (by some the “Mooshansic River) which stretched almost nine miles from what is now Lincoln to Providence, Rhode Island.

      The named twenty-five settlers who first populated Providence, Rhode Island were: (1) Roger Williams, his wife Mary and their daughters Mary and Freeborn; (2) William Harris, his wife Susannah and son Andrew; (3) John Smith (a miller), his wife Alice and their children John Jr. and Elizabeth; (4) Francis Wickes, a minor; (5) Thomas Angell, a minor; (6) Joshua Verin and his wife Jane; (7) William Arnold, his wife Christian, daughter Joanne, and son Stephen; (8) Benedict Arnold, still a minor and a son of William and Christian Arnold; (9) William Carpenter, wife Elizabeth (a daughter of William Arnold mentioned above); (10) William Mann, wife Francis Hopkins Mann (a niece of William Arnold); (11) Thomas Hopkins, still a minor, a nephew of William Arnold, and the ancestor of Stephen Hopkins who would become Governor of the state of Rhode Island in future years.

      The first settlers in Providence included the extended Arnold family; however, by 1638 as a result of “heated differences” with Williams, the entire Arnold family would join William Harris in founding the village of Pawtuxet. It is in this area that the extensive Arnold family of America would forge its beginnings.

      Benedict Arnold, son of William and Christian, would wed Damaris Westcott, eldest child of Stukely Westcott. Stukely Westcott had been one of the early settlers of Providence Plantations and an avid follower of Roger Williams. He is noted as one of the founding members of the first Baptist Church in America. Benedict and Damaris must have met in about 1638 before the little settlement splintered as a result of the severe differences in beliefs and traditions, for they wed 17 December 1640 at Pawtuxet and together brought nine children into the world. Stukely Westcott is surely one of the more colorful characters in early Colonial America. He is noted as “being most active in colonial affairs from 1650 to 1660 when he was a commissioner, surveyor of highways, and the keeper of a house of entertainment. His highest offices were as an Assistant in 1653 and much later as a deputy to the General Court in 1671 when he was almost 80 years old! He made his will on January 12, 1677 but died the same day with it unsigned, leaving his affairs in limbo for the following two decades.”

      This first mentioned Benedict Arnold was but nineteen years of age when he crossed the Atlantic with his family to the New World. He assimilated quickly, learning a number of the native American tribal languages. This would serve him well in the years to come, as he was often called upon to act as interpreter during some of the most critical negotiations between the tribes and the Rhode Island colony, the other interpreter being Roger Williams. Benedict would move his family from Pawtuxet to Newport in 1651 where his first official service as a public official would occur. He would become a freeman, Commissioner, and Assistant, before succeeding Roger Williams as president of the colony, serving three years. When re-elected president in 1662, during his second term of this service, the Royal Charter of 1663 was delivered, which named him Governor of the colony and offering “broad freedoms and self-determination” to the colony. He is credited with being a “bold and decisive leader” and was elected to two additional terms as Governor, “the last time following the devastation of King Philip’s War.” He died 19 June 1678 while still in office. Thus, this Benedict Arnold will be referred to as Governor Benedict Arnold I in this thesis.

      Governor Benedict Arnold I’s wife Damaris Westcott Arnold would bear a son named also Benedict, born 10 Feb 1641 in Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Island. This we shall call Benedict Arnold II.

      Benedict II wed Mary Turner on 9 Mar 1671 in Newport, Rhode Island. Their first son would also be named Benedict, born 1671 but this child died as a young boy in 1676. After several years, on 28 Aug 1683 another son was born to this couple, whom they named Benedict Arnold (herein referred to as Benedict III).

      On 6 Nov 1733, Benedict III wed Hannah Waterman King in Norwich, Connecticut. Their life together was filled with tragedy, as four of their six children would succumb to yellow fever through the years. Only the second son, Benedict, and his sister Hannah would survive to adulthood.

      Though his life began as the son of a prosperous businessman, the combined blows of the loss of four young children, his wife’s understandable sorrow and distress, as well as the financial burden took its toll on Benedict, the Traitor’s father. His business would suffer as his descent into alcoholism continued. A once bright future for young Benedict Arnold, the Traitor, would become lost through the despair of his parents and the collapse of the business empire along with the family’s stored wealth.

      Next month, we shall explore the actual life of Benedict Arnold, his troubled efforts to recoup the family fortune and care for his mother and sister, and his eventual fate – how he became the most infamous of all American Revolutionaries – the Traitor.

      We shall also explore the connection Benedict Arnold, Traitor, has to our own family line and then take up the story of his cousin who, though less notorious, became a true American Patriot.
(See portrait of Benedict Arnold below.)

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Sifoddling Along


My People

      A part of my heart will always be in the Ozarks. I grew up in a small community during a period the Charles Dickens would describe as “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times”. Born just prior to the onset of World War II, a terrible era, it was also a time of recovery from the Depression, patriotism and hope.

      When first meeting someone new in the community, a child or stranger is asked “Who are your people?” The answer is a shortcut to establishing a basis for acquaintance. My answer was “I am Bill Carnell’s girl.” Everyone knew Daddy, the County Superintendent of Schools. All that was needed; I belonged.

      McDonald County, Missouri is my little corner of the world. Nestled in the southwest borders of the state, it touches on Arkansas and Oklahoma and is a stone’s throw from Kansas. If the US had a belly button, it would be located there. It is separated from Arkansas by the extension of the Mason-Dixon Line. Oklahoma lies to the west. Until 1908 Oklahoma was wild and wooly Indian Territory. Consequently, McDonald County was a little wooly, too. Located two hundred miles due south of Kansas City with both Western and Northern influences, it is still primarily mid-South culture. Very similar to Appalachia with touches of the Deep South. To the east are the more rugged parts of the crumpled Ozark Mountains – still mostly sparsely occupied woodlands. This collision of cultures, ethnicity and a tendency toward caution about anything new or foreign makes it and its people unique in so many ways. Far from the early highways of America, the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers, it was not among the earliest settlements in the Americas. Instead it was largely populated by people who had migrated over a period of 200 years or so from the middle and deep south. The dominant culture was a blend of Scots-Irish Appalachia and the gentry of the south, with a significant, but unmentioned link to Native American influences.

       In the past, its proximity to Indian Territory attracted some less desirable residents. If there was likely to be a repercussion after a bank robbery or murder, it was a short distance to “The Territory” and freedom. There was a sprinkling of other immigrants – French, German, Slavic origins, but not enough to make much difference. Until very recently it was almost 100% WASP. For nearly 100 years, there were no blacks. There was a county ordinance that no black could be in the county after sundown. It was enforced into the 1960’s. The steep, rocky hills were never an area that favored the formation of plantations. In 1860 there were 50 slaves listed in the census; after the War, blacks were not welcome. I knew only WASP’s until I went to college. As a freshman, I politely told a Catholic girl that she had a smudge on her forehead. It was Palm Sunday. She set me straight and I was embarrassed.

      Isolated from the rest of the world until the First World War, residents relied on kinship and friendship to survive. Strangers, known as “furriners” were viewed with great skepticism. Who knew what kind of new-fangled ideas they might have and upset the balance of the well known way of life. Oh, there were differences.In the 1860 Presidential election only three of the four candidates were on the ballot. Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln from Illinois favored the North and John Bell from Tennessee the South. John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky wasn’t on the ballot, even though he carried the South, winning 11 states. Lincoln won 18 Northern states and the election even though the difference between the number of votes cast for him and Douglas was less than 500,000. Douglas won only one state – Missouri. In McDonald County, Douglas and Bell each got about 350 votes and Lincoln got three. Only two men ever admitted that they voted for Lincoln; the third one never confessed. This obviously clear schism of beliefs made the county particularly vulnerable to the horrors of war – brother fighting against brother or in some cases, a rebel hiding a friend who was a Union soldier to save his life. The armies of the North and South marched back and forth over the land until it was a wasteland. At the end of the war only eight adults lived in the county. An octet of very strong women and their children.

      These factors all contributed to the need for an all-important question of strangers – who are your people? After all, it was essential to learn if this person fit into the known hierarchy of the community. My standard answer: “I’m Bill Carnell’s girl” quickly established that I was from a well-known family in the county and kin to many people since both branches of my family were long time residents. It would be was easy to identify my place in the world. Foreigners found the intricate relationships confusing.

      First was “blood” kin. Those whose combined DNA was shared openly to the community. A young person had to be familiar with the complex blood lines as the gene pool was closer to a gene puddle. Of course, there were a few woods colts or illegitimate children, but that was something ignored publicly and a source of secret shame. (In recent years, the county is among the Missouri counties with the most unmarried mothers, so attitudes have clearly changed.)

      Aunts and Uncles by marriage were considered close kin as their spouse and children were blood kin, but beyond that, their family members were “shirt-tail” relatives. People, that might or might not be, closely aligned to the central family or clan.

      Then there were the honorary kin - older people who were addressed as Aunt or Uncle or Granny as an honorific and notice of respect. Sir and Ma’am were drilled into children and were considered polite. I was shocked to find in other parts of the country, women especially would take offense thinking I was regarding them as old.

      Of course, family connections weren’t the only source of confusion. Most people went by their first and middle names – thus there were many Bobby Joes, Mary Sues and Carol Anns. In addition, friends, enemies and relatives were generous in assigning nicknames. Often more than one nickname was to the same person. This led to the impression that there were a lot more people living there than the census would indicate. Sometimes the names were self-assigned. My father’s legal name was Thomas Alton Carnell. He decided to call himself Bill as a child, probably to distinguish himself from his father, Thomas Jefferson Carnell. This is only a small sample of the issue.

      Nicknames could be brutally direct. Among our neighbors were Scar, Hook, and Duck.. That was in only one block of town. Other nicknames were more benign. I once laughed because a good friend mentioned an Uncle Brother; then I realized I had an Uncle Son. I also had an Uncle Shorty and an Uncle Doc. As I child, I had no idea what their real names were.

      Growing up in a small, tight knit community meant that there were few secrets, but at the same time there was a strong ethic of not “airing dirty laundry” within the family. This conflict led to a powerful grapevine communication network. We children were well aware that if we got into trouble at one end of town, someone would have told our folks about it before we could get home. This probably kept truancy to a minimum. My hometown, Pineville, was the county seat. Most county officials lived in town, our teachers, preachers and business owners were residents. Every adult knew every child in town. There was always a watchful eye and a loose tongue.

      My people were not just those kin in some way. The important thing is that all residents were “my people” and I love them.

      Some of them made an impression or influenced me. Some were just plain strange, even to me. Others were the source of stories that could hardly be believed. There were two couples who decided that they wanted to exchange partners. One couple was childless and the other had a baby. After much discussion, they concluded that in order to make it a fair trade, the childless couple had to throw in a calf to boot. Another pair made an even trade, but one man returned his new wife. She wasn’t satisfactory.

      Like most families, mine was a mixture of saints and sinners. Let’s say moonshine production was not a mysterious night-time gleam through the woods to some of my relatives. Although little moonshine is made today, it was once a booming business and remained so well into the 1960’s as both Arkansas and Oklahoma were dry states. I knew there was a stump where you could leave your money and return later to pick up some fine ‘shine. The Pineville Cemetery had a cast metal tombstone with a back that could be unscrewed revealing a nice-size space for goods.

       At one point a liquor distributor in nearby Joplin, Missouri was the largest in the US. Thanks to those nearby markets. North Carolinians developed stock car racing with skills honed by fast driving to elude the “revenooers”. Auto racing is very popular in Southwest Missouri, could there possibly be a connection?

       In 1980 I worked for my cousin Gene for a year. I will share more about him later, but this story ties in. Gene was a realtor and bail bondsman. This led to some interesting clients. He bonded out the hookers from a nearby brothel that had operated for years under the radar. It wasn’t prostitution that caused trouble, however; it was booze. The owner made the mistake of serving liquor without a license to some Federal agents. Even let them charge their drinks on a credit card. The hookers were collateral damage. I spent an interesting afternoon chatting with the girls and learning more about their trade.

       Returning to McDonald County after an absence of many years, a cousin told me that I had “been gone so long, you are almost a foreigner.” My long time away led me to make a very serious mistake. I met a nice friendly woman and failed to ask the essential question. She seemed pleasant and interested in talking with me. She encouraged me to tell her all about a man who had mistreated my sister in her job. I told her what I thought about him in no uncertain terms; only then did she reveal the villain was her brother-in-law. I was very embarrassed and apologetic. But it taught me to appreciate the wisdom of the “old ways”. I never again failed to ask “Who are your people?” before entering into a conversation with a stranger.

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Consider This


I Was Once…

      On a recent trip to California, I had the pleasure of being in the company of a gaggle of very young girls, and it was pure delight to listen to and watch that chattering, giggling group, seeing those shiny children at play in the sunshine. I loved their honesty and joy, and hoped the afternoon wouldn't soon end.
      Three of the more sophisticated girls (they were eight) raided their aunt's closet and make-up stash, and reappeared wobbling on high heels slipped over wildly colored socks, lacy shawls draped over skinny shoulders, great flowered wedding hats, costume jewelry encrusted everywhere on them, and their glowing, fresh faces plastered with vivid make-up, like a stir of plum and peach fudge icing. They looked adorable.
      As I sat there enraptured by this enchanting flock, I began to wonder if young kids today worry or think about the crazy things I did when I was a little girl. Probably not. Their fears and concerns must be very different now. Because the world surely is.
      I remembered, when I was very young, always sneaking off to ponds and creeks to catch in jars all the creatures I could, and yes, I promise I always set them free in a couple of days. But I used to wonder, looking into those jars at all that beautiful, squirming life, if we humans maybe really didn't live on a big ball twirling about in space as we were taught, but in a gigantic jar owned by the daughter of an immense giant somewhere "out there," who enjoyed capturing beautiful, squirming us.
      And then, as I wandered through the woods, I'd often wonder if I'd had other lives before this one, and I'd ponder on whether the progression of human life was like a sort of cosmic ladder, and that we all began on the bottom rung, say newt level, and then worked up over the billions and billions to human status. And where would we go from there? I wondered about that problem a lot, wondering if we'd one day at the end of our lives have to stand, swaying and all alone on the top rung to then fall splat! to the ground and become a once-again newt. Or molecule. And I speculated on how I could avoid having to stand on that top rung.
      I also remember as a little girl worrying about the news of the day. I was an avid newspaper reader and radio listener to the daily news back then, and considered myself at the urbane age of nine far too much of a dilettante to listen to those amateur TV newsmen blatting about the various local and world-wide Armageddons.
      And besides, all that bad news really alarmed me a great deal, so I simply made up my mind one day, I think it was a Tuesday, that the entire world mess was merely an invention of my imagination and that nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing existed beyond the borders of my hometown, or any town I happened to be visiting. All the world was only where I was. Therefore, I no longer had to fret about bombs or starvations or biting animals or wars or diseases or bad people or things that go bump in the night or the day. I was greatly relieved.
      I remember as a young girl thinking it was my responsibility to rescue the mice in my school's laboratory so they would not be used for dissection. It all came to me in a dream one night, a voice telling me that I would definitely have to take a dive off of that top rung unless I saved those mice, that indeed they had a right to life too. And so like a very good embezzler who gradually takes tiny amounts of money thinking no one will notice, I began stealing one white mouse at a time and sneaking them home in my training bra. I'd store them in a partially opened desk drawer with water and food by day when I was in school, (shanghai-ing the next rodent,) and letting them out at night to play and get exercise. One of the really great pleasures of doing this was hearing my sister's wild, high and delightfully long scream when she went looking for paper clips.
       I finally got collared and like an executioner, had to haul all those beautiful mice back to their destinies; to be chloroformed, sliced from gullet to tailbone, and pinned open wide on wax filled trays so we could peer at their innards and learn the meaning of life.
      And finally, on that drenched in sun California day, I had to stop remembering about the little girl I once was because it was now time for the kids to go home. Before I left, I was asked to meet a "terribly shy little girl," a young mother said. "Don't be offended if she doesn't speak, or if she just simply walks away. It takes ages for her to come out of her shell. No one can ever get her to speak for a very long time. Sometimes not ever."
       I walked toward this tiny girlchild with long dark hair and huge, deep eyes and was introduced. I leaned down toward her and said "Oh, your name is Cassandra? Hello Cassandra. That is the most beautiful name!" Cassandra raised her large eyes to my face and studied me intently.
       "Hey!" I thought. "I really got through to her. She isn't being shy. She isn't backing away. I am someone she instinctively knows she can relate to, to trust. Cassandra likes me!" I grinned. Her sweet lips parted and this beautiful, precious little angel said, "You've got really BIG TEETH."

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On Trek


Going Thru Changes

      Spoiling for a fight? Ready to blow off steam any minute now? You feel out of control and wonder what is wrong with you? Take heart, you are not alone. The earth is going thru a transformation now, and negative energies are flying around like bees on a hive. I would like to add, so are positive energy's. If energy was a train, hop the positive transport. Negatives take us further down the hole to depression. Positives take us above it all, so we can see the full picture. The bird's eye view so to speak.

      How many times have you sat and wondered what is the purpose of all this craziness I am seeing and experiencing? We are not being tested from any higher source, because we agreed to come here and learn thru experience. Our experience and the experience of others.

      Take advantage. Blow the whistle on the train of Transformation. For every negative there is a positive..or a couple more. Learn the lessons, smile and keep moving forward on the right tract of transformation. We are all changing believe it not. You are probably not the same person you were two years ago. The earth changes as well.

      Enjoy the ride. Look at the beautiful scenery. Judith 8/28/18

      August 16 at 12:16 AM

      Been missing pops, and been asking about him, wanting to see him etc. last night I couldn't sleep, thinking about things. I wanted to become part of a flower or a tree, and I figured out that it won't be my physical that becomes part of a tree..but my soul...spirit. I was trying to figure out how I could do that.

      As I lay there, there was this yellowish white perfect circle. Not huge... as big as a baseball maybe. Then it went away. I felt it was someone wanting to get in touch with me.

      So then I turned my head, the white circle came back..I was joyed..and then I see this typewriter. On two buttons one said, CALM DOWN. Another I believe said happy birthday. Anyway, I knew it was dad, then on this old typewriter was a computer screen. And there was a video of my dads family..all with him, and my grandma looked so young. It was like I was right there.

      Man that was awesome. Then it was gone..The memory is forever. Amazing the things Dad comes up with!!! Judith 8/16/18

      Unconditional Love

      Have you ever felt a strong desire to change the world! Lasting change—to change the planet comes from within each of us. Choose UNCONDITIONAL –non judgmental, perfect love!

      Every person deserves love. Love conquers all. Love haults the negatives. We HAVE love, But.Can we BE love?

      Perfection comes from BEING love. Choose wisely. Let our love unite ALL. Allow our lovelight to shine thru the fog of despair, so all can brightly BE a humanity..of ONE. Judith July 21, 2018

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Irish Eyes


The Pope, Garfield And Scumbags And Handbags

       I have Garfield slippers, Garfield key-fobs, Garfield pictures and Garfield mugs. The house is full of soft Garfield’s; I have one on the dash of the car and a mini- Garfield hanging from the interior mirror. This is the first year that, through my own fault, I was unable to get a Garfield desk-calendar. I am a dedicated Garfield fan and at age 72 it’s not worth my while changing.

      I recently read the following in Publishers Weekly “Dan Walsh discovered that if all traces of Jim Davis’s lazy, lasagne-scarfing cat were expunged from his own comic strip, Garfield became a funnier, much darker series, about a desperately lonely, self-loathing man’s existential despair.”
       I was just about to dispatch an electronic snorter to the said Dan Walsh asking, “ What do you mean by removing the marmalade cat from the comic strip?" when I came across a programme on RTE Radio One, produced and presented by Liam Geraghty. In it Dan Walsh explained how Garfield minus Garfield came into existence.
       Walsh tells the story of how he chopped Garfield out of Garfield, gained millions of fans and attracted the attention of the one person he didn’t want to find out about what he’d done: Garfield creator, Jim Davis.
      In an act that should qualify him for the brilliant editors hall of fame, Dan Walsh discovered that if all traces of Jim Davis’s lazy, lasagne-scarfing cat were expunged from his own comic strip, Garfield became a funnier, much darker series, about a desperately lonely, self-loathing man’s existential despair.
      Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

       Garfield minus Garfield Net And the podcast interview with the creator of it is here:Meet your Maker, Garfield minus Garfield

* * * * *

       According to legend there was a curse put on the Mayo Gaelic football team in 1951. Apparently the team, having won the all-Ireland Final, who were travelling in the back of a truck, passed a funeral in the town of Foxford without paying their respects and stopping.
      The curse was then put on them that they would not win an All-Ireland again until every member of that team was dead. It is believed a priest or a woman put the curse on them. Will the curse now be lifted On the Pope’s recent visit to Knock Mayo supporter Audrey Elliot handed him a Mayo jersey which . . HE SIGNED.

      And speaking of Gaelic football, Dublin is once again set to grace the hallowed ground of Croke Park on September 02nd, as firm favourites to win the All-Ireland Gaelic Football. And I have just read Scumbags and Handbags, a hilarious novel, by Dublin author Sinead Hamill. A Dublin scumbag gets sentenced to community service in a Gaelic football club where he and an ex footballing legend combine to train a gang of overweight, unfit, pelvic floor leaking mammies to play football. When the team inadvertently get caught up in a massive drugs heist that goes wrong, a deranged criminal is out for revenge. Two men, worlds apart, collide in this hilarious romp through ladies Gaelic football. Dublin toe rag Robbie King gets sentenced to community service at an affluent Gaelic football club, his politically incorrect gob takes a lot of getting used to. Tommy Boylan was the greatest Gaelic footballer to come out of Dublin. A moment of madness twenty years ago destroyed his career. Now he's back and yearning for acceptance, he agrees to take on the job no-one wants. To train a bunch of unfit, overweight, pelvic floor leaking mammies to play football.
      But there's a problem: The Hawk, a deranged criminal and Robbie's real boss. When Robbie makes a mistake the Gaelic for Mothers team find themselves caught up in the middle of a five million euro cocaine haul. The Hawk is out for revenge and will stop at nothing to get it.
      Sinead Hamill lives in Dublin with her husband and two children. She is also the creator of "Get your ditties out", a blog which offers her unique observations of everyday Irish life and other humorous situations.

      Her inspiration for this entertaining and well-written work? ”The famous Askeaton rooster who denied me so much sleep.” You’ll find out more when you are laughing your way through the thirty-nine chapters.
      A brilliant read, a laugh a minute. Info at Blog at
      See you in October

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      I've gotten emails from former students of mine in China who have gotten accepted into American universities for graduate studies. They say their high school curriculum in China was more challenging than their university studies in America.

      The Chinese go to school for long hours because they are competing not just in China, but globally. They want to study abroad because, when they come to America, most can outperform our students. They are not smarter than us, they are just better prepared academically.

      The majority of Chinese students have great respect for their teachers, and it's because of that reason I enjoyed being in their company. That respect is vital for their overall education, and when you truly care and respect others, you will find that others will truly care and respect you. When a teacher takes the extra time to reach a struggling student, it is perceived in China as an act of kindness.

      Our American students, just like students from all over the world, put great emphasis on getting into the right colleges and earning the right degrees. Education, after all, does provide us with boundless opportunities, and an educated society enhances the overall well-being of its nation.

      If a teacher takes the time to positively impact a student's life, they are changing the world one person at a time. That kindness will be remembered long after the lesson plans are forgotten, because it leaves an indelible imprint in one's heart and soul.

      When I was a student at Shenandoah Valley in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania I struggled in School due to severe Dyslexia and 69% hearing loss in both ears. But I still have fond memories of the great teachers that revealed to me that, in spite of my deficiencies, I have great gifts. Our gifts and talents are further developed when we share them with others.

      A teacher's kindness cannot be bought, sold or acquired academically; it can only be freely given from one heart to the other - and that can be their greatest legacy. Teachers are not only teaching, they are being taught by the lessons of life. The greatest teachers throughout history were also the greatest students when it came to those life's lessons.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    Facebook: https:/
    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    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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Encore: Cooking with Leo

Mary’s Weekend Breakfast

Although I do most of the cooking around here, on Sunday morning Mary usually takes over and puts her own ideas to work and does her own thing. Well that’s great because by Sunday I get up late and I usually run out of ideas. Not that bacon and eggs or sausage and eggs are new ideas, but when I do them sometimes they are. Do so try to make such uninteresting items the interest of the moment. But doing that 6 days a week tends to make you run out of ideas. But on Sunday Mary goes to it and makes something very special and here is one of her weekend specials. My Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother nor Aztec Annie never bother her. I suppose they figure she knows more than they do anyway. Maybe so but in any event Sunday Breakfasts ala Mary are the best of the week.

Weekend Sunrise

Sunrise Quiche - Crust
    3 Corn Tortilla’s 6”
    1 wedge or square of left over Cornbread, may be jalapeno or green chile cornbread
    ½ stick of Butter
Sunrise Quiche – Filling
    1 or two strips Bacon
    3 extra lg or 4 lg eggs
    3 to 4 oz Swiss Cheese
    1 oz Mozzarella w/jalapeno String Cheese
    2 cups loosely torn Romaine Lettuce
    3 Tbpns Half and Half
    1 Tablespoon canned or fresh diced tomatoes, drained
    Garnish: 1 heaping Tablespoon Sour Cream
Serves two to four.

For Crust:
In food processor, add the 3 tortilla’s torn into 8th’s or smaller, pulse on high ‘til crumbed, add cold butter and pulse ‘til loose dough begins to come together. Press into 11” pie plate thinly and up the sides. (Set processor bowl aside, no need to wash before doing the filling.) Crumble the cold cornbread and press into the butter-tortilla mixture and up the sides to form a crust. Bake at 400º's ‘til edges begin to firm, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven, lower heat to 350º, and let crust cool slightly.
For Filling:
While crust is baking, put bacon strips in microwave on bacon cooker with paper towel on top, or microwave safe plate with paper towel below and on top of strips, for 2 minutes, adding another minute if slices are not crispy looking. Meanwhile, in same processor bowl, add Cubed cheeses and process ‘til finely shredded, in crumbs actually, then crumble and add in the cooked, cooled bacon and pulse ‘til crumbed. Add the torn Romaine to mixture in processor and pulse ‘til also in a crumb state, not ‘til wet. 
Place all the cheese, bacon, romaine blend into pie shell, sprinkling to the edges in even layer.
In same processor bowl, (no need to wash) add eggs and half and half, and run on low ‘til blended.
Pour carefully over the cheese mixture in shell. Place tomatoes in a narrow ring on top of mixture about 1/3 of distance from center to edges. (This is your ‘sun’ ring.) Bake 25 to 30 minutes in 350º oven until puffed and edges of crust are browned gently.
Remove from oven and serve with a dollop of Sour Cream (your ‘sun’) in center of Tomato ring. Cut in wedges and enjoy with your Sunrise Drink.
Sunrise Drink:
  • 2 jiggers Tequilla
  • 2 jiggers Jose Cuervo™ Margarita Mix
  • 4 jiggers Chardonnay Wine
  • 2 tsps Maraschino Cherry Juice
  • 7-Up or Canada Dry
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnishes: Thin Lime slices, maraschino cherries
Use 2 lg or 4 reg margarita glasses.
Split the liquid mixture between the glasses, with a couple ice cubes in each, add 7-Up or Canada Dry to fill. Garnish with a cherry and lime slice per glass. Top edges of glasses may be wet then dipped in sugar crystals if desired, before filling. Lavender sugar flakes are nice.

Ya’all Take Care Now, Ya’heah!

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Meet New Columnist Marilyn Carnell

Introduction By Mary E. Adair
As longtime editor of this International Art and Literary eZine, it is my pleasure to introduce our newest column, "Sifoddling Along" and its author Marilyn Carnell. The best way to do this is to let her tell you about herself. So here is her introduction to our readers and it will remain as her bio in Pencil Stubs Online.

Some people meticulously plan their lives – not me. I have wandered from point to point apparently without aim – I call it “sifoddling along”, a term my Mom used, sometimes in exasperation. “Where’s Billy?” someone might ask. “He is on his way home, probably sifoddling along, looking to find a treasure, or dreaming about a cloud.”

I grew up in McDonald County, Missouri in the extreme southwest corner of the state. We lived in Pineville, a small hamlet frozen in time. A village raised me in every sense of the term. In a town of about 400, WWII made it even smaller. Able bodied people were serving their country elsewhere. I was related by blood or friendship to all of them. My first 20 years were planned for me: beginning school at 6 (no kindergarten) finding I had not been taught my ABC’s like my classmates impelled me to be a quick learner.

After high school, I continued my education in a typical erratic fashion: Stephens College (A.A.), the University of Missouri (B.S.H.E.). My plans were to become a Registered Dietitian. Worked on a Masters in Nutrition at the University of Iowa (I could not be considered a dietetic intern due to being married and pregnant. So much for plans); eight years later, a MPH in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota (finally becoming a Registered Dietitian) and at age 38, offered a graduate assistanceship to earn a PhD in food science.

My wanderings took me to live in seven different states, visit 48 states (I have missed Alaska and Vermont to date). My work experience is also varied and almost random: jobs at the Universities of Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota, Fortune Five Hundred companies (General Mills and Campbell’s Soup), small companies (New Generation Foods (wheat snacks); Williams Foods (spice mix manufacture).I gained experience in nutrition, quality assurance, government relations, and other skills. In retirement, I returned to McDonald County and was, active in Community Development – Mayor of Pineville, board member of McDonald County Economic Development, Sugar Creeks Betterment, Elk River Watershed Protection.

Along the way I maintained my interest in writing. At Stephens, a creative writing class whetted my interest; in all of my jobs I wrote brochures, booklets and eventually grant proposals. I was successful in replacing a waste water plant, establishing a primary health clinic, funding for Art Walks and producing a folk history play. I wrote three articles for Better Homes and Gardens in the 1990’s but didn’t pursue writing further until I moved to Minnesota in 2011. My special interest is the Ozark culture and its idiosyncrasies. No doubt truth is stranger than fiction. My column will record some of them and I may sifoddle along to other topics.  


We use the words, "I love you" a lot,
    Expressing varied feelings.
A young man wooing his beloved
    Can make them most appealing!

A mother croons "I love you, dear"
    As baby cuddles sweetly--
And patriot's cries of "Love your flag!"
    Have battles won completely!

"That dog must go!" a landlord shouts.
    And tho' all chance seems slim,
A freckled face with eyes brim full
    Speaks up--"But, Dad, I love him."

And so, you see, we say, "I love"
    To child, flag, bride or canine,
But, there's some loves I haven't touched,
    And they all others outshine!

First, love of God and love for God,
    To deep devotion calls one.
Then truly, truly next would be
    A parents love for children.

I testify this love is strong
    And that it spreads its blessings
To children good--but also seeks
    Those wayward and transgressing.

As a child I felt my Mother's kiss
    And Daddy's kind caresses.
Tho' married now--I've only gained
    New parents whose love too blesses.

I pause to think of what is mine;
    Their sacrifice sweeps o'er me!
They give their service and their love
    To one------Oh! how unworthy!

©Circa the 1940's Linnie Jane Joslin Burks

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Jewels of Opar

When first I found
This misty flare
Of minute pink flowers
And red fruit
I thought to say
“This can’t be real”,

This vegetative miracle
Springing up unbidden
In the garden’s wildest spot,
Half-hidden, protected,
Beside cracked bricks
From Mexico,
Rare beauty in the mud
Of my back yard.

But isn’t that the way
With beauty?
More beautiful
If unexpected,
But always there.

©2018 John I. Blair, 8/22/2018

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Some Of My Friends Are Butterflies

“Some of my friends are Butterflies”
Said a little girl, her words were so wise
Our encounter, was in the Butterfly tent
I believe her words, were Heaven sent

 The Monarchs were flying, one landed on me
She took it off, and then set it free
One landed on my cap, she pointed where
So I aimed my camera, and snapped a picture there

Then I took a picture of her, with a Butterfly on her stick
I just captured the moment, with one little click
The Butterflies sure loved the purple flower
I could have stayed there for over an hour

Like a Butterfly, flying with its wings
I take from each moment, and what it brings
A picture is still, yet the memory is there
And it can be played, when you're anywhere

That little girl had an insight, which she shared with me
Believing is possible, beyond what you see
The Butterfly Tent, was at the U. P. State Fair
Where I met a little girl, who was well aware
©Aug 16, 2018 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
When that little girl told me some of her friends were
Butterflies. I had so many questions to ask her about
what made her think that. Because I believe that spirits
who have passed, can visit us as many things, one of which
is Butterflies.
Photo below by Bud Lemire. Check his bio for links to his Poetry Blog and his Photo Blog.

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I Am Enough

“I am ok”, she said
As she lay weeping on her bed
It won’t help me to succeed
In holding back a sense of loss
I have to take the role of boss
Was I so wrong those many years?
Holding back pain and shedding tears?
“I am OK”, she said
It’s time to lead and not be led
I never felt I was enough
A response to comments off the cuff
So deeply held those many years
The source of grief and countless tears
Why did I buy this kind of stuff?
“I am ok, she said
Trials helped to make me tough
And overdo to prove them wrong
By learning much and singing song
It’s time to breathe a puff
Of healing air and say,
“Oh yes, I am enough!
©December 19, 2017 Marilyn Carnell

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When A Gnat Dies

When a gnat dies
The universe is moved
As much as it will be
For me.

Life is life;
Size does not matter
When we calculate
Its worth.

That life exists
And continues to exist
Eon after eon
Is the miracle

I’ve come to hold
As necessary
To the cosmos
As the cosmos is to life.

©2018 John I. Blair, 8/19/2018

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9-11 Poem

By Chris 
I was in class when it happened,
The act that started the war.
Four planes were hijacked to crash into the Twin Towers
They had many people on them killed like they were trash
These terrorists cared nothing for their lives or others
Two of the planes crashed into the Twin Towers
Two of them missed and still killed many
They killed numerous Americans
The terrorists hoped to break American confidence
But failed their mission
They did this to us and in return
We bombed their cities and watched them burn
This act of terrorism brought us together
To fight against the people who terrorize the world
3,000 plus men, women and children died on this day
But we won’t take that in such a light way
New York was in fear
The rest of the United States was in tears
Osama bin Laden was the cause of this pain
Now we are hunting him down
We will find him and make him pay
For all the lives lost that day
The Twin Towers stand no more
But our hearts have come together like a war
BOOM! BANG! Are the sounds we are hearing over in Iraq
We are fighting to get our peace back

©September 2001 Christopher Alaniz-Wadford
(written in the 5th grade.) 
Photo Copyright © 2007 by Chris Alaniz-Wadford and Lizzie Phillips aka Lizzie Vengence.

When I Allow It

Though you’re gone five years
You seem close tonight.

I almost hear your voice,
Feel your skin.

We were so much a part
Each of the other

Mere death can’t
Make you disappear.

When I allow it
You’re still near me.

When I allow it, dear,
I remember every bit.

There are no tears
When I allow it.

©2018 John I. Blair, 8/9/2018

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All Things Joyous

I turned the globe over in my hands and
said, “where shall I go to find joy.”
As I peeked at the countries,
it finally hit me.
Joy is within
If I am joyful,
there will always be joy for me,
and my joy will be contagious
like a child's laughter and/
or an animal's antics. Joy is FREE
Joyful Judith.
©7/2018 Judith Kroll

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Distant Thunder

Distant thunder
Rumbles in the twilight.

I shelter in my car
While rain falls.

Trees around me
Sway in gusty winds.

Night draws near,

All the stout houses
And cocooning steel
Cannot hide me long.

©2018 John I. Blair, 8/18/2018

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Do You See Me?

Passing right before your eyes
It's a loved one in disguise
Saying “Do You See Me?”
Do you wonder who it might be
“Mom, is that you?”
Oh, if you only knew
Spirits do much more, than you could ever know
There's so much, that they like to show

 Yet some just do not seem to see
They never wonder who it could be
You could pass by, in front of their nose
They wouldn't know, unless you stepped on their toes
Flying right next to their face
Up and away, to another place
Getting your attention, makes their day
You're aware, in a special way
Your loved one could be...
A bird singing in a tree
A smile that starts your day
To hear a bird song, and see a sun ray

“Your life goes on, ours does too”
“We're close by, our love is for you”
“We've passed, but not away”
“Another form, another day”
“We have wings, to carry our soul”
“If you see us, you're more whole”
“Let's see a realization smile, when you see”
“The butterfly that flew by, was really me”
©Aug 8, 2018 Bud Lemire
                      Author Note:
In my belief, I do believe that spirits passed
do come by in forms of butterflies, dragonflies,
birds, and various other creatures. To let us
know their love is always with us. They come
at just that special time when we need them most.

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Deep In Thought

I wonder if she remembers all the things we’ve been through
Does she have a second thought of my hollow empty feelings and blues
Will she ever think about that passing moment in time
I wonder if she remembers a life we once tried to define

I wonder if she ever thinks about the past and all it meant
Does she ever dream about all the precious time we spent
The past is never far away as time speeds along this highway
I wonder if she ever thinks about all the words still left to say

Deep in thought
The edges of time
All we have fought
A world redefined

I wonder if she remembers all the music in our heads
Does she ever sing a tune to remind herself nothing is ever dead
Will she ever drive down the street known as Memory Lane
I wonder if she remembers a time where the future still remained

Deep in thought
The edges of time
All we have fought
Dreams redefined

I wonder if she ever thinks about the past and all it meant
Does she ever dream about all the precious time we spent
The past is never far away as time speeds along this highway
I wonder if she ever thinks about all the words still left to say

Dreams redefined
Life redefined
A world redefined

©8/23/18 Bruce Clifford

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Mars Summer 2018

Never in all these many years
Has Mars looked quite like this.

Standing in the midnight dark
I stare out through the tangled trees

And see a brilliant spark
Transfix the southern sky.

Among white stars a crimson eye
Stares cold across the cosmos,

Calls to doubt my Terra-centered universe,
Evokes old gods and older fears.

©2018 John I. Blair, 8/7/2018

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Crystal Clear

All these ups
All these downs
Walking down the streets through another town

All these dreams
All these things
Another day starts at the edge of a dried up stream

When it’s crystal clear to not say a word
When the darkness reappears from a distant void
As the space between two souls touch the empty sea
Where does this leave you and me
Where does this leave you and me

The quiet and the noise
The hollow and the void
Does anything really matter when so many are out to destroy

The wrong and the right
The dim in the light
Is there any hope left for us to make things right

When it’s crystal clear to not say a word
When the darkness reappears from a distant void
As the space between two souls touch the empty sea
Where does this leave you and me
Where does this leave you and me

All these ups
All these downs
Another day starts as the daylight comes around

©8/2/18 Bruce Clifford

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People Who Smile

People who smile
Aren’t always
Kind within.

I read once
That a chimpanzee
With a toothy grin
Is scared
And about to bite.

So I try to mind
If smiles I see
Are truly warm and glowing
Or might instead
Be fangs bared.

©2018 John I. Blair, 8/29/2018

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