Friday, April 1, 2022

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

April 2022

"Not in doing what you like,
but in liking what you do
is the secret of happiness."
--J.M. Barrie 

Although there are many lyrical things one can utter concerning April, the best thing in your editor's thoughts is that summer is drawing closer. The Texas weather always does its own thing, regardless of the forecasts by the meterologists at the weather channel, jumping from a high of 96F one day to a high in the mid 40's the next. One has no long spells of indifferent temperature changes because in Texas, change is the name of the game. The same folks who shivered in the mid 50's will be perspiring plentifully and decring the temps in the mid 80's, but Texans can occasionally see 50 degrees of difference in a day.

We have a plentiful collection of poetry this issue ranging from a pictorial selection - "Haiku by Dayvid" to couplets style poems from our west Texas poet Walt Perryman with three selections ("Friday Morn Rambling," "Try A Little Bit More," and "Choices,") to Marilyn Carnell's varied styles icluding a Crown ("Ode to Big Sugar") an alphabet exercise ("ABC Thoughts"), and one about her dad as a youngster, using the reiterating technique ("Trying to Escape"), a trio of laments from Bruce Clifford ("Hard-Boiled Eggs," "Belson," and "I Can't Imagine Where You've Been,") also three from Bud Lemire detailing experiences or sharing admonitions ("Wasted Moments," "Journey of A Lifetime," and "You've Won A Million Dollars.") John I. Blair, still being health conscious (thankfully) sent the image evoking poem "I Am Only Talking to My Cat Today." Yours truly chimed in with an expression of well-being with the verse "Blessed Accordingly."

Danielle Cote Serar's column "A Mother's Lessons" subtitled "Answered Prayer," tells how alike her young daughter is to how she was at the tender age of three and how exasperating it can be at that stage. Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" focuses on Happiness -- what it is and isn't.

"Reflections of the Day" by Dayvid Bruce Clarkson, discusses the often unperceived advantage of having time alone and concludes with a couple of his wise, and thoughtful goodnight postings. Thomas O'Neill also devotes his column to a short story often requested by fans.

"Woo Woo," by Pauline Evanosky, answers requests from readers, for "How To Listen to That Tiny Voice Within," telling them it can be hard but is not only possible but personally rewarding. Marilyn Carnel who authors "Sifoddling Along," dips her quill for addressing running for a position.

"Irish Eyes" by Dublin based Mattie Lennon, who loves all good literature, discusses various authors with their current releases. He includes an audio link by one poet and the poem she reads in the audio. "Cooking with Rod" brings us a recipe, that purports to be Irish --M's Smothered Beef and Cabbage.

In "Armchair Genealogy" column, Melinda Cohenour continues the series "DNA: Complex. Tantalizing, And Nothing Short of Miraculous" begun in December 2021. She is now revealing how wide reaching and beneficial the Human Genome Project is, explaining its uses and value for the future.

The first chapter of a fantasy (perhaps) serialized story "2061" by Bud Lemire was published in March and this issue brings the second installment: "2061 (Part Two)" and we will continue with future installments monthly. Enjoy!

Again we want to express our love and appreciation to co-founder and webmaster Mike Craner (and wife Susanne) every day. Thanks, Mike, for everything,!

See you in May!

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

Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

Its History, Status, and Ongoing Research

Prior columns have examined the Human Genome Project from various angles. Links to those columns are provided at the end of this column.

This month our focus is upon these aspects:

  • What prompted the creation of the project?
  • What were its goals?
  • How was it funded?
  • Who was involved?
  • What does the HGP mean to us as family researchers?

. The Human Genome Project (HGP)

This project may well be the most important scientific undertaking in human history. Not only has it sought to unravel the mystery of life itself, with research into the genetic makeup of insects, plants, and animals (human and non-human), but has also shown the efficacy of cooperative international effort directed toward a common goal. All the findings of each scientific laboratory or group has been added to the publicly available database so that each advance by any one scientist or group can immediately aid the efforts of all.

The HGP encompassed many areas of research, the identification and mapping of the human genetic structure (based on gene mapping and DNA sequencing of the 23 chromosomes common to all humans); methods to be used in naming sequences as well as methods and processes best employed to speed up and ensure quality and accuracy of the data obtained; means of translating "by hand" processing to computerized processing; studies addressing the ethical, legal and societal issues arising; advances in treatment and potential cures of diseases shown to have genetic causes (such as chromosomal abnormalities), often related to various types of cancer; improvements in crops to ensure a growing world population will continue to be adequately nourished even as climate changes impact farming and livestock husbandry; as well as numerous additional areas of new or related uses such as DNA testing has provided. The future seems to show no boundaries for the utilization of the scientific findings evolving from this project.

It is interesting to note the original proposals for a comprehensive mapping of the human genome were opposed by a number of scientists. The opposition to such a study appears to have been based on the fear such a monumental and overarching scientific effort would drain the coffers by its sheer expense and redirect funding for smaller but interrelated studies. Arguments opposing were varied, one prominent grant recipient expounding on his view the actual work of identifying chromosomal sequences would be "so boring no competent researcher would agree to do the work." Obviously that argument has been shown to have no merit.


Three separate proposals arose almost simultaneously in 1985:

"May 1985, Robert Sinsheimer organized a workshop at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to discuss the feasibility of building a gene sequencing capability. In March, the Santa Fe Workshop was organized by Charles DeLisi and David Smith of the Department of Energy's Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER). At the same time Renato Dulbecco, President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, proposed whole genome sequencing in an essay in Science. The published work titled, "A Turning Point in Cancer Research: Sequencing the Human Genome" was shortened from the original proposal using the sequence to understand breast cancer genes. James Watson followed two months later with a workshop held at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Thus the idea for obtaining a reference sequence had three independent origins: Sinsheimer, Dulbecco and DeLisi. Ultimately it was the actions by DeLisi that launched the project." (Source: Wikipedia)

As noted in Wikipedia, it was DeLisi's standing with a federally funded agency (the DOE) and his excellent relationship with Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico that proved to be key in obtaining Congressional approval for the HGP's funding:

"Of particular importance in congressional approval was the advocacy of New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici, whom DeLisi had befriended. Domenici chaired the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the Budget Committee, both of which were key in the DOE budget process. Congress added a comparable amount to the NIH budget, thereby beginning official funding by both agencies."


(Source: Wikipedia)

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying, mapping and sequencing all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint. It remains the world's largest collaborative biological project. Planning started after the idea was picked up in 1984 by the US government, the project formally launched in 1990, and was declared complete on April 14, 2003. Level "complete genome" was achieved in May 2021. Y chromosome was not part of v1.1 and was added in January 2022 in v2.0.

The Human Genome Project originally aimed to map the nucleotides contained in a human haploid reference genome (more than three billion). The "genome" of any given individual is unique; mapping the "human genome" involved sequencing a small number of individuals and then assembling to get a complete sequence for each chromosome. Therefore, the finished human genome is a mosaic, not representing any one individual. The utility of the project comes from the fact that the vast majority of the human genome is the same in all humans.

The genome published by the HGP does not represent the sequence of every individual's genome. It is the combined mosaic of a small number of anonymous donors, of African, European and east Asian ancestry. The HGP genome is a scaffold for future work in identifying differences among individuals. Subsequent projects sequenced the genomes of multiple distinct ethnic groups, though as of 2019 there is still only one "reference genome."


The Human Genome Project: A Bit of History


Although most references to The Human Genome Project will indicate funding and authorization for this massive undertaking occurred in the 1980 to 1990 timeframe, it is interesting to note that nothing may have come of the project without the Cold War and the international competition to develop nuclear weapons focused on both attack primacy and deterrent capability. Initial funding of a program to further scientific study of "fissionable and radioactive" materials established the base monies:

(Source for following initial bulleted timeline events: )

1946 Genome Project–Enabling Legislation

Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (P.L. 79-585) provided the initial charter for a comprehensive program of research and development related to the utilization of fissionable and radioactive materials for medical, biological, and health purposes. [1946]


This initial funding legislation was augmented by legislation to create an agency tasked with research into the "biologic effects" of atomic or nuclear warfare. This agency was established as fear grew of atomic bombs and radioactive elements unleashed thereby. What would happen if America became the target and American citizens were exposed? What might the effects be on humans? Our animals? Our crops? Could we survive?

1954 Genome Project–Enabling Legislation

Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-706) authorized the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC, predecessor agency to ERDA and DOE) "to conduct research on the biologic effects of ionizing radiation." [1954]


Twenty years later additional funding was authorized to expand the research and development into related practical, procedural, and societal applications directed toward expansion of nuclear power as an energy source, among other goals:

1974 Genome Project–Enabling Legislation

Federal Non-Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-577) authorized the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA, predecessor agency to DOE) to conduct a comprehensive non-nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration program to include the environmental and social consequences of the various related technologies. [1974])

Federal Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-438) provided that responsibilities of the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA, predecessor agency to DOE) shall include "engaging in and supporting environmental, biomedical, physical, and safety research related to the development of energy resources and utilization technologies." (1974)


Three years later, Congress authorized ERDA to become the Department of Energy (DOE) with a three-fold mandate:

1977 Genome Project–Enabling Legislation

DOE Organization Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-91) mandated the Department of Energy to "assure incorporation of national environmental protection goals in the formulation and implementation of energy programs"; "advance the goal of restoring, protecting, and enhancing environmental quality and assuring public health and safety"; and to conduct "a comprehensive program of research and development on the environmental effects of energy technology and program." [1977]


Baby steps began under the direction of scientists employed by the DOE at two primary labs:

    LANL - Los Alamos National Laboratory, a Department of Energy Laboratory
LLNL - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a Department of Energy Laboratory
LANL and LLNL began production of DNA clone (cosmid) libraries representing single chromosomes. [1983]


Interest in the HGP gained momentum as more and more scientific researchers not only saw the astounding possibilities in "cracking the code" of creation, but also began seeing what they might contribute to the effort. Various memoranda, workshops, and scientific publications circulated, generating more and more interest in the project and inspiring excitement in the biochemistry and related fields. The initial DNA clone libraries produced by the DOE Labs were being accessed and utilized as more and more scientific and technological disciplines lent thought to what would be required in order to pull off this incredible task.

By 1988, sufficient interest had been generated and Congressional and scientific support garnered for launching the Project that President Ronald Reagan included in his official Budget the seed funding to implement what was initially planned as a fifteen year undertaking to accomplish the stated goals. The Human Genome Project was officially a "GO."

(The official government site breaks down the annual budget for the Human Genome Project at the link provided below. Their narrative is referenced hereafter.)

Funding: SOURCE:
The Human Genome Project was sometimes reported to have cost $3 billion. However, this figure refers to the total projected funding over a 13-year period (1990–2003) for a wide range of scientific activities related to genomics. These include studies of human diseases, experimental organisms (such as bacteria, yeast, worms, flies, and mice); development of new technologies for biological and medical research; computational methods to analyze genomes; and ethical, legal, and social issues related to genetics. Human genome sequencing represents only a small fraction of the overall 13-year budget.

The DOE and NIH genome programs set aside 3% to 5% of their respective total annual budgets for the study of the project's ELSI issues. For an in-depth look at the ELSI surrounding the project, see the ELSI Webpage.

See also a Table of major government and nonprofit genomics research funders, 1998-2000: -- compiled as part of the World Survey of Genomics Research . ( ) of the Stanford-in-Washington Program.

What Were Its Goals:

The initial goals were:

  • Identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA.
  • Determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA.
  • Store this information in databases;
  • Improve tools for data analysis;
  • Transfer related technologies to other sectors, such as industries;
  • Address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.

It should also be noted the unofficial disclaimer could be paraphrased as to "not permit a goal of perfection to deter progress" and thereby interfere with reasonable completion of the tasks undertaken.

The original project was scheduled to achieve the stated goals within a fifteen year period. Following the initial disclaimer's caution, it was determined all possible progress toward full project completion had been achieved within thirteen years of official launch in 1990. Technology had to advance considerably for researchers to achieve 100% sequencing of the human genome. In the thirteen year span, a phenomenal 92%+ of the human genome had been mapped, vetted, and the Human Genome Project was proclaimed "complete in 2003.

HGP researchers deciphered the human genome in three major ways: determining the order, or "sequence," of all the bases in our genome's DNA; making maps that show the locations of genes for major sections of all our chromosomes; and producing what are called linkage maps, through which inherited traits (such as those for genetic disease) can be tracked over generations.

A partial list of the possible areas currently utilizing findings of the HGP and some potential future applications as listed by the official government site
( ) are:

  • Molecular medicine
  • Energy sources and environmental applications
  • Risk assessment
  • Bioarchaeology, anthropology, evolution, and human migration
  • DNA forensics (identification)
  • Agriculture, livestock breeding, and bioprocessing

The website expands upon each listed area to delineate related applications. the official public website offering free access to all the Human Genome Project information, databases, and charts etc.

Who was involved?

The international project was funded and staffed by the cooperative effort of six countries initially. The United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, and China. Overall direction of the HGP in America was placed in the capable hands of James Watson, who along with Crick was deemed to have discovered the helical structure of DNA. Watson was later replaced by Francis Collins. The second largest bulk of funding and responsibility was shouldered by the United Kingdom, headed by John Sulston director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

The European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, UK, and the National Centre for Biotechnology Information at the US National Institutes of Health also played a key role in providing computational support and analysis for the Human Genome Project. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Neomorphic, Inc. also assisted the assembly of the genome sequence across chromosomes.

Twenty laboratories within the six countries were assigned specific duties related to sequencing the 23 pairs of chromosomes so as to even out the workload. Ultimately, five laboratories ended up performing the bulk of the sequencing and became known as the G5. Fully one-third of the sequencing was completed by scientists at Wellcome ("sequenced one-third of the human genome, focusing on chromosomes 1, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 20, 22 and X" although some were shared with other centres).

The G5: ·

    Broad Institute/Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT) in Cambridge, USA ·
    Washington University in St. Louis, USA ·
    Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, USA ·
    Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, USA ·
    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (previously known as the Sanger Centre) in Cambridge, UK

Within each country the work was carried on by various laboratories, each with their own primary researchers, as listed below:

Members of the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium

    1. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK
    2. Broad Institute/Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
    3. Washington University School of Medicine Genome Sequencing Center, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    4. Joint Genome Institute, US Department of Energy, Walnut Creek, California, USA
    5. Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Houston, Texas, USA
    6. RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center, Yokohama-city, Japan
    7. Genoscope and CNRS, UMR-8030, Evry Cedex, France
    8. Genome Therapeutics Corporation (GTC) Sequencing Center, Genome Therapeutics Corporation, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
    9. Department of Genome Analysis, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Jena, Germany
    10. Beijing Genomics Institute/Human Genome Center, Institute of Genetics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    11. Multimegabase Sequencing Center, The Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, Washington, USA
    12. Stanford Genome Technology Center, Stanford, California, USA
    13. Stanford Human Genome Center and Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
    14. University of Washington Genome Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
    15. Department of Molecular Biology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
    16. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA*
    17. University of Oklahoma's Advanced Center for Genome Technology, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
    18. Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany
    19. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Lita Annenberg Hazen Genome Center, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, USA
    20. Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbH (GBF) - German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Braunschweig, Germany.

Note *Sequencing centre is no longer in operation


It was interesting to find these facts quoted on Wellcome's site:

"The human genome sequenced during the Human Genome Project was from randomly chosen anonymous donations given in the USA."

"The second-ever human genome to be sequenced was that of James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA."

Significant Findings:

Not only has the Human Genome Project accomplished the sequencing of the elements of the 23 Chromosomes that determine the human as a species and how SNPs create the traits that make each of us a unique individual, but along the way amazing advances in technological tools, methods, processes, and applications have been developed. Coincidentally, the Project determined 99% of all humans DNA is identical. It is that One Percent that creates us as unique individuals.

From deciphering "the first sequence of the 3 billion letters making up the human genetic blueprint" to transforming how today's and future pharmaceutical, medical, and related computerized applications work, the Project has advanced human knowledge and capability dramatically.

Generating the first human genome sequence required actively sequencing human DNA for 6-8 years; today, scientists can sequence a human genome in a day. Such fast human genome sequencing allows physicians to make quick diagnoses of rare genetic disorders in acute settings.

Another notable achievement since the end of the Human Genome Project is the reduced cost of sequencing a human genome. That price has dropped from a billion dollars to mere hundreds, thanks to federal investments used to develop new technologies for DNA sequencing.

"The Human Genome Project transformed the way we study our biology and medicine. From accessing a genome sequence at the click of a mouse, performing newborn genome sequencing in an intensive care unit or the group's revolutionary decision to share the data with all, the Project's intentions and goals have spilled into how we do science today," said Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., National Institutes of Health director.


What remains to be discovered?

As your author penned the narrative accompanying this complex subject, a series of Notifications interrupted her concentration. Low and behold!

BREAKING NEWS: The Human Genome has now been FULLY SEQUENCED! The Project was deemed complete in 2003 with just over 92% of the entire genome sequenced. Research had outrun development of technology. No further sequencing was possible until greater understanding of centromeres (the segment of the chromosome that binds the sections together during cell division) and telomeres (the complex structure at each end of a chromosome, See Below) was achieved, along with a technological advancement to make their analysis possible.

But no less than six major publications shared the announcement today that the finding of a rare, possibly unique, chromosome containing only male DNA made it possible to isolate those sequences that were specific go male DNA. Further analysis will now make it possible to then isolate those segments specific to female DNA.

From the Government site itself:

The full sequencing builds upon the work of the Human Genome Project, which mapped about 92% of the genome, and research undertaken since then. Thousands of researchers have developed better laboratory tools, computational methods and strategic approaches to decipher the complex sequence. Six papers encompassing the completed sequence appear in Science, along with companion papers in several other journals.

That last 8% includes numerous genes and repetitive DNA and is comparable in size to an entire chromosome. Researchers generated the complete genome sequence using a human cell line with only one copy of each chromosome, unlike most human cells, which carry two copies of each chromosome. The researchers noted that most of the newly added DNA sequences were near the repetitive telomeres (long, trailing ends of each chromosome) and centromeres (dense middle sections of each chromosome).

(telomere is the end of a chromosome. Telomeres are made of repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA that protect the chromosome from damage. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres become shorter. Eventually, the telomeres become so short that the cell can no longer divide.)

Additional news sources announcing the completion of this goal:

    How does the Human Genome Project affect us?

    Beyond the obvious DNA testing that provides us with DNA Matches (available from Ancestry, 23&Me, Family Tree and similar companies) that serve to either prove our paper trail and family lore or furnish clues to break down our brick walls, the work of the consortium of international scientific and technological researchers has almost immeasurable potential.

    One amazing breakthrough is the ability to perform genetic testing within a hospital environment for myriad potential health issues. The testing is reasonably priced, generally covered by insurance, and results can dictate treatment for identified risks or alleviate fear.

    One such circumstance hit close to home this past month. A granddaughter chose to undergo genetic testing for cancer predisposition. Ruby Smith, fearful as a result of the prevalence for cancer in her lineage elected to test. In her own words, extracted from her messages we can see the speed at which the results were provided and the reaction:

    "Baptist Medical Group, Hematology and Oncology

    Thankful to be getting genetic testing today. This testing is so important for not only myself but also my sister and her children as well. 84 genes are being tested today and each gene will reveal if it has a mutation that will likely cause cancer in my lifetime giving me the chance to be proactive instead of reactive. If I test positive for any of the mutations then there is significant need for familial testing.

    March 17, 2022.


    Tested negative for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, primary markers for breast cancer

    Announced 30 March


    Out of 84 genes I’m negative for all!!!!!!!!

    I do have a variant in my DNA, but it's insignificant.

    Announced 31 March 2022."


As promised, here are links to columns published previously that augment the information in this month's publication:

    December 2021 DNA: Complex. Tantalizing. And Nothing Short of Miraculous
    January 2022 DNA: Complex. Tantalizing. And Nothing Short of Miraculous, Part 2
    February 2022 DNA Glossary in Logical Order
    March 2022 The Human Genome Project - Historical Advances

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

Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but it brought back memories of a very tasty dish my sweet wife first prepared for a memorable Irish celebration way back in 1991.  At that time, we shared our home near Guthrie, Oklahoma with her wonderful parents-Jack and Lena Carroll, sister Noralee, her caretaker Bill Hagler, her two sons David and Earl, and our grandsons Adam and Shaun. It was a big house on 25 lovely acres with a big kitchen and tons of love.

Our meals, of course, were big too. Feeding a household of ten three times a day meant large quantities. We had good help, sharing certain duties with the boys. David prepared his perfect Sun Tea daily. Earl and Shaun set the table, Adam "supervised" the cooks from his high chair. And, after the meals, David, Earl and Shaun (sometimes Bill) would clear the table and load the dishwasher. M and MomMay and I finished the kitchen clean-up. It worked.

This was a surprisingly delicious experiment! Try it, you should find it just as deserving of high praise. Sort of a corned beef and cabbage dish, but using lean ground beef.

Bon appetit~!

M's Smothered Beef and Cabbage


  • 3 to 5 lbs lean, high quality ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. Ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tsp. Celery Salt (or use celery seed)
  • 2 tsp. Mrs. Dash original No Salt if using Celery seed
  • 2 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Parsley leaves or 2 Tbsp. Fresh
  • 2 or 3 large Bermuda onions, sliced 1/4 - 1/2"
  • 2 or 3 green Bell Peppers in thin strips
  • 1 med to large head cabbage, cored, outer leaves removed (use crisp leaves in your salad) and cut in flat, thin wedges
  • Water, as needed, 1 to 2 cups

    1. Season ground beef with listed spices using a large bowl to mix. Mix well by hand.
    2. Heat a large rectangular electric skillet to Med or Med High while preparing vegetables.
    3. Line bottom of heated skillet with half the onion slices. Press entire beef mixture on top of onions. Brown then turn beef over in skillet. (Try to leave onions to continue caramelizing.) No oil should be needed as the meat will render sweet juices.
    4. Top beef, after turning with browned side now up, with remaining onion slices, Bell Pepper strips and cabbage wedges.
    5. Cover skillet tightly.
    6. As beef cooks down, add part of the water to aid in steaming the beef and veggies.
    7. Cooking time will depend upon individual skillet temps and desired doneness of beef. It is not recommended to undercook meats. We prefer ours medium to well done.

Serve with a crisp salad, crusty bread and side dishes of mashed potatoes, and corn. For a special treat, try a good artisan Irish soda bread loaf or individual Dilly Bread loaves prepared in little tin foil bread loaf pans which can be found in most grocery stores. Ice cold tea is a great addition.

Bon appetit~!

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

Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky

How To Listen to That Tiny Voice Within

It’s a little voice. Everybody has it. You might sometimes call it a gut feeling. Or perhaps you’ve heard people call it intuition. You don’t know if you have that, but you can say you’ve had gut feelings.

The thing is that whether you call it a gut feeling or intuition that voice within can sometimes be elusive.

It’s like trying to see an eclipse. You know you’re not supposed to look directly at it because you could go blind, but what if you just took a tiny peek? I’ve done that before and I’m not blind yet. I can see pretty good. I’ve got my choice of 2 different pairs of glasses to wear.

So, how does one go about hearing the tiny voice within?

I would say a good way to start is to meditate. You don’t have to go with one particular kind of meditation. Just choose one. It’s like shopping for shoes. Pick a pair and try them on. Try walking around a little bit. How do they feel on your feet? Do you think they are okay? Good. Now you can buy them. That means you have chosen a form of meditation and are willing to give it a whirl.

You know that with shoes you need time to break them in before you’re going to wear them all day. Everybody has their own way of breaking in shoes. You also know the telltale signs that you’ve gone a little too far. Do you throw the shoes away? Let’s hope not. You paid $129 for them. Let your feet heal a little bit and try again. This time be careful and really pay attention to how your feet are feeling.

The thing is with meditation you need to break yourself in. The first thing that will happen is you will get thirsty. It’s not like you’re plowing the north forty and need a drink of water. For some inexplicable reason, your body got thirsty the minute you sat down to meditate. No problem. Go have a drink of water. Better yet, bring the glass back to where you were meditating. Sit down and try it again.

Okay, all ready. Begin meditation.

Now, you have an itch. You try to ignore it. It just gets worse.

Maybe, you think, you’re going about this all wrong. All you wanted to do was to listen to that tiny little voice within. She said to meditate, but you can’t even do that.

Did I say this was easy? Try again. Take a deep breath and settle back in. Dip into it. Quietly. Calmly. Take another deep breath. Pay attention to the breathing, the rhythm. Try to visualize the breath. In it goes. It fills your lungs. You can feel your ribs expanding to hold your breath. Hold it. Count one, two, three, four. Now, open your mouth and let it fly. Forcefully out into the room

Are you itching now? No? What happened?

You were focusing on something other than the itch.


Do that some more and let it go. On an exhale imagine that you are in a peaceful place. It is so peaceful. The sun is shining, but there is also shade. You see how the sun is coming through the leaves and is dappling on the ground. It is cool in the shade. It isn’t cold. It’s perfect.

Be quiet now. Enjoy this little bit of peace.

With me, there were all sorts of things that got in the way between me and my meditation. I was thirsty, I was hot, I itched, I kept thinking of things I needed to remember.

This is normal. Your body is trying to keep you safe while you saunter blithely off towards this dangerous and unknown place called meditation.

Be kind to your body. Have a drink. Keep a notebook beside you to write down the stuff your mind doesn’t want you to forget. Stretch. Itch. But, as with a toddler, hold onto her hand and bring her attention back to the path you are both on. Be kind. Don’t get angry. Be patient. Always return to the path.

For each and every one of you the path to that little voice within will be a bit different.

I have suggested that meditation is a good way to begin.

Another way that you can approach this is to draw. This will allow you to focus on drawing to the exclusion of everything else. As with meditation you are focusing on something specific.

What about listening to music? Yes, that too. The point is to go away from your daily grind whatever it is that you do to a place somewhere else and yet still here.

There are all sorts of tiny muscles involved in practicing meditation. As with a course of exercise when you put on your running shoes and start out you are going to be sore in the beginning. That’s what happens to muscles you haven’t used in a while. They are not strong. You need to do it for a while for things to get better. Same thing with meditation.

Finding it hard to “go deep”? Imagine that you are standing on a ladder, and you are going down the ladder rung by rung. Imagine, One, Two, Three, and so on. You are getting more and more sleepy the longer you are going down the ladder.

Okay, time for a channeling funny and that tiny voice within. While I was writing the paragraph above, I heard, “No, no, no, no.” in my head. Then, my guide, one of those tiny voices within said, “You don’t want them to go to sleep.” Anyway, I thought it was funny.

So, maybe that wasn’t such a great thing to do in the beginning. It does have its uses. I like to use it when I am trying to do a past life regression or a childhood regression. It is dipping down into a bit of self-hypnosis.

So, the other thing to do to hear that tiny voice within is to keep a journal. Just allow whatever is on your mind to bubble up and you put it on paper. For some people doing this with a pen and paper is important. I have found I enjoy using my computer. Just let it out. You don’t have to show it to anybody.

You could start with one word. Think of it as a writing prompt. Cry. Just one word. Write about it. You could pick out a whole bunch of one-word things to write about, put them in a jar and then pull them out randomly to write about. What you are doing with this exercise is giving yourself a voice.

The next good thing you might do is to pray if you want to. If you don’t believe in God then meditate some more. Or meditate with a purpose. It’s like picking a theme or, as you did with the writing prompts, one word. Meditate on the word Cry. It’s an idea. It seems reasonable. What you are doing here is to strengthen your connection to the All Is. Or What Is. Or The World. Or The Past. Or The Future. It doesn’t matter what you call it. You are connected to it and with this praying/meditating exercise you are strengthening your connection.

It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t make sense. When you go somewhere the most important thing to do is to know where you are going. You don’t need a map. You can always ask for directions as you go. Shudders from the men in the audience. Hey, I am 66 years old, have been married for 46 of them, and know of what I speak.

There might be other things you need to do before you can hear that tiny voice within. You might need to learn how to play again. I know you are grown up. I know you are responsible, pay your rent or your mortgage on time, go to the doctor when you need to, remember everybody’s birthdays. But you never outgrew your need to play and somehow it might be important to hear that tiny voice within. You might need to play a little bit and somehow through that playtime listen carefully.

You just might need to learn to find joy in washing dishes or doing the laundry. You might need to be able to find joy in just about anything you do. It’s just a thought. Who knows? You might need to find joy in a root canal. At least you can look forward to when it is over.

Did I mention this takes time? It takes faith that you are doing something worthwhile. It takes perseverance for you to continue these practices and whichever other ones come your way even in the face of what looks like failure. It might take years; it might be just minutes. You will certainly learn something during the process. That tiny voice might just be the voice of the divine.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

On Wings Of Angels

Some people simply believe in angels and for others, angels are the mere product of mythological stories. But there are still those people in the world that know angels exist because they intuitively experience an angel in their life.

When he arrived home that evening, he looked forward to having supper with his family. When away, he misses his Mother’s home-cooked meals. His Mother constantly fusses over him, worrying, “perhaps the Army is not properly feeding my son,” she would say to herself as she piled the food onto her eldest son’s plate. His two brothers, two sisters, and father were also thrilled to see him home. The topic of discussion at their dining room table was always their local Church and the day's politics. He heard his father’s politics before and in the back of his mind. He was just looking forward to a night out at their local dance hall to dance with the girls and listen to the popular tunes of the day.

When he entered the music hall in his clean, pressed military uniform, the band was playing ‘shall we dance.’ He immediately caught the attention of a beautiful, bright-eyed, impressionable seventeen-year-old girl. She was sitting with her friends, listening to music, drinking a malt soda. With an outstretched hand, he said to her, "shall we dance." Before she could say no, she was on the dance floor, their embraced bodies moving with the music.

“I never saw you here before,” she said to him with a bit of excitement in her voice.

“Last two years I was away. I joined the army after high school.”

“I will graduate this year,” she said to emphasize that she is now a woman, but in a childlike way, she began adjusting her hair.

“I graduated in the class of 1933, and I am only two years older than you.”

“Do you like the Army?”

“Sure, I love to travel and see new places and meet people.”

“Aren’t you worried about a war breaking out somewhere and having to fight in a battle?”

“Oceans surround our country, and we are pretty well protected, and besides, our President said our country will remain neutral unless provoked by hostile forces. We will not go to war unless we are attacked first, and no country will be dumb enough to attack us and start a war.”

“You sure look nice in your uniform,” she said, “what is your name?”

“Corporal Lawrence Mattock.”

“My name is April Boyer.”

They drank malts that evening and talked until the music ended. Over the next three days, they saw a movie together, went to a restaurant, and saw a play at their local Theater. When his leave ended, he wrote her letters, and she looked forward to them, and he enjoyed reading her letters. A year after she graduated high school, they were married.

He took advantage of the military and continued his education. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1937. Over the years, they had four children. It was the middle of the great depression, but he could provide for his family on a mail carrier's salary.

The letters he wrote his wife during his military days were put in a shoebox that April kept. She enjoyed reading them from time to time. They reminded her of the innocent times and the youthful love that they once shared. Their love has matured with the birth of their children, and they are now adults with financial responsibilities.

They were sitting in their living room when the radio announced the horrific news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They were shocked to hear about the deaths of the American servicemen. The President announced that “December 7, 1941, is a date that will live in infamy.”

America was at war, and Lawrence was back in uniform. He was trained as a fighter pilot, and he sent a photo of himself home to his wife. In the photo, he was standing in front of his fighter plane, ‘Fighting Angel.’ There was a small note with the picture, “I shall return to you on Angels Wings.”

She received three beautiful letters a week from her husband. They were highly poetic letters expressing his deep love for her and their children. “He is truly a gifted writer,” April told her family. His letters spoke of how much he yearned for his family.

She wrote him every day as well, telling him about her daily activities with their children and how much they miss him. She was frightened for his safety, but she remained strong for her children. She did not talk about how dangerous his missions were because she did not want to frighten her children. In their eyes, her husband is a hero.

Before his 25th bombing mission in 1943, he felt an unsettling feeling come over him. He quickly finished up a letter to his wife, and he then did something out of the ordinary. He handed the ceiled letter to his friend Lt. Bob McCracken.

“If anything should happen to me,” he said to him, “can you see to it that my wife gets this letter.”

“Look,” his friend said to him, “I will give this letter back to you when you return.”

April’s husband never returned from that mission because the Japanese shot down his plane in the south pacific. His friend had every intention of getting the letter to April, but he too was a fatality of war. The unopened letter was mistakenly placed with his friend’s belongings in a large box.

Lt. McCracken was unmarried, so his belongings were hand-delivered to his Mother, but she was too distraught to deal with them. The box containing her son’s belongings with Lawrence’s unread letter was eventually placed in her attic and soon forgotten about.

April was still a young mother, and she never remarried. Over the years, she became a teacher, a grandmother, and a great grandmother. On lonely nights she would read her husband’s old letters. Her great-granddaughter once noticed a tear roll down April’s cheek when reading the old letters.

She knew her husband’s letters by heart. They made her feel loved, and they reminded her how special she was to her husband. In many ways, she feels she still is special to him. She enjoys showing her great-granddaughter the old photograph of the fighting angel. With the small note, “I shall return to you on angels wings.” From time to time, her great-granddaughter also read the old letters; deep down inside, she felt that she knew her great-grandpa, Lawrence, from reading his handwritten letters.

Bob McCracken’s niece had signed the final papers on the sale of his mother’s old home. The new owner soon came across a few forgotten boxes that were left in an attic closet. The owner’s son, Lawrence Boyer, was home on leave from the army. He was helping his mother move into her new home. His curiosity got the best of him, and he went through the old boxes to see what was in them. The one box had old Christmas lights that hadn’t been used in a very, very long time. He noticed that the other box was never opened. Out of curiosity, though, he opened it, and when he saw the old War World II leather, fighter pilot jacket, he excitedly yelled to his mother, “Mom, you are not going to believe this!!!!!!!”

He quickly brought the old dusty Box down stares to their kitchen. There were old photographs and letters from the war inside the Box. Her son excitedly tried on the Leather Jacket, “it fits,” he said. His mother noticed the unopened letter. She also noticed that the address on the envelope was different from the opened letters, “the woman that the letter is addressed to is probably dead,” she said, “the war ended over 60 years ago.”

When Lawrence held the letter in his hand, he noticed the return address.

“Mom, the return address is the Army barracks where I am assigned,” he said, “this can’t be just a coincidence, can it?”

“I would just go to the post office and mail it,” she said.

“I want to deliver it in person.”

“You have always been a romantic,” she said, “but the address is about two thousand miles away. It would be easier just to mail it.”

“I feel it is the proper thing to do. After all, he was a fellow soldier.” While placing the letter in the inside pocket of that old but new leather jacket, “she might still be alive, and besides, she was meant to have it,” he said.

April, 89 years old, and with her health failing, “I am not ready to die yet,” she told her great-granddaughter as she lay in her hospital room.

She was uncomfortable with the thought of death and the unknown. She never really believed in heaven or hell. But the thought of angels has always brought her great comfort. Her husband named his plane ‘fighting angel’ to ease her worry. She was uncomfortable about dying and leaving her great-granddaughter behind.

“I have unfinished business,” she told her great-granddaughter, “dying will have to wait.”

Lt. Lawrence Boyer hitched a ride on a Military Police cargo plane.

“So, what is the urgency?” the pilot asked him.

“Well, I am still on leave, but I need to deliver this letter.”

“What? Are you trying to get brownie points with a general or something?” the co-pilot asked him while the pilot laughed.

“The letter was written during World War II, and the woman it was written to never received it,” he said.

“How did you come across it? Are you a military historian or something?” the co-pilot asked him.

“I found it in my mother’s attic.”

“What does it say?” the Pilot asked him.

“I didn’t read it”

“Why not?” the co-pilot asked.

“Well, for one thing, it is not addressed to me, and it is not any of my business. I wouldn’t want someone reading my mail.”

“Hey dude,” said the co-pilot, “World War II ended in 1945 that is 62 freaken years ago. What could that letter say that has any relevance to now?” the co-pilot said to him.

“She might still be alive, and it might be of some sentiment to her,” he said, “something deep inside tells me that I need to get this letter to her.”

As April’s great-granddaughter rushed out of her front door, a young Army Lieutenant walked towards the door.

“Look,” she said, “my great grandmother is very, very ill, and I don’t have time to talk to an army recruiter right now.”

“I am not a recruiter,” he said, “I am just hand-delivering a letter.”

“Since when does the Army deliver mail?” she asked.

“Since the American Revolution,” came the reply.

“Who is it for?” she asked.

“April Mattock,” he replied.

“Well, I am April, but my family calls me Angel,” she said, “I am not joining the army, so it is no use talking. Besides, I am only seventeen and in my last year of high school.”

“I don’t think this letter is for you,” he said with amusement in his voice.

“Well, my nana’s name is April too,” she said, “she’s my great grandmother, and she is way too old for the Army, she’s 89.”

“Can I see her?” he asked.

“What for?” she asked him.

“So I can give her this letter,” he said.

“Look,” she said, “she’s in the Hospital. Is it that important?”

“It might be to her,” he said.

“You can follow me there in your military Jeep,” she said, “if you want.” She walked past the military Jeep, got into a parked car, and quickly drove away.

As they were taking the elevator to her great-grandmother's floor at the hospital, “what is so important about that letter?” she asked him, “that the Army would send someone to hand-deliver it.”

“This letter was written to her over 60 years ago. It was found unopened in my mother’s attic, and it was never delivered.”

“Who is it from?” she asked.

“Lawrence Mattock,” he said, “the return address is my army barracks where I am stationed now.”

“Really?” she said, “he is my great-grandpa. We love reading his old letters, and they are wonderfully beautiful, he really loved my Nana.”

The elevator door opened, and as they stepped out in the corridor.

“So you are not here on official business?” she asked, “you went out of your way to deliver this letter?”

“I felt it was important that I deliver it,” he said, “I just felt it was the right thing to do.”

“That might have been the last letter he wrote,” she said, “he was killed in the war. I think it’s sweet that you went out of your way to deliver it.”

“Hello, Nana,” Angel said to her great-grandmother in her hospital bed.

“Who is this fine-looking officer?” she asked Angel.

“He has a special letter for you from great-grandpa Lawrence.”

“How do you do, mam,” he said as he shook her hand, “this letter is addressed to you, mam,” handing her the letter.

“How can that be?” she asked, slightly amused, “it’s from my Lawrence?” “

Yep,” said Angel in an excited tone.

“Get me my glasses,” she said, “how can this be?”

Angel walked around the hospital bed and opened a drawer in a cabinet. She then handed her the eyeglasses.

She opened the letter, and immediately noticed it was her husband's handwriting. Tears welled up in her eyes as she began to read the letter.

“My dearest Angel,

I know I may seem far away, but I am with you. I will always be with you. Our love has no boundaries. It is a timeless love. I am waiting here, patiently, for your gentle touch, your warm smile, and your loving embrace.

I will visit you and our children often on angel's wings. When you feel a gentle breeze, I am there. When you feel a warm glow, I am there. When the babies cry, we will watch them grow, and they will learn more than we will ever know.

I am letting you know that I am there with you no matter the difficulty or the circumstance. My gifts to you will always be loving thoughts and a gentle caress of the heart.

When you see the colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky, they will also be on the faces of Angels passing by. When friends shake your hand and say, 'how do you do,' they are really saying, 'I love you.'

Our love, April, is timeless and eternal like an angel’s love.

Your fighting Angel,

Love always,

Your fighting Angel"

“It is truly from Lawrence,” she said as the tears rolled down her cheek, “he wrote me a letter. He is waiting for me now, and he waited for me over all these years. He still loves me; he sent me one of his love letters, one of his beautiful love letters.”

Angel’s eye’s welled up with tears when she saw how the letter touched her great-grandmother.

“What is your name,” April asked the young officer.

“Lawrence,” he said, “Lawrence Boyer.”

“Boyer was my maiden name,” she said.

She told them the story of how she met Lawrence, her Fighting Angel, on the dance floor when she was seventeen. The age her great-granddaughter is now.

“How did my Lawrence send you the letter?” she asked the young officer.

But Angel interrupted Lt. Boyer before he could speak because she didn’t want him to spoil the moment for her great-grandmother.

“He was ordered to deliver it from people high up in the Military,” Angel said to her.

“I understand,” April said as she winked at Lawrence, “soon, very soon, I will be with my fighting angel.”

“We are going to let you rest now, Nana,” Angel said to her.

“My Lawrence worked as a mail carrier before the war,” she said with a big smile on her face, “like you, he delivered important mail.”

April once again winked at the young officer.

Out in the corridor, Angel said to Lt. Boyer, “thank you, so much, that was really, really sweet of you. It made her so happy.”

“I feel as if I was supposed to deliver the letter as if I was on some sort of important mission.”

“Well, thank you, I can’t wait to read her letter,” she said, “I read all of his letters.”

April lay in her hospital bed a few days later without fear of death because she knew her fighting angel was waiting for her. She told her great-granddaughter, “don’t let life pass you by, seize the moment, embrace the here and now. That is all we have, the here and now,” she repeated, “so take full advantage of it. Take advantage of all the opportunities that lie within you. The greatest opportunities in life are within us.”

“I remember reading that in one of great-grandpa Lawrence’s letters,” Angel said, “I will keep his letters for you, and I will show my children someday the beautiful letters he wrote you.”

As a Nurse was administering April’s medication, she noticed through the window a magnificent rainbow in the sky, “What a gorgeous rainbow,” the Nurse said.

April clasped her hands together and said, “I must see it.”

“Your very weak, April,” the Nurse said.

“Oh, please,” she said, “I must see it”

The Nurse helped her out of bed and slowly and patiently walked her over to the window. April looked at the magnificent rainbow, "when you see the colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky, they will also be on the faces of Angels passing by. When friends shake your hand and say, 'how do you do,' they are really saying, 'I love you,'” April said out loud with a tear rolling down her cheek.

“That is so beautiful. Are they the words to a song?” the nurse asked.

“It was in a letter my Lawrence wrote me,” she said with tears in her eyes, “he is waiting for me.”

April quietly passed away that evening, “tell great-grandpa Lawrence that I love him too,” Angel told her. She held April’s hand, unable to hold back the tears.

The young Lieutenant could not get Angel off his mind back on the army base. He began to write her, and eventually, he started visiting her. He went through some of April’s old photographs and letters that Angel took the possession of, and he also came across an old photograph of Angel’s great-grandfather, standing next to his fighter plane, ‘Fighting Angel,’ with a little note, “I shall return to you on Angels Wings.” He wondered to himself, “was he behind my delivering the letter to April. Was he behind Angel and me getting together?” They also came across an old photograph of Lt. Bob McCracken, “That is uncanny,” Angel said.

“What is?” he asked.

“How much you look like him,” she said.

“You think?”

“Yea,” she said, “you really do”

Angel and Lawrence exchanged their wedding vows in an open garden with beautiful green grass and flowers in full bloom in an open garden. People began to notice the beautiful rainbow in the sky, including the bride and groom.

“Look,” said Angel, “my Nana and great-grandpa Lawrence is giving us our wedding gift.” With tears welling up in her eyes, she looked up at the beautiful rainbow and softly said, “thank you for the beautiful gift.”

Angel’s husband is now a Captain in the U.S. Army. He and Angel have two children; one is a boy who they named Lawrence, he has the nickname, Lance. They also have a girl named after her great-great-grandmother, April; she also has her mother’s nickname, Angel.

Captain Boyer may feel that he cannot write like his wife’s great-grandfather. But he still takes the time to write his Angel every day. He also goes out of his way to tell people his story, with the utmost exuberance, how he met his wife on a very important mail carrier mission.

“There were forces at play in helping me deliver that letter on that faithful day. It was something I had to do,” he said, “and in doing so I got my greatest reward, my Angel.”

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

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Politics is a Rough Game


April is election time for a few government offices so I was reminded of some election-related stories.

In 1969 when Richard Nixon was elected as the President of the United States, a local man who was a former county official concluded Nixon’s win was a golden opportunity for him as he was eminently qualified to be the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States. There were several reasons for his assured success:

    1. He had been a solid Republican all his life.
    2. He was an experienced politician
    3. He had grown up on a farm and still lived on one. What more did he need to know?
    4. He was an independent bachelor of a certain age and was free to move to Washington, D.C. to fulfill his destiny as a good citizen.

So pleased with his decision to apply and excited at the prospect of a well-paying job, he brought his letter of application to share with a small group of men who regularly met for breakfast at the “liar’s table” in the local café. They were a collection of active and retired businessmen and farmers he respected and trusted. An outsider would discount their authority by judging them by their appearance – Worn bib overalls and plaid flannel shirts were worn by the majority closely followed by the crisply pressed jeans and western styled shirts the horsemen favored. This was not a suit and tie crowd, but equally shrewd and canny as any man on K Street. In their small world, they were the unstated power brokers as he well knew, and they knew him.

With an unstated wink, they quickly seized upon the idea of “helping” him with his application to ensure its success.

“Great idea, Zeke!” the real estate broker seated next to him said enthusiastically.

“I see a couple of typos, Zeke. Let us help you re-write your letter a little. We can make it a slam dunk.” Said the banker.

“I know our congressman, Zeke. I will give him a call when you mail the letter.” Said the assessor, lying without a qualm.

The next month hummed with drafts and revisions to create the perfect document. At last, pressed by an increasingly anxious candidate, the letter was sent off with high hopes to the White House. Several weeks later, Zeke came to breakfast waving a faded photocopied letter declining his generous offer to serve America.

“Look at this” he moaned. “I spent weeks making my letter perfect and all I got back was a damn photocopy saying I wasn’t chosen!” He was furious that despite his efforts to send the perfect application, he was blown off. He had been so sure he would be successful. After all, as a white male, he was entitled.

In recalling this incident, I thought perhaps I’d underestimated my own qualifications for elective office. I had many years of executive experience working for Fortune 500 companies, had managed multi-million-dollar budgets, coordinated many projects – even represented those same companies in Washington, D.C. In addition, I had earned a PhD (although the citizens of Pineville refused to call me Doctor even at meetings where a male educator was fawningly so designated). That led me to leap into running for mayor of my hometown. Getting elected was easy; enduring what was to follow wasn’t. It is a story for another time.

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

Martin (Murt) Malone has under his belt, seven novels, numerous short stories; a work of non-fiction The Lebanon Diaries as well as radio plays a stage drama, and a raft of short stories. Space doesn’t permit me to list his awards and nominations. His latest novel Iapetus,’81 is based on real events in the world of Irish racing 41 years ago. It is set in a struggling racing stable on the Curragh of Kildare. The development of the fictitious characters prompts me to describe the author as “The Irish John Steinbeck.”

Martin (Murt) Malone

The reader is brought on a step by step through every aspect of their lives from the moment that Sam Dwyer meets Rozzie Moran in the CYMS hall in Kildare town in 1971. Butch, Gunther Charlie, Mercy et all has colourful lives none free from complications. All brought vividly to life by this ex-army, Kildare town wordsmith.

Iapetus,’81 is published by Owl Fellas Press.

* * * * *

The Following poem was written recently by Limerick poet Anne Mulcahy as part of her battle against discrimination;

A Poem from Anne Mulcahy
The River
For Hannah, my Friend

My friend is a Traveller and I am a Country-Buffer -
she has left an imprint on me like a fossil,
zig zag incisions that mould the hardest rock,
planting themselves - living forever.
The delicate sprig of friendship has blossomed
became a mountain with flowing spring waters.

The shared moments caught for us a time of no divide,
a silver net catching the Salmon Boyne-
– like a sparkling clear river – our friendship swelled
– each flow equal to the next -
our laughter shattered the thin veil that hovers -
between prejudice and unity –
between the - I’ll accept you - on my terms, fallacy

Prejudice acts as a lever to elevate our inferior selves
to heights of dizzy disillusion -
Society feeding the layered segmentation segregation –
like ladders – steps of insanity to clouds of fanaticism -
no one wants the bottom rung!
Instead we cling foolishly to the middle ground,
shouting -I’m good today - I’m better than you!.
Refusing to be fossils in Rivers of friendship.

3/14/22 Anne Mulcahy

( I’m attaching an audio of the poet reciting it.)
The River - audio

* * * * *

The Blessington Lakes, beautiful though they are, were man-made. In the late 1930s, Dublin city had a poor infrastructure when it came to supplying water to its inhabitants. The Government of the day decided to create a reservoir in the Blessington area to solve the problem. The Poulaphouca Dam and hydroelectric station were constructed and in 1940, 5000 acres of farmland were flooded and 70 families were displaced but not without controversy. In the summer of 1978 the lakes reached their lowest level ever. Walls chimneys and fences which had been submerged for 38 years appeared. Walls of the houses, bridges, piers and the remnants of old farm machinery became visible and brought back memories.

At the time an opportunist UK film company decided to make a documentary about The Liffey Hydro-Electric Scheme. A scout from the company, driving a British registered Land Rover arrived in the area. He stopped with Jimmy who was standing at the end of Norton’s Lane. He introduced himself and in a “cut-glass accent,” informed Jimmy, “We would like to interview the oldest person in the area.” “Begob” said Jimmy, “Yer late. He died last week.”

* * * * *

Joe Fahy

The following is a poem written by my old friend Joe Fahy ( Seosamh Ó Fathaigh.)


Culture to Cain, the importance of label
In expressing social status.
Economic power, its Everest, from the steppingstone
Its foundation, the rock of exploitation.
Its superiority, its status,
Who pays for the products on the table?
Its resources from third world locations.
Mixed by and through manipulation,
Political in essence
The priesthood of power,
Political domination,
Economic exploitation,
Social and Cultural
Our menus,
From first world T.V. stations
Emphasis on ‘having.’
Children forever grieving,
Totalitarian values at the
Crucifix of consumption.
The two thieves of much
And more, on either side-
Twin towers of greed.
But resurrection is guaranteed-
The first of the Nazarenes’
Abel, in our era.
Remember apartheid,
Our contemporary Roman Era.
That fella of the sixties,
Nelson Mandela.
Romero in the eighties,
Ignacio Ella Curia in the nineties,
The new Holy Land Cuscatlán,
Meaning, ‘land of Rivers and Jewels’
El Salvador, our Saviour.

See you in May.

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On Trek


By Judith Kroll


Happiness is not given to anyone, sold to anyone, and no one can make you unhappy. Happiness is a choice. Each person is responsible for their own Happiness.

Many times we hear folks say, I woke up happy, but you just ruined my day. You made me unhappy. No one can do that.

If I am a happy person, and someone does something that might make me feel bad. I can choose to stay happy, or become miserable, but it truly is a choice. Our attitude is what keeps us going.

The more I focused on this subject the more I realized how many things are set up to divide us with what makes us happy.

An example is politics. Does Democrat or Republican make you happy? Does the other make you upset? Does it ruin your happiness? Seems like it. Yet it keeps us divided.

Which religion makes one happy? Which sports team? Which gender, color?

Which automobile? Which brand of can corn(?), or is it peas?

Let’s face it, life is choices. Since we all have free will, let each person pick what they want, and we pick what we want, and we still love each other. We are all connected, keep believing in connection, and we won’t be so divided. Love does not divide.
Judith 3/24/22

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Reflections of The Day


By Dayvid Clarkson

Sometimes you need to be alone, not to be lonely, but to enjoy a little free time just being yourself and finding your way. In other words, the moments you feel lonely are the moments you may most need to be by yourself.


This is one of life’s cruelest ironies.

We need solitude because when we’re alone we’re detached from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts and feel what our intuition is telling us. And the truth is, throughout your life, there will be times when the world gets real quiet and the only thing left is the beat of your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it, otherwise, you’ll never understand what it’s telling you.

Not until you are lost in this world can you begin to find your best path. Realizing you are lost is the first step to living the life you want. The second step is leaving the life you don’t want. Making a big life change is pretty scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Regret.

I can tell you from my own life experience that I’ve found love, lost it, found it, lost it and then I found it once again. But each time what I found was more incredible than the last. So remember that everyone suffers in life at some point. Everyone feels lost sometimes.

The key is using your experiences to grow. When you apply what you’re learning to your future choices and actions, you move forward not backward. You become stronger and wiser. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it in the end.

And remember. every new day is a gift, a new beginning, a chance to try and begin again.
Dayvid 3/21/22

I whisper to the Four Winds, “Guide me well my Brothers and Sisters as I journey through the night sky. Lead me to the mirrored lake that I may see my true Spirit. Stir the embers of my Soul that I may share the flame of compassion and kindness wherever I sojourn. Reveal the quiet reverie of old lessons and let me tarry there for a while. Restore the power that I freely gave away this day so upon my awakening, I can continue to be of service. I am grateful for your directions.”
Sleep well, dream deep my Friends.

On a cold crisp night, I look to the stars, even in the dark, you can see the remnants of navy blue. The crystalline stars seem to define Father Sky as Grand Mother Moon has yet to make her entrance. Contemplating time, it seems we never have enough, always governed by the clock. What if we understood that we are eternal, that we truly have all the time we require? No time during your past was wasted. This journey is like reading a book, once read another book will appear. If we could learn to read and enjoy without the compulsion to skip over parts and read the last chapter to see how it ends. Enjoy each chapter and relish the storyline.
Sleep well, dream deep my Friends.
Dayvid 3/31/2022

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A Mother's Lessons


By Danielle Cote Serar

Answered Prayer

Everyone is carrying something. And y’all the last several days, I’ve been carrying a strong-willed, independent, 3-year old with my younger self’s personality and all I can say is my prayers have been “Lord, I know this is my fault. I prayed for a daughter who was just like me but happy. And you gave me that. And I know my momma is up there laughing her head off at me but would you put some calm and some chill in this child because I’m about to lose my… well you know.”

And it’s been hard. Everything has been a battle. My baby is super clingy and frankly most days even daddy won’t do. My 3-year-old thinks every single thing out of my mouth is a battle of wills and a test of who is in charge. Add it to everything else that’s going on right now in my little microcosm for the past several weeks - the good and the bad - and it’s freaking exhausting.

I love the saying “This too shall pass.” And yes it will. There is comfort in knowing that this current discomfort will pass. But I think when we hear that we sometimes think… and then everything will be rosy and ok. That’s not life.

Every stage has its own unique hard. Being single - hard. Being married - hard. No kids - ok maybe THAT one’s not hard but if you want kids it is. Newborn - hard. Toddler - hard. School-aged - hard. Teenagers - certifiably hard as hell. SAHM - so dang hard. Working mom - equally freaking hard. It’s all hard.

It’s just different.

And on days like these last weeks, while I do remind myself, yes this too shall pass, I also remind myself to find the joy even in this messy, crazy and often LOUD (on both our parts) difficult time. That this will transition into a new but different hard.

Instead of focusing on the trying aspects, I force myself to find the good, the joy, the moments that make the hard oh so worth it. Because in the end, this will pass and I won’t be able to capture those moments again. She’s only going to be 3 once. He’s only gonna be a baby once. And when it’s done, I will wish I still had it, despite the hard.


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2061 (Part 2)


By Bud Lemire

I woke up feeling very refreshed and alive. But was thirsty, and headed for the fridge for a glass of water. That felt very good. Thoughts kept going through my head, like who else is alive. I am hoping someone else survived, and I wasn't the only one left here.

I saw that my bicycle needed air so I pumped some more air into it. Grabbed my backpack, and added a bottle of water to it. Decided to take a ride down to the Park and see if anyone was there.

I am glad it was a beautiful day, but it seemed that I was the only one enjoying it. In fact, I was the only One, as of yet.

As I pedaled the bicycle along, thoughts kept going through my head. That happens a lot with me. I did bring my camera, but I noticed over the 40 years that I was frozen in time, the battery had gone dead, and I didn't take time to recharge it. Oh well, if so many were dead, who was I going to share the pictures with anyway. I guess I'll just have to take in the beauty by myself. Sad, because I always loved sharing with others.

As I got to the park, I was amazed to see someone there. Some old man on a hammock. Hey wait, that's the same guy who was down there 40 years ago. Surely he wouldn't be alive now. I decided to check it out. As I got closer, I could see he was sitting on the hammock and his eyes were closed. Maybe he passed from a heart attack. I recall he had a beard and dark hair with some graying. Now he had a few strands on top, but mostly bald. Time can do that to you. Well, most people, except me, still had the gray hair I had when I was frozen.

I had to find out if he was alive or dead. As I looked at him, I saw a slight move of his belly, so he is breathing. “Hey you,” I said not too loudly, but loud enough. He looked up at me and smiled. I was so happy he was alive.

He looked at me and said “Haven't seen anyone drive by hear in years. Nobody is in the stores or houses. Durn virus must have gotten them all.”

I told him my story and he just kind of laughed. He found it hard to believe, but then again, it's hard to believe so many have passed. I asked him if he's been here for over 40 years, and he said he was, but in the Winter, he would go to the top of the hill, and there was a house there, he would stay in.

“You see," he said, "I've always liked camping out, and so this is perfect for me.”

I realized he had it made in the shade. Who could pick a better place than Ludington Park? I camp out there often, or I should say I did many years ago.

Looking over the park, it could have been just yesterday I was here. But I do know the trees have grown a bit, and it's hard to see the water with all the shrubs and grass being taller. Maintenance died and nobody to keep it up. I thanked the guy for the conversation, and told him I wanted to go check out the island, as it was my favorite place to go before and during the beginning of the Covid virus. He said it was his nap time and laid down on his hammock. As I rode my bike away, I wondered how long he had yet to live. I then thought, being where he was, was probably one of the best places to pass at.

I also was thinking, if he's aged, why haven't I? Then I wondered if one day it will catch up with me and I shall be 101, and just die of a heart attack just like that. I hope not, but one can never tell for sure.

I got to the bridge and saw that they did eventually fix it. It was some woman who drove her car off the bridge and damaged the bricks on it. The stones all fell off below and some into the water. I looked and saw there were no boats docked at the Yacht. Every summer there were many over that way. It seems so strange not to see them. I see the Beach House there as I ride along. Someone painted on it, in big letters “F*** Covid!” My thoughts exactly. I decided to take a peak, although I doubt I'd find anybody in the water.

I looked out and saw that this Beach would have been packed on a day like this. I thought back to when I was last by the Beach and can hear people laughing and screaming and daring each other to come into the water. Some would be relaxing in a chair on the sand. It was just way too quiet now. There's got to be someone alive out there.

To Be Continued

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Blessed Accordingly


By Mary E. Adair

We should strive for accord,
     Not dissonance
And be kind to others,
     When given a chance

Our halos may be tilted
     From time to time,
But our intentions are nearer
     To a dollar than a dime.

When we walk outside
     To welcome the Sun,
It's as though that stroll
     Enriches one

And strength is allowed
     To flow into our limbs,
And our instinct is to sing
     To our Lord with hymns.

So truly we endeavor
     To enrich our days
And thankfulness is expressed
     In heavenly praise.

©Mar 31, 2022 Mary E. Adair

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Ode to Big Sugar


By Marilyn Carnell

Riffling waters wend slowly west
Drifting leaves mark which way is best
To navigate the current’s crest
Sweet as sugar to taste and drink
No longer pristine, still we think
It seems like days when time went slow
Along the banks the trees hang low
To catch unwary folks below
But they now know to never slow
They paddle fast to keep a doe
In sight to mark the place to find her
When it’s time to lay her low

A bluebird sings an old sweet psalm
Hoping to guard her eggs from harm
But Eden, full of life and zest
Allows the snake to eat her nest

©Mar 22, 2022 Marilyn Carnell

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Friday Morn Rambling


By Walt Perryman

Do not stay mad at someone or hold a grudge,
Let your anger go and leave it up to God to judge.

Your whole life can be affected by your anger too.
When you hold on to anger it can also destroy you.

Don’t be obsessed with what’s going in our USA
Do what you can instead of worrying 24 hrs. a day.

Your different moods affect your loved ones too.
I believe that too much worry and anger can kill you.

Take care of the small stuff and the big stuff will be ok.
So, find peace in your heart and don’t forget to pray,

©Oct 22, 2021 Walt Perryman

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Journey Of A Lifetime


By Bud Lemire

The journey of a lifetime, is to experience who you'll be
All the things you go through, all the things you'll see
Everyone will experience life, in a different way
We'll see things differently, but that will be okay

For some of us, the challenges will make us fall
Others will find no problem, climbing a wall
Still, no matter what they are, we shall survive
This is a part of life, we call it staying alive

We'll have many people, pass through our lives each day
They will come and go, and touch us in a special way
We'll learn so much from each
It'll help our lives to reach

Some will realize, our bodies make us whole
Others will know, it's nothing without the soul
Some will claim the physical, only what they can see
Others will venture beyond, where spirits tend to be

Turn the music louder, dance a little bit
Work a crossword puzzle, challenge your wit
What you experience, all you do and see
Is a journey of a lifetime, it's what holds the key

©Mar 1, 2022 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

The journey of a lifetime holds so much to experience.
Everyone will experience it differently. Because we all
see things from our own viewpoints. From who we are,
we shall pick up and do things better than others. Yet,
they will do and know things more than we do. That is
their journey in their lifetime. Yes, so many people will
pass through our lives and touch us in a special way
. We can look back and smile at the memories, as we
travel down life's highway.


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I Can't Imagine Where You've Been

By Bruce Clifford 


The words to Beatles songs
Carry on, carry on and on
The magic of those days
Memories still remain

I can’t imagine where you’ve been
All the memories from within
Months turned into years
Decades of silence and tears

We never said a last goodbye
I could never get you on the phone
The many times I tried
I never felt so broken and alone

A language only we knew
We laughed when I came home from school
I can’t imagine where you’ve been
Belson, Belson, Belson

©2/20/2022 Bruce Clifford

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ABC Thoughts


By Marilyn Carnell

Action is needed to reach a goal.
Baffling if not well planned.
Cunning men can trip you up if,
Determined to do you in.
Elusive dreams can grow or die without a
Fight to stay alive.
Good will win if given hope and
Helps to steel your spine
Ignorance and prejudice can prevail by
Judging our outer appearance
Keeping secrets makes us die by
Lurking beneath the surface
Managing to stay afloat and
Never admitting oppression is
Punishment bourne and
Quite enough to kill you if
Restoration is not ongoing, the
Target is your self-esteem to
Understand the damage of silent
Violence to your being
Wanting to win with all your heart can show like a
X-ray of your soul. Men yell and cuss with extra
Zeal when they learn your weakness is how you feel

©Mar 27, 2022 Marilyn Carnell

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Try A Little Bit More


By Walt Perryman

No one is perfect including me and you.
But we can be a lot better if we try to.

We can try to be a little more faithful today,
And try to be a little humbler when we pray.

We can try to help someone that is in need,
And try to be a little more, humbler doing this deed.

We can try to tell the truth, would be wise,
Somehow our little and big lies are the same size.

Today, if all of us will give just a little bit more,
Our world would be a lot better off than before.

©2021 Walt Perryman

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