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 and also in the blog 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.


“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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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:

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: (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.


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,

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:

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


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:


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
1st cousin

Less than 1%
Half sibling

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:

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.

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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


  • 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
  • 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)


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.

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

* * * * *

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.

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Names of Towns and Hamlets in McDonald County

      In 1973 Arthur Paul Moser compiled “A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets Past and Present of McDonald County, Missouri” and posted it on the web. It is an interesting and scholarly work. In addition to a useful list of references, he also consulted with my Aunt Pauline Carnell who was President of the Historical Society at the time. The current McDonald County Historical Society site and the Moser list are good places to begin further research into the county’s history, but I will leave that to others.

Cities, towns and hamlets still in existence in 2021: Anderson, Ginger Blue, Goodman, Havenhurst, Jane, Lanagan, Longview, Noel, Pineville, Powell, Rocky Comfort, Simcoe, Southwest City, and Tiff City.

Place names were based on the whim of the person(s) who established the school, post office or platted the land. Many of the more than 80 communities are rarely mentioned today, but a few have persisted. Some have no remembered reason for the name. Nearly 100 schools once existed in the county. Their names were often the same as the community they were in, but many were free-standing, drawing students from nearby farms.

Some of my favorite place names are:

A found object:
Cowskin, Elk Horn

A hope or cruel reality: Enterprise, Rocky Comfort, Success, Tribulation

Animal known in the area: Bear Hollow, Beaver Springs, Buffalo, Buzzard Glory, Elk Springs, Lone Dove, Possom Trot

Event: Cyclone struck in April, 1880.

Geologic Feature: Caverna, Crystal Springs, Honey Creek, Poplar Hill, Shady Grove, Star Valley

Land owner/Prominent resident: Anderson, Blankenship, Jane, Lanagan, McNatt, Simsberry, Splitlog

Remembered name from the Bible, from an earlier home area or the Old World: Antioch, Bethlehem, Bethpage, Bunker Hill, Erie, Klondike, New Bethel

Above is a photo of Tiff. The chemical name is Barium Sulphate (BaSo4) other names are Barite or “heavy spar”. It is described as a white , blue, yellow or colorless mineral. My sample is a pretty shade of blue. It came from a mine in the Tiff City area. We used it as a door stop.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

My paternal grandfather was extremely well respected in Girardville, Pennsylvania, but sadly he passed away in 1982. That being said, I’m going to tell you a story that is related to him and this event happened in 1995.

A state trooper pulled me over that year for speeding in Maryland, he looked at my driver’s license and asked, “Are you originally from Maryland?”

I said, “No, I’m from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.”

He paused and said, “You don’t look Irish.”

“Well,” I said, “My mother is Italian.”

He then responded, “You know, I knew a Thomas O’Neill from Girardville, Pennsylvania. We called him Red.”

I said in a shocked voice, “That was my grandfather.”

The trooper then walked back to his police car and turned off his emergency lights on his cruiser. He came back to my car and said, “Your grandfather fixed my bike tires when I was a kid.”

He then went on to tell me about how when he was a teenager, he failed his driving test, and that my grandfather talked to the officer who administered the test.

“The officer,” he said, “took me back out on the road and pointed out all the mistakes I made and allowed me to retake the driving test.”

With a smile on his face, he proceeded to say, “I asked your grandfather,” trying to hold back from laughing, “well, I asked your grandfather,” he repeated, “why that officer went out of his way to see to it that I pass the driving exam.”

He continued on, “Your grandfather said to me, I used to fix his bike tires when he was a kid.”

The Maryland state trooper, while handing me his card, said, “If there is anything I can do to help you, just let me know. Not that I condone your driving, but out of respect for Red O’Neill this is my way of passing his kindness forward.”

He let me go with a warning.

That was one encounter with a state trooper that I will remember to my dying day. I would love to tell my grandfather that story if he were alive today. I know he would have gotten a big laugh out of it, and he most certainly would, in an incredibly special way, have turned my story into a huge life lesson for me to learn from. Not to mention, he would have reminded me that “kindness is the greatest form of wisdom.”

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

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On Trek

By Judith Kroll

We Are

So many times we hear, I am. To Be. We are One. I thought I would break it down so that we can understand what it truly means.

Many of us ARE one with all, but don't realize it.

Let us take an example. We hear a heartwarming story about how a kitten was saved by a dog in a lake. Our reaction is a tell tale sign that we become the cat and the dog, because we might shed tears for that act of love. Our heart melts and we smile and silently send a huge prayer of thanks. We are reacting with our emotions. We can feel the emotions of the kitty, and the doggie. We become one with them in that moment. That is how we know we are connected.

When I pray I include everyone and everything on the planet because I know that we are all connected. We all have the same emotions, senses, flesh and blood. This includes not only people, but everything. Forests, oceans, all the animals sea life . We all need clean air, clean water, love and care.

This is OUR home.

The next time your tear ducts start dripping because they were triggered by your real self, the real you, smile and thank the universe.

A Note from the Universe SM

August 26, 2021
People are awesome, they care about pretty much everything, everyone, always. It's just that they're also so busy believing what they've been told, and therefore manifesting it, that they genuinely haven't noticed that in your gorgeous little planet's entire history, there's never been:
  • A drought that didn't end,
  • A storm that didn't clear,
  • Lightning that didn't retreat,
  • An earthquake that didn't still,
  • A flood that didn't recede, or,
  • A virus that wasn't eventually, completely, and utterly overwhelmed by the healthy.

Now, as a rule, I'm not into odds, statistics, or gambling, but it doesn't take a genius to see that something's going on "down there" the deck is clearly stacked, you've got friends in some very high places, and none of the "hard and mean" stuff was ever true.
Hit me, baby!
The Universe

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Be Fair (Mask Up)


By Bud Lemire 


When the U.P. Fair comes in 2021
It'll still be a whole lot of fun
Inside buildings, wear a mask
Play it safe, is all they ask

I'll wear mine, when I'm in a crowd
I wear it, because I'm honest and proud
If I need to breathe, a little more
I may sneak out, the back door

There's always a way, for safety to be
If you think about it, it's for you and me
A vaccine will help, but it won't do it all
We've gone back a step, be sure not to fall

I know we'll get through, if we come together
Make it safer, for those people you treasure
As I walk the midway, I'll wear a smile
Hidden under my mask, for quite a while

I'll remember this year, as the return of the U.P. State Fair
As one who wore my mask, while I was there
Be Fair, and wear your mask
Make it safe, is all we ask

©August 15, 2021 Bud Lemire

                          Author Note:

Whether it be The U.P. State Fair, or anywhere else.
Please use the same safety plan. I never stopped wearing
my mask whenever I am inside with people, or outside with
people. Common sense is all it is. I know it was nice to get
a break from the masks, but now that the virus has spiked
again, it's time for you to be careful. Your life depends on it.
Won't you do the right thing. You can still have fun. Just use

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 By Walt Perryman 


Luckenbach is a place where anyone can go,
To Church, a picking circle, or a good show.

People come from all over the world to this place,
To listen to the Luckenbach song and get a taste.

When you arrive at Luckenbach, time slows down.
There’s not much here, but there’s a lot in this town.

I think one reason that Hondo bought Luckenbach for.
Was to teach people that sometimes less can be more.

When you step back in time, strange things take place,
Time can slow down, and you can live at a slower pace.

Well, I reckon that is about all of my little rhyme,
Come on out to Luckenbach and have a good time.

©August 9, 2021 Walt Perryman

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Take Time


 By Bud Lemire 


In life, don't let so many things pass you by
Take time with people you love, to say more than hi
Time goes fast, and before you know
You missed your chance, it was their time to go

Take time to enjoy nature, and see what is there
Don't rush through the day, let your senses be aware
The butterflies, that are flying right by your head
Dragonflies that dance, as you dream in your bed

Look at the clouds, the shapes that you can see
The wonderful shapes, of almost every tree
Listen to music, that lifts your spirit high
Take time to dance, no need to ask why

It's okay to miss yesterday, but live for today
The future keeps coming, it's the only way
Step ahead fully aware, and look around
Up at the sky, or all over the ground

Don't let a day go by, and not do a thing
You just never know, what each day will bring
These words in this poem, are absolutely a sign
For you to think carefully, and for you to Take Time

©August 12, 2021 Bud Lemire

                          Author Note:

Time doesn't wait for you, so you need to Take Time.
Make every moment count. Don't live with regrets
of things you should have done, but didn't. You had
time, but didn't take it. You always said you had
something more important to do. Don't make
excuses! Take the time NOW!

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Hospice Nurses



By Walt Perryman 


(This is my take on Hospice nurses)

I believe it takes a special person to be a Hospice nurse,
Their job is between a heavenly experience and a curse.

I believe they have a trace of Mother Teresa in some way.
Because they work with sickness and death every day,

I believe Faith is a big part of every Hospice nurse too.
Because they must be inspired by God to do what they do.

When you deal with Hospice, remember the word, ‘love’.
Because all faithful Hospice nurses are a gift from above.

©August 25, 2021 Walt Perryman
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The Saints and Sinners

By Bruce Clifford

There are the saints
There are the winners
There are the trolls that keep me up at night
The souls of sinners
There are no winners

There are the saints
There are the winners
There are these dreams that haunt my heart at night
The lost beginners
The saints and sinners

Are we clear
Lost in fear
Dark as night
Empty plight
Day and night

There are the saints
There are the winners
There are the misguided who gather under the darkest skies
The souls of sinners
There are no winners

There are the saints
There are the winners
There are these dreams that haunt my heart at night
The lost beginners
The saints and sinners

©B8/22/2021 Bruce Clifford

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Your Profile Picture


 By Bud Lemire 


Your profile picture is nice to see
A smiling face looking back at me
Whether it be your family, or a picture of you
Or something you like, or something you like to do

Maybe you picked a favorite, that you want to be on display
I enjoy looking at them, I just thought that I should say
This profile picture on display to see
Shows quite a bit of your personality

I like to see how everyone looks
It's like seeing covers of books
Sometimes I try to turn the page
Or I try to guess your age

I look into your eyes and it's beauty I see
And a good soul gazing back at me
A friend who is traveling through time
Living a life, that intersects with mine

You chose that picture to show us all
It's displayed at the very top of your wall
I must say, it's a great picture to see
All my friends, looking back at me

©April 1, 2021 Bud Lemire

                     Author Note:

I love seeing what pictures you chose as
your profile picture. I know it means a lot
to you to have it there. I like to see your face,
smiling, and having a good time. Or something
that you enjoy, or something you are interested
in. A family member that you cherish, in honor
of, or in memory of. A cause you believe in.
Whatever it is, it is what means the most to you.

I picked some of the people who come to my page daily.
So if you don't see your picture, please don't feel bad.
You'd be crowded like a sardine, and I know you wouldn't
like that. I chose to keep you out of the can. ;)

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Just Rambling Thoughts


 By Walt Perryman


I have not watched the news for a few days,
And it has helped my attitude in good ways.

Maybe I just have my head stuck in the sand.
But the news is something that I can’t stand.

My moods change depending what’s on TV.
It can make me feel better or depress me.

Have you ever wanted to hear silence before?
It’s better than a TV and you can learn more.

Never let the channel you’re on, control you,
If it does, turning off the tv is the thing to do.

So, if you want to have a good day like me,
Let’s get out of our chair and turn off the TV.

©August 8, 2021 Walt Perryman

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Please Give Me A Moment

By Bruce Clifford

Please give me a moment
Maybe give me three
I’ve tried, I’ve tried, I’ve tried
To be who you want me to be

Please give me a second
While I gather my thoughts
I’ve cried, I’ve cried, I’ve cried
Now I feel so lost

I remember being abandoned
The darkness of the sea
Left out in the middle of the ocean
Alone in this tragedy

I remember being awoken
In the deepness of space
Left with the silent leftovers
Alone in a quiet place

Please give me a moment
Maybe give me two
I’ve tried, I’ve tried, I’ve tried
Now I don’t know what to do

Please give me a second
While I wash off my face
I’ve cried, I’ve cried, I’ve cried
Now I’m so out of place

©8/7/2021 Bruce Clifford

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By John I. Blair 


Each day I make my plans,
Ensuring everything’s OK,
Confident my hours,
My minutes are secure.

I pray I have forgotten naught,
Looking for the power of thought
To guard against mistake,
Shield me from forgetfulness.

But just when I’ve grown smug
The moment comes
When I find myself alone
In a room I can’t remember
Why I entered.

©2021 John I. Blair, 8/25/2021

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Dana, My Friend


By Bud Lemire 


Washington school was the first time we met
We got to be friends, which I shall never forget
We drifted apart and went our own way, as some friends do
Occasionally we'd meet up, talk about what we've been through

He was working on his Lancour family, in genealogy
My Lemires came from the same place, in my family tree
I gave him some guidance, and he did the rest
He had it all done perfect, he did his best

In 2010 at the park, we had a little Class Reunion at the Pavilion there
Before we went, he stopped by with some Green Beans he wanted to share
Next time I saw him, was in 2013 at a Class Reunion we had
We had a photo taken of our Washington school friends, I must add

One day he called me, said he had some books for me
So he brought them over, so that I could see
I never realized, he enjoyed the same books as I
He recommended some, that had passed me by

Then I'd see him working at Elmer's and Meijer as well
He stopped to chat briefly, with some news to tell
After that, it was Facebook, is where he would be
The next time will be Heaven, when my soul is free

©July 11, 2021 Bud Lemire

                     Author Note:

I remember whenever I met Dana after a long time
of not seeing him, he would come up and shake my
hand. He'd say it's good to see you Buddy(my childhood
nickname). I still have the books he gave me, and I cherish
them. Even though I read some of them, I shall think of him
when I read the others, and say a silent prayer of thanks
for his thoughtfulness for thinking of me for the books.

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No Longer Crying


 By Walt Perryman


Folks, I did not write this to make anyone sad,
It is just an experience with death I have had.

I believe there is a ‘time’ when time stands still,
You may not understand but someday you will.

I have been with a few of my dying loved ones before,
When they told me they did not want to live anymore.

I believe there is a period between life and death,
When they talk to God and us after their last breath.

I believe they hear us when we don’t think they do.
This is when it is important to tell them, I love you.

You may not understand what I am trying to say,
But you will if you're with a loved one, passing away.

I believe in this time their life was beginning after dying.
And when they were smiling and were no longer crying.

©August24, 2021 Walt Perryman

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How Long

By Bruce Clifford

Distance in this place in time
Resistance and a will to survive
How long can this go on
How far before we are torn

Morning comes
It’s the same as yesterday
How long can this go on
How lost while trying to belong

Night appears, but dreams never fade away
The stars align in such a faulty way

How long
How long until we reach this place
How long
How long until we find our space
How long before we can enter this race

Days and nights will follow
Will there be a new tomorrow
How long can this go on
How far before we are worn

©8/3/2021 Bruce Clifford

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