Thursday, July 1, 2021

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

July 2021

" “Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.”

– Sara Coleridge.

June now gone--welcome July. To say July is greeted with high hopes doesn't truly express the anticipation shared by so many. Here in America we will celebrate again our Independence Day on the Fourth of July. But around the world, others hail this month as the first step forward in the second half of the year--a new begining to make 2021 special in some way that will form cherished memories.

Our authors sharing experiences in their columns for this issue include Mattie Lennon (Irish Eyes) who introduces us to a new book and discusses the author. Marilyn Carnell (Sifoddling Along) recalls some creative expressions you might never have heard. Thomas O'Neill (Introspective) speaks about Quantum Physics and how the subject impacts our lives.

Rod Cohenour (Cooking with Rod) entices our palates with his version of stew -- Pork Stew Rodrigo. Melinda Cohenour (Armchair Genealogy) gives an informative tutorial on using a new tool in Ancestry's website to identify from DNA tests your personal matches on other trees. This is a step by step guideline exploring the info Ancestry offers. Mike Craner expresses his thoughts on military service and how some led to our freedom to celebrate Independence Day, in his aptly named column "Mike Craner Ramblings."

John I. Blair (View from My Back Yard) talks about the wrenching changes within his "View. . ." and adds details. Pauline Evanosky (Woo Woo) divulges conversations with former celebrities. Judith Kroll (On Trek) urges us to recognize "Collateral Damage" present in our personal actions, with an interesting explanation. She is also the author of Chapter One of the story "The Elderly Gent," with more chapters to follow in future months.

Bud Lemire's poems for July are "Roger, My Friend," "It's Okay to Be Sick," and "A New Hope." Walt Perryman, who does 'Cowboy Poetry' at Luckenbach, sent these poems "A Brand New Day," "Cyber Space," and "On My Mind." First time to have a poem by A. W. Renarcy, "Boot Prints."

John I. Blair submitted "Plum Tree" for July, and yours truly also showed one poem, "One Finds Oneself." Bruce Clifford, added these two song lyrics "Why is The Sea so Blue" and "I'm So Unsure."

Mike Craner, who keeps this eZine functioning with his ingenuity and consideration, is also a dear friend. He and wife Susie have brightened my life more than words can tell. Thanks, Mike!

We will see you in August!

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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.

Mike Craner Ramblings


By Michael L. Craner

Yesterday, June 30th 32 years ago I was on my way to Basic Training. Still in reception center on July 4th, we were forced to stand in the rain to watch lousy fireworks.

We were given two tickets. 1 for a can of soda and 1 for a snack size bag of chips.

My first meal in the Army included half cooked rice. All I could think of was, "I signed up for 5 years of this?"

They gave me uniforms and boots, but insisted I buy my own exercise clothes and running shoes... and pay for the haircuts THEY mandated I have. That's a pretty big cut into a $632 a month wage (before taxes.)

Yet, it was the best choice of my life. I met wonderful people who I am still friends with today... went to places most will never see. Found an amazing wife and started an amazing family.

To me, all the hard times were worth it... and believe me, we've had mostly hard times since the beginning.

Don't thank me for my service. It was my duty and honor.

Don't tell me "I tried to join, but..." but you didn't and you will not co-opt the service of others because you say you wanted to serve. You couldn't, or wouldn't, and that's fine. We don't care nor do we care to hear about it. You did, or you didn't.

Despite serving in wartime, I was fortunate to not lose any close friends then... but the war took several later... some by disability, others from the ranks of "22 a Day"... still more are fighting a war that they left years ago. Myself included.

In 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed... our founding fathers, merchants, farmers, craftsmen, and military officers not only put their names on the line, but their lives and lives of their families for something they believed in.

That is what July 4th celebrates. Their sacrifice and courage. What they did was a rebellion or civil war. All of our patriots were nothing more than traitors to the king of England.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”

Happy Independence Day! It's not a BBQ, BEER FEST, firework day, or even just a day off. It's a day to remember those good men put their lives, businesses, and families on the line to make our piece of the world a better place.

With our remembrance we need to realize that this war is still going on. We must stay involved in politics and vote our hearts.

We can NEVER take a break, assuming our elected officials will actually represent us without oversight. It is OUR duty to oversee and hold them to their promises... and punish them when they fail.

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Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

This month there is an exciting new tool offered by Ancestry to help identify the relationship you share with your DNA matches.If you have been puzzled or confused by the array of potential relationships your DNA matches may have to you, this tool is quite helpful.

DNA analysis is quite complex. The closer your relationship to your DNA match, the greater the number of centiMorgans and both quantity and length of shared segments and the fewer possible relationships. However, the more distant the relative, the more possibilities are presented to identify your relationship to that person. For instance, my grandson was shown by Ancestry to possibly be my nephew. And once the more distant relatives appear, the longer the list of potential relationships are provided.

Be warned, in order to use this tool to its greatest advantage, your DNA test results should be linked to the most accurate and comprehensive family tree you have available and your DNA matches will have similarly linked their test results to a public tree.

Let's give this tool a try. Sign in to your Ancestry account. Click on the drop-down menu and select DNA, then select DNA matches. A screen should appear displaying the closest relative who has submitted a DNA test. In my case, it was my daughter.

Under the name, appears a question: do you know them? And beneath that will be two dialog boxes. The first replies Yes and the second suggests Learn more.

Let's assume you do recognize the first person with the closest relationship to you. Click on Yes.

In my case, the closest match was my daughter. I was offered a choice to indicate that DNA match was on Mother's side, Father's Side, or Both sides. I selected Both sides. I was then asked to identify the relationship we shared. The choices were few, and I selected daughter.

My next closest DNA match turned out to be my sister. I recognized her so chose yes. And when presented with how we were related, I selected Both sides, and for relationship chose sister. Now every time my DNA matches come up these two people will be clearly identified.

It gets much more complicated when you get to the DNA matches that are shown as second to third cousin. The choices one could make for DNA matches designated as second to third cousin, number no less than 25!

The list begins with second cousin or first cousin twice removed, or half first cousin once removed, or half grand uncle, or half grandnephew. I think you get the idea. The possible relationships run on to 25.

My first DNA match so far unidentified as to relationship, turns out to be suggested as a second or third cousin. Since I am not certain whether this cousin is related to my mother or my father and I have the same surname for both sides, I opted to Learn More.

I am given hope that I can quickly identify this DNA match because Ancestry has helpfully indicated their computer has shown this cousin and I have a common ancestor. This means someone in my tree matches to someone in the tree linked to my cousin's DNA test. Hooray!

The Learn More choice provides me with a screen with assorted pieces of information. I'm looking for the common ancestor of course, so I scroll down to the section that shows me that name. In this case there are two names, a married couple (my 2nd Great-Grandparents).

Under the name of my second great-grandfather, appears a hyperlink that says View relationship. When I click on that hyperlink, a new screen loads. If you have previously checked out Ancestry's Thru Lines, you will recognize this screen. For those of you who have not perused this tool, let me walk you through it.

The first screen that appears lists at the top the name of my second great-grandfather. Below that are the names of the people directly related that create the line of descent from that grandfather to me. Also appearing on that screen is an Arrow. I click on that Arrow. This displays the line of descent from my second great-grandfather to the DNA match. It also shows how that person is related to me. In this case he is my third cousin. Ancestry provides the relationship so long as none in the line of descent are LIVING AND NOT ALREADY IN YOUR TREE. The rule for Ancestry and most other online trees is to hide all information for living persons and mark that profile private. if however, you have added that person to your tree, you and only you will be able to see their name and vital information. This is true for all living persons added by you to your tree, unless you have invited someone and granted them full access as a contributor and not just as a guest.

This one was easy since my cousin and I had linked trees, accessible to the public, that showed our parents' names, and their ancestors back to our common ancestor.

You might be content to merely identify this DNA match and move on. Not so your author. It is my choice to now add these relatives in the appropriate place in my tree. I will also digress to enhance the profiles for these relatives by utilizing the Search tool or any hints that are applicable provided by Ancestry.

This particular set of grandparents offers a gold mine of information. It was my choice to go back to the first screen and check Thru Lines for more relatives. In this case I recognize a number of names I've previously seen in my DNA match list. Depending upon my frame of mind and amount of time available, I decide whether or not to add these relatives and their lines of descent to my tree.

This obsession with fleshing out my tree yields its own benefits. And also takes time to do properly. It becomes immediately apparent as I run through the various DNA matches linked to these ancestors, that I have previously added some of the relatives whose names now appear.

However, for some of the names now appearing, I am offered the opportunity by Ancestry to Evaluate each person before adding them to my tree. Clicking the hyperlink to Evaluate, displays the information Ancestry has used to suggest the line of descent. The next screen appearing for me reveals some two dozen or more trees that indicate the validity of the ancestral line. I can take the time to look at each tree, evaluate the data, or look for a well-documented tree among the list and check that out. I will, of course, always do my own research to verify the accuracy and appropriateness of adding one of these people to my tree.

More than likely, I will take my usual route and go to the profile for the person in the list I know has already been added to my tree. I will then work with the information provided for the most probable line of descent, temporarily adding the name and then documenting to my satisfaction before deciding to make this person a permanent member of my tree.

In this case, I choose to add the name of the daughter who was not previously made a part of this line. In order to quickly access the parent, Ancestry has made it easy. I merely click on the square immediately above the name requiring evaluation. This links me to the profile for that parent. When I add the name of the daughter suggested by Thru Lines, after a very brief moment Ancestry offers 15 hints. I can now review those documents to confirm facts and Vital Information for this person. I would suggest first looking for birth validation or Census records that show the new name with those names already in the tree. This should provide me with a date and place of birth to guide further research.

This process will be followed by me for each person down the line of descent, ending with the DNA match. This should now permit you to identify the relationship you have with that DNA match. Don't forget to go back to your DNA match list and clarify the relationship on that list.

Thus far we have dealt with DNA matches that have linked a public tree to their DNA test. I would suggest working the DNA matches for those who have a tree attached and show a common ancestor, or pick names that are familiar to you but just have not been added to your tree yet. Remember the old saying, "Gather the low-hanging fruit first."

For most of us who have submitted DNA for testing, the match list runs into the thousands. As you work the list of matches in the manner described above, it should become easier to identify other cousins whose DNA matches yours. However, there will still be a huge pool of matches whose relationship to you remains obscure. Do not despair, for there are other ways to work the list.

After you have gathered the low-hanging fruit as described above, and exhausted all the matches possible, you may wish to start at the top again. This time we will utilize another excellent built in tool offered by Ancestry - the Shared Matches option that shows up after you have clicked on Learn More. This will give us an opportunity to compare the matches that are completely alien to our knowledge to those matches already known to us by virtue of being in our tree or having just been identified through the process outlined above. This is where a family researcher's detective skills are put to work.

In previous columns your author has outlined the ways to utilize social media, online search engines, and comparison to public trees in Ancestry and other genealogical sites to augment your research. It also pays to create a network of researchers whose interests parallel your own. Message them through Ancestry. Find them on Facebook and become friends. Review their trees for information that might link to your own. A world of opportunity exists when you choose to "Meet your ancestors" through Armchair Genealogy.

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

Pork Stew Rodrigo

Food is one of my greatest passions. And of all the cuisines available, my special passion is Southwest-style delicacies. This dish is guaranteed to delight your taste buds while filling your belly with a warm, happy feeling. It's simple to prepare and heavenly to devour.

Bon appetit~!

Pork Stew Rodrigo
  • 3 lbs pork stew meat
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 28 oz diced Hatch mild green chiles (or Bueno frozen fire roasted Hatch mild green chiles chopped)
  • 8 sm or 6 med potatoes diced
  • 1/2 lg or 1 med onion diced
  • 96 oz beef broth
  • 3 pkgs. Knorr Mexican Rice mix
  • Water for rice (5 1/4 cups or per package instructions)
  • 3 Tbsp. Chile powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Cumin


    1. Coat pork stew meat in red chile powder and cumin. Spray skillet with Pam. Brown meat on all sides. Set aside.
    2. Dice potatoes and onion. Add to large stew pot with beef stock and cans of tomato and green chiles. Add stew meat, making sure to use a spatula to get all the pan drippings as well to enhance the flavor.
    3. Cover stew pot and set heat to medium. Gradually bring contents to a boil. Immediately turn the element back to low heat.
    4. Simmer at least one hour until potatoes are fork-tender.
    5. In a separate pan prepare the rice according to instructions.
    6. When ready to serve, place rice in the bottom of serving bowls (about halfway). Ladle out stew over rice. Serve.

Various garnishes could be made available for guests to choose. Cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, grated cheese, warm corn or flour tortillas, diced green onions, black beans, pintos, corn, and sour cream.

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View from My Back Yard


By John I. Blair


Gardening by proxy can be a very frustrating occupation, but there comes a time when that’s how one does it. And at 80 years old, I’ve reached that time. I once had a big and ambitious flower garden surrounding my house, filled with annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, vines and trees. A network of brick paths connected most points of the garden and there were three sitting areas where I and others could relax and enjoy the changing seasons. And I’d done all of that pretty much by myself with some help from my then young son.

But that was years ago, when I was in my 40s, 50s, and 60s. Now I’m 80 and lucky to still be able to toddle around with my cane, much less dig flower beds, squat or kneel to plant and trim and weed, or whack back encroaching vegetation. So the garden has pretty much “gone wild” on me, with the paths and patios being maintained only through the intercession of a hired yard man and the flowers surviving mostly in a small assemblage of terracotta pots up by the back door where I can reach them to water and trim.

Don’t get me wrong – this kind of gardening also brings pleasure, though mostly of the standing and looking kind. I still see the seasons changing, watch the birds flocking to feeders and squirrels scampering about in the treetops (and sitting on my kitchen window ledge to eat sunflower seeds from feeders). It’s a contemplative garden where the exercise is mostly mental.

However, sometimes mental just doesn’t cut it. Literally. A couple of plum trees, one planted 30 years ago, the other a volunteer from the fruit of the first, both died fairly recently. And have been standing out there in the center of the yard, of use primarily to woodpeckers for pecking and squirrels as a shortcut from taller nearby trees to the house. Something needed to be done; and I was quite sure it wasn’t going to be done by me.

Photo of the bottom part of the trunk on the larger plum tree, before it had completely died.

Fortunately my yard man also is an experienced tree trimmer. So he offered me a package deal on the two dead trees and I took him up on the offer.

A couple of weeks ago he showed up (by appointment) with equipment and a friend to help with the cleanup work. Mind you, these weren’t little fruit orchard trees – the older, larger one was 25 feet tall and leaning against my power line that runs from the back of the yard. A potentially tricky situation. And one I wasn’t sure I really wanted to watch while it was being done. So I chickened out (chickens always get the short end of the stick in figures of speech, including this one) and decided to just sit at my desk and not look. Just listen.

I’m not a novice at having trees removed. In the 35 years I’ve lived here in this woodsy neighborhood I’ve had three full-sized shade trees plus chunks of a couple of others removed. Those jobs involved a virtual circus act, with long, tensioned cables, men in harnesses dangling from upper limbs, tightly coordinated teamwork and genuinely scary possibilities. In one case half a 90-foot-tall elm had fallen into my yard and was resting on my chimney and roof edge. In two others an equally large ash tree had fallen on my car in the driveway. Yes, that happened twice, with two different cars. Some folk are slow learners. The two plum trees were not likely to provide anything like that level of anxiety. But on the other hand my anxiety resilience isn’t what it used to be.

So I sat at my desk, determinedly looking at my computer screen and not out the kitchen window down the hallway. But listening.

Thirty minutes of more or less continuous chainsaw racket without any shouts (from the yard man) or screams (from his female assistant) and then there was a relatively low-key CRACK, CRUNCH. And the tree was down. (The bigger tree.) At that point I figured it was safe to go look.

At first glance it was hard to tell there had ever been two largish trees in the center of my garden. There was just a small tangle of tree pieces, rapidly being cut up for disposal. I had asked that the tree debris be chopped small and tossed under the huge hedge on the side of the yard where, hopefully, they would decay into new soil rather than being hauled off and wasted in the gigantic landfill on the edge of town. And so it was. By sunset, aside from a few bruised and broken goldenrod stalks, I couldn’t tell there had ever been a pair of plum trees in my yard. Sad, but also happy. They had lived full tree lives and had gone to an honorable resting place.

The yard man was also happy – no injuries and cash payment for work well done.

And now I can, for the first time in more than five years, look out into the garden and not have the centerpiece be a pair of large dead trees. Bad news for the woodpeckers (and squirrels). But they’ll find other places to feed and climb. And all of them are regulars at my feeder stations anyway.

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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Creative Expressions

As we prepare to celebrate our Country’s birth, we are slowly emerging from more than a year of isolation and loneliness due to the COVID virus. I am finding that change more difficult than I had anticipated. The last few days experiences illustrate my dismay. They brought out a return to my childhood way of speaking. Some of the expressions are common and I think a few exclusive to my family. Nevertheless, they are reflective of the colorful language of my youth.

When we moved to Minnesota in 2011 after living in the Ozarks 25 years, we encountered the dour Norwegian/Swedish style of hospitality. We found that “Minnesota Nice” existed and we were greeted pleasantly, but they had no time for strangers. I decided it fit the description of the Platte River in Nebraska during the Gold Rush: “A mile wide and an inch deep.” Calm Scandinavians make the “stiff upper lip” Brits look like they are having a hissy fit. A mild “Uff da” is often the response to a dramatic moment.

I had a medical appointment last week. Thinking I knew exactly where I was going, I went to the Park Nicollet 3800 building. As soon as I got off the elevator, I realized my mistake and called to let them know I might be a little late. The receptionist was gracious and told me that I had plenty of time to get there. Somewhat rattled, I drove to the 3850 building only to find that I was still in the wrong location. I needed to go to the 7th floor of Methodist Hospital. As I sped toward my goal, I thought “I’m nervous as a runaway mule.” I laughed and wondered if anyone would understand that.

Later that day I started to prepare for a second appointment and could not find a piece of equipment I was supposed to bring with me. After tearing the house up, the box was found in the garage. I never managed to get it into the house. It is very hot in Minnesota this year and after all that effort, I thought “I’m hotter’n eleven bears.” I remembered being teased about my speech habits when I worked at the University of Minnesota many years ago. My colleagues made up a chart of my sayings including: “Hot as a depot stove”, “she could (do a task) slicker than fly legs” (my Mom was fond of that one). Another she liked was “Silly as Kate Mullin.” I asked who Kate was, but she had no idea, she learned it from her Mother.

My father was creative in expressing himself also. He teased someone for looking “as wise as a tree full of owls”, or was “crazy as a peach orchard boar” (in old days, free-range hogs would eat fermented peaches and get drunk), someone stingy was “as tight as Dick’s hatband”. I am guessing he was no more known than the unfortunate Kate.

One of my favorites was “He has enough money to burn a wet mule.” I later read it was attributed to Governor Huey Long of Louisiana, certainly, he was a colorful character.

All in all, my mishaps and reluctance to re-enter society reminded me that I come from strong and clever people and there is no need for me to “toss my curls and stamp my feet” in frustration when things don’t go as planned. A quiet “Uff da” will do.

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

Sinead's Rememberings

More than 30 years ago a female journalist was told by a friend, “I’ve found the next U2.”And she’s a woman." The person was, of course, referring to Sinéad O’Connor who was to rapidly become a star. From her early life it was obvious that she would grow up with a mind of her own.

In her recently published autobiography, Rememberings, she takes the reader by the hand through a life with many twists and turns. In the foreword the global star tells us, “ I can’t remember any more than I have given my publisher. Except for that which is private or that I wish to forget. The of what I do not recall would fill ten thousand libraries, so it’s probably just as well I don‘t remember . . . I have left some people out because I know they prefer privacy and others because I want them to be pissed when they look for their names in the book and don’t find them.”

She has in the past spoken publically in considerable detail of how she suffers another side-effect of the parental cruelty is, ” . . . onions don’t make me cry.”

O’Connor can draw a word picture as vividly as any writer I know. On an early page you are in her grandmother’s house at Christmas with Sinead as a small child. You can hear her talking to the old piano and almost see its yellowing keys, watch the fairy lights and smell cabbage. She is one of a talented family and even at that tender age she knew where she wanted to go, “ . . . I want songs to take me away to that other world . I don’t like reality.”

She describes in earthy detail her feelings on August the sixteenth 1977, when Elvis died, “I’m crying so f*cking much I can’t make my bed. My body won’t work.”

In her description of her mother’s father she writes, ” The only thing he wants in life is quiet but he can’t say quiet properly because he’s from Westmeath. He roars ‘Quite! Quite! At us over the top of his newspaper, when we’re being too noisy, which makes us giggle, so he has to roar it again.” But her childhood kindness shines through in the next paragraph, “To make up for tormenting him, I stand behind his chair and rock him real softly in the evenings when it’s just me and him so he can fall asleep.”

One prominent Irish journalist wrote, Everyone has an opinion on Sinéad O’Connor. Some would have preferred her to be like a Victorian child: seen and not heard. From her early childhood it should have been obvious, to the “some” referred to that Sinead wasn’t ever going to fall into that category. From speaking up fearlessly about the social ills of her own country to tearing up a picture of the Pope on a prime-time television show she proved on many occasions that she was her own woman without fear or favour.

Bob Geldof put it very well when he said only Sinéad O’Connor could have had the strength of character to bear being Sinéad O’Connor.

It is no surprise that Rememberings is the best written autobiography by an Irish celebrity for many a day Sinead O ‘ Connor has been putting profound thoughts into words for most of her life and the word “blame” doesn’t appear to be in her vocabulary.

“When you're young, you don't really know quite what you're aiming at. You're very impulsive and acting on impulse, which is very important and valuable. But you're kind of swimming in a blind sea. When you get older, you have more of a sense of direction.”

* * * * *

“Suicide doesn't solve your problems. It only makes them infinitely, un-countably worse.”

* * * * *

"I'm on fire when I'm singing, I'm completely in character, I use my sense memories, and every syllable of it is meant. It's a very special thing."

* * * * *

“I don't do anything in order to cause trouble. It just so happens that what I do naturally causes trouble. I'm proud to be a troublemaker.”

And now this talented “troublemaker” with the unbelievable capacity for forgiveness is at her best in Rememberings. The book is published by Sandycove, an imprint of Penguin Books. It is dedicated to a number of people and heading the list is, “. . . all staff and patients at St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin” She expressed her gratitude to those same people in her newspaper column, after the book was published , “There people are my second family, and this is my second home. And will be all my life.” She goes on to say that the love she has been given in Saint Patrick’s, ” . . . is so tender and so strong that it’s impossible to describe.” That is the sort of gratitude, forgiveness and love that you will find in this beautifully written book which is certainly not devoid of humour.

* * * * *

I mentioned here that I was writing a memoir. Well, I was asked to record a short passage from it for Irish Men’s Shed Radio.

I’m attaching the audio: Bread an' Mate.wav

See you in August.

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Woo Woo

By Pauline Evanosky

Talking to Dead Guys – What it is Like

Snippet #1: I was watching an episode of Tony Bourdain’s, “No Reservations”. You can catch episodes on the Travel Channel. This is the one where he and a bunch of his chef friends do up a big holiday dinner. I haven’t finished watching the show but I wanted to relay the conversation I had with Tony just now.

I really, really like Tony Bourdain. I can’t say liked even though he is dead because I can still talk to him. So, we are chatting back and forth during the show, and he said to me, “You really like this don’t you?” I said, “What? He said, “Talking to dead guys.” I said, “Yes. In fact, that’s a really good name for a website. I’d better write that down or I’m not going to remember it.” Hence, the Facebook post where this story originally appeared.

I decided I'd like to use a photo to go with the article. Looking through Google Images there were lots of pictures, but Anthony asked me to find a younger one of him. So, this is Anthony Bourdain at 24 years old per his request.

Actually, he probably looks like that now. I remember Sylvia Browne said when folks died they ended up looking like they did in the prime of their life. I can probably look forward to being a size 12 in the afterlife.

Snippet #2: This story happened about four years ago. I had turned over a new leaf and that week ended up eating more fruit than I normally did. I also got a really bad case of gas. My husband always quotes his mother who used to say, “Better out than in.” I commented to my guide Seth, “That’s a good thing. Right?” He said, “Not if someone is standing behind you.”

Snippet #3: I hadn’t made much headway on this article. You’d think it would be easy with me being able to talk to dead guys wherever and whenever, but I’d hit a stump. It was like so many different people to choose from I couldn’t go wrong, but I also wanted to do right. Other than being encouraged with an easy choice of watching a television show and going from there I was stumped. I hadn’t yet gotten to the point where I could speak with any sort of authority about lucid dreaming (hopefully, next month’s article) so I turned to YouTube.

I had semi-settled on Robin Williams, who I still would like to speak with when I remembered Tarzan. And, that felt right. When I was a little girl all of us kids would watch the Tarzan movies that were shown on television on the weekends. Sometimes we even went to the movies, but the one Tarzan who captured my imagination was Johnny Weissmuller. I thought to myself what I remembered about him was that he was a kind man. I began to Google him and found a clip with a computerized voice that talked about how low he fell before he passed in 1984. I remember thinking that wasn’t right. Nobody falls so low they make a failure out of themselves ever. I just don’t believe in failure. There can certainly be changes in circumstances throughout somebody’s life, but failure? No. Would this information color my story? No, I believed then and believe now in the goodness that was Johnny Weissmuller.

His father started out in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, same as my husband Dennis’ grandfathers. In the articles I read, Johnny and his brother Peter lifted themselves out of the terrible future of dying of black lung disease in those coal mines by swimming. They were both in the Olympics and walked away with the gold. At least, Johnny did. I think Peter was also an extraordinary swimmer too, I mean you’d have to to be in the Olympics, right? In fact, I read that the two of them rescued 11 people when a tour boat capsized on Lake Michigan.

He was the 12th Tarzan, but for me, he was the best. So, yesterday I did all this reading so as to not appear ignorant. Actually, it made it worse because now I was double star struck.

This morning when I awakened I reached out to him to strike up a conversation. Whether I was going to put it in this article remained to be seen, and the way I was thinking it was going to all remain in the area of research. But, something changed my mind.

We got to talking about something else. I was thinking about past lives at the time. I asked Johnny Weissmuller how it was that I had no trouble at all talking to dead guys when other mediums did not do it. As far as I could see they would contact people’s relatives or, in some cases, their pet animals. I mean, I do that too, but mostly I seem to amuse myself talking to people known to me through film, television, or books. I don’t generally step far out of the closet to do this, with the exception of articles like this.

“If I might butt in here.”


“Yes, hello to you too. You’re never going to get anywhere meandering around about the point.”

“Okay, I agree.”

“It’s like being a wallflower at a dance. You haven’t stepped away from the punch bowl yet.”

“I know.”

“That’s one thing about speaking with Spirit. They can see right through you. Ha. That’s a good ghost joke!”

“That was sort of funny. Okay, so I’ll relax and you can talk about what we talked about.”

“Yes, Pauline was wondering how it is she so easily reaches out to speak with Spirit when others aren’t able to or just don’t talk about it. I told her that was what she was good at. She has no fear. It is the same as when I was swimming. I had no fear about it.

She asked me if I had incarnated yet. Then, she wondered before I even had an opportunity to answer how it was that if I had incarnated that she was talking to me at the same time? She was ready to throw up her hands in disgust once again wondering if she had made everything up in her head when I said to her that it was possible to be reincarnated and still be available in Spirit form to speak to mediums.

This proceeded to blow her mind.”

Oh, come on. It did. You wondered why your guide Seth had never talked to you about it. I said past lives is in your DNA as a person. You carry all of those lives with you, and yet those same personas are still in Heaven, or in the Great Beyond, or however you think of the lives between lives.”

Yes, that’s what really got me. I did wonder why my teacher, my guide, my Seth had never broached this idea with me before and that’s when I realized that people between lives are also our teachers. So, I think that was really something to think about.

In any case, the point of these interviews in this article is to illustrate just how it is to talk to Spirit and how normal it can seem. I suppose it could get really bizarre, like I could tell you how it is to talk to a plant or to an animal, but I don’t have a lot of experience with that. For a future article, I suppose.

I hope you enjoyed this.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

I enjoyed reading articles online about how modern scientists are attempting to come up with a unified field theory. A theory that can comprehensively explain all of reality and how we as human beings fit into the evolving big picture that is within us and around us. Some Physicists believe that Quantum Physics brings us closer to achieving that goal but there are still many unanswered questions.

One breakthrough in Quantum Physics was the discovery that matter can be broken down into its sub-atomic elements and that the energy at that level cannot be created nor destroyed. Sub-atomic energy is found throughout the universe, in living, and nonliving matter. The discovery of this energy brought us closer to understanding that sub-atomic energy is eternal. Quantum Physics is a remarkable tool in understanding the universe’s building blocks but it does not bring us anymore closer to understanding the essence of life.

A recent scientific breakthrough was the mapping of humanity's genetic code. We have learned more about the human genome in the last decade than in any other time in human history. We have also gained a greater understanding of the various genetic codes within other animal species. These various DNA signatures are essential for life to exist on our planet.

Scientists can point out the characteristics of what makes something a living being, but science cannot fully define why we exist. The essence of all living things that continues to evolve to greater self-consciousness cannot be fully comprehended on an intellectual level. But it is something we experience as self-conscious beings.

Some scientists are beginning to intuit that just as sub-atomic energy cannot be created or destroyed, so is the essence of life eternal. It is not a matter of believing in life or placing our faith in life because we know life exists. Life is what we experience and are consciously aware of in ourselves and others. We come to recognize existence in existence itself.

For the spiritually aware, it does not take new mathematical equations to recognize and conclude that we are alive. Some would define life as being synonymous with god and with our self-conscious awareness. The spiritually aware can also intuitively recognize the existence of all things as god’s outreach of love. Our spiritual understanding of life is not a matter of religious faith. It is merrily a matter of experiencing the spiritual core within our being and in the existence of others.

Quantum Physicists recognize the internal energy that sustains everything. This energy can also be reduced or broken down infinitesimally. There is no starting point to this energy but at the same time, it is an extension of what we understand as being god. There is also an internal balance within this energy. The spiritually-minded would call this internal balance an intelligent design. However, our human minds no matter how much knowledge we gain will always fall short of intellectually comprehending the awe-inspiring reality of god.

This scientific attempt among scientists to come up with a unified field theory does not fall in the realm of theology. It is simply a scientific method to unify their understanding of the sub-atomic world with the cosmos in general.

The star-filled skies and the human soul has intrigued the intellectually curious and the mystics of old for thousands of years. But in our more recent times, we are gaining more of an understanding of the raw science behind the cosmos and of what makes us human. We are also just beginning to comprehend the universe's sheer vastness. Most scientists believe that the reason it can take Billions of light-years for light to reach the earth from the farthest regions of our universe is that the cosmos is expanding at an accelerated rate.

Another way of viewing this expansion and outward acceleration is by perceiving it as accelerated growth within our evolving Universe. Some scientists also believe that in some far off and very distant future the accelerated expansion will slow down, and the Universe will begin to collapse in on itself due to a strong gravitational pull. The immense gravitational pull will cause the matter in our universe to break down to a sub-atomic ball of energy. The sub-atomic energy will eventually explode to what cosmologists call the ‘big bang theory’ or what we can define as a ‘rebirth’ of a new universe. This of course is just a scientific theory, but it also makes sense.

The big bang theory reflects death and rebirth on a cosmic level. We can intuit that our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes like a single cell among numerous cells that make up a living body. That living body is evolving within a greater living reality and that reality is evolving within an even greater reality and so on and so on. This theory of an expansion of evolving life is not something we can prove scientifically but it is something we can come to understand intuitively.

When it comes to the infinite and the infinitesimal reality of the ultimate big picture; we recognize that the ultimate existence of all things is the sum total of unending possibilities. Our existence is interconnected and an intricate part of the ultimate reality which is defined as eternal life.

I have a deep understanding that all life is spiritual by its very nature. I do not however follow any particular religious path because I have an implicit and intuitive awareness of that on a spiritual level.

Throughout history, people have taken long and treacherous journeys throughout the world and beyond. But the longest and most treacherous journey that any person can undertake is the journey inward. The inward journey provides humanity with multiple paths to spiritual awareness because each individual must and at some point, awaken to greater self-awareness.

We must also keep in mind that a key to spiritual growth is not in imposing one's will or beliefs upon others but rather in living our life as we would want others to live their lives, in doing so, others will embrace and emulate our way of life. True spirituality leads towards authenticity and that is why the truly spiritual do not seek conformity from others. Spiritual awareness frees people from imposing their will on others because they implicitly understand that the source of one's spirituality is at the very core of who we are as living beings. Life and god are synonymous we cannot separate God from the essence of life that sustains our very being.

The scientists’ attempts to develop a unified field theory reflect how science and spirituality are complimenting one another and merging towards a common objective. That common objective is to comprehend the essence within the totality of its whole. However, for science to unify humanity's comprehension of the ultimate reality of things, we must first unify our understanding of what makes us human. We must also gain a deeper understanding of our evolving self-consciousness, the interconnected life around us, and ultimately the living universe in its totality.

The unified field theory is also a race for both science and spirituality to unite the infinite with the infinitesimal. The ultimate objective is to unravel and comprehend the mysteries of consciously evolving life. This is not a modern-day objective because the wisest of the wise have sought to do this since the birth of humanity.

Life for me is an ongoing quest with greater self-awareness as the means to greater spiritual growth within us and in all that we touch. This interrelationship will ultimately lead towards a greater comprehension of the Universe and humanity's role as intricate living beings within an evolving and consciously growing universe. It is when we discover and recognizing our spiritual interconnectedness which is the sustaining essence of all things that we become a living, breathing and ever so subtle revelation of the altruistic outreach of god’s love.

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

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On Trek

By Judith Kroll

Collateral Beauty

I recently watched a movie online, it was called Collateral Beauty.
It was about a couple who lost their 6-year-old daughter, and while the mother was in the hospital waiting, an older woman told her to not dismiss the collateral Beauty.

The movie was excellent, and I kept thinking about Collateral Beauty. What it refers to is the love and unselfish kindness given to those grieving. So many unexpected acts of love come pouring in when a tragedy strikes us. Any tragedy triggers the goodness button on our soul.

We realize we are all connected, we all hurt when one of us hurts. We all feel the tape when it is pulled off the skin., or the needle entering the skin. When an animal is mistreated we hurt too. True love is an integral PART of each one of us.

I might add that some kindnesses we tend to take for granted. A good example is when someone opens the door for us or packs our groceries in the bag with love and care. When the gas station attendant offers to wash our windshield etc. Everyday Collateral Beauty surrounds us if we are aware. Not just with family, but with all folks.

We all have lives, and we all go about our daily business as usual, but each of us tenderly feels each other's energy, and helps where we can. May we all continue to appreciate the Collateral Beauty shown to us in our lifetimes. We are all ONE.
Judith 6/28/21

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Story: The Elderly Gent


By Judith Kroll

Chapter One

And the elderly gent closed his eyes, gave a big sigh, and left his body. While the family cried and spoke in whispers about the life he led, the old gent was standing there looking at his bent, frail body.

He watched and listened to all in the room, and saw that he was no longer that person in the bed. He felt so young, no aches and pains. He smiled with no lips. There was a mirror in the room so he peeked into it, and he saw nothing but a soft glow that reflected back at him. He went to scratch his head, but there was no head, no hand. He could see all around the room at once. No limits on his vision.

He felt a breeze, and looked toward the breeze and his older brother Andrew was there. Just a soft glow of light yet he KNEW it was his brother. He heard the words, “Hey Eric, I am right here. Welcome to the world of love and light!!” at least I thought I did! I looked again toward the bed, and they were moving my body onto the gurney. The body that served me well for 82 years. I wasn’t physical anymore. So many memories in that body, it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I don’t feel old, I don’t feel young, I just feel like I belong. I feel part of everything. The past doesn’t bother me, and I don’t care about the future, I just AM. What an amazing feeling. This is who I truly am, I am so content.

Fear-free, pain-free. NO worries, no hates, just love. I love enough to change the world on the earth. Whoa, I wonder if that is why I chose to make a journey on the earth? Andrew smiled. Wow, there are no walls in here, I see my Edna in the parking lot. All the earthly boundaries are gone!! The illusion is the EARTH!! When we pass over we are immediate spirits, and we are ageless and have no gender. There are no babies here either. We all return to spirit where we originated. Ageless. I AM. I wanted to cry tears of joy but I can’t! I feel joy in everything. It encompasses my whole spirit. I don’t even worry about Edna as I know she will be fine. I can still be near her. I can still send her love, I will on a sign to send her. I remember how Edna and I worked together, and with others from our soul family making our earthly trek.

That is where I want to go next Andrew, to my soul.

To be continued. ©2021 Judith Kroll 6/2/21

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On My Mind


 By Walt Perryman 


At times, I open my mind and my thoughts are many,
Other times, I open my mind and I don’t have any.

This morning what is on my little mind?
There is not much as you will soon find.

How does E-mail travel so fast?
Is the Post Office a thing of the past?

How computers work, I do not know,
Heck, I don’t even understand a radio.

I’m not smart enough to figure it out and never was,
I’m not sure how a prayer works, but I know it does.

God’s blessings are something that we all can receive,
We don’t have to figure it out, just have to believe.

I reckon this morning’s thought may sound a little odd,
There is a lot I do not know, but I know there is a God.

Have a great day
And don’t forget to pray!

©June 2021 Walt Perryman

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A New Hope


 By Bud Lemire 


Let's change the word “Cancer,” to the word “Hope”
For the people who are having, a hard time to cope
Let's give it a new meaning, let's give it a new role
That those going through it, will once again be whole

Hope that a cure, soon will be found
And labs are working on it, worldwide around
Hope that one day, that people like us
Will live with less pain, for that is a must

We all need hope, to help us through
That somehow, someway, it will come true
We can't go on living, in a world so bleak
Because there are days, when I am so weak

There are days, when it's so hard to be
The tests that they give, are so rough on me
The Doctors and Nurses here, are the best
But I'd really prefer, to skip the test

My family and friends support me, which helps in one way
Yet there are times it is so hard, to get through every day
I try my best, to get through and to cope
But instead of “Cancer,” what we need is “A New Hope”

©May 5, 2021 Bud Lemire

                     Author Note:

This is for all my friends and family who are dealing
with “A New Hope.”

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Cyber Space


By Walt Perryman 


Good morning my friends out there in cyber-space,
I am not sure where cyber is, but I guess it is a place.

It is easy these days to send a message to a friend,
Before we had to write and mail it, now we hit “send.”

One time I tried to count all my switches and keys,
On my computer, phone, microwave, and TV’s.

I lost count at 300, and that is not including my radio,
VCR, gate opener, truck, therefore, I don’t really know.

But I do know God is with us twenty-four hours a day.
And folks we do not have to press anything to pray.

©June 021 Walt Perryman

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Roger, My Friend


 By Bud Lemire 


I met you at Harbor Tower, we both were living there
You needed an ear, and I had one that I could share
You were friendly and kind, that's what I could tell
Yet your words were hard to understand, upon my ears they fell

I picked up some words, but many never came
Some told me, that you had a stroke to blame
I blamed myself, for not hearing what you said
One day I did understand you, my poem that you read

One was about Aronson Island, and it touched you
You felt the magic and calmness that it brought too
You explained how it made you feel
Peacefulness, that was even more real

You worked with the dead
And now that is where you were lead
Now you are easily understood
And that is so very good

The last time I saw you face to face
You were knocking at my door, at my place
You needed writing paper, and came to me
For a friend, I shared some with thee

I knew you had a wonderful heart and soul
In Heaven, I know it's made you more whole
Everyone there understands you very well
The Angels dance, and I just heard a bell

©June 29, 2021 Bud Lemire

                      Author Note:

Roger, thank you for being my friend. I'm so happy
my poems were enjoyed and gave you comfort. I
recall you came to me and was upset, because
someone told you I didn't like you. I never said
that. I said I couldn't understand you. But you
always made sure I could understand the most
important things. Thank you for that Roger.

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Why is the Sea so Blue

By Bruce Clifford

Where are we headed to
What’s the new point of view
Why is it dark and cold
Why is the sky so bold

Where are we dreaming of
Up in the clouds above
When do we touch the ground
Will there be a different sound

What are we looking at
Trying to isolate the fact
Where are we headed to
Why is the sea so blue

Why is the sea so blue
What’s the new point of view

Where are we headed to
What’s the new attitude
Why is the air so thin
Where could we ever begin

Why is the sea so blue
I missed it’s attitude
Why is the sea so blue
What’s the new point of view

Where are we headed to
What’s the new point of view
Why is the sea so blue
Why is the sea so blue

©6/14/2021 Bruce Clifford

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Plum Tree


By John I. Blair 


Twenty years ago
I placed a baby plum tree
Into a hole I’d dug.

I watered,
Watched, and cared
For that tree.

Five years no flowers,
No seen reward
For all my work and time;

But then it bloomed --
A few at first, eventually
A rare cloud of white.

Bees swarmed
Each spring, feasting
On sweet nectar.

Now and then
Small fruit formed,
Ripened, dropped to ground.

And once or twice
A new tree sprouted

Plums lead short lives;
In 15 years mine died,
Succeeded by its children.

Yesterday, my birthday
(The 80th, but who’s counting)
The dead tree, tall, bare,

Was taken down,
Chopped in chunks, then tossed
Beneath a nearby hedge,

There to wait decay,
Disappear beneath the soil,
Return to whence it came.

A shame it’s not that easy
To care for us as thoughtfully.

©2021 John I. Blair, 6/22/2021

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Boot Prints


By A.W. Renarcy 


Boot Print part 1

Rain drops falling
on thick glass windows
dripping down
on moss tinged
white painted cinder blocks.

drone of voices behind
heavy gray clouds outside
heaven crying outside.

just an outsider, different
not good enough.
no, not good at all.
Useless. Worthless.

Gullible. Stupid. tell him anything
he'll believe you.
give you anything you ask.

trampled leaf in a muddy boot print.

Boot Print part 2

Slow steady rain falls
standing around a corner
waiting for him
anyone really.

a door opens
bubbling voices fill the air
someone passes by
the clenched fist connects
he drops without more than groan


i am a bully
as much as that other guy is
no not the guy I cheap shot
don't even know him

stomach twists
chest aches
I didn't dislike that kid
he was just there.

stepping back
I see a leaf pressed under
a boot print

and I cried.

©July 2021 A.W. Renarcy

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It's Okay To Be Sick


By Bud Lemire 


It's okay to be sick
Not everything will click
When you're not at your best
Then it's good that you rest

What people need to know
No matter where you go
“Get Better Soon” is not to be
Getting through each day is the key

They need to know, you need to tell
When you are sick, you may never be well
Some days are better, some days are worse
“Get Better Soon” is not in your universe

You deal with the pain, every day
You tolerate, whatever people say
“You look like hell” is not something to be said
“What are you doing up, you should be in bed”

You still have a life to live, even when you are sick
Your candle is still burning, there's a flame on your wick
Getting better is an option, without a choice
Understanding is the key, support is your voice

©June 11, 2021 Bud Lemire

                     Author Note:

We need to take time to understand from the sick person's
point of view. Instead of judging them so quickly. Because
as in any situation, we don't know the whole story. We can't
be so quick to judge them, just by one quick glance. If you
are concerned, ask them. For they are the ones who know the
full story on themselves. Your guess may be totally off.

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A Brand New Day


By Walt Perryman 


This brand new day can be a brand new start,
First step is to pray, and do so from your heart.

You know this day will never come again,
What better time for a better life to begin.

No one is perfect; you know we all sin,
But, you can sin less, than you have been.

You might not change the world this is true,
But with God’s help, you can change you.

Listen with your heart for what God has to say,
Follow his directions and thank him for this day.

If you really want a change, God is the way,
You can never start any sooner than this new day.

©2021 Walt Perryman

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One Finds Oneself

 By Mary E. Adair

One finds oneself musing
Upon what lies ahead,
What Paradise holds in trust
After one is declared dead.

Or as scripturally implied,
The gift of strolling golden streets
Could surely be denied
Along with similar treats.

So we plan our lives
From day to day,
And strive to be good
In every which way.

Treating everyone and everything
With unabashed kindness,
With compassion and love,
And thus toil in our blindness.

For one must always hope
And fill our lives with dreams
Of justified Heavenly rewards
Sewn together with caring seams.

And if I truly make it,
Get there into endless glory,
I'll be looking for you and I'll
Be eager to hear your story.

©June 29, 2021 Mary E. Adair

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I'm So Unsure

By Bruce Clifford

I’m so unsure
I know I miss the sea
Eyes out to the horizon
The waves beneath me

I will endure
Just don’t know what will be
The surface peaceful and clear
The waves eliminate that fear

I’m so unsure
I know I miss the sea
Visions run so deep
The sounds that still haunt me

I will endure
Still don’t know what will be
The wind blows up against the bow
I still don’t know how

I’m so unsure
I know I miss the sea
Eyes out to the horizon
What will be will be

©6/3/2021 Bruce Clifford

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