Friday, March 1, 2019

Editor's Corner

March 2019

"Being Irish, I always had this love of words." 
-- Kenneth Branagh.

Here it is again - the month almost everyone celebrates being or pretends they are Irish because the 17th is for Saint Patrick's Day. We proudly recall an Encore "Cookin' with Leo" column from 2008, with his remarks on said day plus a great recipe for Lent whether you require abstinence or not. Here is a 2009 link to another tasty Saint Patrick's Day recipe from the late Leo Helmer Making Good Irish Cream.

Mattie Lennon, "Irish Eyes" - talks about the March 12th celebration of the World Day Against Cyber Censorship; a neat invention or adaptation by a charming entrepreneur Sharon Doyle; and announces the official launch of Team Ireland to participate in the 2019 Word Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.  Judith Kroll, "On Trek" - features two poems from turning points in her life , "Destiny" and "Dad."

LC VanSavage's column "Consider This" talks games but her article is about "Houses and Their Ghosts." Marilyn Carnell, whose column "Sifoddling Along" defines her as "The Ultimate Pet Lady," tells why that title.

Thomas F. O'Neill, "Introspective" tells a touching and hopeful tale while Melinda Cohenour's "Armchair Genealogy" takes a break to go to the lake areas around Oklahoma City and blesses us with photos and information about the waterfowl she found.

The poems we are sharing for March are:
    Carrie E. Joslin's "To Virginia;"
    two poems by Linnie Jane Joslin Burks- "In "Dugbe," and "Marriage - Sacred;"
    Bruce Clifford sends "Missing the Point"
    John I. Blair sent in "Dandelions" and "The Conversation."
    Bud Lemire's three poems are "Journey Within A Book," "I Love Your Blue Vest," and along with his photo - "Me, in A Nutshell;"  while Mary E. Adair, your editor, has composed "Through the Alphabet." 
    Mike Craner, without whom this ezine would have never made the web, deserves many bouquets for his expertise and patience. He has added some of his poems and stories, though none recently with his demanding occupation, but to access his bio and a clickable list of his work here is the link.

    See you in April 2019 !!!

    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

A Departure From Genealogy

This past month plus has been a very trying time for your author. In bed with lobar pneumonia and Type A influenza, feeling more miserable than one could imagine, racked with side splitting coughs, headaches, no appetite, and debilitating muscle soreness, my only respite - brief trips to Lake Hefner! My sweet husband treated me to brief tours around that lovely lake to see the waterfowl.

Lake Hefner is one of five Oklahoma City lakes originally planned to help retain rain, snow, and ice melts in an area often hit with drought. This particular lake is the locale of one of the nation's finest public golf courses as well.

Oklahoma City advertises Lake Hefner, providing the following information:
"Lake Hefner was built in 1947 and is considered the premier location for sailboating in OKC. In addition to fishing, picnicking, and golfing, Lake Hefner is well-known for outdoor recreation. Trails trace the entire lake and stretch just over nine miles in total. They are 12 feet wide and covered asphalt, and the east side of the lake also contains some six-foot-wide trails specifically for pedestrians. The area features numerous well-kept parks for the kids, and you'll often find families walking, lounging, or flying a kite. The lighthouse is a photo destination, and the ​​​East Wharf restaurants offer some of the best views in the metro. "It sits in Northwest Oklahoma City, west of the Lake Hefner Parkway, as far north as Hefner Road, and south past Wilshire. It's also accessible from Northwest Expressway.
"You can fish, sail (it's home to the Oklahoma City Boat Club), enjoy outdoor recreation trails, use picnic areas, go on playgrounds, use the enclosed and heated fishing dock, and play on the public golf course."

In addition to Lake Hefner, Oklahoma City boasts four other metro lakes. Our second most favorite is Lake Overholser:
"Originally constructed in 1919, Oklahoma City's Lake Overholser is the metro's oldest reservoir. It was built as a water supply to a still-operating water treatment plant at NW 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue. Named after the city's 16th mayor, it has several boat ramps, a covered fishing pier, and picnic areas. OKC Riversport operates its ​Adventures program at Overholser​ and offers kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and pedal boats. "It's in Northwest Oklahoma City, just southwest of Lake Hefner, south of Route 66, and north of I-40 between Council and Morgan Roads.
"You can enjoy boating, water sports, fishing (there's a covered fishing pier), picnic areas with a covered pavilion, soccer fields, and tennis courts."

The three other OKC metro lakes (reservoirs) are Lake Thunderbird, Arcadia Lake, and Lake Stanley Draper.

One of our frequent outings is a birding tour of Lake Hefner. One is treated to a manicured expanse of lush green lawn over much of the park area, due to the professional maintenance of the two golf courses. Spanning the areas between are a lushly wooded expanse, parts of which are dense woodland and home to a wide variety of wildlife: fox, deer, skunk, and squirrel, to name the most common. Birds of many types are attracted to the lake, meadowland, pasture, and woodland areas. We see the greatest variety in the resident and migrating waterfowl.

One of our annual treats is the arrival of the white pelican flocks as they make their way south for the winter. They are usually seen here starting in December and disappear about March. The dates are inexact, dependent upon the weather and the flocks' instincts. Often, there are a few who stay the full time, while the larger numbers complete their travel further south. Occasionally, the largest flocks are accompanied by Anahingas or Cormorants, or both.

Here is a picture from my phone of a large mixed migrating flock of white pelicans and either Anahinga or Cormorants. I believe, Cormorants, because of the shorter, squared off tail. It is also possible all three species are represented. They were perched on the breakwater concrete which both absorbs and reflects sun heat. The entire length of the breakwater was covered, top, and both sides with the mixed flock.

On the same day, a cove near the eastern edge of Lake Hefner provided comfortable feeding for Canadian geese, Mallard ducks, a Crested Duck, mudhens, and on shore a large number of gulls, grackle, pigeons, starlings, and even a handful of Robins.

Here (left pic) is a Cormorant, drying his wings. And here (right pic) a sentinel Pelican on Lake Overholser. On the most recent trip from the doctor's, we found no pelicans or their Cormorant or Anahinga companions. We decided to drive to Lake Overholser. That lake was dotted over its entire length and breadth with our missing flock! The bill color (quite orange on the Cormorant, black or blackish on the Anahinga) and tail shapes help to distinguish the two "cousins".

Different flocks are present at Lake Hefner at different times of the year. In September of 2014, we were treated to a real surprise! It was my first view of these really odd looking ducks. They were large, with varied colors of feathers. Their one distinguishing characteristic even differed from one to another - the red "growths" that mottled their faces.

After some quick Google research, I was able to identify these Halloweenish birds as the exotic Muscovy Ducks.

A small group of the large flock of Muscovy Ducks at Lake Hefner September 14, 2014. 

Second picture shows the disparity in size between the Mallard and Wood ducks and the migrant Muscovy ducks.

 Third picture shows the Domestic Goose, the American Pekin duck (popularized as the icon Aflac Duck by the insurance company's ad genius), and a variety of Muscovy, Wood, and Mallard ducks.

And, as my special photo offering, we were treated to a sighting of Swedish Ducks in 2015. They were present for several visits but I've not noted them since. Here are two of the Swedish Ducks, with their varied plumage, grazing among a flock of gulls.

These three Pelican pics were taken at the boat docks of Lake Hefner late last year in December 2018. Included here because they show how their gracefulness enhances them, turning the bird often thought homely to a creature of beauty. All many people know about the Pelican is the verse --
 What a strange bird is the Pelican/ His beak can hold more than his belly can.


 These motor tours offer so much joy for the avid birder or aged outdoorsperson (both descriptors fit your author) as every trip to the lake or a wooded area provides a new look. Changing scenery blesses this lake with bright Fall colors, neon and lacy Spring greens, Summer lush cover, and Winter ice on bare branches spotted with the plethora of evergreens. The lake water sparkles or simmers under bright sun or grey clouds.

This month's column has been a treat for your author and, I hope, for you readers as well. Next month I plan to return in earnest to Armchair Genealogy and divulge the results of my research into another Patriot ancestor, this time on my Hempleman line (paternal).

See you next month!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

On Trek


When you look at me what do you see?
I remember when it was just WE
No one else was in the world...
we were a world of our own.
Eyes for you,
eyes for me,
life was ours,

Then you found someone new..
younger, cuter,
full of life,
as I was once upon a time.
I was yours
you were mine.
Eyes for you,
eyes for me,
life was ours,
My only “fault”
was growing old,
where love should prosper
not grow cold.

I still thank the stars that we had met,
still many memories linger..yet.
They make me smile,
I learned from you,
you learned from me
Life was ours.
For those moments
©3/2012 Judith Kroll


I miss that smile on your face--it's true.
I listen for a joke to come out of the blue.
The stories you told to teach lessons of life;
Your after shave smell-- that good Old Spice;
The knowledge you shared to help lessons be learned;
Your hard work ethics that we all have earned.
Memories pile up when I focus on you.
Yes, 69 years each other we knew.
I thank you for your visits since the day you gently passed.
I am happy you are happy with last.
Thinking of you, Pop.
Love, Judy

©1/26/'19 Judith Kroll

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Sifoddling Along

Ultimate Pet Lady

I haven’t always been a “cat lady”. In my youth, I had dogs as pets. The first one was Pete a beagle puppy who didn’t last long as a neighbor ran over and killed him. (Not of purpose, but it didn’t leave me eager for another pet.) Then, in my teens Lady, the collie showed up and adopted me. She was my constant guardian until I went away to college. Petless again, my next was a cat named Pusser. He and I did not get off to a good start as sometime before I had been attacked by a sensitive new mother cat defending her young. She was so intent on killing me she chased me across a bed and I ended up on top of a dresser trying to escape her wrath. I wasn’t totally successful and ended up in the emergency room with my shins scratched to ribbons.

Because my husband and son liked the cat, I made every effort to find peace. Pusser was a lovely marmalade with a sweet disposition, but I found my eyes swelling shut and gasping for air if I spent too much time around him. I took allergy shots and we eventually arrived at a place that was amenable for both of us.

After a wrenching divorce, I ended up in possession of Pusser and my son and I moved to Missouri so I could go to graduate school at the University of Arkansas. We lived across the street from my parents who strongly disapproved of any pets being inside the house. After finishing school, I got a job in Illinois and could not have a pet in my new apartment.

My parents agreed to adopt Pusser under the condition that he be strictly an outdoor cat. I moved to Illinois in September. When I came home for Thanksgiving, the cat was being fed in the kitchen as “other animals were stealing his food.” When I returned to visit at Christmas, Pusser was sitting on the arm of my Dad’s chair looking very smug.

My moves for jobs prevented any more pets until retirement. I announced that I wanted a dog. I had a toy poodle in mind, but my husband saw a West Highland Terrier at a shop in Branson and so we decided to find one. It took some doing as the nearest hobby breeder was in Oklahoma. We had to be interviewed and obtain the approval for the seller before we could come and pick up Brutus of McDonald and bring him home. He was a loveable terror of a terrier who would run away at the drop of a hat. At least he was good for our fitness. One night we were chasing him when I heard from the darkness “I’ve got your dog.” In a very deep voice. It sounded like the voice of God speaking to me. Slowly advancing, I came up on a young couple who were out for a walk and he had scooped up Brutus as he hurtled past.

Thinking that Brutus was lonely, we decided to adopt another Westie. At this interview, we took along Brutus’ baby book stuffed with photos of his idyllic life with us. Soon after, Bubba of McDonald joined our family. We had many happy years before the escape artists got out one cold February afternoon and Bubba was killed and Brutus seriously hurt by a pack of feral dogs. I waded Big Sugar creek for three days looking for Bubba or his body to no avail. Brutus survived.

Meanwhile, we had acquired our “Six hundred dollar” cat. To my amazement, my severe allergies had gone away and I no longer had itchy swollen eyes when around him. It is a long convoluted story about our acquisition of KatManDoo, but we took him to the vet for shots and neutering and he joined our family. Kat was not healthy and after treatments for cancer, had to be put down.

Again thinking Brutus needed company, we adopted a rescue dog we named Lucky. He was a coal black schnauzer and mysterious mix and quickly charmed his way into our hearts.

Brutus, Lucky and three cats we had acquired along the way (thanks to people dumping animals beside the road) moved with us to Minnesota in 2011. The past 7 years have seen much sorrow for pets. We first lost C.C. the cat, later at intervals, we lost Brutus, Little Yellow (officially named Oliver Saffron) and then Lucky passed of old age. I have wept buckets of tears at their passing.

Now I am a cat lady with only one cat. Busted (he had stripes as a baby, but lost them) is my one remaining pet. He is 15 years old not well now and I am sad at the thought of losing him, too. But once a cat lady, always a cat lady. I will soon find another boon companion to cuddle and pamper duties of an ultimate Cat Lady.

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Consider This

Board or Bored, I Hate Those Games

Were you a good parent to your children? Did you play with them when they asked? Were you a good and attentive buddy? I hope I was.I mean if our boys have been in therapy all their adult lives because they were stuck with a whackbird mother, they at least have had the decency to not tell us. I believe in the no-news-is-good-news apothegm, and I don’t exactly know what that word means either nor how to pronounce it.

What I wish to discuss today is the board game issue.I simply cannot endure them. I know what you’re thinking; “Well LC is just too stupid to learn how to play board games so she announces she hates them to cover the fact that she’s too dumb to learn them.”

Could be. I think it’s safe to say that barring maybe two games of checkers, I have never ever won a single board game in my entire 81 years. Honestly, I just don’t remember anyone ever congratulating me on a smashing board game victory. I know our young sons granted me the occasional mercy win at Tic Tac Toe, but they don’t count.

Checkers is a bit daunting.I have one of those gigantic cloth checker boards with checkers the size of mayonnaise jar tops, so my never winning can’t be blamed on poor eyesight. One of my perpetually bored grandchildren will sigh and ask me if I’d like to play, I sigh and agree, we set up this table sized checkerboard and after a while my opponent wanders off, tired of waiting for me to make my second move. They hate playing board games with me and I hate playing bored games with anyone.

I can pretty much rock at Go-Fish but it’s so juvenile for my smart-aleck grandchildren; they just throw the cards on the table and walk away leaving me holding the – well, the cards. I hate that game. It’s just too competitive.

Monopoly? I know why it was invented; to distract the people suffering in the middle of the Great Depression. Did those sufferers think the Monopoly money was real or something? Or was it just a case of transference? And what is transference anyway?

I did get to almost win sometimes at Monopoly because I learned that if I tricked someone by distracting him or her, say by throwing one of their shoes out of the window, I could cheat a little while they ran out to find it. Hey, cheaters can be smart too, you know. Sometimes even smarter than honest people. And another thing; have you ever stepped on one of those horrid little Monopoly tokens in your bare feet? Especially the little pointy-roofed houses? Smarts, right?T hat’s enough to keep me away from that game unless I wear boots.

We had Parcheesi and even Chinese Checkers too but I was always nervous about saying those 2 words fearing I’d be accused of being politically incorrect. I could have called them Asian Checkers I guess. Regardless, it’s a boring, tedious game and our boys always ended up winging the marbles at light bulbs or at each other’s heads.

I tried to get the boys to play Hang Man with me (I learned it from a book) but they unreasonably became infuriated just because I’d always pick “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” as my first word. It’s just not possible to please some people.

When I was a teenager, my parents decided it was “time” for my younger brother Stuart and me to learn how to play Bridge. So they put up the card table, got out the cards, and we all sat down to learn the famous old game. They then proceeded to get into one of the most vicious brawls I’d ever witnessed, and believe me, I’d witnessed more than a few. They fought, argued, shouted and cursed and came close to exchanging blows over the rules of Bridge. Stu and I eventually slunk away and the ‘rents never noticed. Because of that experience, I stayed with the very difficult Go Fish and Old Maid card games, refused to ever try to learn another and I have kept firmly to that personal vow. Once burned, knowhatImean?

I’ve got an overflowing Bucket List as many of us have and I know I’ll never get to do most of the things in its interior. But one long wish of mine has been to learn how to play Dominoes. It looked so easy when I was young, always played in the movies by kindly old drowsy Italians sitting in the sun in front of their grape arbors hunched over an ancient splintery table covered with their abstract Dominoes patterns. For the great sum of one dollar, I recently purchased a full set of Dominoes at the GoodWill and brought them home. They are white with black spots and they look so good! Thick, heavy, wonderful!! I thought “oh yes, at last I’m going to learn this game.” I’m not Italian, not a man and we don’t have a grape arbor although we have plenty of ratty old tables. The Dominoes came with no instructions so I thought I’d just download them from the Internet. After three pages of single-spaced directives I pretty much knew learning this ancient game was not going to happen. I mean it takes at least 2 PhDs to understand all the playing rules of Dominoes. I made it through half a page and gave up. There’s math involved I think. This is a game for mega-brainiacs and that quickly disincludes moi. But it’s not a total loss. An enterprising granddaughter made one of those “domino effect” things where she lined them up on end in designs all over the kitchen floor and then pushed the first one down. That was fun. And the delicious, magical clacking sounds they make when they bump together remind me of my beloved grandmother’s weekly mahjong games with her old lady player pals. Apparently, none of her bored game DNA passed on to me.

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Our Greatest Gift

The sirens blared as the ambulance crew worked their way through the congested traffic. Megan Watson looked helplessly as the paramedic worked on her seven-year-old daughter. When all hope was lost of reviving her, Megan let out an anguished cry. She sobbed uncontrollably as she held her daughter Morgan’s lifeless body. The paramedic tried in vain to console her raw emotion and gut-wrenching pain. 
It had only been three months since she lost her husband to cancer and two weeks since her mother passed away. She felt that Morgan was all that she had left in the world and her reason for living.

     They had listened somberly as the Priest read the prayers at the graveside. Her mother’s casket was slowly being lowered into the ground. The seven-year-old girl grasped her Mother’s arm as the Priest slowly walked toward them, “She is with Jesus, now,” he said, but his religious platitudes rang hollow for the woman who just buried her mother. The Priest’s words and manner seemed somewhat rehearsed for Megan Watson.
     She tried desperately to hold back her tears, “Don’t cry, Mommy,” her daughter whispered.
     Her family, friends, and neighbors walked stoically by her side as they turned from the graveside. They then quickly gathered at Megan’s home and spoke openly about her Mother. They shared food with one another it was their way of showing that they truly care for each other.
     They shared stories as well about the old neighborhood were Megan and her friends grew up. She is one of the few that stayed behind in her hometown. Most of her friends after graduating high school and college left for better opportunities and a better life. They knew it was a rough year for Megan and her daughter, Morgan.
     That same year Megan’s husband died of lung-cancer, and the merging of the two local schools left her unemployed. Now the death of her mother only added to the fact that life was beating her down. She drew on every fiber of strength though, to remain strong for her daughter. She wanted desperately for Morgan to have a better life and future.
     “Remember old Mr. Pompasko,” Megan’s cousin Fred asked in Megan’s livingroom, “He taught Ninth grade English, whatever happened to him.”
     “He retired long ago,” said Megan, “I remember the fun we had. The tricks we played on him. Remember when we glued his chalk to the chalkboard?”
     “Boy did he get mad,” said another cousin, “I was too scared to laugh after that look he gave me.”
     “Everything was so different then, the whole town is different now,” said Fred, “It sure changed from when we were kids.”
     “I know,” said one of Megan’s neighbors, “this town is going downhill really fast.”
     “I would give anything to move from here,” Megan said, “I want my Morgan to have better opportunities.”
     Megan and the others continued to reminisce and laugh about their childhood experiences. The conversations stirred up deep feelings and emotions. Megan’s feelings welled up to the surface and she was unable to hold back her tears. She began to tell them stories about her father who immigrated to America from Italy. Like most of the immigrants in their hometown, they’d come there to work deep in the coal mines. But her father later opened a shoe repair shop in the town. When Megan’s Mother died the coal, mines were closed for twenty some years and their hometown has been on a continuous decline.
     The stories stirred up some of her earliest memories as well. She told them how her father would sing songs to her in Italian when she was her daughter Morgan’s age. One song was of an Angel watching over a young orphan child. He sang the songs with such passion, love, and warmth. She still remembers how he would hold her in his arms as he sang. She would try and sing along with him. It was her father’s way of putting her to bed. The memories brought her both comfort and pain though, because her father passed away when she was only seven-years-old.
     His body had been laid out in the living room and she could remember family and friends dressed in their Sunday bests coming by her home to pay their last respects. She too had grasped her mother’s arm at the cemetery the day her Father was buried.
     At the age of seven she tried desperately to write the words of the songs her father sang to her. The harder the little girl tried the more the tears flowed. Her mother held the grieving child in her arms. She told Megan, “Your father will always sing to you,” as she wiped the tears from Megan’s face. “Your father’s love will always be with you,” her mother told her once again. While holding young Megan with all of her might, “his love will always be sung to you, you will see,” said her Mother with certainty, “Like the Angels in his songs, he is with you.”
     Young Megan with all of her might believed, in her Mother’s words. The thought of her Father watching over her like an Angel brought her great comfort.
     A few days after her mother’s funeral, she moved into her Mother’s home. The house brought back so many recollections. They were memories of relatives and her Mother’s friends that have also passed away over the years. The memories came with each new discovery of old postcards, photos, and old letters from bygone days. Megan was an only child and the thought of not being able to talk to her mother weighed heavily on her.
     It was just a few days after she moved back to her mother’s home that she enrolled her daughter in her new school. She was very much concerned about how Morgan was handling the change. Morgan’s father no longer in the picture only compounded the feeling of abandonment. She felt that she and Morgan were now alone in the world.
     Megan’s, mother unlike her father was of Irish descent and Megan always enjoyed telling her daughter the story of how Megan’s parents met. “Grandma was racing to get to a Job interview and broke the heel off of her shoe,” she told her daughter.
     Morgan began to laugh even though she heard the story many times before. Morgan was looking at an old photo of her grandfather in the shoe repair shop as she listened to her mother tell the story.
     “Grandma ran into Grandpa’s shoe repair shop and yelled, 'fix this,' holding her shoe in her outstretched hand,” she told her daughter laughing.
     “When Grandpa was fixing your Grandma’s shoe, she kept saying to him, 'will you hurry up?' Grandma was in such a hurry she ran out of his shop without paying him." She went on, keeping her daughter laughing, "He eventually tracked your Grandma down a few days later and asked her in broken English, 'you get Job?'”
     Megan’s daughter once again laughed at her mother imitating Grandpa.
     “When your Grandma said, 'yes', Grandpa said to her, 'good you can pay now.' Grandma and Grandpa got married a few months later,” she told her daughter.
     Megan and her daughter looked at old photographs of Great Aunts and Uncles who had passed away. “I was your age when Grandpa died,” she told Morgan.
     She told her daughter, like many times before, how a customer came to their home to tell Megan’s Mother about finding Morgan’s grandpa lying on the floor in his shop. Megan’s father died of a sudden and unforeseen heart-attack.
     “After Grandpa died, Grandma worked as a secretary. Grandma worked at the school where you go to school now. She worked there when I was a little girl,” Megan told her daughter.
     Megan’s earliest memories were of her Father telling her stories that made her laugh. “Your Grandfather was such a great storyteller,” she said, “That was his way of bringing Joy and happiness to people.”
     Megan looked at pictures of herself and her husband and thought, “they were such happy times.” They came across baby pictures of Morgan with her father. Megan tried to hold back her tears as she remembered the love her husband had for her and her daughter.
     Megan’s mother had a large pool in the backyard which Morgan loved to jump into, and they came across pictures that were taken of her in the pool. The pictures were taken when Megan’s husband was strong and vibrant before the cancer took his life.
     Prior to her daughter’s accident, Megan had been putting her mother’s things together in boxes. Morgan was looking at her grandmothers’ old pictures. She was a curious child and she kept running over to her mother with each picture, “who is that, mommy?” Megan tried to hold back her tears as she looked at the old photographs of her family.
     “Are we going to move in here now, mommy?” Megan’s daughter asked as they were looking through the old photograph album.
     It was a few days after packing her mother's belongings that Megan decided to move into her mother's home. The home was close to her daughters’ new school and Morgan could walk the four blocks rather than riding on a bus. She also considered the fact that she was no longer employed and living there would make it a little easier on her financially.
     After she settled into her mother’s home, she placed her daughter back in school. Megan was worried about how her daughter was handling all the changes in her life, such as her father’s death, the death of her grandmother and the move into her grandmother’s home. She was concerned about how her daughter was handling the stress, so Megan decided to visit her daughter’s school and talk to her teacher, Miss Crone.
     “Your daughter never arrived at the school this morning,” Miss Crone told her.
     Megan became extremely concerned and went back home. She searched the house and the backyard.  What she found changed her forever. Her daughter was face-down in the pool. Frantic and panic-stricken Megan pulled her out. She rapidly dialed the emergency number on her kitchen phone and began CPR. The Paramedics soon arrived and took over.

     Megan walked into the hospital with the help of one of the paramedics. She was pale and weak and needed help walking. She was grief stricken and in shock as her world spiraled out of control. A paramedic sat her down in the Hospital Emergency room and brought her a cup of coffee.
     While little Morgan was being wheeled into the Hospital a paramedic noticed something unusual. What he saw was a small tear rolling down the little girl’s cheek. He quickly ran and got one of the Emergency Room Doctors. “We got a pulse,” came a loud and thundering voice from inside the Emergency room.
     Megan held her daughter's hand all night and into the next day as she sat in a chair next to her daughter’s bed. Her daughter slowly opened her eyes, “I am really sore, mommy,” she said.
     Megan tried in vain to hold back her emotions. She began to cry but this time they were tears of Joy. Prior to her daughter’s accident, Megan was putting her mother’s things together in boxes. Morgan was looking at her grandmothers’ old pictures. She was a curious child and she kept running over to her mother with each picture, “who is that, mommy?” Megan had tried to hold back her tears as she looked at the old photographs of her family, but answered lovingly each question.
     “I love you, Mommy, very much so, but I didn’t want to come back,” she told her mother.
     “What do you mean, sweetie?” Megan asked.
     “She was radiant,” she said.
     “Who was radiant?” Megan asked.
     “I can’t explain it, Mommy, it was so wonderful, so nice, I love you so much, but I didn’t want to come back,” she told her Mother once again, “she was so, so radiant, so beautiful, so bright, and warm.”
     “Was she an Angel?” Megan asked her
     “I don’t know, I can’t explain it, I just felt good, protected, and loved,” she said.
     “What did she say to you?” Megan asked her
     “She didn’t talk to me like we are talking. I just understood without talking,” she said.
     Little Morgan did not have the words or the means to explain to her Mother what she experienced. Her soul at a point in time was immersed in altruistic love. She was given an understanding of love in its purest form.
     “What do you understand, Morgan?” Megan asked her
     “Some people when they die want to remain behind, they are like people, but not everyone can see them or hear them. They are connected to maybe their home or Job or people. They don’t want to leave.” Morgan said.
     “Did you see anyone?” Megan asked
     “No, but I will,” Morgan told her Mother with a sense of certainty.
     Morgan’s experience opened her up. It changed her in a way that she could not adequately explain in words.
     “What do you mean, sweetie? What will you see?” Megan asked her
     “Well it is a gift, a great gift, a gift that needs to be shared. That is how I understand it. What I understand is that gifts are only gifts when they are shared and freely given,” Morgan said. “My experience, and understanding, is a gift for others. It needs to be shared but not in words - just freely given. It is not a gift, if we do not freely express it to others. I can’t explain it in words, Mommy, I just understand it inside,” she told her Mother.
     “I do not understand, honey, but in time perhaps I will,” Megan told her daughter.
     “We all have that gift within us, but we never reveal it because we do not know it is there. I saw our greatest gift, Mommy, and I must share it now. That is what I understand now, Mommy,” said Morgan.
     Megan and her daughter walked out of the Hospital a few days later. “Well, sweetie, we need to call a cab. Our car is at home.” Megan said.
     Morgan turned to Megan, “I’m sorry, Mommy, I didn’t mean to make you cry. I jumped in the pool because I felt Daddy there with me. I don’t know what happened after that I must have bumped my head.”
     “Don’t ever jump in the pool without me being there. You got that, young lady?” Megan said to her daughter in a stern voice.
     Megan decided a few weeks later to visit Morgan’s new school and once again she talked to Morgan’s homeroom teacher, Miss Crone. “Morgan is such a bright little girl with an extraordinary imagination,” Miss Crone told her.
     “My only concern” said Morgan’s teacher “is your daughter has been sitting with the children during recess rather than playing the games they normally play. When I questioned them about it, Morgan said a nice man is singing songs to them. There’s never a man there singing. The others sing along with Morgan all huddled together. It’s been going on ever since your daughter arrived at our School. Her over active imagination is having an effect on the other children.”
     “That doesn’t sound like my Morgan,” said Megan.
     Megan called her daughter over to ask her, “Who’s the man that sings songs to you.”
     “He’s such a nice man, Mommy, funny, and kind,” she said. “He’s teaching me Italian too. He sings to me in Italian, and then he explains the songs to me in English.”
     “That is what I mean,” said Miss. Crone, “your daughter has an extraordinary imagination.”
     “How does this man look, Morgan?” asked Megan.
     “He has a brown suit with stripes and a purple hanky sticking out of his pocket.” Morgan went on to say “he wears the same suit every day.”
     Tears began to well up in Megan’s eyes as she knelt to talk to Morgan.
     “It’s normal for children to make up stories,” said Miss Crone.
     “What songs does he sing to you,” Megan asked her with a tear rolling down her cheek.
     “Don’t cry, Mommy, they are happy songs,” Morgan said to her, “they are about angels and love. You find out at the end of one of the songs that only the children can see the Angel.”
     “Wait here, Mommy,” said Morgan, as she ran over to her desk and grabbed her bookbag. She then quickly ran back to her mother and pulled out a notebook from her bag and handed it to her.
     “I wrote the songs down for us,” said Morgan, “one song is about an Angel watching over a young child but only children can see the Angel. The songs are about love.”
     Megan began to wipe the tears from her face, and she said to Miss Crone, “those were the songs my father sang to me when I was a little girl. I tried so hard to write down the words to his songs after his death. My mother told me his love would never leave me and I believed her.”
     “Where did you get those songs, Morgan? At your Nana’s house?” asked Miss. Crone.
     “No, the nice man sang them to me, and he told me to write them down, so I did,” said Morgan, “He said the songs are for the children.”
     “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Watson, I will get to the bottom of this and find out who that man is,” Miss Crone said.
     “That’s quite alright I know who that man is,” said Megan, “and he can visit Morgan and the other children whenever he wants.”
     As Morgan was walking home with her mom, she said, “Mommy that is Pappy that comes to my school isn’t it?”
     “Yes it is,” said Megan.
     “You are so lucky to have him as a daddy,” said Morgan.
     A few weeks later Megan took Morgan to Mass at Morgan’s grandmother's Church. Morgan got up from where she was sitting and began to walk towards the altar.
     Megan asked in a shocked voice, “Morgan what are you doing?”
     With anger in his voice, the Priest told Morgan to sit down but instead she turned to the congregation. Something came over her as if someone or something was about to speak through her.
     “Hey, lady, can’t you control your kid,” said a man sitting behind Megan.
     “We all have the greatest gift that needs to be freely given,” Morgan said.
     Some in the congregation became visibly irate including the Priest, that a mere Child can have the audacity to interrupt the Holy Mass. “Sit down,” the Priest said again in an angry voice.
     The seven-year-old Child slowly turned to the Priest and said, “We take life for granted. We don’t fully understand life, but Life is freely given to us it is our greatest gift. A gift is not a gift unless it is freely given. We experience that gift without fully understanding what we have. What we are to others and what others are to us is a free expression of life. The life within us is love in its purest form.”
     The Priest and Congregation were awestruck that a small child was speaking to them with such eloquence.
     “Life is the purest form of love, but it is not only expressed within us. Our life is a gift to others. The more we express and share the gift of life freely to others, the closer we come to understanding that life is the greatest expression of love,” Morgan said to the Congregation.
     “How are you able to speak of such things at such an early age,” asked the Priest.
     “I experienced love in its purest form, and I understand that it is freely given unconditionally. God does not pick, choose, punish, or reward us. We cannot please or anger God,” Morgan told the Priest.
     Megan’s daughter once again turned to the Congregation and said, “When we express the love that is within us openly and freely, we come to understand that we are a gift that is freely given. We are the presence of god for others ….. to emulate and embrace.”
     Morgan walked back to her Mother and took her hand and they walked out of the Church together. There was great chatter within the Church as they walked out. The Priest regained control of the Congregation by reading from one of the Gospels.
     “Morgan, I understand,” Megan told her daughter.
     “I felt a great presence around me that gave me the words to speak,” she told her Mother.
     “I understand perfectly what you said,” Megan said.
     “Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, and the others in the photos are in a wonderful place. Some remain there for a long time and others like us return to this world. We return to share our gift and understanding. Mommy, in order to find Joy, happiness, and love in this world we must bring it to others. Then and only then can we truly be content in life,” she told her Mother.
     “I was satisfied as a teacher, Morgan,” said Megan.
     “You can still teach, Mommy, everyone can teach.”
     “You are an awesome teacher, Morgan,” Megan said to her, “and I love you very much.”
    Always with love from Lock Haven University
    Thomas F O’Neill
    Phone: (410) 925-9334
    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Facebook: https:/

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Encore: Cooking with Leo

Lent Stuff, So Y'all Don't Get Too Fat Before Easter Arrives

Ya'll might be wonderin' why I ain't tellin' everybody how to fix a big pot a' Corned Beef n' Cabbage fer Paddy's Day. But, I done that several times over the past 10 years or so, if you check back. So, I think I have said all I can on that subject. But, right now, I have found some other fine fixin's from Paddy's recipe book, which was stolen from the imperial archives, before the Huns broke in and burned everything they couldn't read. And since, Huns, Goths, Gaels, an' all them other northern aliens what sacked Rome, couldn't read Latin cook books anyway, it was a good thing Paddy took them to Ireland, where many of Caesar's favorites became great Irish dishes. Seems all Paddy had to do was get rid of all the Olive Oil, Garlic, and Italian Red wine to make some pretty good eatin' stuff, for all his new found Gaelic Pals. An' since the Irish lands grew more potatoes, and grains, Paddy substituted a lot of good stuff for all that pasta and sauce that Caesar and his Roman Pals were killin' themselves with. Was no wonder they lost Rome to the invaders, they were just too damn fat to fight. So much for historic fact finding, let's see how Paddy turned Roman junk food into food fit for his new found Irish Pals.
So, while I ain't suggestin' Ol' Paddy, himself was the originator of this fine dish, nor do I ever once believe Paddy or the Irish, with all their new found faith, ever once suggested such a thing as the 40 days of Lenten fast. I am bringing this fine Irish dish to all my readers, that dates back to Paddy's time. How do I know this? Well, how else? My dear Irish Grandmother, Frances Curry, passed it on to me, even if she couldn't boil a pot of water. She told me it passed down through the ages and came into her possession from all her, and of course my, forbearers. Here it is, a great Lenten Dish to keep down the family fat.

Rice Soup

What you'll need:
    About a 3 lb cooking chicken.
    8 cups water
    1 onion chopped
    1 ½ cups chopped ham.
    Pimiento chopped.
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    ½ teaspoon ground Oregano
    2 tablespoons vinegar.
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon pepper
    1 tablespoon capers
    ½ cup tomato sauce
    ½ cup seedless ripe olives, chopped
    1 lb rice
    1 cup peas, English
    1 cup Parmesan cheese.
    6 pimiento strips.
And here is how you do it:
Cut up the chicken and boil in the 8 cups of water until about half done. Pour off and reserve 6 cups of the broth. Sauté onions and ham, add chopped pimiento, garlic, oregano, vinegar, salt, pepper, capers, tomato sauce, and olives. Mix chicken well into this mixture. Then add rice and the 6 cups broth. Cook over medium slow heat until rice is tender then add the peas. Keep warm till ready to serve. Serve in large thick bowls, with a pimiento strip and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
That's a good warm solid Lenten supper.
A bottle of Mich will wash it all down.
An', don't worry Lent won't last much longer
So, Behave Til' Next Year.

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Irish Eyes

Senseless Censors and Pocket Science

It has been said that every editor should have a brother who is a pimp. To give him (the editor that is) somebody to look up to. Should every censor have a similar sibling?

There is a World Day Against Cyber censorship. It is celebrated every year on the twelfth of March . Should there be a world Day against the other sort of censors? My namesake, the critic Michael Lennon wrote that Ulysses was, "Not so much pornographic as physically unclean......” I am not in a position to agree with or contradict him. Because despite numerous attempts over the years I have not yet got to Molly Bloom’s “Yes I said yes I will yes.” Of course contrary to popular belief Ulysses wasn’t ever officially banned in Ireland so ninety-seven years after its publication I can’t blame the censor for my lack of erudition in that area.

However, though I am reluctant to use the word “victim”, for more than three score years I have been a soft touch for “censors” of various hues. Although in most cases I took Sam Goldwyn’s advice to, “Don’t even ignore them.”

As a bus inspector I once submitted a report on a complaint from an irate passenger. I had transcribed, verbatim, his objection which included many expletives, known in polite society as “the vernacular of the soldier.” My Divisional Manager asked me to change the wording, explaining, “I can’t ask the girls to type that. “

As fifteen year old, due to strict parental supervision, I was obliged to devour the exploits of The Ginger Man, Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield , and his fantasies about Miss Frost, in the semi-darkness of the cow-house in remote west Wicklow. While “the shelves of Patrick Kavanagh’s library” were the hedges of his small farm at Shankaduff my book collection was kept on the wall-plates of a thatched byre which lacked diurnal illumination. By the time I got my hands on “Goodbye to the Hill” a neighbour had moved out, his cottage was empty and I could savour the carryings on of Paddy Maguire around Ranelagh and Rathmines in relative comfort.

A wise man once said that if you want something to last for ever you should either carve it in stone or write a song about it. Although I grew up within spitting distance of Ballyknockan granite quarries I am no stone-cutter. But I did on occasions make a feeble effort to record local happening in ill metered verse. Court cases were threatened more than once but , sadly, didn’t materialise . And before you ask . . . I haven’t ever been prosecuted under the Obscene Publications act.

My verbosity didn’t escape censure either. My olfactory organ, you will have noticed, has a Grecian bend. And what, you may well ask ,has that got to do with censors? I didn’t acquire my nasal fracture through walking into a wall, falling down, or being hit accidently. No. It happened in Blessington fifty-five years ago when a civic-minded man, head-butted me on the grounds that I had been using un- parliamentary language in the company of females. The ultimate in censorship I think you will agree.

When my one-act Play, “A Wolf by the Ears” was staged by an amateur drama group in Kildare the producer removed just one line. “In case there would be somebody sensitive in the hall “, he said.

I have no way of knowing when I will be finished with censors but I know when it started. I was eight years old and it was 1954. The year that Sean O Faolain was commenting on the powers that were and their criticism of crossroad, dancing, V-necks, silk stockings and late dances. To this list of debauchery was added mixed bathing and advertisements for female underwear. And either close dancing or bikinis was a passport to Hell.

One Sunday my mother arrived home from first Mass with news. The curate, in a stentorian voice only a few decibels below that of a Redemptorist Missioner had warned the congregation against “turning over the pages of the rags of Fleet Street.” Despite her less than perfect eyesight my poor mother managed the decipher the small print on the back pages of my Beano and Dandy which showed that they were printed at D. C. Thompson’s outpost in Fleet Street. Dennis the Menace and The Bash Street Kids weren’t actually banned from the house but my father reckoned it was “the thin end of the wedge.”

My parents were unanimous in their belief that the relatively young Curate was well qualified to set the moral compass for the youth of west Wicklow. And why wouldn’t he; wasn’t his father a Guard in Bray?

* * * * * *

Pocket Science with A “Cats” Connection

In the rural Ireland of yesteryear one didn’t hear any complaints from women about the lack of pockets in female clothing. Younger women could carry their handkerchief in the sleeve and a housewife was able to carry anything from eggs to potatoes or cabbage in the upturned multi-functional apron.

But in the words of W.B. Yeats, things have changed, “Changed utterly.” In recent times many ladies will be heard to complain about the lack of pockets to hold mobile phones, Tablets, and many more appliances to which the female of the species is heir. A solution has been found: Sharon Doyle, now based in Florida, worked for sixteen years at General Mills in Cedar Rapids. She told me,
“I quit there and got into buying and fixing up properties to sell. My husband decided to retire early so we could spend part of the winter in Florida. He sold his business, and I sold my houses so we could be freed up. Not working was not a good thing for either one of us. 

Our only hobbies were biking and going to the gym. It's pretty hard and eventually boring trying to fill up your day with just that. There was a show on TV back then called Donny Doitch's Big Ideas. It was all about people who had or were in the process of inventing something. I kept telling my husband "you're smart; you should invent something so we have something to do." So, God used the weak and foolish instead (me).

I have always been pretty active, walking, going to the gym etc. I had all of these shorts and pants that had elastic waist band, and no pockets. Nowhere for me to carry Kleenex, chapstick, keys etc. I also did not like the options for cell phone carriers, so I was trying to figure out something that would accommodate my phone also. It seems to be true; necessity is the motherhood of invention. Initially I thought I would just try to figure out something I could rig up for myself. I tried using clips at first, but they weren't anywhere close to being strong enough. Magnets came to mind for some reason (God); it just kind of grew from there. Needless to say, I give all the credit to God. He has continuously put people and opportunity in place all along the way. So many stories I could tell, too many to remember. So blessed, and so thankful. I received a patent after 6 long years."

When Sharon’s husband told her that she was smart she didn’t let it go to her head or rest on her laurels. No. She founded Pockets Plus. I wondered about her surname so, of course, I asked. Sharon put me wise,
“My husband's (Kevin) great -great -grandfather immigrated to the US from Kilkenny on a ship from Cobh. He settled in Oxford, Iowa, and began farming. The story goes that he often talked about the Kilkenny Cats, a team he missed and had fond memories of. Kevin and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon, and spent 3 weeks exploring the beautiful country side. We stayed in many people's homes (B & B). Some pretty chilly mornings at times, but the incredible hospitality more than made up for it!”

Pocket Plus is a portable pocket that was designed to attach over your waistband and stays secure with magnets – no need for a belt or belt loops. Pocket Plus will attach around the handlebars of a bicycle, strollers, walkers, wheelchairs and even golf carts. It comes in three sizes. A great, inexpensive gift idea for someone of almost any age.

 Details on the Pocket Plus

* * * * * *

Wicklow athletes will be competing in the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in March

Shown in photo: Graham Hillick, Rukky Atiyota, Aisling Beacon, Padraig Reilly and Paul Condren in attendance at the Special Olympics Ireland official launch Team Ireland for the 2019 Word Summer Games at the Carlton Hotel Tyrellstown in Dublin. My old friend Padraig Reilly is second from right.

See you in April.

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Me, in A Nutshell

I capture the beauty, in photos I take
The birds, the sunsets, and sunrises when I wake
I write about them, with rhyming words
They take to flight, like the wings of the birds
I occasionally climb, my Family Tree
I find out about, the history of me
I get lost, in a good book
Images from them, I just have to look

You'll find me watching, my favorites on TV
I love a great imagination, with each show that I see
Every Friday, I love my Fish
You could say, it's my weekend dish

Riding my bicycle, on a beautiful day
Blue skies and white clouds, passing my way
I've been a Personal Care Aide, for thirty seven years
I treasured each experience, and shed some tears

Recently I've become a Senior Companion, a friend to the old
I seem to fit in here, is what I've been told
My life is ever changing, as I travel through time
To enjoy every moment, with this heart of mine
©Feb 26, 2017 Bud Lemire
                       Author Note:
In a Nutshell, this tells you a bit about me. Even though
with each subject and each interest, there is more to the
story. More to me. More to everything I do.

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Through the Alphabet

Through the alphabet I stumble
     Where my mind will often tumble
Choosing words that twitch my tongue
     Forming phrases that keep me young

For creativity is the key
     That holds away eternity
And gives purpose to each day
     As quietly I pursue my way

Guiding myself out of the dark
     Where my mind is prone to park
And indulge itself in grief and tears
     That could evolve into deeper fears

But closing that door, looking up
     Can soothe my soul as if t'were a cup
Filled to the very brim with smiles
     Can bolster my spirit for many miles

So it's really up to me
     Where I set my thoughts free
Whether in laughter and in joy
     Or with some deep grief I deploy

Up, sad soul with memories bleak
     Let happiness have time to speak
Let wonder return like a child's hope
     If I'm to learn new ways to cope

Let the ecstasy of just being
     The ebullience of seeing
Register on the plus side
     As imagination roams wide

Be within the moment, the hour
     Always the sweet, never the sour
Grateful for what has been
     Just living the life I'm in.

©Feb 27, 2019 Mary E. Adair

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I Love Your Blue Vest

Can you stay with me for awhile
I love the way that you smile
Maybe we could play a game or two
Because that would help me through

I love your vest, so bright and blue
Can I get one, just like you?
They are so comforting, uplifting to see
When you are sitting, right next to me

Time goes slow, as I sit here
The unknown future, causes so much fear
I really don't ask for that much
Your warm presence, is like a gentle touch

Yes, I'd love a game of cards with you
But with my mind, tell me what I should do
I can't remember, how I got this way
Yet, I still remember, my Wedding Day

You know, the other day, someone came by
Said they stopped in, just to say hi
I didn't know who it was, but they knew me
I keep trying to think, who they could be
I hate to talk too much, but I need to rest
But I must say, I love your blue vest 

©Feb 13, 2019 Bud Lemire
                       Author Note:
This actually happened to me at a place I was at. A resident
was looking at my blue vest and asked where she could get
one like mine. It surprised me, because I did wonder what
she was looking at. I guess she liked the blue color, and I
must admit, it is a beautiful blue. So, Senior Companions,
show off your blue vests, because “I Love Your Blue Vest”

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Behold the ground
Where golden dandelions glow
And their evanescent seedheads
Blow across the lawn this day!

Gone are the times, though,
When I would hold a stem
And wish my breath
Across the flower’s fluff.

For despite this February sunshine
I cannot help but think
About the love I’ve known
That now is flown away.

©2019 John I. Blair, 2/5/2019

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Journey Within A Book

Take a journey with me, within a book
Come on, let's see, let's take a look
The adventure will take us, to a far off place
I know with the books we've read, that is the case

 Let's cheer for the hero, with so much to do
Before this book, he was someone we hardly knew
Now we are hoping, that all will end well
We know it won't happen, without going through some hell

As more characters, pop up along the way
Each one a friend, that we hope will stay
The enemy arises, he's so very strong
The hero will prevail, his name in a song

Don't worry, about the blood and the gore
Ahead in this chapter, is so much more
The author knows, how to pull us in
With his master mind, I'm sure he will win

We just started this book, and it's almost done
And together we traveled, and sure had some fun
I'm so glad, you took the journey with me
Within a book, it's an adventure for thee
©Feb 3, 2019 Bud Lemire
                     Author Note:
What an adventure a book can take you on. It can
bring you places you never have been before. It can
put thoughts in your head, and just make you forget
that it is only a book. Until of course you put it down,
and realize, you are back in the real world. But, what
a place to go. What an adventure!

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Marriage - Sacred

My Beloved, My Life, My Own!
Long have I foresaw,
     planned yea, even prayed that God
     in wisdom and gracious love might
     grant me this.

My Beloved, My Life, My Own!
How little others knew of the warm
     and tender beating of my heart--
     love's tempo--when thoughts of
     you were winging thru' my mind!

My Beloved, My Life, My Own!
Can it be true? My fondest dream a dear
     reality? The object of my years of adoration
     mine? Can it be true?

My Beloved, My Life, My Own!
True? yes! True now and forever
     more. I know it as I hear you
     speak, "I love you, my wife."

©Forever More Linnie Jane Joslin Burks

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To Virginia

There are so many things I'm thankful for
     In this grand world of our's;
The soft, white snow, the gentle rain,
     The birds, the trees and flowers.

I'm thankful for the many friends
     I've met along life's way;
I'm thankful for their deeds of love
     And the words they've had to say.

I'm thankful for one special friend
     Who means so much to me;
A friend that I can always trust
     And she will faithful be.

I've tested and tried her friendship
     In many and various ways;
And she has proved to be my friend
     Through dark and sunny days.

It was springtime when I met her
     This girl I wish you knew;
With her sunny disposition
     And her friendship firm and true.

I loved her that first day we met
     I love her still the same;
She has made my life much happier
     Virginia is her name.

©October 1945 Carrie E. Joslin

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The Conversation

I go each week,
Sit there on the couch,
Talk to the man.

I tell of sleepless nights,
Long minutes silent in my chair
Without the will to move,

Forcing myself to eat
When I’ve no appetite,
No pleasure in the food.

These are symptoms,
Not the cause,
Not the dark root,

The root that snakes down
Through layered hopes,
Dreams, disappointments,

Slow comprehension
My life is not as I had thought
That it would be.

We haven’t settled
On a plan;
I don’t really see one.

But the conversation
Helps me feel
Someone understands,

Helps me pray
That facing my despair
Brings purpose to my days.

©2019 John I. Blair, 2/20/2019

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Missing the Point

Are we missing the point
Have we gone too far
Is everything out of sorts
Took a drive in my car

Are we over the edge
Do we reach the slow down
Can we get off this ride
Took a drive in to town

Have we heard too much on the news today
It’s the same old story in the same old way
Have we had enough of the lies and hate
Are we giving up as we are compelled to run away

Are we missing the point
Have we landed upside down
Is everything out of whack
Are we stuck on the ground
All I hear is this sound

Have we heard too much on the news today
It’s the same old story in the same old way
Have we had enough of the lies and hate
Are we giving up as we are compelled to run away

Are we lost and afraid
Have we reached the void
Can we start this day over again
Another lie and a ploy

Are we missing the point
Have we missed all the signs
Can we get off this track
We keep falling behind

©2/3/19 Bruce Clifford

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In "Dugbe"

One day I chanced to pass through "Dugbe" and I saw a face.
     I did not see it, mind you, in the milling throng--
For I was on my way to buy a dish,
     (They say it could be found if one would search)
A certain size and color--somewhat rare.
     But, on the morrow, quite alone with God, I saw the Face.

It was--
     the busy Ibo woman and her wares,
     the nurse on way to work who'd stop to shop.
     the girl, not in school, but selling yams,
     the Hausa butcher with his meat and bones...and beads,
     the Iya Agba with the lovely adire cloth.

The Face...the sheep without a shepherd, so it read.
     With open Bible then I sat as "It" passed by,
Where is it now? The Face - I cannot tell, I do not know.
     My dish? a treasure rare, is there upon the shelf.
(They say, in Dugbe, can be found what 'ere
     one wants the most...if one would search...)

 ©September 29, 1965  Linnie Jane Joslin Burks

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Houses and Their Ghosts

Oh Where Oh Where Can They Go?

It's got to cost a large fortune, but people seem to be doing it more and more; dismantling an entire home and moving it to a totally new location has become an activity lots of people are attempting.

I recently read about one such home being taken apart board by numbered board from a picturesque, calendar setting in Vermont, stacked like cordwood on a big old truck,and hauled off to the coast of California. Now whether this big, ancient weather-beaten old New England beauty will look particularly fitting plopped in a far out, what's happenin' kinda sun 'n surfin' bitchin' dude part of America is beyond the scope of my vision, but my guess would be that no, it would not.In my opinion, a magnificent all-seasoned farm home from Vermont would look in California the way a giraffe would look wandering about at the north pole.

I began to wonder about dismantling and moving old New England homes.I mean what about the ghosts? Now come on folks, face it. Everyone knows that nearly all old New England homes have resident ghosts, and the ones that don't, used to have, but they probably moved on to better hauntings. So, what about them?They've got rights just like anyone else, correct? After all, they were humans once. Well, still are actually, but now of the transparent persuasion.

Think about it. Here we have this nice, harmless ghost who wanders about the old homestead wearing his eighteenth-century cape and stuff, pretending it's still the old days of wenching and dueling, passing time when he's bored by occasionally scaring the living daylights out of the homeowners.

Occasionally out of an amused kindness, these ghosts let themselves be known to realtors because the word is that the value of many New England homes shoots through the roof when the place has a visible haunting; a little hooting, a few pieces of furniture thrown about, mirrors turned around, rocking chairs suddenly rocking, radios suddenly blaring, chairs pulled out behind someone just about to sit down--the usual stuff.

These poor beings have been happily floating about these beautiful old, creaky homes for centuries scaring or simply annoying the owners, and now suddenly they find their old homesteads are being torn apart, every piece numbered and all of it packed on board trucks and hauled away.

What do those ghosts do then? Do they float about the property and stare down into the big foundation hole? Do they cast about for another home to possess? Probably not.All the other homes already have their ghosts and as everyone knows, all ghosts are very territorial and are not into sharing.

So, with a sigh, they turn their sad faces toward the departing truck and with a mighty howl,they catapult through the air and settle into the truck and on top of the stacks of lumber which used to be the family manse parlour, and, hunched there, frightened and confused, they ponder their fates. Poor old, old poltergiests. Nobody likes to be abruptly uprooted. Change is often terribly hard on the very very very very elderly.

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