Friday, October 1, 2021

Editor's Corner


 

By Mary E. Adair

October 2021

“October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve
my smile into a thousand pumpkins....
Merry October!"”
— Rainbow Rowell


October arrives on a weekend which almost shouts "Time to Party!" Time for planning ahead so pumpkins can be found and Jack o'lanterns created. Halloween costumes can be a big decision because creativity must meet budget requirements, but must be worthy of providing satisfaction or a startling surprise. A holiday not just for kids, but one to exercise one's imagination.


Only one author sent something that could make one think of that annual Scary Day, with Pauline Evanosky's column "Woo Woo" relating her one Ghost Busting job. John Blair's "View from My Back Steps" presents an informative treatise for identifying North Texas trees. Melinda Cohenour delivers details on how one can use the internet, specifically Ancestry.com to fill out a person's genealogy tree using info with DNA and Shared Matches.


Dayvid Bruce Clarkson's "Reflections of the Day" flows right off the page and into one's heart. He has such a charmiing way of making a point or sharing his thoughts. Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" is thought provoking as she tells how some people when grieving feel guilty not knowing what their loved one expects of them now.


Mattie Lennon (Irish Eyes) reviews two books by Michael Gerard Kenny, telling about the author's life and occupation (other than writing) and adds facts about Kenny's father who inspired him. Marilyn Carnell (Sifoddling Along) subtitles her column this issue as The Original Pineville which she says was once rather rough and woolly.


Thomas O'Neill (Introspective) was recently interviewed on the Sam Lasante TV show about his teaching in China. He shares the link to hear the YouTube interview. Rod Cohenour (Cooking with Rod) Brings to the table his innovative recipe for Rod's Tamale Pie which will bring you to the table to enjoy.


Dayvid Bruce Clarkson also has a poem this month, "Time to Head for The Dreamscape." Marie Stringile consented to share her poem "Good Morning" Her first appearance in this eZine. Check out her bio. Yours truly adds "Pain" to the poetry segment, an extract from the 2003 article "Tribute of a Patient."


"Bud Lemire's poems for this issue are "Don't Change the Name," "Behind The Old Jailhouse," and "A Country Song." John I. Blair sent one poem, "Unwelcome Immigrants" that will make you consider your feelings. Bruce Clifford shares two of his titled: "I Can't Imagine" and "Make Some Sense." Walt Perryman's three poems are "A Woman's Hands," "Tom Murray," and "Rambling On about God, You, and Me."


Saying again, Mike Craner and wife Susie, dear friends, support and assist in our efforts to keep this informational and entertaining publication viable despite the many demands, business, family, and personal in their lives. I admire and bless them every day. Thanks, Mike, for keeping our pencilstubs perking along.

We will see you in November!

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


Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

This has been a month of exhilaration and frustration. Early in the month my daughter received her latest DNA matches.


My first husband, the father of both my children, was adopted. He never knew his origins. In the past two years, through DNA miracles, we have been able to identify his birth father.


Through that identification, we have connected the dots for a number of his biological father's relatives. My daughter and her nephew, my son's first born, both tested through Ancestry.


Our search then became directed toward the identification of the biological mother. My ex-husband is now deceased, and he never knew anything other than the fact his earliest memories belied the story his adoptive mother continued to repeat. She absolutely refused to acknowledge she had never given birth to a child but had adopted him and his younger sister.


Imagine our excitement when a new close DNA match came up for my daughter and this DNA match had even offered a prospective biological Mother's identity!


I immediately began attempting to document the line from the woman whose name appeared on Cousin Saylor's tree. We are going to call her Mystery Mom.


My plan of action was to complete a shadow tree inserting Mystery Mom as my ex-husband's bio mother. I then searched for DNA matches to Mystery Mom's maiden name. It was then necesary to review those matches for one with an attached tree or that showed a common ancestor.


I'm a novice to some extent with DNA research although I have attempted to read and absorb as much information as possible. There are a number of applications, a few websites, and tools or methods described on the internet for cross referencing the information that accompanies the DNA match. For instance, Ancestry provides a suggested relationship based upon the number of centiMorgans and the projected lengths of the combined matching segments.


Unfortunately, the possible relationships are directly inverse to the number of matching centiMorgans. In other words, the higher the number of cMs, the fewer possible relationships exist. The fewer cMs, the more distant the relationship and an almost bewildering plethora of potential kinships. For instance, if Ancestry suggests the match to be a fourth cousin, there are about 25 possible relationships to choose from. Such as fourth cousin, third cousin, third cousin once removed, fourth cousin twice removed, so forth.


In order to identify the actual relationship, it is necessary therefore to build the shadow tree up from or down to the new DNA match. This entails extensive research, relying only upon verifiable documentation to link from one generation to the next. The more children for each profile and that process, the greater amount of time and luck is required for a completely successful effort.


Identification of other DNA matches with the same surname, might lead to a compact and verifiable tree, where the branches match up to the persons identified as Shared Matches and meet the requirements for the projected relationship. In other words, Joe Blow with 197 cMs over 12 segments, would neatly dovetail on the tree as the son or daughter of a half sibling whose DNA also fits the parameters for that relationship.


In the real world, however, not every generation can be clearly verified. It has been my experience this past month that too many of the names are very common. Just think of Joe Smith, times 25 individuals born at approximately the same time in the same locale even. Every single Joe Smith would need to have his life documented with birth records, marriage records, wives with unique maiden names that help to identify the children of that union clearly. And then, ideally, to be able to locate Census records or an obituary that provides biographical information and names of survivors, that will tie to the next generation.


Going back to Cousin Saylor's tree, I prepared a slot for Mystery Mom. I was able to use her name, the geographical location, and the birth date to identify her parents. As I filled in her vital information, I also sought to flesh out her parents, her marriages, and her known children. My reasoning was that a documented birth within her marriage, could preclude the possibility of her having also given birth to my ex husband at that time. My ex, Johnny, did have a birth certificate provided by his adoptive mother with a birth date of 15 February 1939. She readily acknowledged she had signed for him to go into the Air Force early. Unfortunately, the birth certificate must have been one typically provided in an adoption, where the date of birth and parental slots are those that match the adoption facts, but fail to name the biological parentage.


As it turns out, our prospective bio mom was in the correct geographical area at the correct age in the time frame that would permit her to conceive and deliver my ex-husband. It was also interesting to note that her husband worked for the railroad, thus conveniently out of the hometown for long stretches of time but still returning home often enough to cloud the paternal issue of any child born to her. Further, they divorced only a few years after my husband's birth, suggesting their marriage was rocky, leading one to suspect she might have been seeking a relationship outside her marriage.


Having built the shadow tree assuming Mystery Mom as the mother-in-law I never got to meet, it was now necessary to begin exploring the DNA matches that either used Mystery Mom's maiden name or that were Shared Matches for that surname. Each of these bonafide relatives would need to have their part in the tree extended to ancestors, peers, and descendants in order to test the possible relationships that met both requirements: the proper number of cMs for the relationship and a documented connection to the ancestral lineage.


I wish I could tell my readers I have proven Mystery Mom to be my ex-husband's biological mother; however, the process is ongoing. In the meantime, I can report the methodology of building the tree to encompass other DNA matches and their core families has permitted us to verify a number of those relationships to my daughter.


Stay tuned!


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

 

Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour 

 

As we transition from Summer into Fall we turn to things like stews, casseroles, and other tummy-filling, warming meals. One of the easiest (and also one of my favorites) was one that I learned from my mom growing up in New Mexico. It's called Rodrigo's Tamale Pie.


You need a large pan, probably a 9" x 13" casserole dish, or a disposable aluminum roaster type pan to make the pie. Another essential? You MUST buy at least a dozen delicious homemade tamales! My personal favorites are beef or pork tamales but any good tamales - even chicken or green chile will do.


This dish is yummy for the tummy without setting the tongue on fire. Give it a try. You'll be glad you did.


Bon Appetit~!

Rodrigo's Tamale Pie

Ingredients:

* 1 to 1-1/2 dozen homemade tamales
* 2 cans Hatch mild red Chile enchilada sauce (10.5 oz cans)
* 1 sweet red onion, diced
* 1 can whole kernel corn , drained well
* 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
* 24 oz Mexican or Fiesta Blend grated cheese
* 1 large bag Fritos type corn chips, lightly crushed
* Non-stick butter flavored spray

Instructions:

1. Lightly spray bottom of the casserole pan.

2. Using about 1/2 can of enchilada sauce, spread evenly over the bottom of the casserole pan.

3. Cut tamales into 1" chunks. Use half tamales in one layer.

4. Top with one-third of the crushed corn chips.

5. Now layer half the onion, drained whole kernel corn and half the black beans over the chips.

6. Layer one-third of the grated cheese over the veggies.

7. Repeat these layers, starting by drizzling the second half of the first can of enchilada sauce over the cheese layer.

8. Use another THIRD of the corn chips in this layer and one-third of the grated cheese.

9. Spread the second can of enchilada sauce over all the layers.

10. Top with the last third of the cheese and the remaining one-third lightly crushed corn chips.

11. Bake casserole in 350° oven until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.


Serve hot, accompanied by warm tortillas, icy cold creamery butter, fresh guacamole, a crisp salad, crisp veggies like radishes and bell pepper strips, green onions, celery with a queso dip.


One of my favorite drinks with this dish is Mexican hot chocolate and of course, for those who prefer a cold drink, iced tea or lemonade.


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

 

 

View from My Back Steps


By John I. Blair

North Texas Basic Tree ID

For about 35 years I’ve been the proprietor of a quarter acre of sandy loam in a portion of north Texas known as the Cross Timbers. For the first 20 years I was still in good enough shape I could take care of this land myself, doing all the digging and hoeing and weeding and trimming and sawing and general grubbing required to keep a tiny patch of land looking however I, at that moment in time, visualized it. And I learned a lot of garden lore in addition to what I had already picked up in the previous 45 years of my life.


But then I got to the point where I had to pay others to do much of that work for me, as my back and other bodily parts just wouldn’t take the strain any more. As I type this, in fact, my lower back is aching already and my hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, arms . . . everything is complaining merely about not being flat on a soft bed.


Hiring someone else to garden for you works fine if you can locate a skilled worker who can also read your mind. But that rarely happens.


Instead, on the good days, I have to work with well-meaning, hard-working people who can’t tell an elm tree from a chinaberry. Or Asiatic jasmine from honeysuckle for that matter.


In case this should ever become a problem in your life, here’s my “Blair’s Quick Guide to North Texas Tree Identification for some of the more common trees in my own yard.



Pecan: Pecan leaves are “pinnate” and composed of around a dozen or more leaflets. Overall the leaf may be 12 to 18 inches long while each leaflet will be sickle-shaped (hooked), 4-7 inches long and 1-3 inches wide. The leaflets are alternate (opposite one another on each side of the center stem) in arrangement. The leaf, composed of these leaflets, is pinnate or feather-like in appearance. Also of note is the edges of the leaflets. They are jagged or toothed around their edges.



American Elm: The leaves of American elm have serrated edges, a distinct pointy tip, and an uneven (oblique) base. One side of the leaf base is always longer than the other. Also, feel the upper surface of the leaf. Most elm leaves have a rough surface that feels like sandpaper.



Hackberry: The leaves of Common hackberry are glossy green, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate and the base is rounded and asymmetric. They are 6 - 10 cm (2.5 – 3.9 in) long and 2,5 – 5 cm (1 – 2 in) broad. The leaf margin is serrated. ... The flower is greenish and comes shortly after the leaf shoots.



Red Oak: Red oak leaves are simple and arranged alternately on the twig. ... They are 7 to 11 lobed, and 5 to 9 inches long with slender petioles 1 to 2 inches long. The lobes are usually no longer than one third the total leaf width; the sinuses of the lobes are u-shaped and the tips of the lobes are bristle tipped.



White Oak:White oak leaves are simple and arranged alternately on twigs. They are 7 to 9 lobed, 5 to 9 inches long with short petioles. The lobes are rounded without bristle tips and vary in length from leaf to leaf but are rather uniform on the same leaf. Surface color is dull green and paler below.



Live Oak: Quercus virginiana leaves stay green year round. It is a semi-deciduous evergreen tree. Depending on the live oak tree age the leaves are normally from 2" to 4" long . Their leaves are very simple and may stay on the tree throughout the winter until new leaves grow in the spring. The leaves are usually narrow to a long oval and are stiff. The upper leaf is shiny and dark green and the underside is normally a light green. Leaves are slightly rolled on the underside.



Chinaberry (Melia azedarach): The leaves are alternate and compound and usually bipinnately but sometimes tripinnately with lengths of 1-2 feet land width of 9-16 inches. The leaves emit a musky odor when crushed. The leaflets are lance shaped and taper towards the tip with a dark green upper surface a lighter green under surface.



Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana): Leaves are firm, smooth, evergreen, narrowly elliptic, tapered to a pointed tip and equally tapered to the base. Margins are smooth on reproductive trees, with narrow, pointed teeth on saplings and root sprouts. Upper surface is dark green and shiny, the lower surface lighter and duller.



Mexican Plum (Prunus Mexicana): a single-trunked, non-suckering tree, 15-35 ft. tall, with fragrant, showy, white flowers displayed before the leaves appear. ... Leaves up to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide, ovate to narrower with serrate margins; minute glands on the petiole near the base of the blade.


This is just a partial list (and can only be partial), as theoretically just about any tree that can grow in north Texas may try to grow in my yard, although ones like bald cypresses are very unlikely to volunteer. Happy hunting!


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

 

 

Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

From Kilkelly to South Carolina
and from East Clare to The World

Michael Gerard Kenny was born and raised in Kilkelly Co Mayo. He now owns a successful machinery business in South Carolina. He got there via Galway, Limerick, Cork, and Dublin. He Left Ireland in 1980 to work overseas for a mining machinery company. He worked in the U.K. then briefly in the USA before spending 4 yrs in Southern Africa and then moving to the USA again in 1985 with Powerscreen Intl. He then set up his own company which he still runs today along with his two American- born sons Adam and Eoin.


Amid all the hard work and success he had a burning desire to write a book. Not just any book.


Ireland’s Final Rebellion and an American Dream’ is based in this book on his father’s life and his involvement in the Tan War of 1919-1921. Kenny senior was an unassuming tailor, tall and straight tailor, who always wore a shirt and tie and smoked Carroll’s cigarettes and made suits for the males of the district, and did alterations. He was fifty-seven when Gerard was born. He had been an active fighter during the 1919-1921 Irish War of Independence, and he received a small state pension for that. He did not like to talk much about the war and deflected Gerard’s questions about The Tan War, saying he would tell him more when he was older.


Michael Gerard says, “I did hear enough in family-circle conversation and from listening in on the regular get-togethers of his Old IRA comrades at our tailor shop to form my own picture of his life.“ Michael Gerard’s father was born in 1897 and grew up in a turbulent period of Irish history.



MrKenny-Freedom Fighter


He was very close with his Grandmother who lived to be almost 100. She filled his head with the feats of the mystic warrior heroes of Irish Legend. He became active in various resistance movements (the IRB, Irish Volunteers and Sinn Fein) perhaps, partly, as a result of his grandmother’s influence. After the 1916 executions he became a full-time IRA fighter on the run during the1919-1921 campaign and fought without capture up to the declaration of the Truce.


His son says,” He was vehemently Anti-Treaty but chose neutrality during the Civil War rather than take up arms against his former comrades.” He went back to his tailoring until he was arrested and imprisoned by the (Free State Army). During his incarceration, he went on hunger strike and was close to death when the prisoner’s hunger strike was finally called off.


He died suddenly in April 1969, and Michael Gerard says, “I was left with only memories and unanswered questions. One of those memories was that of his expressed regret at not having emigrated to America like many of his war comrades did. At his funeral I decided that I would make good on his missed opportunity – I would someday emigrate to America.”


Michael did indeed keep that promise. Despite being a busy businessman he has left us two well-written and informative books. In ‘Just one of the Boys’ the author uses the fictional Kane family to portray events in an Irish history that propelled ordinary Irish men and women to take up arms in 1919 and fight the oppressor. In Book 2 ‘An American Dream’. The fictitious Sean Kane shows the author’s own journey from Kilkelly to where he is today. In it, the reader finds that Michael Gerard Kenny has really realized the American Dream.



Michael Gerard Kenny


I spoke to some of his fellow- Mayo men and amid the excitement of the All Ireland Final and Tyrone winning they made time to discuss it with me. John McGrath was impressed by the accuracy of the detail on growing up in rural Ireland in the 50s and 60s. John was also overwhelmed by the writing style which he described as being “somewhere between American and Irish.“


Des Garvin from north Mayo went through the book(s) with a fine-tooth comb. He is not bothered by the absence of any real identity as to where the battles took place as he knows the place like the back of his hand.


Ireland’s Final Rebellion and An American Dream was published through Amazon KDP in early March 2021 and is available as both an e-book and paperback on: www.amazon.com or the author’s website: www.michaelgerardauthor.com where a link to Amazon will be available. Readers' comments are always welcome. Details at: atmichaelgerardcmi@gmail.com

* * * * *


“I first experienced Marie's expertise on the physio table while playing for the Clare football team in the late '80s and I remember excruciating pain followed later by magical relief.” This comment and a bit of additional information on Marie O’ Sullivan prompted me to seek out "Song to Ireland.”


February 2021 saw Marie O ‘Sullivan and her sister Siobhán release their maiden CD of much loved Irish songs accompanied by a trio of great east Clare musicians, John Canny, Mark Donnellan, and Michael Landers (who is described as “an immigrant to East Clare” But we’re not told from where.).


The history of each of the eleven tracks is given in the sleeve notes. And in a wonderfully informative Foreword Tomás MacConmara says, “Marie and Siobhán must have had considerable difficulty as a result of the endless fountain before them.” I agree and with whatever difficulties they encountered along they turned their stumbling blocks into stepping stones to produce a work of art. This album is not to be missed and it is ideal for broadcasting as every track is less than four minutes. The sisters along with their talent on accordion, fiddle, and guitar have produced a collector’s piece.


Siobhán told me, “The genesis of this CD was to commemorate 1920 which was the year our grandmother's house and shop was burnt by the Tans as she was a member of Cumann na mBan. I am a history and English teacher of 30 years, so this is a labour of love documenting the history of our past as presented through song and music. Marie and I have been singing from a young age, as we were brought on guard to neighbor's homes and one had to perform. The response to our CD has been immensely positive as it has evoked memories for people of loved one's long gone or for those away from home.”


I, for one, am looking forward to their next one. Details from: www.custymusic.com. €1 from the sale of each CD is donated to Milford Care Centre.

* * * * *


A visiting Professor was addressing a large audience in Trinity College, Dublin on the subject of modern nutrition. "The rubbish we put into our stomachs should have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is full of steroids and dye. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High trans-fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realize the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But, there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and most of us have, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?" After several seconds of quiet a 70-year-old mountainy man from Kylebeg in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, "Wedding Cake?"


I’ll see you in November.


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

 

 

Sifoddling Along

 

By Marilyn Carnell

 

The Original Pineville

 

The original Pineville was rough and woolly despite the efforts of circuit riders. Alcohol was an important part of many early settlers' culture. As they moved west from North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, they brought their “corn crackers” and made moonshine dip pin’ whiskey. It was a profitable business and an early version of a “value-added” enterprise.


But alcohol-fueled more than a warm glow. It made violence no stranger to the little town. Pineville was located about 15 miles from the Indian Territory. There was no shortage of customers and if trouble arose, the miscreants simply hied off to the Territory until things cooled down.


On March 29, 1879, the Farmer & Chenoweth store was burned in a protest against alcohol. Later, Dr. Chenoweth was assassinated by Garland Mann. Mann was later lynched by an angry mob who broke into the Neosho jail where he had been thought to be safe.


The conflict between the “wets” and “drys” raged for years.


Enter Lora LaMance, the wife of a prominent merchant. Among her many activities, was her ardent campaign against liquor. She became the local, then county president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).


She wrote a genealogy book that reported proudly that she put on a hot campaign and took the county dry by local option. She went on to become the National President of the WCTU where she was an organizer and lecturer.


In her book she wrote “…in 21 years she has traveled over a half-million miles, spoken in every state and in every Canadian province but two and has visited over fifty countries.


After Mrs. LaMance’s efforts, alcohol was banished from public view. However, more than one prominent figure was known to quietly keep a bottle somewhere in his office.


Moonshine is still available if you have the right connections


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

Introspective

 


By Thomas F. O'Neill

I was recently asked to appear on the Sam Lesante show and talk about my recent experiences with teaching in China and about my thoughts on the polarizing, ideological divisions, in America.


I hope you find the show interesting .........




Thomas F O'Neill updates the viewers
on the Sam Lesante show
about his experiences with teaching in China.

YouTube with Thomas O'Neill


Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. Voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011 (86) 13405757231
    WeChat: Thomas_F_ONeill
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Email: introspective7@hotmail.com
    Facebook: http://facebook.com/thomasf.oneill.3/

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

Woo Woo

 


By Pauline Evanosky

My Only Ghost-busting Job

This is about the one and only time I did a ghost-busting job.


What was going on was the family had a new baby in the house. That’s when things started going bump in the night. Noises from the air conditioning system, doors closing, creaking floors, items moving. They felt threatened and called me.


When I got to the house there was a strong presence who made himself known to me as Captain Jack. Additionally, there was an old burial ground next door. It was explained to me by Captain Jack who appeared to be a representative for all these Folk in Spirit that there were concerns the new parents were not able to take care of the child properly.


I told them that the parents were just new, and they had every intention to love and care for their child. I asked that the Folk in Spirit leave them alone. The message I got back was the Folk in Spirit were not going to move, they would stop with the Spirit movements, but they were not going away as they had been at this location long before the couple moved into the house and the family would need to share the space with them. I relayed the message to the lady who had called me. She said she would tell her husband.


The day afterward the lady called me to say she had walked into the room where she and I had sat and smelled roses. We figured it was the spirit I had talked to who was saying, “Okay. We are at peace”.


So, nothing dramatic like what happens sometimes on television. Just doing my job. I’ve always felt there was a whole lot more to this story, but that was the extent of my involvement. The family moved soon after but did not experience any untoward psychic phenomena after my visit to the house.


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

On Trek

 


By Judith Kroll

What does she WANT me to do?

A desperate woman who recently lost a close relative asked the above question. She was feeling guilty and in tears.


When someone we love dies, they immediately become pure spirit energy. Invisible. Here we are physical, upon death we become invisible. We are back to our original makeup. We come to earth on our own free will, and then transform back to what we truly are.


An invisible person needs what? Can you think of anything an invisible person would need? Want? Desire? Demand from you on earth?


I know of one thing. They WANT us to be happy. They know this life is temporary, and that we will be together again. Unconditional love is what they have, and they Want us to be truly happy. Yes, it might take time as we are human.


They do NOT want us to feel guilty in any way because they no longer think the same human way. They ARE unconditional love, therefore, they don’t hold grudges, etc. They do NOT judge, hate. They ARE love.


Dump the guilt when someone dies. Dump the hate self attitude. Work on being better humans in the future, so we don’t feel regret or guilt. Know in our hearts all is as it should be, and the universe loves us.
Judith 9/8/21


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

Reflections of the Day

 

By Dayvid Clarkson

What I wish is that you find what works for you. It does not have to be what works for others or what you think society expects from you. For some it is a religious path, for some, it could be Buddhism or Taoism, some might choose to be an Atheist. Other Folks might choose activism. It might be environmentalism, social activism, animal rights, or global warming. Still, more willfully involve themselves in the arts, music, painting, sculpting, or photography. And others might passionately pursue the sciences.


For me, it doesn’t matter as long as you find what works for you. Most importantly I wish you realize what is right for you is not necessarily right for others. To also understand that you are not required to coerce, nor force your path on me. I will respect the choices you make and will, in all probability, support and agree with most of your concepts.


Because we have differences does not make us different. At the very essence of our being is the mystical understanding that nothing matters and everything does. There is no issue that is more important than compassionate empathy towards our fellow travelers. We cannot be offended; we choose to be offended.


Cast off everything you have been taught. Accept all paths and respect the fact that we are all just trying to figure out this incredible journey. We need each other.


When we ask ourselves what is truly important we will discover that we will share our last meal if required, we will shelter all from the storms, we will provide care as needed, and give that shirt if you ask. This is your authentic self simply trying to live your heart song.
Dayvid


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

 

 

A Woman's Hands

  

By Walt Perryman 

 

I am a man and I often think of a woman’s body parts,
Lately, I have been thinking about their hands and hearts.


I have been noticing women over fifty years old,
If their hands could talk the stories that could be told.


After many years of work, their hands get a little rough.
Raising kids and housework, they have got to be tough.


It seems their hands are driven by another body part,
And that would be from a good woman’s loving heart.


Everyone may not understand what this poem is about.
But, I bet some of you gals out there will figure it out.

©July 2021 Walt Perryman


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

Behind The Old Jailhouse

  

By Bud Lemire 

 

Behind the old jailhouse, is a great place to be
I look out my window, to see what I can see
Friends skipping rocks, and having a good time
Precious is the moment, and that's a great sign


Cars and trucks stopping there, to pass the time away
Taking a break, from their normal humdrum day
Walking along and looking over the wall
Into the water, being careful they don't fall


Anywhere is special, so that would be this place
Meeting with others, another friendly face
A place to stop, whether on bike or in car
You can sit, and let your mind wander far


You can see the Battleships, that are in repair
The Municipal Dock isn't far from there
You can watch the sun, as it sets
Some even bring their pets


I've been there a few times too
Met some people wandering, that I knew
You make it better, by making it your own space
That's why behind the old jailhouse, is a special place


©Sept 17, 2021 Bud Lemire

                      Author Note:

You can make any place your own space. Just being there
in the calming of your mind, and letting the worries of your
day fade away. I find many stop by there, just for a moment,
to let their minds wander elsewhere. To get away from their
normal day.

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

 

Time to Head for The Dreamscape

 

 By Dayvid Clarkson

 

From the King’s meadow,
I dream anew, set to know.

From the mists of Avalon
to this adventure I am drawn.

My Elders shall give wise counsel,
I will be eternally trustful.

My heart shall be forever strong;
I will follow right from wrong.

I will gather all to my side,
acknowledging kindness as my guide.

I will allow nothing to impede me,
let the world know, I am ready.

©September 2021 Dayvid BBruce Clarkson


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

Tom Murray

 

By Walt Perryman 

 

Tom was my good friend; this is very true.
And he was a good God-fearing man too.

He loved his family, friends, and his dog,
And riding his three-wheeler, a Boss Hog.

But the love of his life was easy to tell,
That would be his loving wife, Michele.

He had a bad arm from a bad wreck or two,
But he still did whatever he needed to do.

It was easy to tell when he was having pain,
But he was not the type of man to ever complain.

He passed away yesterday at seven-seventeen.
And was on his Boss Hog the last time he was seen.

Tonight, if you look up to the sky and can see real far,
You’ll see Tom riding his Boss Hog now a shooting star.

©September 21, 2021 Walt Perryman


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

Don't Change The Name!

 

 By Bud Lemire 

 

Don't change the name!
This isn't a game
Some stupid people are to blame
For stirring up people, as that was their aim


Just think, if we changed a name because someone got hurt
Many of our states would have to change, because of that blurt
Many of our names, were taken from elsewhere
In the hopes that we'd honor, names that we share


We use the names in honor, in all that we do
We take pride in each nationality, with all we've been through
They've become a part of us, in the lives that we are living
Don't take away the names, that to us once were given


My nickname is Bud, which refers to a potato or a rose
If you take away the names, then anything goes
I think it's wise, to keep things as they are
We've been happy and content with them, so far


When you think of changing a name, use wisdom here
We'd start and never end, to many things we hold dear
Just think about where you live, and how it got its name
By changing it to something else, it wouldn't be the same


©Sept 26, 2021 Bud Lemire

                      Author Note:


Some very ignorant people weren't thinking when they wanted
to change the name of something. Just think if someone decided
to change Escanaba, because it is a Native American name. I am
sure the Native Americans are proud that we honor them by using
a name in their language. As does everyone else. America became
America because of the Nationalities that make up this great nation
. Be proud of your nationality and all the names that make it what it is.
No offense needs to be taken.

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

I Can't Imagine

By Bruce Clifford

I can’t imagine my life without dreaming like dreamers do
All that we thought we knew
Faded images far from view


I can’t imagine the sky without stars and planets in synch
All of our freedoms at the brink
A future we can’t let sink


I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine this world without you
I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine the pain you’ve been through
I can’t imagine


A lifetime ago I would dream like dreamers do
Like magic out of the blue
A distant light in solitude


I can’t imagine the oceans without movement and life
We’ve got to get things right
Keeping me awake throughout the night


I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine this world without you
I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine the pain you’ve been through
I can’t imagine


I can’t imagine a lifetime full of pain
We are the ones to blame
It’s driving me insane


I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine this world without you
I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine the pain you’ve been throug
h I can’t imagine
I can’t imagine


©9/11/2021 Bruce Clifford


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

 

Good Morning

  

By Marie Stringile 

 

I was up this morning
Before the sun even began to stir
When the sky was still full of stars
And the moon, bright
It was quiet
So very quiet
And I stood alone with myself
And my thoughts
While the cool of the air
Blushed my cheeks
Are you going to be alright?
I asked myself
Should be
I replied
Let me just stand here
A little while longer and breathe it all in
The cool brisk air
With the scent of winter on the breeze
The starlight, the moonlight
And the idea that anything and everything is possible
And when the sun begins to rise?
I asked
Will the wonder of here and now disappear?
I thought about that
As I stood
Alone
In the dark shine
Of early morning
On the cusp of a day
Yet born
Only if I let it
I replied.

©September 2021 Marie Stringile


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

Pain

 

By Mary E. Adair

Pain
Pain that comes again and again
Regularly as falling rain
That beats with your pulse
From vein to vein,
Pain
That is what leads most people here
The pain that throbs within, somewhere.
We take the tests, MRI's and Xray
And are diagnosed from day to day
Then finally, armed with all the info,
The surgeon performs as best he can know.
The anesthetist, Bless him, or her as the case may be
Sees us carefully through the required surgery
Pain
Pain that comes again and again
Regularly as falling rain
That beats with your pulse
From vein to vein,
Pain
But now somewhat different than before
And the doctors and nurses stream through the door.
Since we are now repaired and on the mend,
The pain subsides daily - a wonderful trend.
Then the therapists arrive with their expertise
To guide our use of new hips, new knees,
To teach those skills that equipment requires,
And tirelessly smile throughout the hours,
And retrain our muscles, ligaments, and the mind
To properly cope with any challenge we find;
To push us encouragingly 'til the upper hand we gain
Over the
Pain
Pain that comes again and again
Regularly as falling rain
That beats with your pulse
From vein to vein,
Pain,
No more!

©July 22, 2003 Mary E. Adair

(Excerpt from article Tribute of A Patient."
Dedicated to my surgeon, Dr. Geoffrey Glidden;
the Doctors and staff of Medical Center of Plano;
and Dr. Nguyen and staff of Plano's
HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospital.)


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

 

Rambling On about God, You, and Me

 

 By Walt Perryman 

 

I am rambling on about God, you, and me.
It may not make sense but read it and see.
God works in our lives in ways beyond our comprehension,
And his magnificent accomplishments fail to get our attention.


It seems some never notice a beautiful sunrise or a sunset,
They happen every day and they have not seen one yet.
The seasons come and the seasons go year after year,
And many never noticed they are gone or was ever here.


Many people go through life without knowing God at all,
Some people bounce back and forth like a tennis ball.
There are some that seem to know God from the start,
And they go through life loving God with all their heart.


Then there are the people that find God along the way,
They study the bible and try to learn a little every day.
When we have a near death experience, we promise God a lot.
When we don’t die a few keep their promises, but most do not.


Some people find God and a life of contentment and love,
However, for most people it sometimes takes all the above.
That is all my thoughts on God and how some people do.
I believe I know where I am on this list, do you?

©August 2, 2021 Walt Perryman


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

Unwelcome Immigrants

 

By John I. Blair 

 

Small world that it is
However wide the oceans
Soon or late
Every species gets a chance
To immigrate.


Some dance across
Tide-washed strips of land,
Some are blown on gales of wind,
Some brave waves in flimsy craft
While others hitch a ride in.


The news is filled with tales
Of those who show
And are not welcomed --
Flee famine, war, then find a door
Closed in their face, or slammed.


Less infamous, perhaps,
Are those who have arrived
Without being vetted,
Tended at first,
Later just a bit regretted.


They number in the thousands;
Tossed in salads, slurped
From silver spoons,
Admired in crystal vases,
Trod on in lawns.


Maybe some of these
Languished once as well
Under highway bridges,
In river-bottom mud
Or roadside ditches.


Plants they say
Need 500 years
To earn acceptance;
How many are required
For humans?


©2021 John I. Blair 9/25/2021


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

A Country Song

 

 By Bud Lemire 

 

Sing along with me to a country song
Where everything in it, goes totally wrong
I'm sitting here at a bar, drinking a beer
My baby left me, that's why I came here


My dog was shot, and now he is dead
I sprung a leak, in my water bed
Just when I thought, things couldn't get worse
I forget all the words, to the very next verse


She said I cheated on her, but that isn't true
I truly believe she went really Koo Koo
She said she saw me, making love to her best friend
I was building a scarecrow, it's an old family trend


I don't know what she saw, but I tell you true
I did nothing wrong, I just wish I knew
She said I wasn't the man, she married years ago
We never married at all! And she called me Joe!


Dang it anyway! What can I say.
She never loved me anyway!
I could shoot a hole, in my cowboy hat
Next woman I love, better have a cat


©Sept 7, 2021 Bud Lemire

                    Author Note:

Just a little song I put together in my mind
from all the country songs I've heard. When
things go wrong, cheating, your lover leaves you,
and your dog gets shot. And so much more. Never
tried this style, so here it is.

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

 

Make Some Sense

By Bruce Clifford

In the center of change
Four corners of the day
The manic and strange
Words we never did say


A forest of the many
The empty and few
Chaotic and lonely
A voice I once knew


Make some sense of this please
I feel so weak at the knees
Make some sense of this for me
Help me learn what I need to see


In the middle of time
Missing shadows every night
Have to stop falling behind
Putting up with the fight


Make some sense of this please
I feel so weak at the knees
Make some sense of this for me
Help me learn who I need to be


In the center of the rage
The real and the strange
Make some sense of this for me
This is how we have to be

©9/7/2021 Bruce Clifford


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

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Editor's Corner

 


By Mary E. Adair

September 2021

“Let’s strive to be better in September!” ― Charmaine J. Forde


September arrives this year on the heels of Hurricane Ida, a sopping wet gal who blew in on the highest winds seen in the southern USA, causing the weather forecasters to strive to keep a proper worried demeanor while their calculator minds were adding up the stats that were sure to break records, and records have been broken. One, thankfully being fewer lives lost, possibly because of those same weather forecasters diligently warning people far ahead of the actual event thus giving even the procrastinators time to make their safety arrangements.


Our authors hardly mentioned the weather, but with the inevitable Universal consciousness that always presents us with serendiitous moments, both our columnist Pauline Evanosky (Woo Woo) and poet Walt Perryman (Just Rambling Thoughts) urge everyone to watch less TV. Peace of mind and time to do other activites being the core of their advice.


Bud Lemire's poems for this issue are "Dana, My Friend," "Take Time," "Your Profile Picture, and "Be Fair Mask Up." Walt Perryman, our 'Cowboy Poet' at Luckenbach, has one poem titled for that fair community, and two more besides the one mentioned previously: "Hospice Nurses" and "No More Crying."


John I. Blair sent one poem, "Plans" which fits many of us. Bruce Clifford shares three of his titled: "Saints and Sinners," "How Long," and "Please Give Me a Moment ."


Mattie Lennon (Irish Eyes) expresses his interest in the new book from Pauline Clooney and includes some of her own life amd experiences. He adds news and some remembrances about a friend, now 91 and going strong. Marilyn Carnell (Sifoddling Along) intrigues us with the names still being used for townships in her corner of Missouri, the SW corner to be exact which is where MacDonald County is located.


Thomas O'Neill (Introspective) entertains us with a loving tale about his grandfather Red O'Neill, an Irishman who lived in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Rod Cohenour (Cooking with Rod) gears up with a couple of "keeper" recipes and an adaptation of a Italian dish he calls "Halos and Horns."


Judith Kroll (On Trek) who gives great advice, reminds us that we are all One. Melinda Cohenour (Armchair Genealogy) continues to help with the technical data and how to master it while chasing DNA shared matches that Ancestry collates with their vast resources. John I. Blair (View from My Back Steps) found more enticing pics of various plants one might encourage if they choose to "reWild" their garden as he is doing with his.


Mike Craner and wife Susie, dear friends, support and assist in our efforts to keep this informational and entertaining publication viable despite the many demands, business, family, and personal in their lives. I admire and bless them every day. Thanks, Mike, for keeping our pencilstubs perking along.

We will see you in October!

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


View from My Back Steps

 

By John I. Blair


Rewilding my Garden

From ragged lawn to dense woodland – that’s the trajectory my urban yard has been on for the past 35 years. When we bought this house, it was for the often charming interior with its large family room, massive fireplace and hearth, built-in bookcases, and window views. But the window views at that time were of a, frankly, rather ratty St. Augustine grass lawn, a scattering of poorly chosen and poorly cared for shrubs, and a couple of dead trees.


I’m not accusing the previous owner of being a gardening slob –he was, shall I say, gardening challenged.


Being at the time in my energetic and ambitious mid-40s I immediately took on the job of converting that scene into a network of richly planted flower beds, accented by some new trees and a variety of ornamental shrubs and vines. It took years and a toll on my spine, but I got ‘er done, only to find that a garden that ambitious took almost daily maintenance – weeding, watering, trimming, replanting. And after 20 or so years of inevitable changes in my garden, I began to reconsider what I was doing.


I was “rewilding” my yard.


The concept of “rewilding” is one that evidently has been slowly developing over the past half-century or more, mostly in Europe, but also in America. Books in my home library such as “The Language of Trees”, “The Cast Iron Forest”, “The Natural Habitat Garden” and more immediately Isabella Tree’s “Wilding” about the work she and her husband have been doing with their old estate in England, plus Paul Jepson’s and Cain Blythe’s recent book “Rewilding” have strongly influenced my outlook on what an urban garden should be doing to improve the general environment, including its wildlife.



aristolochia-fimbriata


“Rewilding” is all about ecological recovery, not about growing cut flowers or establishing a miniature botanical garden. Though that was fun for a number of years.


What I had been gradually doing, by default, as I aged, was just letting things grow that were there and that seemed to thrive without much interference on my part. But that’s not as simple as it sounds in a world where plants (and animals) from all over the world can come into your yard, whether they go well together or not. It’s one thing to welcome oaks and elms and hackberries, coralberries and beauty berries, dogwoods, and redbuds into your home environment. But what do you do about the Asiatic jasmine, Asian honeysuckle, Siberian privet, Chinese wisteria, crepe myrtle, etc. that you may also have there? We are the heirs of hundreds of years of a gardening tradition that welcomes plants based on how pretty they are rather than how well they fit into the native ecosystem where you live? How do plants that evolved for millions of years on the other side of the world fit in with birds, insects, and animals that did not evolve in those same places – that, in fact, may not even be able to utilize your foreign plants as food sources or even recognize them as potential food?



Symphoricarpos_Proud_Berry_coralberr


Have you ever noticed that apparently nothing eats the leaves of privet bushes? Or of Asian jasmine? That may sound like a fine thing – it means they grow very well in an American garden. But what also means is that our native wildlife goes hungry in the presence of what’s often a jungle of exotic plants. Not just the “pests” but also the butterflies, the birds, the bees.


The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 3 billion, or 29%, in the past 50 years alone. And that’s just one example of the devastation we’ve been living through, often without even noticing it more than just marginally. “Gee, we sure used to have more robins and goldfinches around here when I was a kid.” Yes, you did.



callicarpa-beautyberry


And one of the worst offenders here is the almost universal “worship” of the “perfect lawn” – usually made of grasses that aren’t even natives of North America (like the almost universal St Augustine grass common here in Texas).


There is solid scientific evidence that much of the world prior to about 40,000 years ago was a range of savannahs rather like those in South Africa, with a scattering of woodlands and a lot of scrublands and prairies – all maintained by a huge number of “megafauna” animals like giant bison, mastodons, mammoths, rhinos, camels, horses, deer, elk, antelope. And then much or most of the megafauna animals disappeared – likely as the result of overhunting. Our killing off the bison herds in the Great Plains was just the last of many similar events.



Real-tree-deer-hunting-dogwood


So, how does that apply to my suburban backyard? I obviously can’t keep sheep or deer on my ¼ acre lot with its small house. But what can I do?


What I actually have done (and they are baby steps, to be sure) is to encourage the growth of more native plants such as oaks, redbuds, coralberries, beautyberries, wild roses, Mexican petunias, spiderwort, snailseed, greenbrier. I’ve almost completely eliminated my former lawn areas, with just a gesture toward a small lawn in front to keep the neighbors happy. I’ve planted a lot of native perennials and shrubs such as lyreleaf sage, Louisiana irises, Mahonia, Dutchman’s pipe, and hollies.



Mexican-Petunia


As a consequence I have almost year-round flowers, I rarely have to water artificially except for spot watering around a few of the smaller flowers. I have native butterflies such as pipevine swallowtails, a variety of bees and bumblebees and birds.



Spiderwort


And in recent years I’ve been regularly visited by raccoons and opossums, in addition to the fox squirrels that have always been here thanks to the profusion of nut trees in this naturally wooded area.



Carolina-Snailseed


All the rich foliage in my little garden has almost certainly had a positive effect on the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the immediate area; the soil in my yard (where I never throw away a single leaf at any time of the year) has been regenerated from what was, in some areas, bare yellow clay to a thick layer of sandy loam filled with huge earthworms and other insect life, returning all the nutrients to the earth after they have passed through the plants. It may be a “messy” yard, but it’s a healthy yard. And both fun and rewarding to live in.



Sawgreenbrier


While you may not be ready for the near-jungle I have now, you might consider the concept of “rewilding” yourself and how it might be applied to your own yards and gardens. Pic below is of a Post Oak Grove.


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

 

Armchair Genealogy

 

By Melinda Cohenour

The Quest is Ongoing

This month has been both fulfilling and frustrating. With more than 100,000 DNA matches, it is a struggle to identify relationships for my own DNA test not to mention my efforts to properly manage two additional tests.


That being said, the process of investigating the matches and learning about my relatives is filled with both boredom and with occasional glimpses of some really fascinating lives.


In addition to this ongoing quest to identify my DNA matches relatives, I am also dedicated to breaking down the critical brick walls that have blocked completion of five distinct lines of descent. These efforts have been detailed in a few prior columns. This month I've focused on attempting to identify the biological father of the woman who gave birth to my first grandchild. The exciting news is that I've had a breakthrough.


The closest non-paternal match for my grandson's DNA test was identified generically as a solid 1st or 2nd cousin. For those of you familiar with DNA testing, you will know matches are listed by what is statistically the most common relationship. However, as I've written before, depending upon the number of centiMorgans, the length of matching segments, and the percentage assigned the match, multiple possible relationships exist.


In this case, the close match reveals 1st – 2nd Cousin | Mother's side13% shared DNA: 917 cM across 34 segments. Sound like Greek? Let me provide some information.


A centiMorgan is a unit used to measure genetic linkage. One centiMorgan equals a one percent chance that a marker on a chromosome will become separated from a second marker on the same chromosome due to crossing over in a single generation. It translates to approximately one million base pairs of DNA sequence in the human genome. Source: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary


CentiMorgan is named after an American geneticist named Thomas Hunt Morgan. He worked on fruit flies, and he defined the capacity of one part of a genome to separate from another in going from one generation to another. And that's important because in every generation chromosomes exchange pieces of information, and that's called recombination. And that's important for introducing genetic diversity into the population. And it was necessary to define a rate at which this happens, and so that's where this term centiMorgan comes from. "Centi" means just one-hundredth of, and so if a "Morgan" represents the total recombination where all markers of one part of a chromosome will become separated from all others, then a centiMorgan is the length of DNA over which that happens only one out of a hundred times, or one percent of the time. So one percent recombination equals a centiMorgan. It depends on individual genomes what the distance that a centiMorgan represents, and in individual genomes is different from fruit flies and zebrafish and bananas and humans, but given the recombination rate in humans, it represents about a million base pairs in the human genome.

Source: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/CentiMorgan (Christopher P. Austin, M.D.)


What's a Genome?


Genome is a fancy word for all your DNA. From potatoes to puppies, all living organisms have their own genome. Each genome contains the information needed to build and maintain that organism throughout its life.


Your genome is the operating manual containing all the instructions that helped you develop from a single cell into the person you are today. It guides your growth, helps your organs to do their jobs, and repairs itself when it becomes damaged. And it’s unique to you.

Source: https://www.genome.gov/About-Genomics/Introduction-to-Genomics


DNA testing has become the subject of many television shows, movies, and books not to mention the proliferation of websites providing avenues for personal elucidation regarding your genetic makeup and relation to matching tests.


But, DNA is tested for many purposes. Here is a synopsis of those tests and their use:


What is genetic testing?


Genetic testing consists of the processes and techniques used to determine details about your DNA. Depending on the test, it may reveal some information about your ancestry and the health of you and your family.


Predictive testing is for those who have a family member with a genetic disorder. The results help to determine a person’s risk of developing the specific disorder being tested for. These tests are done before any symptoms present themselves.


Diagnostic testing is used to confirm or rule out a suspected genetic disorder. The results of a diagnostic test may help you make choices about how to treat or manage your health.


Pharmacogenomic testing tells you about how you will react to certain medications. It can help inform your healthcare provider about how to best treat your condition and avoid side effects.


Reproductive testing is related to starting or growing your family. It includes tests for the biological father and mother to see what genetic variants they carry. The tests can help parents and healthcare providers make decisions before, during, and after pregnancy.


Direct-to-consumer testing can be completed at home without a healthcare provider by collecting a DNA sample (e.g., spitting saliva into a tube) and sending it to a company. The company can analyze your DNA and give information about your ancestry, kinship, lifestyle factors and potential disease risk.


Forensic testing is carried out for legal purposes and can be used to identify biological family members, suspects, and victims of crimes and disasters.


In prior columns your author has explored exciting advances and successful identification and prosecution of violent criminals. The recent identification, arrest, and prosecution of one of America's most prolific rapist/murderers known by several monikers but most recognized as the Golden State Killer was covered in this prior column: Armchair Genealogy on Pencil Stubs Online, pencilstubs.com


Remember: "A centiMorgan is different from the physical units we use in everyday life, such as inches or kilometers. It is less of a physical distance and more of a measurement of probability. It refers to the DNA segments that you have in common with others and the likelihood of sharing genetic traits. The ends of shared segments are defined by points where DNA swapped between two chromosomes, and the centiMorgan is a measure of the probability of getting a segment that large when these swaps occur." Source: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/centiMorgan-chart-understanding-dna/


As has been said, the greater the number of cMs and segment lengths, the closer the relationship. Also, the possible relationships are fewer as the cMs increase.


The cM measurement is actually given as a sum of all the various segment lengths that match. The closer the relationship, not only will the combined length of all segments be greater, but the lengths of the individual segments will be greater.


In one example, two charts demonstrate that definition. pic


Source: https://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/centimorgans-vs-shared-segments


Here you see a typical Parent/Child relationship where 23 matching segments are lengthy and, when combined, add up to 3,718 cMs.


When one considers that 3.2 BILLION base pairs containing some 30,000 genes make up the human genome thus creating our 23 chromosomes, we can begin to comprehend the complexity of our genetic constitution. Another factoid:


CentiMorgans: length of DNA


The length of a piece of DNA is measured in centiMorgans. The total length of all your chromosomes combined is around 7400 cM.


Since a person inherits half of their DNA from each parent, you share about 3700 cM with each parent. The exact number for each parent/child relationship can vary slightly, but not by a lot.


Each human inherits 50% of their genetic makeup from each parent, each of whom similarly inherited 50% from each of their parents ... meaning you will inherit roughly 25% of your genetic makeup from your grandparents.


The following illustrates a typical DNA result for Grandparent/Grandchild test:


Source: https://genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/centimorgans-vs-shared-segments


Given all this complex information concerning DNA test results, it requires more than the test result numbers to substantiate a confirmed relationship given ONLY the numbers.


All this to introduce my recent breakthrough investigating the close (VERY close) DNA match for my grandson. There are several possibilities as defined by Ancestry:


"Possible DNA relationships"


This table shows the percentage of the time people sharing 917 cM have the following relationships:


Percent Relationship
99%
1st cousin
Great-grandparent
Great-grandchild
Grandaunt/granduncle

Less than 1%
Grandparent
Grandchild
Half sibling
Aunt/uncle
Niece/nephew

Less than 1%
1st cousin 1x removed
Half 1st cousin
2nd great-grandparent
2nd great-grandchild"

Finally, the breakdown of possible relationships based on centiMorgan quantity came from my DNA matches on Ancestry. Source: Ancestry.com.


Now, it is necessary to examine the match using vital facts, documents, and LOGIC. Much as detectives must use the scale of Motive, Opportunity, and Means, to advance a theory of NPE (non-parental event) mating we genealogists must determine Proximity, Age and Dates, and Potential commonality. In other words, build a tree, research FACTUAL documents, and make sure the suspected mystery biological parent shared time and space with the known parent and that they could logically expect to have joined with that known parent to produce a child.


That's where I now find myself - at the crossroads just in advance of naming the suspected father! Stay tuned, I shall write a few notes to the closest Shared Matches in an attempt to gain knowledge through personal stories should I be fortunate in making contact. In the meantime, please take advantage of your opportunity to do your own Armchair Genealogy.


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

Cooking with Rod

 


By Rod Cohenour

Saints and Sinners?
Heaven and Hell?
Wings and A Trident?
Halos and Hooves?
Angels and Devils?
Halos and Horns?

No matter how you name it, it is magnifico ... delicioso ... Perfecto!!

Italian cuisine is as varied and wonderful as any on this planet. One of my most well loved dishes is one even the Italians swear is hellaciously warm. The dish? Creamy tender chicken breasts, seasoned to perfection, nestled in angel hair pasta and smothered in a sauce that can only be described as "Heaven gets a little naughty!"

As usual, this is a meal perfected in collaboration with my wife who enjoys being a foodie as much as do I. This is our take on the classic Chicken fra Diavolo or Chicken with Brother Devil's Sauce.

Although we set forth the spices and herbs I used in preparing this dish recently, my wife has a fail-safe recipe for her homemade blend for Italian seasoning. The recipe (included below) makes enough seasoning for many uses and keeps well. Mix this up and you can simply use a bit to season the chicken before adding it to the skillet as well as the bit used to enhance the sauce.

Accompany the Halos and Horns with some crispy garlic bread and a chilled antipasto salad, melt a few slivers of mozzarella on each chicken breast if you choose. Dare to prepare.

Bon appetit~!

Halos and Horns


Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 medium bell peppers, diced medium
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Butter flavored PAM style spray for skillet
  • 1 lb, 13 oz (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree, unsalted
  • 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel style or use Rotel)
  • 1 can 28 oz unsalted tomato sauce (plain or opt for fire roasted or Italian style with more peppers and onions. Reduce Italian spices listed below if using the Italian style sauce, however. Taste test.)
  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 8 breasts). Best option are flatter pieces of fairly uniform size for even cooking
    SEASON NOTE: Use Ms Homemade Italian Seasoning on chicken breast pieces before adding to skillet. OR use the following mixture of spices and herbs:
  • Dash of red pepper flakes if you like the heat.
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp fresh ground peppercorns
    PASTA NOTE:
  • 1 lb pkg angelhair pasta
  • Water as per pasta directions
  • 2 Tbsp sweet creamery butter (or margarine)
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley (reserve 2 tsp for garnish)


Instructions:

1. Spray 16" electric skillet. Heat to 350°. Add bell pepper and onion to saute. When onion has become translucent, add canned tomato trio. Stir to blend. Sprinkle some of the Italian style spices over sauce. Stir. Cover.

2. Season chicken breasts with spices. Place breast pieces evenly around skillet. Chicken pieces should be partially submerged in sauce. Lower temperature to about 300° (medium heat). Cover skillet and allow to simmer about 20 minutes, turn chicken pieces. Cover. Allow to simmer about another 15 to 20 minutes. Chicken is done when thickest part is pierced and no juice or CLEAR juice emerges. Turn off heat. Cover to keep warm while plates are prepared.

3. Prepare pasta per package directions while chicken and sauce are in final cooking stage. When tender, drain. Add butter or margarine and toss. (This prevents pasta from becoming sticky and clump and imparts a delicious flavor.) Add about 1 Tbsp dried parsley. Toss.

4. To plate, spiral angelhair pasta on dish with a slight lip (this is a saucy dish). Top with chicken breast. Spoon fra diavalo sauce over chicken and pasta. Sprinkle with dried or shaved parmesan cheese. Garnish with dried parsley (can opt for fresh basil leaves, parsley, or green onion tops as your garnish.)

Serves 4 or 8, depending on appetites. (See pic below.)

Best served with a crusty bread, chilled salad with dressing of your choice, and a cold drink, tea or lemonade are especially tasty.

* * * * *

Ms Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 Tbsp dried sweet basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp granulated garlic OR 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin OR 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp marjoram OR 2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp freshly ground peppercorns (fine grind)

Using a small food processor, add rosemary to break up the little needle-like leaves. Using on/off method (pulsing) process until stems and leaves are chopped to a palatable size. Add oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and ground peppercorns. Continue pulsing until of a medium grind.
(NOTE: I prefer to have the leafy dried herbs in larger size; I don't even process the parsley and if my oregano and basil are stem-free I don't process them either).
Empty food processor into a small bowl. Add remaining herbs and spices. Whisk together. Put entire mixture into a clean DRY jar. Seal with tight-fitting lid.
Store in a dark, cool pantry or cabinet. Makes about 14 Tablespoons seasoning. Should store safely for up to 6 months if kept in airtight container in the cool, dry shelf or spice drawer.
Use to make herbed chicken, spaghetti sauce, to season grilled vegetables, a salad dressing, lasagne - any dish calling for Italian seasoning.


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

 

Woo Woo

 

By Pauline Evanosky

How to Find Time for Dreams
and Ideas to Implement Them

Sometimes, I think, it is difficult to feel balanced. I refer to the times we live in as being dangerous, fraught with worry, and for the most part depressing as all get out. But if you think about it, the times when others lived would likely have been the same.


How do you change a sense of anxiousness to a more serene existence? I think you must make an effort to do so. This is about balance.


Imagine if you lived before the telegraph was widely used in the 1840s. The only news you got was from travelers. It was likely that news would be old by the time you learned of it. I think people who lived then would not have felt the same onslaught we feel as we hear bad news so much of the time. Now, I think that takes a toll on a person.


What if you were to limit the time that you expose yourself to any sort of news? There is not much good that is on the news these days. What if we were to turn our phones off for part of the day? Jobs encroach upon people’s free time. Perhaps the co-worker or boss who is emailing you or calling you is thinking, “Oh, while I’m thinking of it I will send this request and they can think about it tomorrow while they are working.” The person receiving the call will take the energy to read or listen to your message at 8:30 pm Saturday night. Then, they are going to go to bed and at 2:00 am will awaken to think about it some more. There, you’ve managed to disrupt their sleep. So, not nice behavior as far as I am concerned. What can a person do against this sort of commonly accepted activity?


Turn their phones off and do not look at any texts or emails that come in during the times they are not working. Just do it. Granted, to get ahead you’ve got to lower all the barriers to a private life and invite anybody and everybody to rob you of the time you want to use to do something, but why? For what? Just turn your phones off, don’t look at news on the Internet, and do something else?


Do what? Everybody has something other than work to do. Or, you should. What long-lost dream have you stopped thinking about? Work has a place in your day. Dreams should have the same standing and get the same respect. If you work 8 hours in a day, you could devote 6 hours to your dreams. Then, you’ve got 10 hours to sleep and for chores. Can you carve some time out of your day to pay attention to your dreams?


I should think you could. I found many years ago that if I wanted to write while I was working a good time to do that would be to awaken at 3 or 4 am. Then, I could have 2 or 3 hours before work to spend time on something that was much closer to my heart than work was. Work paid the bills, so yes, it was important. But I did not have to allow it to be present at other times.


This is not to say that I was completely successful in stopping my mind from thinking about work-related issues at times when I was not getting paid. Sometimes, the answers to thorny problems would come to me in the dead of night just because I was calm enough to let them through.


But you get the idea. If you schedule a doctor’s appointment you will be there. If you are going to get your hair done you will plan on spending an hour or so at the salon or barbershop. You already go to work. Plan on spending some time on your dreams.


I’m not telling you what your dreams are. Imagine when you retire. Lots of people include being able to retire and live comfortably when they are young. Others do not. Imagine what you would like to do when you are retired.


Now, imagine you will paint, work on cars, carve, draw, sew, crochet, or volunteer your time somewhere. Think about those dreams. Would you like to sing? Now’s the time to get a voice coach or learn how to read music. Do you want to write? Learn how. You need to read a lot too. That all takes time. Include those activities in your dreams.


And utilize the Internet. As the years have gone on there are more and more people who have offered to teach folks all sorts of things online via YouTube.com. Not all of them cost money. In fact, you could probably learn a lot of basic stuff from free sites and then, if you want to get certified in these dreams pay some money.


Here are a few resources I already use.

Google.com is your friend. You can find out what that funny spot on your shoulder might be to a recipe for meatloaf surprise or the steps necessary to start selling the stuff you make on Etsy.com

YouTube.com for pretty much any subject under the sun. Reddit.com for community and other people interested in subjects you are interested in.

Khanacademy.com The founder Sal Khan wanted to help his niece with some math homework. What evolved has become a collection of more than 6,500 videos on all sorts of subjects. None of that costs anything. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. So, this is worth checking out no matter how old you are. I am currently taking an Algebra 1 course on KhanAcademy.

Canva.com This is an online website that helps you create signs, Facebook posts, or whatever you want to have that has pictures in it. There is the basic free membership and a pro version that costs. There is a bit of a learning curve, but again, tons of videos on Youtube.com to get you up to speed, and if you eventually use the designs to decorate a webpage or to make flyers for groups you belong to it is worth it. The paid version is $120 a year for 5 people.

Udemy.com I wait for their sales and stock up on courses to take. Any subject under the sun almost. It is just tantalizing to take a course that normally costs $250 and only pay $9.99 for it. Take a look to see what is available, get on their mailing list and wait for a sale.

Edx.com for University courses. Yes, you can take university-level courses for free. They might start on specified dates, so do check them out.

Try to live a balanced life and allow your dreams to flourish.

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

 

Irish Eyes

 

 

By Mattie Lennon

Famous Newly-weds, A GAA Legend and
Too Much Laughter in Dingle

Pauline Clooney spent thirty years as a teacher and gave up moulding the minds of the young in 2017 to become a full-time writer. She is a doctoral student of creative writing with NUIM and is an experienced workshop facilitator. She established The Kildare Writing Centre, where she facilitates courses in creative writing for adults. Her academic achievements include a MLitt in English Literature (2007) and a first-class honour Masters in Creative Writing from UCD (2015).


In 2015 Pauline won the Penguin Ireland/ RTE Guide Short Story competition. Her work was shortlisted for competition too numerous to mention. She has now given us a work of genius in Charlotte & Arthur.


Arthur Bells Nicholls was born in Killead, County Antrim in 1819. He was educated at the Royal Free School in Banagher. Not the Banagher as in”It beats . . . “) It is in County Derry. Arthur’s Alma Mater was in Banagher County Offaly (King’s County at the time) where the headmaster was his uncle, Alan Bell. He graduated from Trinity College 1844 and was ordained as a deacon in 1845 in Lichfield and became Patrick Brontë's curate in June that year. Although he visited the poor of the parish frequently, he could be strict and conservative. In 1847 he carried out a campaign to prevent women from hanging their washing out to dry in the cemetery.


On June 29th, 1854 he married Patrick Brontë’ s daughter Charlotte, a 38 year old spinster, in Haworth. Only a handful of guests have been invited, and you and in Pauline Clooney’s superbly written work you are one of them. The reader accompanies the newly married couple every step of the way from Haworth to Banagher and many historical further south such as Killarney and west Cork.


Not looking forward to the lonely life of of the unmarried Charlotte embarked on what she saw as a calculated risk. She grew to love Arthur but saw him as her intellectual inferior. Pauline Clooney puts philosophical snippets into the mouth of Charlotte, which, I believe the great novelist would have been proud of, such as, “You can always rely on cultural references, Arthur, to banish philistines.”


The former schoolteacher gets into the head of Charlotte and mines it for doubts and insecurities while on her honeymoon, “She wanted to say something to him, something personal, but what if this was one of those fleeting moments, that balmy, summer evenings trick us into believing are glimpse of eternal happiness.”


Not alone can this author construct the sentence structures of mid-eighteenth English speech but the Dublinese of the same period. A waiter in the Shelbourne Hotel asks Arthur, “ Sorry, Sir, wha’ room are yous in, an’ will ya be wantin’cake wit’ yer tay?” She makes sure that Charlotte’s character, gazing through the carriage window, at governesses et al on Merrion Square, appreciates how her talent has enabled her to lead, a privileged life; “ How different her life could have been, had not her creative gifts freed her from what was to her a life of slavery to families who, regardless of how included in their domestic life the endeavoured to make you feel, they were always quick, especially when visitors called, to remind you of your lower station and your service position.”


Charlotte and Arthur is published by Merdog Books; publication date is October 01st. Don’t miss this chance to travel with the newly-weds through England, Wales and Ireland.


For PR, sales and information contact Aoife Grant; info@merdogbooks.com

* * * * *

GAA legend Mícheál O'Muircheartaigh has turned 91. (See pic above.) Here is a collection of some of his more colourful witty comments over the decades; the list was given to me by Donegal man John Cassidy, author of Buses, Trains and Gaelic Games. (This is the same well-known John Cassidy who, when he was a bus-driver met some people while on Holiday in Spain. His new friends decided to contact him but didn’t have an address. They addressed their communication to “Somewhere in Dublin.” See the pic. It was delivered safely) Pic show Cassidy with a former American Ambasador; other pic shows the communication.




“ Seán Óg Ó hAilpín: his father’s from Fermanagh, his mother’s from Fiji. Neither a hurling stronghold.”
“ …and Brian Dooher is down injured. And while he is, I’ll tell ye a little story: I was in Times Square in New York last week, and I was missing the Championship back home. So I approached a newsstand and I said, “I suppose ye wouldn’t have The Kerryman, would ye?” To which, the Egyptian behind the counter turned to me and he said, “Do you want the North Kerry edition, or the South Kerry edition?” He had both – so I bought both. And Dooher is back on his feet…”
“Anthony Lynch, the Cork corner-back, will be the last person to let you down – his people are undertakers.”
“Colin Corkery on the 45 lets go with the right boot. It's over the bar. This man shouldn’t be playing football. He’s made an almost Lazarus-like recovery from a heart condition. Lazarus was a great man but he couldn’t kick points like Colin Corkery.”
“The stopwatch has stopped. It’s up to God and the referee now. The referee is Pat Horan. God is God.”
“Teddy McCarthy to Mick McCarthy, no relation, Mick McCarthy back to Teddy McCarthy, still no relation.”
“I saw a few Sligo people at Mass in Gardiner Street this morning and the omens seem to be good for them. The priest was wearing the same colours as the Sligo jersey! 40 yards out on the Hogan Stand side of the field, Ciarán Whelan goes on a rampage… it’s a goal! So much for religion.”
“He grabs the sliothar, he’s on the 50! He’s on the 40! He’s on the 30… he’s on the ground!”
“Pat Fox out to the forty and grabs the sliothar. I bought a dog from his father last week. Fox turns and sprints for goal… the dog ran a great race last Tuesday in Limerick… Fox, to the 21, fires a shot – it goes to the left and wide… and the dog lost as well.”
“In the first half, they played with the wind. In the second half, they played with the ball.”
“1-5 to 0-8… well, from Lapland to the Antarctic, that’s level scores in any man’s language.”
“Pat Fox has it on his hurl and is motoring well now, but here comes Joe Rabbitte hot on his tail… I’ve seen it all now, a Rabbitte chasing a Fox around Croke Park!”
“Teddy looks at the ball, the ball looks at Teddy…”
“Mike Houlihan for Limerick. He had his jaw broken by a kick from a bullock two months ago. He’s back now. ‘Twas some bullock that broke Mike Houlihan’s jaw!' “


There you have it, a few gems from the Dingle man. And staying in that part of the world, the owner of a restaurant in Co. Kerry was left completely baffled after a customer had the nerve to complain that there was "too much laughter". Jim McCarthy, who runs the award-winning Chart House Restaurant in Dingle, couldn’t believe his ears.


"Tonight a guest complained, she was not happy there was too much laughter in the restaurant, I'm lost for words. Honestly, lost for word after opening the restaurant in 1997, I really thought I had heard it all."


See you in October.


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