Sunday, November 1, 2020

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

November 2020

“The house was very quiet, and the fog—we are in November now—pressed against the windows like an excluded ghost.” ― E.M. Forster, Howards End

The Halloween this year boasts a seldom occurring Blue Moon, that is, it seldom occurs on Halloween. But here in the states, our view of it, except on the Pacific coast perhaps, was limited to none or only the setting. And what can we expect from November that is always ushered in on the doorstep of Halloween?

Perhaps we best look forward to Thanksgiving as it becomes less and less honored as stores begin pushing the Christmas giving a little earlier each year. Still, it is a family holiday and your editor's favorite one of the year.

The only author, however,  who mentioned food this issue (besides our Cooking columnist) is Marilyn Carnell in her column "Sifoddling Along" although not specifically Thanksgiving menus. Mattie Lennon, in "Irish Eyes" features the author Polly Hughes and along with a joke or two gives us the link to a radio play of his own.

Judy Kroll's column "On Trek" expresses her gratefulness on escaping the Oregon fires that had forced evacuation. Thomas F. O'Neill expounds on the differences governing arms and ammunition where he teaches and in America where he was born, in his column, "Introspective." John Blair in "View from My Back Steps" devotes his info to the beautiful Passion Flower.

"Armchair Genealogy" isn't genealogy this issue but a lively explanation why it isn't -- hint: the weather. Rod Cohenour serves up Russian Chicken, a pet recipe of his wife, in his column "Cooking with Rod."

Bruce Clifford has three poems: "This is Not My Country,"The Ride," and "Remember Me." Walt Perryman shares "American," "True Morning Thought," and "Re-run Aprons." Bud Lemire has pictures for three of his four poems, "Chaos 2020," "Your Friend," "This World Today," and "Say Achoo!" John Blair sent "The Cat's Meow" and "Sunflower."

Mike Craner who wears the Webmaster hat and is co-founder of this eZine keeps it humming along for which this person is thankful. The info about the Blue Moon was one of his bits of interest.

Look for us here again in December!

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

Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

An Historic Ice Storm cripples Oklahoma leaving a half million people (assume 2.5 average population per customer account with OGE announcement of 200,000 OKC homes without power) in Oklahoma City alone. My customary Armchair Genealogy column could not be sent as not only our electric service but our email service as well was out. Thus, my posts documenting our personal distress as well as that of our friends and neighbors in the area of this historic and tragic ice storm comprise this month's story.

First inklings: Winter ❄️❄️ Storm Warning Freezing 🥶 Rain 🌧️🌧️🌧️ until Noon today then rain (if temp gets above 32°) all day

Winter ❄️❄️❄️❄️ Storm Warning Continued. Large trees down in areas of town.

City of Bethany
Sheniqia Haynes • 10/29/2020
Tree Debris Removal Plan. In order to allow citizens sufficient time to gather storm limbs on their property, city crews will begin curb side tree limb debris removal on Monday, November 16th, at 6AM. This will be a free service.

Please have limbs cut to no longer than 10 feet in length and place them in a pile parallel and within 6 feet to the curb/ driving surface. Please keep limb piles away from water and gas meters, fences, vehicles and overhead obstructions.

KFOR TV: As of Friday morning, more than 200,000 customers statewide are still without power, including about 116,000 in Oklahoma City. OG&E officials said more customers will have power restored every day. Their current estimated time of restoration is as follows: Woodward - by Sunday night. Enid - by Sunday night.

All other areas - by the end of next week. Officials said they are unable provide estimates for specific addresses at this time. As they continue to restore power, they will provide more updates to restoration estimates.

We know many of you are still dealing with power outages related to this statewide ice storm. Please know our crews are working day and night to get all customers back up as quickly and safely as possible. Since Monday, we have restored power for more than 230,000 customers. We have over 3,500 restoration personnel in the field (representing 18 states) working to restore power for our customers. This is the largest contingent of assistance in our history.

So far we've found 639 poles, 566 crossarms, 91 transformers and 178 transmission structures that have been damaged or destroyed.

We expect to restore power for customers in Woodward and Enid by Sunday. A majority of the Oklahoma City metro is expected by Tuesday. The remaining service area is expected to be restored between Wednesday, Nov. 4 and Friday, Nov. 6. We will restore power for thousands of customers every day and will update restoration estimates as they become available.

In the meantime, it is important to make sure your home is ready to receive power. If your weather head, service cable or meter socket is damaged you will need to contact a certified electrician to make necessary repairs before service can be restored to your home. Facebook Twitter Instagram © 2020 OGE Energy Corp.

This email was sent by OGE Energy Corp. PO Box 321 Oklahoma City, OK 73101-0321, US

Beautiful but deadly Ice. Photo by Melissa Bradshaw.

With some daughter help we will make it in spite of the damage to our fifteen trees (See pic below: Fallen Limbs photo by Melissa Bradshaw) and next month we expect to be able to resume our regular column "Armchair Genealogy."

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour


This month I want to feature another of my sweet wife's wonderful recipes. Although she got the original recipe when her butcher's wife shared the four ingredient delight (chicken, soup mix, Apricot preserves and Russian dressing), she found our family's taste preferences required a few changes. Thus, the addition of onions, pineapple, and (most appreciated) the drained, sliced water chestnuts made the recipe her own.

Bon appetit~!

  • 1 Cut up chicken (Or equivalent weight chicken breasts or thighs or mixture
  • 2 bottles Russian Dressing (Kraft or Wishbone (one to cook with chicken and one to augment sauce to serve)
  • 1 pkg. Lipton Beefy Onion seasoning Soup mix
  • 2 small jars Apricot preserves or jam (save one for sauce)
  • 1 four (4) oz. can water chestnuts, sliced, drained
  • 1 or 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz) pineapple chunks, drained. Preserve liquid to prepare sauce


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • Steamed white rice (prepare while chicken bakes and keep warm and fluffy)


    1. Arrange chicken pieces in Pyrex baking dish. Top with onion slices, water chestnuts and pineapple.
    2. In a large bowl mix together one bottle of the Russian Dressing, Lipton Onion Soup mix and Apricot preserves. Blend by stirring.
    3. Pour over chicken pieces in baking dish, making sure to cover well.
    4. Bake at 325 ° for 35 minutes. Remove dish to flip chicken pieces. Bake another 15 minutes.
    5. Remove chicken, water chestnuts and pineapple to serving dish. Using a spatula, scrape remaining sauce into a saucepan. Add second bottle of Russian Dressing and second jar of Apricot preserves, whisk while heating. If desired, you can thicken the sauce by whisking in a slurry of 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour seasoned with a dash of ground black pepper. Stir continuously while bringing to a soft boil. When at desired thickness, pour into serving bowl or gravy dish.
    6. Serve over drained rice. Excellent paired with broccoli

Delicious! Can add sliced almonds

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

A Wake Story and Winter Reading

I was told this story at a wake in Dunlavin many years ago. I don’t remember where I put my keys or if I turned off the immersion but here is that story verbatim:

       “When I was about 7 years old, I accompanied my father to the funeral of a co-worker of his, someone I didn't even know. When we got there, I stood in a corner waiting for the time to pass. A bitter looking man approached me and said, "Enjoy life kid, enjoy it because time flies. Look at me now, I didn't enjoy it." Then he passed his hand over my head and left. My father, before leaving took me with him to pay respects to his friend. When I looked in the coffin, I was horrified to see that the man in the coffin was the same man who had spoken to me! I was so traumatized I couldn't sleep properly. I had terrible nightmares. I was terrified of being alone. I saw many psychologists, endured much turmoil throughout my adolescent years. It got better as I aged, but I would still occasionally wake up screaming in fear. It was many years later when I discovered something remarkable that completely changed my life. That bastard had a twin.”

There's a new conspiracy documentary on Netflix about Covid 19. Two guys from the Wuhan Research Institute, where Trump suspects it was engineered, were due to get on flight MH370 which miraculously disappeared. Seems they were the guys behind the development of the new strain and intending to use it as a weapon, someone caught wind of their plans and purposefully downed the plane. Neither of them got on the flight though. Have a look it's really interesting, it's called two Wongs don't make a flight.

Lockdown and long winter nights ahead. I can’t suggest anything more appropriate than the works of Polly Hughes. I’ll let her explain it herself. (The only thing about her missive is that she is far too kind to me in it.)

      “I always loved Ireland, from stories at my Grandma’s knee to the time I first set foot on dear Erin’s soil. As a child I was one of those dreamers, reprimanded at school for wasting my time writing silly stories and making a nuisance of myself with school newsletters, but of course writers will write and it stayed with me.

      I found myself freelancing, contributing articles for magazines and newspapers on subjects that interested me, as by now I was married with a family. Later after visiting with friends in Ireland, I set up a web magazine for Irish poets and writers, IrishpoetsWorldwide, something that was in those days ahead of its time, and indeed it did have a worldwide following. This is how I met Mattie; he wrote a very popular monthly column for us and was part of the team.

      Of course, life moved on, my family grew and my husband and I travelled, enjoying a kind of retirement, until eventually we settled just across the sea, where on a clear day I can see Ireland from my home. Then came 2020 with Lockdown, and for me this was time to write those novels that had been for so long in my mind, and so Paws for a Tail, a book of short stories to read with your coffee and keep in your heart, and the Trilogy, The Reincarnation Series, dealing with repercussions through time, romance with a twist of horror, set in UK, USA and culminating in Ireland, were published in August.

      Was that the end? As I said writers write, so a website was created but it quickly changed from a project about me to market my books, to a platform of entertainment for everyone who has shown such interest, as suddenly I find myself surrounded by friends. Mattie is helping again as I reach out to my Irish readers, beginning with his feel- good ballad, sung and put to music by John Hoban as part of the November issue, and with something special planned for December.

      Over the past few weeks, I have been contacted by people, who probably thanks to our social media campaign, remember me from IrishpoetsWorldwide, they are wishing to submit poetry. A friend in Canada suggested that I might put together and publish a book of inspirational Irish poetry reflecting us all as we step into the uncertain world of the new normal in 2021. If anyone would be interested in submitting for this, please let me know, it could be a project in the making.

      If you would like to contact me you can reach me through the website

      Don’t miss Mattie’s ‘There is a Brightness’ ballad this month, and if you are interested, all my books are featured with a ‘Look inside’ feature and a link to Amazon. "With Love and Intrigue.”, Polly L Hughes writing romance with a twist of horror pollyLhughes,com

      Polly Hughes's YouTube channel is now up and running . It includes a Ballad There's a Brightness at the But of the Wind, which I wrote about twenty years ago. It didn't mean much at the time but now in the middle of a global pandemic perhaps it maes more sense. It was put to music by John Hoban and he can be heard singing it here. Polly Hughes Celtic Inspirations

* * * * *

      Whether you saw Hawkins House as a Dublin landmark or an eyesore it is about to be demolished. The attached "In the Hut" is a short radio play which I wrote some years ago. It is set in the security hut of Hawkins House. It probably won't mean much to anyone who didn't ever work in road passenger transport.

In The Hut.wav
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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Memorable Encounters with New Foods

Fall is harvest time, so I am reminded of foods and their importance in our lives. My readers may not know that I am a retired Food Scientist and Registered Dietitian. My career choices were heavily influenced by my interest in foods and nutrition. I grew up eating an organic “American” diet. It was organic because that was the way food was produced until the second half of the 20th Century. We ate home grown chickens, eggs, milk, beef, pork, the products of my Mom’s garden augmented by purchased apples, grapes, peaches, melons in season, dried pinto beans, flour, corn meal, spices, sugar and coffee. My Dad’s contribution was game and fish. The result was balanced and healthful diet that had been common for generations and was still followed in the Ozark Mountain culture of my youth.

As I grew older, I began to learn about new foods and expanded my dietary experiences. Some I adopted and some I vowed to never touch again.

I vividly remember my first encounter with pizza. I was 13 years old and visiting a dear friend, Judy R. in Oklahoma. One night we drove to Oklahoma City for dinner. My first slice tasted like heaven on a plate. It was absolutely delicious and so different from anything I had ever eaten before. I still love pizza and am still in touch with Judy. Some things in life are worth continuing.

My brother introduced us to Spaghetti Bolognese (we called it spaghetti with meat sauce, having no idea how to pronounce Bolognese). Bill’s college roommate was an Italian boy from St. Louis who shared his mama’s recipe. It was my “go to” company dish for years.

Later, Joyce, my new sister-in-law introduced me to tacos. Mmm. So good and so much fun to assemble to my taste. They are still a favorite.

While working as a waitress at Ginger Blue (a local resort) I discovered Country Ham with Red Eye Gravy. Not a promising sounding recipe, but a fried ham steak swimming in a sauce made from the drippings and hot coffee is quite good. I haven’t eaten it since but remember it well.

I moved to Minnesota as a young wife and learned about Lutefisk. It is a popular addition to Christmas menus in some restaurants. A Swedish colleague insisted I try it. We went to a nearby high-end restaurant and ordered it. First of all, I should have been suspicious when I learned it was codfish treated with lye, dried and finally reconstituted for cooking. The result was a fishy tasting translucent gel served with boiled potatoes. My friend said it was “almost as good as her grandmother’s”. I marked it off my list of “things to try”.

Another menu item I found unpleasant was raw oysters. I had my first one in the New Orleans French Quarter where they are very popular. I ate one. It reminded me of having a very bad cold. Twenty years later, I decided perhaps I had been hasty and tried another. It confirmed my original conclusion.

On the plus side, New Orleans Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce is a keeper. I tried it at several restaurants and the one at the Bon Ton Café on Magazine was the best by far. (Once the pudding was a way of using up the French bread returned from tables, but the Health Department took a dim view of that, so now it is made from scratch). They willingly share the recipe. The waitress whispered “Honey, the secret is cheap bourbon”.

A vacation to the Wisconsin Door Peninsula was memorable due to our dining at a Fish Boil. It sounds dreadful, but it is a literal description of the outdoor preparation of white fish in a huge black cauldron. The big finish is tossing some kerosine on the fire so the cooking water overflows carrying away the fishy tasting oils. The meal is served on cafeteria trays with boiled potatoes, green beans, cherry pie and a roll. All I can say is I ate it and have no need to repeat the experience. It was dramatic, I’ll admit.

While living in New Jersey, my husband and I went to a fancy French restaurant. (Other than Filet Mignon, it is a mystery to me why the French treasure foods that I regard as offal. Liver and Sweet Breads are heavily featured, for example. I decided to try the Lapin. My mom had prepared fried rabbit, so I thought it would be good. When the whole naked rabbit covered with a thin sauce arrived, my appetite disappeared. I won’t repeat what it reminded me of. I will say their desserts garnished with spun sugar were delicious.

To end on a pleasant note, I discovered ginger ice cream in China Town in San Francisco. I still remember its creamy, tangy taste some 50 years later.

Now I eat an organic diet whenever possible. It is no surprise that it is more expensive because it has become desirable to those who see value in keeping their diet as simple as possible.

Does anyone know where I can get an organic pizza?

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View from My Back Steps

By John I. Blair

Passion in a Pot

I live in the South and have lived here more than half a century. Things are different here than they were in Kansas where I’m originally from. One of the many differences is the vegetation. In Texas we have azaleas, we have magnolias, we have camellias (or at least a few people do). And we also have a rather strange and often quite beautiful plant called passionflower.

Unlike azaleas, camellias, and at least some of the magnolias, passionflowers are a native plant here. A wildflower in some areas. It’s attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. It’s attractive to people. But until recently I had never hosted a passionflower in my home garden.

There are so many varieties of passionflower (more than 550) I have no idea what kinds grow here in north Texas (most are from Mexico and central America). But they’re pretty, when you see them. So, a couple of years ago at a sale of native plants, I purchased a tiny passionflower in a plastic pot and brought it home. I placed it alongside other potted plants. And proceeded to forget about it.

When I finally remembered it again, at first I thought the passionflower had died. That year it produced only a couple of leaves, lost under the thriving plants next to it.

Purple Passion Flower amid Green Leaves

The next year, there was more action – a plant maybe eight inches tall with a dozen leaves. The vining qualities (little curling tendrils that grabbed anything in the vicinity) were obvious. Still no flowers. And the third year it got yet a bit bigger, climbing up a nearby ironweed with a tall, sturdy stem. Still no flowers.

This year it has started running rampant, ranging across several pots and using whatever vertical stuff it finds as an improvised trellis. Looks like my passionflower is here to stay – except it’s still growing out of a little pot about the right size to grow a bunch of parsley. And still no flowers, which were the original motive for growing it at all. Three years of this makes it about time for me to stop being lazy and learn something more about Passiflora – the Latin name for the genus.

“They are mostly tendril-bearing vines, with some being shrubs or trees. They can be woody or herbaceous. Passion flowers produce regular and usually showy flowers with a distinctive corona. The flower is pentamerous and ripens into an indehiscent fruit with numerous seeds.” So – time to dig out my dictionary. “Herbaceous” means perennials that die to the ground each year. I already knew that. A “corona” means a fringelike crown of floral parts. “Pentamerous” means a flower that consists of five parts. “Indehiscent” means the fruit does not open at maturity to discharge its seeds. Wow.

Passiflora umbilicata (tendril)

“Tendril” I already knew, because I’ve grown morning glories and have long been plagued by lots of invasive vines that wrap little “arms” around the stems of other plants in order to climb. (Instead of wrapping their entire selves as do, for example, ivy and honeysuckle and Cocculus carolinus.)

Most importantly, I learned that my kind of passionflower needs lots of sunshine before it will bloom. So my next project, likely, will be to move it from my partly shaded patio to my sunny front garden and provide it something to climb on, like a trellis. That would be nice!

I have a little sprig of passionflower on my desk to look at while writing this. The leaf is dark green and has five irregular lobes, the largest about an inch in length. The tendril for climbing comes out two inches and ends in a very tightly curled “spring” because it never found anything to wrap around.

Footnotes: Passionflowers get their names because many people find Christian religious symbolism in the shape of the flower. Some passionflowers bear edible fruit (passionfruit) that can occasionally be found in grocery stores, either fresh or in various processed forms, including fruit juice. But be warned – other passionflowers bear poisonous fruit.

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On Trek


By Judith Kroll


This is our sanctuary. Almost 17 Acres surrounded by beautiful trees, creeks, and magnificent wildlife that treat us with their visits.

About a month ago, We had raging fires in Oregon. We had one about a mile from us. We had to evacuate, leaving behind our life of 11 years at this location. We had no idea if we were coming back to ashes, or our sanctuary. The Locals in our area went to work immediately to help fight the fires, as our Fire dept. Was called to work in a different area.

The locals fought day and night with what equipment they had, and others who couldn’t fight helped by bringing food for those young men and women, and supplies they might need to battle the smoke, and flames.

They did manage to save our homes, in the area. They did an awesome job. We are forever grateful. Our lives will never be the same, because we live in an area where this could easily happen again. This is the first time for our area here. We know California suffers from this yearly, but now I can truly understand the feelings that these folks suffer. Move? Where, it can happen anytime. Lightning, one fire was started because a car had troubles, and caught on fire. People being careless causes them as well. We are all learning. Being prepared is a great lesson to learn, and not just for the boy scouts!!

I love our planet, we must learn to do better in taking care of it.
Judith Oct. 2020

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

The greatest ammunition at our disposal is not disbursed through the barrel of a gun but through, thoughtful actions, right speech, and an understanding heart.

When I first arrived in China back in 2009, I noticed quickly that crime is relatively low here, especially, violent crime; it’s mostly due to the illegality of gun ownership.

China with four times the population of America has far fewer criminals. Many sociologists say the social stigma of being labeled a thief in China is a greater deterrent than a prison sentence. I also noticed that China doesn’t have the number of drug crimes that America is now plagued with. Most crimes in America are drug-related but China isn’t overwhelmed with those issues.

My students in my cultural diversity class are fascinated by the availability of weapons in America. Their perception of gun ownership in the U.S. is greatly influenced by the world media coverage of America’s high crime rate.

Many of my students see the U.S. as a gun-toting society with its citizenry hell-bent on getting their way with a gun in hand. Violent films and news broadcasts give the impression that America is a dark and dangerous place to live. I, however, tell my students that most Americans are not criminals waiting for an opportunity to rob or steal.

The right to bear arms is not something you will find in China. That is certainly a good thing and it makes for great conversations in my classes. I tell my students that you must practice common sense when it comes to personal property especially in America because thefts do take place. But not everyone in the U.S. walks around with weapons to protect themselves and their property.

In 2011, one of my students said, “guns are like toys for most Americans,” and she went on to say, “the weapons they own is a sign of their immaturity and insecurities.”

In 2010, a popular program in China showed security camera footage of a man walking into a convenience store in Florida with a holstered pistol. The footage of him was like something out of an old cowboy movie. As he stood in front of the clerk at the checkout, a man walked up behind the gun tooting man and pulled the pistol out of the man’s holster. He used it to demand that all the money be handed to him from the cashier, and after receiving cash in hand. The robber removed the bullets from the pistol and handed the gun back to its rightful owner. He then apologized to the clerk and walked out of the store. The video went viral on social media not just in China but throughout the world. People overseas use these types of videos to make our country and gun advocates in America look stupid.

I once told my students in a class that “in times of struggle gun owners are usually killed by their own weapon.” I then went on to say, “there are more guns in America than people.” My students always laugh at those statements and the statements are always followed up with many insightful comments from my students.

I find the Chinese here to be relatively honest, nonviolent, and on the most part helpful. I never worry about my personal belongings being stolen because from my personal experiences I never had anything stolen here. I never have to lock my apartment door because I know when I return everything will be there as I left it.

In 2009, an American couple left an unwanted shirt in their Hotel room in Shanghai. A Hotel employee showed up at the Shanghai train station on his own to return the shirt to them. They tried to give the Hotel employee a tip for his trouble, but he refused to take it. That experience left a huge impression on that couple and it was something they never experienced before. They said to me “experiences like that are not something you can easily describe to a person because China’s culture is not something that can easily be expressed in words it is something you have to experience.”

China was not always free from crime though because the country did and still has its share of criminal organizations. Criminals here still ignore intellectual property rights and they illegally copy popular products. In 2009, BlackBerry phones were hot items for bootleggers. Today, various brand name wristwatches, computer operating systems, and brand name clothes are copied and sold on the streets of Shanghai. You can still buy fake Rolex watches here that look like the real deal, and fake brand name smartphones on China’s city streets. Counterfeit currency is another criminal enterprise here. The China Government must continually come up with ways to make it more difficult for criminals to print fake currency.

In 2008, the Shanghai Daily Newspaper ran a story about a pickpocket ring in the Northern city of Xinjiang and the elaborate distractions the criminals came up with to pick your pocket. It was News because of the boldness of the criminals.

In the Chinese City of Fujian an illegal smuggling operation of human cargo was shut down in 2008 and the criminals were given long prison sentences. Some of the people who were smuggled out of China illegally found themselves in various U.S. cities forced into prostitution.

There were about 270 cities in China in 2010 that saw a huge rise in cellphone thefts. The reselling of stolen phones was a huge criminal enterprise. Today, however, the tracking of stolen phones has become a huge deterrent for criminals. The cellphone companies in China can turn a stolen phone off and make it impossible for a thief to use it. China is now beginning to utilize even greater technology to curb the theft of cellphones with GPS tracking and other locator software. Modern cellphones cannot be completely turned off enabling the phone to be tracked which has also become a huge deterrent for thieves.

Artificial intelligence technology and facial recognition software have also become a huge crime-fighting tool. There are cameras everywhere in the most populous country on earth. If you commit a crime it is only a matter of time that you will be tracked and caught. Law enforcement can track down criminals by user apps and facial recognition security cameras. Artificial intelligence facial recognition technology has brought the crime rate down to an all-new low making the Chinese society a relatively peaceful society.

I’m not able to adequately describe the cultural differences between America and China nor can I explain why crime is so much higher in the U.S. There is however something deeply ingrained in China’s culture that sets them apart from much of the problems that are currently plaguing our American society. I believe the U.S. is losing touch with its core values and principles that led to our greatness. At the same time, many in America still communicate the traditional values that resonate within our nation's core principles. Those core principals set our country apart, attracting our ancestors to our shores, they were the ones who built our great nation.

One simple lesson I learned from my Grandparents if you are kind and respectful others will be kind and respectful in return. That insight is also ingrained in China’s culture and it is also something we can all learn from through experience and practice. I didn’t have to travel halfway around the world to be kindhearted and respectful towards those around me. It was already instilled in me from my Grandparents from a young age. I also discovered over the years that what you give to others is returned to you in, greater fold, and that is something I have experienced firsthand.

I always tell my students our self-worth is not determined by our material possessions. Our self-worth is ultimately determined by what we give to others. The average Chinese person seems to understand that better than us average Americans.

Our American Founding Fathers believed in Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but to find true happiness, we must first have the life and liberty to bring happiness to others. The happiness I was seeking when I first came to China was already within me, but I didn’t discover that happiness until I shared it with others. I think that is why I enjoy the company of my students and why they enjoy my company.

My students want to learn all they can about the American culture and at the same time, I am gaining tremendous insights about China’s culture and its rich traditions.

Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
    Phone: (800) 272-6464
    WeChat: Thomas_F_ONeill
    U.S. Voice mail: (410) 925-9334
    China Mobile: 011 (86) 13405757231
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill

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This World Today

 By Bud Lemire

Just when you think it's safe, the numbers start rising
Seeing people without masks, it's not too surprising
Many are keeping their distance, at least they try
In hopes that this virus, will pass them by

Yet, sometimes the virus will get to those who try their best
There are even times, when the virus fools the test
I guess the best way, is to catch it at the very start
If you don't feel normal, to the Hospital you must dart

As this world keeps on turning
There's so much we're still learning
For many, there's still hope
For many, they're too weak to cope

In this world today, we've discovered each day to be a blessing
Alive and breathing, life surely is the greatest lesson
What will you do with the time, while you live
For me, it's always rewarding to share, so I give

I share with others, what I do best
I'm always thankful, to have been blessed
I've been taking life, day by day
To me, that is truly, the human way

©September 27, 2020 Bud Lemire

                                  Author Note:

This world today is so much different than the world last year.
Ever since the Covid spread to our part of the world, we
have to take so many safety measures. Some of you may
not believe it to be a big threat. Not until you, or someone
close to you gets it, and sometimes dies. Wear the mask,
wear the gloves, take your temperature daily, and be sure
to know your body and how it feels. If it feels off the normal
get checked out before it's too late. Be safe, instead of sorry..


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Re-run Aprons

 By Walt Perryman

If I asked you what an apron is, what would be your guess?
It was a garment Grandmas wore to protect their dress.

It was used for drying children’s tears,
Then used to clean out their dirty ears.

It was used to carry eggs from the chicken coup,
And there might have been a little chicken poop.

Vegetables from the garden her apron could carry a lot.
And even clean them up so she could put them in a pot.

If unexpected company came this is what an apron was for.
Grandma could dust the house before they got to the door.

There may have been a few germs that may very well be,
If anyone got sick from grandma’s apron no one told me.

Some people think aprons were dirty that may be true.
But, what other garment can do, what an apron can do?

©2020 Walt Perryman

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Your Friend

 By Bud Lemire

Whether I am a Republican or Democrat, try to comprehend
Politics shouldn't play any role, I should always be your friend
Not everyone, will think the same as you
You may think you're right, but you are just untrue

“If you don't believe as I do, please leave my page”
Those words shouldn't come, you need to act your age
A wise person knows wisdom, but also knows his heart
And won't let stupidity, tear a friendship apart

Words that are released, can never be taken back
So use extreme caution, with the way you act
Everyone has a choice, on everything they choose
Rudeness is a category, that only brings bad news

I have many friends, not every one thinks exactly as I do
Freedom of choosing what they want, makes friendship stick like glue
Being different, is what makes each of us unique
From the clothes we wear, to the way we speak

I can be true, and still be a friend
Accept my choices, so our friendship won't end
Let our friendship, stand straight and never bend
Life is too short, so let me always be Your Friend

©October 6, 2020 Bud Lemire

                            Author Note:

With the politics and people getting too far out
of hand, and with hearing about someone who
actually told someone else to stay away from them
if they voted for someone other than who they
voted for. It doesn't get any more stupid than that.
When you've had a friend for years, and find out
they voted for the opposite party than you did.
It's their choice, and they should remain a friend.
Freedom of choice. Nothing like that should
ever come between good friends.

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The Ride

By Bruce Clifford

Fighting from both sides
Taking yourself out for a ride
Crying from within
Each lost day not knowing where to begin

Running from the outside
Empty hearts beating from side to side
Motion sickness and despair
Wondering if anyone really cares

All these ups and downs
In and outs
Lost in the clouds

All these pointless days
The casualties of war get in the way
Gets in the way

Flying from the obtuse
Taking the highway out on the loose
Living on the far side
Perpetual wonders are swinging in stride

Looking from the inside
False sense of sanity in our hearts and minds
Motion sickness and despair
Wondering if anyone thinks it’s fair

All these ups and downs
In and outs
Lost in the clouds

All these pointless days
The casualties of war get in the way
Gets in the way

Fighting from both sides
Taking yourself out for a ride

©10/7/2020 Bruce Clifford

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The Cat's Meow

 By John I. Blair

Is it coincidence
The sound of cats meowing
Stimulates the same part of our brain
As the sound of babies crying?

Ten thousand years ago
On the isle of Cyprus
A man was buried with a cat –
Oldest hint of cats and humans bonding.

That in turn implies
Shared voyages in tiny craft,
Anxious humans, cats
Meowing at the warm waves,

Grain-filled baskets,
Swarming rats and mice,
Hungry folk in villages,
And pouncing cats.

Though we may no longer need
Assistance from our cats
(Nor they from us)
We’ve come to need each other,

Linking still through meows in ways
Neither could have guessed
While living under
Sunny Cyprus skies.

©2020 John I. Blair, 10/17/2020

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By Walt Perryman

America has many different types of people around,
Some are flying high; some never get off of the ground.
Some Americans are givers, and some are takers,
We have some real deals, and we have many fakers.
We have some smart people and some that are not,
We have many with no money and a few with a lot.
We are from different colors and different races,
We are also a country of happy and sad faces!
We are losing the freedoms that we once knew,
No one can fix-it but Americans like me and you.
If you are on the left in the middle or on the right,
To survive we’ll have to stand together and fight.
But, we had better get together if it’s not too late,
If we don’t, we’re facing a deadly and terrible fate.
If we don’t stand together we are bound to fail,
Our once proud America will become pure hell.
Some of us believe in God and some of us don’t,
Unless we ask for his help then he probably won’t.
I am sorry but I believe this is all American’s fault,
Even me, I am an American and my name is Walt.

©2020 Walt Perryman
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Chaos 2020

 By Bud Lemire

A Mother cried
Her son had died
A virus spread
It claimed the dead

A man screamed “Wear The mask!”
Was it really, too much to ask
“Oh it's just a political scam”
Did anyone really give a damn

“They can't make us do, what we don't want to do!”
As more people passed away, and it wasn't the Flu
He pulled down his mask to say
“That's not how you do it Mr. Wrongway”

As the rise in the virus rose
Masks covered the mouth and nose
Yet still, there were those with a bare face
Whose fingers were touching, all over the place

“Don't breathe on me, without a mask on, please!”
“You're standing too close, six feet away with your knees”
Keeping your distance, and the mask on your face
Protects you, and the whole human race

Follow the health rules, and you'll be okay
You'll be at risk, if you're Mr. Wrongway
The chaos spread, and there was more of the stuff
All over the world, people cried “Enough Is Enough

©October 26, 2020 Bud Lemire

                              Author Note:

Individuals have their own thoughts on what is really
happening in this world during the Covid pandemic.
I want to believe it was a political hoax, yet I know
it isn't. I am wise enough to wear the mask. When I
see people not wearing it, I think, where are their minds?
Would the Governor request things, if it wasn't for our own
good? I think not, she seems like a smart lady. Wise up people!.

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Remember Me

By Bruce Clifford

Remember me
A dose of reality
Lost in fantasy
A glimpse of you and me

Faded times
The shallow and long goodbyes
Cutting off those hurtful ties
Remembering the look in your eyes

Remember me
A dose of reality
Lost in fantasy
All that was meant to be

©10/28/2020 Bruce Clifford

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 By John I. Blair

What joy transpires
Each time a sunflower
Drops its seeds!

A dry shell wrapped
Around an oily sliver
Hits the ground,

Then lies there, still,
Till something shields it,
Wets it, warms it.

Given those
Unguaranteed events
It comes alive.

A stem and leaves
Pop out one tip
And seek the sky;

A root creeps out
The other end
In quest of water.

Almost overnight
That seed
Becomes a plant,

An inch at first, a foot,
Three, then towering six
Or even nine feet tall

And bursts with bloom,
All gold and brown
And radiant,

Sets new seed,
Repeats the miracle
Of life continued.

®2020 John I. Blair, 10/17/2020

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True Morning Thought

 By Walt Perryman

If you don’t like to feel the need to lie, try this out,
Don’t do anything bad enough you need to lie about.

Anyone that doesn’t feel a need to tell a lie,
Chances are they haven’t needed too is why.

Sometimes the truth can make other people mad,
And other times the truth can make them feel sad.

But, if you always tell the truth people will trust you,
And telling the truth is a lot easier to remember too!

©2020 Walt Perryman

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Say Achoo!

 By Bud Lemire

I know, I know, you already knew
It's that time again, to say Achoo
Itchy eyes, making it hard to resist
I sneeze and blow, and that's not the twist

My nose keeps running, and it's hard to breathe
Just as I'm getting comfortable, I start to sneeze
We won't talk about the state of my hair
When I sneeze, it flies everywhere

I lost my appetite once, had chicken broth instead
I could be Rudolph, because my nose is so red
I call them Hellergies, because you sure go through Hell
But after that I'll need a nap, because it suits me well

What's all that stuff doing in the air
I sneeze and sneeze, and then start to swear
Those allergies, won't give me a break
My nose runs more, with each breath I take

I know there's many remedies, to help us get through
It didn't work for me, but it might work for you
An allergy pill, and maybe it will go away
But it always comes back, the very next day

Let's sneeze together in harmony, and then blow our nose
And shiver our timbers, right down to our toes
I sneeze so strongly, and then let a fart
I think my body, is falling apart

©September 3, 2020 Bud Lemire

Author Note:

Red eyes that itch, sneezing, running nose, congestion, hard
to breathe. Yep, it's allergy time again. Seems like it zaps
all my energy.

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This Is Not My Country

By Bruce Clifford

This is not my country
This is not my world
This is not my planet
This is not my god

This is not my promise
This is not my dream
This is not my belief
This is not my thing

Why are we here
What has become of a country we once knew
Why are we here
Why won’t they care

This is not my country
This is not my land
This is not my freedom
This is not my stand

This is not my vision
This is not my pride
This is not my decision
This is not my divide

Why are we here
What has become of a country we once knew
Why are we here
Why won’t they care

Why won’t they care
Why won’t they care
This is not my country

©10/1/2020 Bruce Clifford

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