Saturday, December 1, 2018

Editor's Corner

December 2018

“It is December,
and nobody asked if I was ready.”

_Sarah Kay.

This eZine is edited by a total bookaphile and after filling every shelf and nook in the house, the ebooks are multiplying almost daily because it is so easy to get them. To make a point, here is a completely different 'Christmas story' available from Amazon, Claus (Legend of the Fat Man): A Science Fiction Holiday Adventure (Claus Series Book 1) . Your editor succumbed to this -for one day free- purchase, mostly because having always been a science fiction fan as well as a "belief in Santa should be encouraged beyond childhood" person, it was just irresistible. Have not read it yet so this may be a regret not a triumph.

What is always a plus is the delight in publishing the new compositions that our authors send in for their columns or articles or the poetry and story sections in Pencil Stubs Online. This month's poetry submissions follow:
    Carrie E. Joslin, your editor's maternal grandmother left us many fond memories, not the least of which is recalling how she recited poetry to entertain us, much of which was from her own compositions. This issue includes two of those: "Hospitalization" and "The Delayed Honeymoon Trip."
    Bruce Clifford's song lyrics are "Feeling Lost" and "Whisper to Me" for this month.
    Bud Lemire has poems, "Thanksgiving Is All About Thankfulness" and "Pain, Cover Up With A Smile."
    John I. Blair required seeking a dictionary with his poem "In Mid November" to find:
    the nest of a squirrel, typically in the form of a mass of twigs in a tree.
    plural noun: dreys

    but among his other five, the choice is "Possums in The Rain," as the sentimental favorite as a possum hasn't been seen around here in about 50 years. Blair's other four are "Facts," "Great Grandpa William," "We Have A Flag," and "Music."

Thomas F. O'Neill in his "Introspective," explains his aversion to Black Friday and other commercialism surrounding holiday seasons because he feels kindness should be emphasized the most. "Cooking with Rod" by Rod Cohenour caters to those of us dreaming of culinary specialties from the past with a recipe by his spouse for M's Raspberry-Orange-Walnut Pork Loin!

Marilyn Carnell doesn't actually suggest her "Sifodling Along" column's subject as a Christmas present, but it would be a great one - "Buying Cars." Melinda Cohenour's "Armchair Genealogy" continues the tale of the Traitor, Benedict Arnold V, showing the patriotism of his other family members who link through time to her husband's lineage.

Judith Kroll aka Featherwind in her "On Trek" column urges her readers to visualize their departed loved ones as now being "invisible" and tells how that is a benefit.  Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" set his focus on plays and songs especially an "amateur production of John B. Keane’s "Big Maggie" by the Shoestring Theatre Company, in Charleville. "Big Maggie," is a story of Irish society and all its foibles and complexities of family and femininity in rural Ireland in the 1960s."
LC Van Savage, "Consider This," shares her personal Thanksgiving this year and how family matters . Her story, "Abigail and Her Best Friend Layla" is good to read to your youngsters, or encourage them to read it by their self. The article "The Important Uses of Yawns and Laughs" also by LC Van Savage will likely remind you of someone you know or knew once.

Thankful that our webmaster Mike Craner whose patience and expertise underline this ezine, is living in a more moderate climate than is currently affecting the rest of the world.

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 2019 which is the last issue of the 21rst volume of Pencil Stubs Online and clears the way for the 22d volume launching in February.

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

Armchair Genealogy


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

      This month we take up the story of the Arnold family’s heroes, cousins to Benedict Arnold V, whose very name has become synonymous with Traitor. Both branches derive from the patriarch in America, William Arnold who arrived on these shores in 1635 and is heralded as the head of the Arnold family in America.

      William Arnold was the son of Nicholas Arnold of Northover and Ilchester in County Somerset, England by his first wife Alice Gully, born in Ilchester 24 June 1587. All four of his children were also born in Ilchester. As was previously reported in this series in the September 2018 issue, William (Arnall) arrived on America’s shores 24 June 1635 settling first in Hingham, Massachusetts. In 1636, he removed his family to what would become Providence, Rhode Island, as a founder along with Roger Williams of that colony. He was a well-educated man, held in high esteem by his fellow colonists and was elected to offices of leadership throughout his life. In this chapter we shall explore the lineage from William and wife Christiane Peak Arnold descending from his son Stephen Arnold, born 22 December 1622 in Ilchester, Somerset, England. The pedigree for the Arnold family was one of those beset by erroneous attributions by a man paid to authenticate their lineage. ‘Somersby’ is mentioned by numerous Arnold researchers as the source for their vital records. Unfortunately, Mr. Somersby either confused existing records or created unverified information. We are fortunate that the immigrant ancestor, William Arnold, was a learned man himself, and that he took the time to copy from parish registers the vital recordations of births, marriages, and deaths and to bring those copied vitae along with him to America. Below we find an extract of VERIFIED data concerning our Arnold subjects (although the source document ties back to the confused pedigree.)
       The fourth and youngest child of William and Christian Arnold was Stephen (1622–1699) who married Sarah Smith (1629–1713), the daughter of Edward Smith of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Stephen and Sarah had seven children. Stephen was either a Deputy to the General Assembly or colonial Assistant nearly every year for a period of three decades. He and his family settled in Pawtuxet near his father, and had a garrison house along the Pawtuxet River. Stephen was 13 years old when he sailed from England to the New World with his parents and relatives, and he was the last surviving member of that sailing party.

      Stephen Arnold shared the Arnold traits of a desire to become learned, a vigorous work ethic, and a keen business sense. As noted in Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775, Colonial Families of the United States of America, Volume VII, Arnold Family:

      Stephen Arnold…came with his father to New England and after residing some time in Providence, removed to Pawtuxet in 1638, where, and at other places in Rhode Island he had large landed property, a portion of which he called the “Coweset Purchase;” he divided among his sons in his lifetime. He became a man of wealth and was prominent in public affairs and filled important offices in the Colony. He was chosen Deputy-Governor in 1664 and Assistant in 1667. His Will dated 2nd June 1698, was proved 12th December 1699; m. 24th November, 1646, Sarah SMITH, dau. of Edward Smith of Rehoboth.

      While yet living in Providence, Stephen Arnold would have been one of the young members of the colony who witnessed the ordination of the very first Baptist church in America. As recited in the History and Genealogy of the Carpenter Family in America: from the settlement at Providence, R.I., 1637-1901:

      The “First Baptist Church in America” was constituted at Providence between August 3, 1638, and March 16, 1639. Its founders were Roger Williams, Ezekiel Holyman, William Arnold, William Harris, Stukely Westcott, John Greene, Richard Waterman, Thomas James, William Carpenter, Francis Weston, and Thomas Olney (these being the same persons named in the Initial Deed, lacking names of Robert Coles and John Throckmorton.)

      Benedict, in his “History of the Baptists,” gives an exceedingly interesting account of this event. He says, “the candidates for communion chose Ezekiel Holyman,* a man of gifts and piety, to baptize Mr. Williams, and he in return baptized Mr. Holyman and the other ten.” And as we read the history of Providence we can but note that nearly every one of these ten candidates at some time or other showed that they were men of “gifts and piety.” From my earliest recollection I recall being told that William Carpenter was “a preacher” in England, and the fact that he performed the marriage ceremony of his daughter is, I think, ample proof that he was recognized by his church as one of its “lay ministers.”

      *Benedict spells his name “Holliman,” but I have seen an original deed from him to William Carpenter of date 1658 to which he signs his name very plainly as “Holyman.”

      Stephen Arnold, grandfather of one Jacob Arnold and noted as a descendant of William Arnold, is memorialized in the following biographical sketch prepared by a direct descendant, Silas H. Arnold:

      The first representative of the Arnold family in Morris county was Stephen Arnold, who came here about the year 1720 from Woodbridge, this state. He is supposed to have been born in Rhode Island, a son of William Arnold, who with his brother John came from Cheselbaum, Dorset county, England, in 1587 [sic], and settled at Providence, Rhode Island. All the Arnolds of America, including Benedict Arnold, have sprung from these brothers. Stephen Arnold died in Morris county and was buried at Whippany. His son, Samuel Arnold, was born in Morris county, on the 5th of November, 1727, and died October 3, 1764. He married Phebe Ford, a sister of Colonel Jacob Ford, Sr., and among their children was Jacob Arnold, born in Morris county, on the 14th of December, 1749, his death occurring March 1, 1827. He was a celebrated man in his locality during the Revolutionary war; was commander of the light-horse militia of Morris county, which served under Washington in a number of campaigns, and was promoted lieutenant-colonel in the Continental army. His light-horse company was an independent organization, raised entirely in Morris county, and it won an enviable distinction for its long and brilliant career. The Colonel was also well known as the proprietor of the Arnold tavern in Morristown, on the west side of the public green, where Washington and La Fayette spent one winter as his guests, holding many conferences with all the leading men of the army, and where also the balls of the officers were held. Colonel Arnold was also sheriff of Morris county in 1780 and 1786, and assemblyman from the same county in the years 1784, 1785, 1789 and 1790. He also was one of the twenty-four gentlemen who organized the Morris Academy, on the 28th of November, 1791.

      For his first wife Colonel Arnold married Elizabeth Tuthill, who was born September 15, 1753, and died May 7, 1803. The children by this marriage who grew up were Hannah, Jacob, Abram, Charles and Eliza M. By his second marriage the Colonel was united with Sarah R. Nixon, who was born in Morristown, October 1, 1783, and died April 9, 1843, and by this union there were seven children, namely: Phoebe P., Mary A., Silas H., Abram B., Elizabeth M., Samuel D. and Edward A., -- all now deceased.
SOURCE: The records of Silas H. Arnold, at

      Jacob Arnold, born 14th December 1749, died 1 March 1827, lived his entire life in Morristown, New Jersey. His courage, leadership, and strategic planning are yet today heralded in that town. As the proprietor of the Arnold Tavern and as commander of the light-horse brigade, he played a large role in Morristown becoming known as the “military capital of the American Revolution.”

Arnold Tavern

      George Washington visited Morristown two years (May 1773) before the War of Independence broke out. He was impressed by the town and its citizenry. After the resounding victories of the Continental Army at Trenton and Princeton in 1777, Washington sought housing for himself and his officers in Morristown.
During that first encampment, Washington and his officers were housed at Jacob Arnold’s Tavern on the green, central to the township. According to the National Park Service’s Museum Collection:
      Morristown was selected for its extremely strategic location. It was between Philadelphia and New York and near New England while being protected from British forces behind the Watchung Mountains. It also was chosen for the skills and trades of the residents, local industries and natural resources to provide arms, and what was thought to be the ability of the community to provide enough food to support the army.

      Washington’s second stay in Morristown was also connected to Jacob Arnold. Jacob’s mother was Phebe Ford Arnold, he having been named after her father, Jacob Ford. The National Park Service commemorates the Ford Mansion’s place in history as follows:

      This large Georgian style home was built in the early 1770's for Jacob Ford, Jr., an iron manufacturer, and his family. Mr. Ford also served as a colonel in the Morris County Militia during the Revolutionary War. Ford died in January 1777 while 35 soldiers from Delaware were briefly quartered in the house. In December 1779, Mr. Ford's widow, Theodosia, allowed General Washington to use her home as his headquarters during the winter of 1779-1780. While Mrs. Ford and her four children moved into two rooms of the house, General Washington, his wife Martha, five aides-de-camp, eighteen servants, a number of visiting dignitaries and sometimes guards took over the rest of the house.
Morristown NJ The Ford Mansion is a classic 18th-century American home built by Jacob Ford, Jr. in 1774 and now owned by the National Park Service as a part of the Morristown National Historical Park. It was acquired by the Washington Association of New Jersey in 1873. The Georgian styled mansion is known for being George Washington’s headquarters from December 1779 to June 1780. The mansion is located in Morristown, New Jersey.

      Today, the home houses many historic relics from the Revolutionary War and has been painstakingly restored to reflect its likely appearance when George Washington, his wife, and his officers stayed there to make their final plans to free the colony from the greedy grasp of its British crown. Adjacent to the Ford Mansion is the Museum Building, a steel building designed to be fireproof and offer the greatest security for these priceless articles.

      Other historic events that occurred in and about Morristown have been noted by the National Park Service as well:

      During Washington's stay, Benedict Arnold was court-martialed at Dickerson's Tavern, on Spring Street, for charges related to profiteering from military supplies at Philadelphia. His admonishment was made public, but Washington quietly promised the hero, Arnold, to make it up to him.

      Alexander Hamilton courted and wed Elizabeth Schuyler at a residence where Washington's personal physician was billeted. Locally known as the Schuyler-Hamilton House, the Dr. Jabez Campfield House is listed on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.

      The Morristown Green has a statue commemorating the meeting of George Washington, the young Marquis de LaFayette, and young Alexander Hamilton depicting them discussing forthcoming aid of French tall ships and troops being sent by King Louis XVI of France to aid the Continental Army. 

      Morristown's Burnham Park has a statue of the "Father of the American Revolution", Thomas Paine, who wrote the pamphlet Common Sense, which urged a complete break from British rule. The bronze statue, by sculptor Georg J. Lober, shows Paine in 1776 (using a drum as a table during the withdrawal of the army across New Jersey) composing Crisis 1. He wrote "These are the times that try men's souls ...". The statue was dedicated on July 4, 1950.
Statue of Thomas Paine, "The Father of the American Revolution" Sculpted by Georg Lober. Dedicated on July 4, 1950, the 174th Anniversary of American Independence. It was presented to the people of Morristown by the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee; Joseph Lewis, Secretary.

      Once again, genealogical research has uncovered another of life’s marvelous coincidences: the juxtaposition of one family’s fame and infamy reflected generations later within the bounds of one marriage. It is the discovery of these little bits of irony and mystery that keep family researchers intent upon their passion. Even in this discovery, there is mystery.

      A couple of years ago, when I first discovered my husband’s lineage from Jacob Arnold, we were able to secure a copy of a charming little booklet that documents the history of Jacob Arnold’s Tavern and the roles his family played in the Revolutionary War. That booklet is one of my most cherished items, along with the various books and printed genealogies collected through the past thirty or so years.

      For my husband’s link to the Immigrant Arnold brothers, here is that line, to the best of my knowledge and belief:

Arnold Line:
Stephen Arnold Capt (1685 - 1754) Son of William Arnold; 7th great-grandfather of husband Rod Cohenour;
Samuel Arnold (1726 - 1764) Son of Stephen Arnold Capt
Jacob Arnold Lt. Colonel (Rev. War) (1749 - 1827) Son of Samuel Arnold
Stephen Arnold Rev. (1788 - 1861) Son of Jacob Arnold Lt. Colonel (Rev. War)
Phoebe Arnold (1810 - 1883) Daughter of Stephen Arnold Rev.
Sarah Ann Jane Layton (1833 - 1871) Daughter of Phoebe Arnold
Elmer Layton Cohenour (1868 - 1934) Son of Sarah Ann Jane Layton
Leo Bertram Cohenour Lieut. (JG) (1891 - 1951) Son of Elmer Layton Cohenour
William Edward Cohenour MD (1921 - 1982) Son of Leo Bertram Cohenour Lieut. (JG)
Roderick William Cohenour (1945 - ) Son of William Edward Cohenour MD

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Cooking with Rod


Mi Amore Cooks – M's Raspberry-Orange-Walnut Pork Loin!

Yes, I know it’s December – past Thanksgiving and not yet Christmas. But, sometimes you just hanker for a dish from the past – no matter the time of year. And if you’re gonna hanker, here is a dish worth all that mouth-watering, lip-smacking, memory-making hankering.

This is a dish that is so easy it practically makes itself. My better half is pretty good at thinking up these really divine palate-pleasing recipes that are easy to prepare but taste and look like the cook spent all day in the kitchen.

Bon appetit!

M’s Raspberry-Orange-Walnut Pork Loin
Recipe by Melinda Cohenour - 2008

  • 1 large pork loin, 12-15 lbs
  • 2 Tbsp dried Onion flakes
  • 1 bottle Ken’s Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
  • 1 can Mandarin Oranges, sectioned and seeded, including juice
  • 2 large cooking spoons of flour
  • 1 ½ quarts water

Preheat oven to 425ยบ F.
Sprinkle all surfaces of loin with dried onion flakes. Place in large roasting pan, fat sheath up. Score fat sheath to permit seasonings to permeate. Arrange mandarin slices on loin. Pour juice into pan. Drizzle loin with vinaigrette (shake frequently). Rinse bottle and add 1 bottle of water to rinse out all remaining particles of vinaigrette.
Cook at 425 until top is browned; turn to ensure all surfaces of loin brown well. Lower oven temperature to 375 to 400. Liquid will reduce to a thick syrup in bottom of pan.
When done, remove meat from pan and permit to rest.

    Remove syrupy liquid to saucepan, scraping all solids from roasting pan, to include chunks of loin, walnuts, etc. into saucepan. Pour in 1 to 1 ½ quarts water into roaster and stir to loosen remaining bits of glaze. Retain that water.
    Add 2 large serving spoons flour to bubbling glaze, over medium high heat. Stir quickly to blend, mixture should be boiling hot. Add water and drippings from roasting pan. Whisk thoroughly and constantly over medium high heat until gravy thickens. (Adjust thickness by either adding a slurry of equal parts flour and water or by adding more water.) Gravy should be smooth, of a rich dark brown shade and easy to spoon or pour from gravy boat.
    Serve with mashed potatoes, tossed salad, hot rolls and cranberry sauce (if desired). Gravy should be spooned over potatoes and slices of loin.

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Sifoddling Along

Buying Cars

I hate to shop. Any kind, any place. That is why I buy almost everything except fresh items on line. The internet and its wide services came just in time for me.

While visiting my family in Pineville, Missouri for Thanksgiving many years ago, I woke on Sunday and prepared to drive back to Minneapolis. My car was dead and there was no resurrecting it. But that isn’t the end of the story. I had connections. I didn’t have to buy a car in person. My Dad got on the phone and called my brother. “Your sister needs a new car.” He said flatly.

“But Dad. It is Sunday morning and nothing is open.”

“Your sister needs a new car.” Dad repeated.

Accepting the inevitable, my brother asked to speak to me. “What kind of car do you want?”

“I think a blue one.” Was my lame response

“Let me see what I can do.”

He called back about an hour later. “I have a friend who owns a dealership in Poplar Bluff. (A mere 350 miles from Pineville.) He will deliver a new, blue Oldsmobile tomorrow morning. You will have to miss only one day of work.”

Daddy smiled.

A few years later, I decided to go to a dealer on my own and buy a new car. I was completely ignored by the salesmen. (Yes, they were all men,) Annoyed, I approached one and asked to be waited on and why I was invisible to him. “It is simple.” he said. “Talking to a single woman about a deal is a waste of time. They always want to come back with a husband, boyfriend or other male to kick the tires and handle negotiations so we wait until two show up.”

Totally miffed, I said, “I am a professional woman who makes a good income and am completely capable of buying a car on my own. You just missed a sure sale.”

With that I marched back to my old car and drove away. I returned to my sure fire backup – my brother. A few phone calls later, I met the driver of my new car halfway between Kansas City and Poplar Bluff. We got out, signed paper on the fender of “Buffy” my new transportation and both drove off with a mission accomplished.

This was repeated once more when we bought a shiny silver Jeep Grand Cherokee. Perfect for country driving. It was delivered on a big flat bed truck. Ten years later, we decided to buy a new hybrid car – a Prius. By then, the internet was easy to use and we bought a sparkly red Prius from a dealer in Joplin. Again, sight unseen.

Last year, our son declared that “Marilyn needs a new car.” The Prius was 10 years old and a bit unreliable. I have a friend in Joplin working at the same Toyota dealer where we bought the first Prius. A couple of phone calls later. We struck a deal. They would deliver a new Prius to our home in Minnesota and drive the trade-in back.

At 78, it is unlikely I will be buying another car, but if I do, I know how. I may have not made the best deals in my car-buying efforts, but I can’t complain.

The service was terrific.

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Consider This


To Grandmother’s House They Go

      Everyone has their own Thanksgiving rituals and customs, and we do too. Here’s one of ours.Does everyone in our growing family love to do this every year?You’re kidding, right?We still have teenagers in our group, so you well know the answer.

      As soon as everyone has heaped their plates with traditional Thanksgiving comestibles, I stand and bang on my jelly glass with a knife and say “OK gang, hold it together. No more eating until we’ve all given our personal thanks.You can pass on this if you wish, but I suggest you don’t.Surely we all have things for which we’re thankful, right? RIGHT?” And I then deliver the Death Glare around the table and everyone, especially those of my loins, knows to not mess with me on this issue.

      Forks clatter down, eyeballs roll and sighs are deafening, but they know they won’t get fed another morsel until they get it over with.

      And so it begins, starting at the far end of the table.Most normal family members say how thankful they are for their families, their husbands (or wives, depending) and their kids, and for being allowed to sit at the table again, considering what happened last year. But like all families, we’re not particularly normal. The younger ones say that on very rare occasions they’re thankful for their siblings, always for their dogs and definitely for their smart phones.The geezers in the group insist they are so happy to be with everyone and are always thankful for their good health, even if it’s a little iffy.

      One wag says he’ll be grateful forever if we never, ever have to do this “thankful crap” again.He gets a bonus Death Glare.The nicer people at table, when their turn comes,speak emotionally about how thankful they are that our entire family can squash around the table and still be together and happy.

      A couple of ingrates, when it comes to their turn, announce rudely that they’d be thankful if they could only go into the living room to watch the game, and of course, there’s always a game.I gladly give permission because in fact I’m secretly thankful they want to bail because we can barely fit 8 around our dining room table, and on that Thanksgiving day there are 17.And oh, they do eat like wolves.The game lovers who have left the family table to charge off and watch a stupid football game are allowed to come back for dessert, but I make sure they get the pumpkin pie that fell face down on the floor an hour ago.

      We all laugh and eat and make an awful lot of noise and it’s just wonderful music to me.Eventually everyone has given thanks; silly, stupidly, sweetly or emotionally.And then it’s my turn.

      As proud matriarch of this remarkable and very good family I stand at the head of the table, raise my arms heavenward like Amee Semple McPherson, grin at this wonderful and disparate group, and with all the tears and drama I can muster, I say loudly, “OK,---now---- wait for it---—for what am I thankful?”And they all shout in unison with me; “THIS!!!”

      Contact LC at Her new book QUEENIE is at local bookstores, or contact her directly.

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On Trek


Is God one Entity?

Visualize if you will, Every person, and every animal being a spirit..That would mean, visualize every thing as invisible. Can you capture an invisible man? People fear Ghosts. That is because they cannot see them. Ghosts are nothing more than people who died and passed on to spirit.

Many people have seen spirits because they manifest into a form so we can. They lower their energies to be seen as physical. I have seen many a spirit. Nothing ever scary, just a beautiful experience. One little girl came into my bedroom as I was waking up. I saw her and said, how did u get in here? She was about 4, carrying a stuffed toy. She said, I want to see my brother. My husband was asleep at the time, I am not sure if she meant him or not. I sat up, and noticed she was floating..NOT standing on the floor. I knew then she was a spirit. I got all excited, lost my focus, and she was gone from my site. She might have still stood there, but I lost focus.

Everything is energy. Everyone is energy. Animals as well. One of our cats passed on, and one day, I was looking at a blanket where she slept and I saw a blue light. I quickly ran and took a picture of the blue light. Nothing was shining blue in the room. Digital camera was used, so I immediately popped up the picture, and I made it bigger. There was our orangeish striped cat. Miracles. Joyful to know she he lives, and visits.

So visualize everything invisible. That would make everything part of a whole. Are we not all energy? God is energy..I am energy. My dog is energy. We are all part of the whole. We are all ONE. All connected. God and us. God and animals.

I read a book on ancient energy. You cannot destroy energy. When our body dies, it goes back to dust. It becomes part of a tree or something if we scatter the ashes. Nothing is gone, it just changes form. If I burn a piece of paper, I have ashes. Energy lives forever. When our soul leaves the body, it is invisible. We are still we. Just invisible. We are all part of the whole then. Part of The invisible energy we call God.

We label things because we are human..physical..and need visuals. If I take a drop of water and put it in the ocean, that drop becomes part of the whole ocean. We are a drop in the universes. If we could see all the spirits on the earth we might be afraid to breath them in LOL. Heaven? We like to think of it as a separate place, as we are human. It just is. Our pets that turned invisible can be in a rainbow heaven, and/or they could be with us all the time. Invisible cannot be killed, or destroyed. Let that thought comfort you.

I can say more, but that is enough for now.

Judith 11/20/18 Writings of Judith

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Acts of kindness are what count in life

      The yuletide season is once again upon us with all the hustle and bustle of the mad shoppers. I for one didn't participate in the frenzy of Black Friday like millions did in America and I never will.

      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.

      I surely have plenty to be thankful for because throughout my life people have gone out of their way to be kind to me. 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.

      Children 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,
    Thomas F O’Neill
    Phone: (800) 272-6464
    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Facebook: https:/

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Irish Eyes


The Old Grey Cobblestone,
Big Maggie and More

      One morning in 1903 young John Kinane received a letter at his home in Gortnahalla, County Tipperary. He had applied to Guinness’s Brewery in Dublin for a job. This reply informed him, “If found suitable we may be able to offer you temporary engagement.” And he secured the temporary employment. Which lasted 41 years. His great-grandson, singer/songwriter, Barry Kinane found the letter in 2018. He wrote a song titled "The Old Grey Cobblestone." (See pic at bottom of page.) It is the title track on his latest album of thirteen tracks.

       “Kinane has a rare gift of taking the stories of life and relatively recent history to weave magical musical tales that are like short stories of the highest quality…” Nicky Rossiter – Irish music magazine.

Barry Kinane
      In May 2018 Barry Kinane was selected to be part of the International Literature Festival Dublin. The album is themed around Dublin history and folklore. Each song tells a story, like Peg Plunkett the 18th century high society madam in ‘The Ballad of Peg Plunkett’, famous street characters like Thomas Dudley aka ‘Bang Bang’ in ‘The Day Bang Bang Lost His Gun’, the famous street poet Michael Moran aka Zozimus in ‘The Blind Bard Of The Liberties’, and relatively unknown tales of Dublin in ‘The ‘Sack, Em Up’ Sexton Of St. James” and many more fascinating stories told in song and poetry.

      The album features Paul Kelly on fiddle and mandolin and a guest appearance of one of Ireland’s greatest songwriters, John Spillane on guitar. The cover art is by Beatrice O’Connell.

Cormac McConnell

      More than twenty years ago Cormac McConnell, brother of well-known singer/ songwriter Mickey MacConnell, wrote Christmas 1914. He first sang it in Griffin's pub in Ennistymon that Christmas and he “, was amazed to see tears in many of the listeners' eyes too. So I knew I had a song to sing. . . this song, came from a place away above my creative ceiling. It was some kind of gift from Above. “ He has said, “I’ve tried to get there again many times since that evening but have never come anywhere close. “ It has since been recorded by his brother Mickey, Gerry Lynch, Celtic Thunder, Daniel O Donnell and many more. Now it has been recorded my favorite singer, Peggy Sweeney.

Peggy Sweeney

      I recently went to a wonderful amateur production of John B. Keane’s "Big Maggie" by the Shoestring Theatre Company, in Charleville. "Big Maggie," a story of Irish society and all its foibles and complexities of family and femininity in rural Ireland in the 1960s. According to Kipling “The end of the fight is a tombstone . . .” but Maggi Polpin, after the death of her husband Walter, sets out to make a new life for herself and her children. Things don’t go according to Maggie’s plan. Every character is brought to life by the cast of fourteen. It is an outstanding production directed by Kevin O’Shea. The first scene, funeral of Walter Polpin, is performed outdoors on a grassy area surrounded by mature trees. I was trying to figure out how the weather-beaten tombstones were transported there when I ascertained that all the realistic graveyard props were fiberglass crafted by Peter O’ Brien.

      A veteran patron of the works of John B. Keane said, “ The casting was perfect and Eilis Casey was a formidable Maggie and delivered an unforgettable interpretation. All were excellent but Martin Hennessy was the best Byrne I have ever seen and I have seen many. Apart from the casting, the use of body language and the unflagging energy were impressive. Kevin O’Shea is the best director in the business. I am so glad I got to see it.”

Cast of "Big Maggie"
      Some time ago a national newspaper had this to say about this dedicated group, “The Shoestring group is an amateur outfit and is entirely voluntary. Many of the players and stage crew down through the years have taken their holidays from their day jobs to coincide with the festival circuit dates on which the group is playing, such is their dedication to the drama movement, which is the essence of volunteerism and community activity.” Truer words couldn’t be written.

       Am I glad that I wasn’t a teenager in Dundalk eighty years ago? I would probably still have a criminal record having been incarcerated under DeValera’s “Vice Act.” Take a look at this newspaper report from 1938.

      Happy Christmas.

      I’ll see you early in 2019

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Abigail and Her Best Friend Layla

Once upon a time a little girl lived in a small house at the edge of a city. There were no children for her to play with. There were only a few houses on the edge of this city and they were occupied by older folks who had no children, although a couple of them had very old cats as pets. The little girl’s name was Abigail and she was so lonely with no one to play with after her parents left for work.

Until Layla suddenly came flying into her life. Oh, Abigail was so surprised and excited. Layla flew straight through the open window and fluttered happily around and around Abigail’s head until Abigail got dizzy watching her. She was a fairy, a tiny fairy no bigger than a hummingbird, her short dress covered in silvery sparkles. Her long hair was so blond it was nearly white, and it flowed behind her as she flew, the way long hair will flow from a mermaid’s head when she swims under water.

Abigail raised her hand; the sparkling, beautiful fairy gently fluttered down to her palm where she sat, looked up into Abigail’s face and grinned. Abigail nervously asked, “Can you speak my language?” and the fairy said “Yes, of course I can, silly. Why would I come here unless we could speak together?”

“I am so happy. I have wanted to have someone to talk to for such a long time. My name is Abigail. What’s yours?” And the fairy answered, “My name is Layla,” and she giggled. Abigail sat on the side of her bed, the tiny fairy still in her hand, and it was then she noticed her new friend had huge feet. Oh they were so big for that tiny fairy who was no bigger than a hummingbird. They were encased in long, long pointed silvery shoes with a small star at each tip.

“Forgive me please for staring but oh my, what big feet you have!” said Abigail. Layla’s face got very sad and she looked down at her gigantic feet, sighed and said, “I know. It’s kind of like a curse where I come from in far-away FairyLand. If we do something wrong or we misbehave, our Directors, who are really such kind, good old fairies, to teach us a lesson give us something unpleasant to deal with and we have to get it fixed. One fairy lost her hair, another got a tear in one wing, another one…”

“OK Layla, I get it, but what did you do to make your Directors angry with you to make you have such awfully big feet?”

“Well I’ll confess I went crazy and buzzed the Directors’ heads when they were having a picnic outside of their offices. So they smiled and gave me big feet and said ‘Layla, you know how to make your feet get small again, so off with you and get it done!’ And so here I am, Abigail. You are lonely, you need a friend to talk to, I’m here until you don’t need me any longer and – well, I also have to fix my feet!”

“And how can we do that, Layla?” Abigail asked as the tiny fairy sped up and around the room and they both laughed and began to talk and talk and Abigail wasn’t lonely anymore but she could not stop staring at Layla’s ginormous feet.

“Abigail, my new friend,” said Layla. “My feet will only get normal again when you, not I but you, do a good deed. It is then I’ll earn my tiny feet back again. So think of something you can do that will be a good and kind thing for anyone on earth and when you do it, my feet will get small again!” And she flew madly around the room while Abigail laughed and wondered what kind deed she could do to help her new friend get her tiny feet back.

And then she knew. She went upstairs and pulled her mother’s favorite quilt off her bed, carried it downstairs and sat and sewed up a big rip in it with tiny perfect stitches. It had been torn that way for years but her mother had been too tired or busy to repair it.

No bells rang when it was done. No, Layla just sat again in the palm of Abigail’s hand and as they watched, those 2 huge feet gradually got smaller and smaller and so did her slippers with the tiny stars at their tips. Layla was so happy she flew out of Abigail’s hand and laughed and turned somersaults in the air with her tiny feet pointed like a ballet dancer’s, her beautiful, long white-blond hair swirling about her sweet face. Layla the fairy and Abigail the lonely little girl stayed best friends for the rest of their lives, and Layla could always hide in her friend’s pocket because after all, she was no bigger than a hummingbird.

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Possums in The Rain

Possums in the rain
Amble slowly
As they feed.

The shining water
Beads on their backs,
Like tears in the dim light.

Their needy muzzles
Munch across the bugs
And scattered birdseed,

Snuffling up nutrition,
Packing on the fat,
Stoking for cold nights,

So they can maintain
Gene transmission
Another thirty million years.

©2018 John I. Blair, 11/14/2018

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We Have A Flag

We have a flag now
At my little UU church.

After arguing for years
About the whys and wheres

Of cloth and wind and time,
What’s false, what’s true,

We bought a banner,
Installed a bracket

On the weathered bricks,
And hung it there,

Unfurling freely in the air,
Shining in the sun,

Red and white and blue,
Blood and sweat and tears,

Proclaiming to the world
It’s our flag too.

©2018 John I. Blair, 11/24/2018

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Whisper to Me

If I had the time tell you
Take your hand and really show you
What’s come and gone is moving along
Not taking it not making it
Just going along

If I had the heart to show you
Take the time to really know you
What’s come and gone is really deep
Not making or taking it on easy street
Hanging out with all those strangers I meet
Just going along
Going along

Things could have been different if you
Each moment that passes
Every single word you whisper
Whisper to me

If I had the mind to hold you
Take my soul and really hold you
What’s happen before will happen again
Not taking or making or trying to pretend
Moonlit walks to the bitter end
Just going along
Going along

If I had the time to tell you
Take your hand and really hold you
What’s come and gone is moving along
Not taking it not making it
just going along

©11/8/18 Bruce Clifford

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Great Grandpa William

William outlived his wife
And eleven of his children.

Three died of diphtheria
In a single month,

Others of consumption,
Influenza, war.

His sole remaining child
Kept him in her home,

Tending him
As he had tended her.

He’d known the joy
Of twelve babies,

Twelve to hold
And dream about.

Memories of dreams
When you were young

Give you solace
When you’re old,

When you’re alone;
Or so I need to hope.

©2018 John I. Blair, 11/21/2018

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Feeling Lost

It’s alright
I’m not gonna fight
It's alright
The left and the right

It’s alright
Put your guns away
It’s alright
Not leaving today

So many lives lost
So many left paying the cost
Feeling lost
Feeling lost

It’s alright
Be strong, be strong
It’s alright
Let’s all get along

It’s alright
Put your arms away
It’s alright
Let’s find love today

The news of the world
So many lives lost
It’s it safe anymore
Can you walk out the door

So many lives lost
So many left paying the cost
Feeling lost
Feeling lost

©11/8/19 Bruce Clifford

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It's always such an impressive sight
     To see the nurses in spotless white,
Who answer your call be it day or night
     Just by the flash of your little hall light.

Your room is so tidy, there's a freshly mopped floor.
     You've candy and gifts and flowers galore.
And "Get Well" wishes arrive by the score.
      Breakfast in bed, lunch--dinner too,
No shopping, no cooking, no dishes to do. And for once in her life she finds that it's true,
     She has time to listen after asking, "What's new?"
They feed her and bathe her and that is not all,
     They rub her twice daily with alcohol.
She lives like a queen--whoops,
     She has started to bawl!
She had rather be home - work, worry and all.

 ©1959 Carrie E. Joslin

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In Mid November

In mid November
When the blue sky
Gleams with glorious rays
And the oaks, the sweet gums,
Take on a dozen hues,

I think perhaps
I’ll make it through the winter,
The long nights, the frozen air,
Squirrels hiding in their dreys,
Birds flying south.

Already in November
I know the time of
Shorter days and scanty sun
Is almost past,
The darkest night is near,

And whatever eyes might see
My story says
New light, new life
Will soon be here.

©2018 John I. Blair, 11/14/2018

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The Delayed Honeymoon Trip

A couple are boarding the bus tonight,
     They are not so young--but their hearts are light.
Their steps are short and a trifle slow
     For they were married long, long ago.
They thught when they were married that very soon
     They would go away on their honeymoon.
So, they have lived and worked in a simple way,
     Always looking forward to this glad day.
When they would pack up and travel away
     Somewhere to celebrate their wedding day.
But, the work piled up and the babies came--
     There was more to do than just give them a name.
They reared a family--two girls and two boys,
     Who have brought them happiness, pride and joys.
They have served the Lord in their humble way,
     But, always have thought of and planned for this day.
The years have passed--they are growing old,
     They have little of silver and little of gold.
The children to womanhood and manhood have grown
     They are the sort that parents are proud to own.
Now, the dream they dreamed in the years long past
     Is surely coming true at last.
They are proud and happy--there are smiles on their faces,
     As they climb on the bus and take their places.
And just to hear them talk you never would know,
     That they were married so long ago.
     (32 years to be exact.) ©March 20th 1946 Carrie E. Joslin

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Thanksgiving Is All About Thankfulness

To Me, this is the meaning of Thanksgiving
Those in my life, whether passed, or still living
Thanking those in my life, and the kindness they share
By showing me good people, and that they really care
By knowing I am in, a really good home
They truly appreciate, when I share a poem
To know I am appreciated, in all that I do
And my dear neighbor, I truly appreciate you

Everyone we touch, in our lives every day
Has some sort of effect, on us in some way
Family and friends, each person that we know
Pass through our lives, touching upon our soul

It's not really about the meal, served on Thanksgiving day
It's all about the things and people, who have touched us in some way
The people who always find a way, to always stay in touch
The ones who show us their love, and show us just how much

The ones we can feel, deep down in our heart
The ones we know, will always be a special part
Souls that connect, will never be alone
Hearts that beat together, will never turn to stone

Never let a day pass, without being thankful for love
That we feel for others, we're always thinking of
Especially I feel, on this special Thanksgiving
Thank God for those passed, and those who are still living
For they have all, touched upon our lives in a wonderful way
Thanks for what they're always giving, on this Thanksgiving Day
©Nov 9, 2018 Bud Lemire
                      Author Note:
The Thanksgiving meal always tastes really good. Beyond that,
I am so thankful for such good friends, who show how much they
care. Being a part of my life, is truly a blessing. I am happy to
have them in my life, and to know them. Those who have passed,
continue to be watching me from Heaven. Still touching me from
that Spiritual place. Those who are in my life presently, continue
to show their love and support and friendship, in a thankful way.
So I appreciate them, and I say Thanks For The Giving,
for what you are always giving me.

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Once kissed
Cannot be unlearned,
Not if you believe
In facts.

But faith
Fanatically ingested
Blocks the path
To learning facts
So thoroughly

It is as if
The facts
Did not

©2018 John I. Blair, 11/4/2018

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Pain, Cover Up With A Smile

Life now, is nothing more than pain, covered up with a smile
I've forgotten what it is to feel normal, it's been quite awhile
I'm so tired of living every day in fear
Not so much of dying, but the pain within each year
Every moment, so scared and so unsure
Of what will happen next, hoping for a cure
They try everything, I feel like a guinea pig
A bone marrow biopsy, so much pain when they dig

Yes, I won't deny it, I get very depressed
Each day can be a struggle, because I am always stressed
Blood transfusions, always going for some test
The Doctors remind me, to take time to rest

These days I use a Walker, and I wear a mask
Then there are those people, who always have to ask
I try not to let them know, what I'm going through
In this poem right now, you will have a clue

I have to watch my body, for any symptoms that appear
Then call the Doctors quickly, which activates my fear
For many years, I have lived and battled this
Praying that some day, I'll have a little bit more bliss
©Nov 17, 2018 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
Pain and fear together are no fun to have. I hope someday
that I can have a somewhat normal life again. Once again,
I hope by reading this poem, you will understand what we
have to go through on a daily basis. It is no fun, and I wouldn't
wish this on anyone.

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I add music
To the empty space

Around me
And suddenly it’s full.

The simplicity
Of vibrating air

Reminds me once again
That nothing’s simple.

How could I think
Life can be explained

By words alone?
And yet

These words themselves
Are music.

©2018 John I. Blair, 11/25/2018

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The Important uses of Yawns and Laughs

      There are a number of things you can do to help get through painfully boring meetings. You probably know most of them, if meetings are your forte, or if your continued employment depends on attending lots of them. You know, there actually is a population of folks out there who love to actually attend meetings. Any meetings. They're the same people who randomly attend weddings and funerals of people they've never met. They also send away for absolutely anything that’s offered for free and seem to suffer from assorted forms of compulsive behavior. Hey. Different streaks.

      But anyway, when you're at a meeting and things begin to drag, and the whole ordeal is becoming a molasses in January thing and the old eyelids are dragging down and down, your head is falling backwards, your mouth is falling open and someone--who??--has let out a tiny but distinct snore (that would be you) then folks, so that you look at least partially alert, it's time you begin looking about the room and making note of people's habits. It may keep you awake just long enough to get you through the ordeal, and if it’s an evening meeting, stagger to your car, get home and grope for the remote control.

      There are two main ways to get you through those from-hell meetings;yawning and laughing. Let's start with laughs. Normally at these deadly boring meetings, people aren't laughing much, but surely in your lifetime you've seen someone laugh, and you've probably made a mental record of their laugh-style. So, to keep yourself from falling face-first into your lap, look around and try imagining those laugh styles on the other meeting attendees.

      One example is a person who shuts her eyes, turns her head to the side and whickers softly. Another is where someone throws her head back, flinging her jaws wide to a width where her tonsils can be easily seen by anyone, but never utters a sound! Weird.

      I've always liked the laugh that's so robust and out of control that if actuated while dining, food squirts straight out of the nose. (When we were kids, it was always milk, right?)

      How about the people who always put one of their hands up to cover a laugh? A clue to this behavior is their life-long habit of saying, "Me? See a dentist? You crazy? You think I'm gonna give any of my money to wunna them thieves?" Evidently not.

      And then there's the laugher who laughs quietly, but finishes each ripple of mirth with a shattering snort, followed by more snorts, each one seconds longer than its predecessor.

      How about the guy who laughs heartily and punctuates his hilarity by delivering a violent slap on A. his thigh, or B. your back. I suspect these men may have some hostility issues.

      Let us not forget the very most gross, which is when the laugher again throws his head back, and with jaws spread wide, allows us the rush of seeing every filling he's ever had ground in since he got his second teeth.

      See? The meeting is becoming more bearable by the minute as you consider people's risible propensities, their whinnies, guffaws, snickers, giggles, chortles, boomers, peals, horse and belly laughs.

      But--the meeting is still slogging on. OK, you're done with laughter, so onto yawning habits.

     Think about the woman who is certain no one notices she's hiding a majorly huge yawn. She doesn't open her mouth at all, her jaw drops down, her lips strain to keep together, her eyes squint and water, her nostrils flare, her chest heaves outward and her head leans back.And all the time she struggles to maintain eye contact and a straight face, trying to be polite by not openly yawning in front of you. Well raised, she fears if she's caught yawning outright, you'll think she's bored. This yawner has convinced herself that no one can detect her small chicanery. Honey, yeah, we can.

      How about the guy who really doesn't give a hoot and stretches his jaws wide apart, like those films of wild lions yawning in the sun after a gigantic Zebra banquet for himself and family, and allows us to put our curiosity to rest by finally learning for sure that in fact he does have a full set of dentures. Like who cares, but does it occur to this guy to ever cover his mouth?Apparently not.

      My most personal favorite yawner is the man, (it's usually a man) who loudly sucks in a mighty yawn, holds it in for a full minute and then expels it with enormous joie de vivre, the expulsion accompanied by a thunderous roar. Now that yawn's fun.

      See?The droney meeting is now nearly over and you've managed to look sharply attentive throughout.

      Uh oh. Someone's just asked you for your opinion on the meeting’s agenda. At this juncture, fainting would be prudent.

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