Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

March 2023

"It was one of those March days
when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light,
and winter in the shade."

– Charles Dickens

March has numerous dates that are personally either celebratory or tearful reminders, a similar up vs down score of instances much in accord with our opening quote. One steeps oneself in hot teas, cocoas, coffees, or other beverages while huddling in a warm afghan in the attempt to achieve the cosiness one craves, but stay alert! One moment March offers hugs and tenderly sweet reminisences, the next instant the pesky wind or damaging dust storm blows all the patio furniture and delicate flower urns across the yard.

Remaining as calm and trusting as possible that calamities can be quickly resolved, even when the absence of an efficient well-versed in all the rescue skills, dashing, dare one say, hero, apparently took a wrong turn. Perhaps lured by daffodils or Bluebonnets on his way, or has confused himself onto the absolutely never-to-help-here pathway. Therefore one must distract oneself and literature is an excellent solution, and voila! here we are just delighted to show you the treasures in this March, so be it, issue.

Danielle Cote Serar's "A Mother's Lessons" brings a part of her life to us, sharing both sad memories and precious new occasions with her youngsters. In her column "On Trek," Judith Kroll speaks about "Time."

"Introspective" by Thomas O'Neill, whisks you into his tale of "The Sage of Millville." Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" suggests "Recommended Reading and Listening for Saint Patrick's Day," following through with intriguing suggestions.

In "Woo Woo," Pauline Evanosky enthusiastically gives tips about successful manifestation. Marilyn Carnell discusses living in Minnesota in her column "Sifoddling Along," and how it is grdually winning her over.

Roderich Cohenour's column is hosting an "Encore: Cookin' With Leo" featuring Helmer's recipe for making Irish Whiskey at home just in time for celebrating Saint Patrick's Day. You can count on a dose of his famous humor and tall tales as well Melinda Cohenour is "hosting" a severe inflamation, not Covid she assures, but she is weak from the effects and still concerned for Rod's health. She did some articles for our eZine before becoming a columnist and is including one of those in her "Armchair Genealogy" column to facilitate those who need to access previous information from her various areas of research. Click her byline and the vault shall open.

We are pleased to have the noted author John McGraft share one of his lyric poems "Two Bridgets." Check his bio and here is a link to a column where Mattie Lennon has more info on McGraft's literary career: After Closing and other works by McGraft

Marilyn Carnell's poem is a "Tribute to My Uncle Abe," and the poem "Willingly Granted" is by yours truly. Bud Lemire presents his three poems: "Shedding My Body," "Living in A Covid World," and "Don't Talk Back To Me."

"Cedar Waxwings" and "Sometimes The Moon" both by John I. Blair lend a more lighthearted aspect. "Raindrops and Rivers" is one of Carrie E. Joslin's charming compositions, so visual, you feel you are part of the action. Walt Perryman's three are "Do You Worry," "Horses and Life," and "Fireball."

Walt Perryman is also the author of the continuing tale that reveals the compositions titled "Honey Dog Tales." The March issue wraps up the series with Chapter Seven. 

The artcle "Noralee's Story" by yours truly is a remembrance of my sister born 19 months after me, making her the second of four girls, no brothers for us. She was a person who won friends easily and was not one to put on airs. She could put you in your place as she was a Sagitarian with bluntness a trait. She pointed out what one wished not to face, then advised how to make it more plausible. She is missed. 

We continue to thank our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowlege and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online. He does it well as we are now in our 26th year. Happy Saint Patrick's Day, Susie and Mike!

Look for us in April 2023.

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Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

This is an Encore presentation of an article published here shortly before Melinda Cohenour began doing her column "Armchair Genealogy" for this eZine. She is involved in medical tests currently but plans to resume her column in the near future.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Genealogy Unravelled

      For those of you who may have explored one or two of my prior articles concerning various lines in my family tree, you may be familiar with the fact that my interest in genealogy arose as a result of my Grandmother Carrie Bullard Joslin’s lifelong enthusiasm for “meeting our ancestors.” Grandmother Joslin was wont to recite family lineages and groups often, enhancing the recitation by one or two colorful stories relating to a family member. For a young girl, the lists of innumerable names became confusing as I made my first attempts at figuring out Who, exactly, was Who? How did those names fit into my life? As my childish inquiries were made, Grandmother Joslin would say, “Well, Melindy Ellen. You see, you come from a long line of folks with lots of names, like Bullard and Joslin, Davenport and Young, Hopper and Godwin. Then, to make things interesting, we must not forget the Russells and the Gambles, the Buzzards and the Brownings – Oh! And we must NOT forget the Moucks and the Muskrats!” So many times I heard those family names recited that – to this day – the names stick in my head.

      Now, my father’s mom also knew her family lore. She was just not so involved in naming the names, making the lists, visiting the cemeteries, and penning the pals. Her tidbits of family lines came more often as an outburst or a caution: “Do not forget, you descend from Baron von Hempleman of Germany! Young ladies of that line do not…(wear holes in their new dress, sully their fine white lace on their new apron, wear their Church gloves outside to ride the “horse” in Grandpa’s old salt cedar where his last jockey’s saddle hung).” Or, “That Carrie! She thinks she’s such a much! Prancin’ that bustle in the ole James movie! Why, I was COUSINS to the boys!” (It should be known that Grandmother Joslin was an extra in the Jesse James movie filmed in their hometown of Pineville, Missouri, and did indeed toss her bustle with the best of the ladies!)

      Those two lines alone sent me on decades-long searches to investigate and prove the alleged relationships, especially the Baron von Hempleman line. For Grandmother pronounced the surname as she had heard it pronounced, undoubtedly by her father Lew Wallace Alexander, and it bore little resemblance to the proper spelling given herein. It sounded more like Hoppelman or Hauptman or something similar but research into those names came to dead ends. It was not until I found a cache of records kept by Grandmother that included some birth, death and marriage certificates that I began to branch out and research the line of her father. As I searched further and further back beyond even the Revolutionary War, I came upon the Baron von Hempleman name finally along with a romantic story that one day I will attempt to relate here. For George and Adam Hempleman, brothers of the Baron, sailed to America before the Revolutionary War, along with Marguerite Duffy. Marguerite was a commoner and Baron von Hempleman apparently was indisposed to permit his son, George, to wed her. Thus, the brothers gave up their titles and lands and came as indentured servants to America. The three were separated upon arrival as each traveled to their place of service. The brothers would both fight for America’s Independence and not see one another again until late in life.

      The Jesse James movie line from Grandmother Nora Alexander Carroll King gave me fits. Then, one late night of research in Phoenix bore fruit. I had located records documenting my great-grandmother Flutie Creek’s father and mother. Absolom Creek wed Martha Ann Wade in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. As I did further searches for Absolom I came upon the name of his father, Jacob Haudenscheldt Creek, who had wed Virginia Lee Younger. As I sleepily continued my research, all of a sudden my tired brain began to fire off little peals of hints: Liberty…Clay County…Younger…what does that mean? Oh, my! Could it be? The Youngers of Clay County infamy? Well, yes it could be and was. Turns out my father’s side of the family had some fascinating tales to tell as well.

      More recently, the Moucks and the Muskrats of Grandma Joslin’s litany came to mind. My wonderful uncle Dr. Edgar H. Burks, Jr. is a spry, alert, humorous, 94-year-old who has led an exciting life. He and my aunt, Linnie Jane Joslin Burks were missionaries to Nigeria, Africa, for many years before retiring to Springfield, Missouri. A few years ago, Aunt Linnie Jane went to her Heavenly rewards. At her funeral were many family members and friends, including the Moucks and the Muskrats. Uncle Edgar’s mother was Mary Louisa Mouck and her younger sister, Elva May Mouck wed Jacob “Jake” Claude Muskrat of the Cherokee tribe. The Mouck sisters were raised in the Indian Territory before it was admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma on November 16, 1907.

      This year I finally decided to see exactly how the Muskrat Cherokees fit into our tree. In the course of documenting their family history, I found one extremely wonderful Cherokee woman, Ruth Margaret Muskrat Bronson. Her life’s story is one worthy of an entire column devoted to her achievements, alone. Additionally, I found some of those coincidental occurrences that make genealogical research so intriguing. The threads of those stories weave a fine tale that stretches from the wilds of old Virginia in the early 1700s to the fight for Independence in the State of Texas, from the shores of the Tennessee rivers to the land of the Red Man, Oklahoma. That will be a fine fabric to present in a later column, as well.

      One discovers as the trek into the past proceeds, the paths of our ancestors are diverse and filled with exciting adventures, mundane records of everyday events, and some rare finds which are increasingly within reach as the Internet spurs a greater library of original documents available to the inquisitive genealogist. In the months to come, I hope to prepare columns featuring some of these colorful, romantic, infamous or courageous ancestors. Those whose stories warrant further exploration and may bring a smile to the face of the reader.

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Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky

Money, Money, Money

Here is something I might not have talked about much. It is a technique you can use to acquire material things. You think, “I want a pair of shoes.” This is not an ordinary pair of shoes that you can get pretty much anywhere. No, these are special shoes. Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that these shoes cost $500. You have never purchased a pair of shoes that cost that much. Your entire clothes budget for a year doesn’t even reach $500. Why I ask you, are you set on buying a $500 pair of shoes?

It doesn’t matter what I think, and it doesn’t matter why you want such an expensive pair of shoes. What I think just does not matter here. It matters what you think. You want them. Get them. You say you don’t have $500 lying around for a pair of shoes?

Okay, then you will save for them. Like everybody else does who wants a $500 pair of shoes. Except there is a trick here that you might not have tried before.

There is something called the Laws of Manifestation. I haven’t delved all that much into this lately, being as how I pretty much have everything I need. But there was a time when I coveted high-priced things. Actually, now that I think about it, I could do with a new $1,700 four-harness weaving loom. I think that would be nice to have. I could do with a cleaning lady coming to my house every couple of weeks. Right now? I can’t afford that. Now that I think about it, I’d like a podcast and video setup for my home study. So, I suppose I could concentrate on those things and then get back to you in six months to see how I’ve done.

What you want to do is operate from a place of abundance and not scarcity. We get hit every day with advertising that plucks away at our sense of neediness and scarcity. What? You aren’t wearing the latest whatever? For shame. You need to buy this jumpsuit or whatever it is to be as good-looking, as healthy or as successful as the model is. Advertising can sometimes feel insidious. Why not turn it to your own advantage?

Here’s what you do. You picture, in your mind’s eye, you wearing these shoes. You picture yourself walking into a museum wearing them. You picture yourself at some fancy restaurant wearing them. You feel elegant wearing these shoes. Your feet feel like you are walking on a cloud these shoes are so comfortable. There is a reason why many car commercials do not have people sitting in the driver’s seat. It’s so you can imagine yourself sitting behind the wheel of that particular model of car.

You print out a picture of these shoes and put it where you will be seeing it often during the course of the day. You put a picture in your office cubicle. You put one of the pictures beside your bed and look at it every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. What you are doing is raising your vibrations in regard to this very expensive pair of shoes. You are also doing what advertisements do. You are exposing yourself to multiple instances during the course of each day where you have this pair of shoes in your awareness.

What starts next is you might start seeing people wearing these shoes. Folks on the sidewalk or in the grocery stores. You see these shoes on the feet of movie stars and famous singers. The same thing happens when you buy a new car. Suddenly you start seeing everybody and their uncle driving the same make and model, even the same color of car as the one you just bought. You are really tuned into this new car you bought. You start seeing it everywhere.

With the shoes that you want, you even go to the store and try on a pair. You walk around the shoe store wearing this pair of shoes you would give your eyeteeth to own. You know what it feels like to wear these shoes. Take them for a test drive around the shoe store.

Then, you relax. You let go of all this wanting and desiring. You just relax about it and let it all go.

You’ve put your cosmic order in. Now, let the magic begin.

What will happen next is that you will become aware of opportunities everywhere that will support your desire to own a pair of these fabulous shoes. The first thing that occurs to you is that you need to start building up a fund to buy these shoes. How? Out of every paycheck, you set aside $10 in an envelope. Record the date and the amount of money you put into the envelope. Keep a running total on the envelope.

The next time you get paid, put another $10 in the envelope. Do this for a couple of months. Do you miss that $10 every paycheck? Nope. So, start putting $15 into the envelope. Do this every time you get paid. Don’t forget. Do this $15 contribution to the shoe fund for another couple of months. By now, you’ve got $100 in that envelope. You are not missing the money, and you are saving up for the shoes you want. No money comes out of the envelope. It only goes in.

One of the things we did at one of my husband’s jobs, where he had direct deposit, was to split the paycheck up. We funneled part into a savings account, and the rest went into our household checking account. Over the years, we found that nest egg in the savings account very helpful.

While saving up for your shoes, go back to the shoe store and try the shoes on again. Ask the folks in the store if they have any part-time work available. You can come in on the weekends and in the evenings. It’s not a permanent thing. You’re just going to get a side gig to earn money for your shoes. You think of them as yours now. Right? Who knows, you might even get a discount on purchases from the store.

It’s like magic. Within a couple more months, you’ve probably gotten enough money to pay for these shoes. Also, you are working like a fiend, but you’re also getting used to it. It’s not for the rest of your life. People can get accustomed to working long hours. I have. My husband has. I know you will too.

Who knows? You might like working in the shoe store and staying there long enough to start getting promoted. Plus, you can accumulate a remarkable collection of shoes.

What if it isn’t shoes that you want?

I wanted a piano. I picked out the piano I wanted. It was a Roland electric piano. I didn’t know how to play the piano. I just wanted one. I read a book called, “Creating Money” by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. I told my husband I wanted to buy the book. He turned around and plucked it off the bookshelf behind us, and handed it to me. How fortuitous was that? He had purchased the book a few years back, started reading it, and then decided it was too Woo Woo for his tastes. There it sat until I was ready to read it.

So, I practiced the exercises. We did not have the $1,000 the piano cost at that time. I thought about this piano all the time. I wanted it. Six months later, my husband was driving through Oakland and saw a sales sign at the Sherman Clay piano store. He went in and purchased a used student’s piano for me.

This stuff works.

Interestingly, the folks who wrote, “Creating Money” also wrote the book I used when I learned to channel. It is called, “Opening to Channel”.

Abraham Hix is a spirit guide who talks about the laws of manifestation. His channel is Ester Hicks. She and her husband gave Abraham their last name as an inside joke. It would be like me calling my guide Seth Evanosky. If you look on the internet Ester and her husband Jerry published a boatload of books. There are tons of YouTube recordings out there. I have a couple of friends who adore Abraham and Ester. Jerry is no longer in the picture, as he passed a few years ago.

My experience with wanting things up until I read, “Creating Money” was with the wanting end of things. There was much-undirected frustration and a whole lot of angst involved that never went anywhere. I believe now I had toxic ideas about money itself. There was never a hint of happiness or peace and calm involved. It was like this never-ending tension that was both toxic and unnerving. So, the correct way to do this was to do the wanting part of it for a while and then let go. Letting go was the magic part of the equation.

This manifestation of material goods was something I learned about as I was first learning about the Woo Woo side of life. It might help to pay for that new car or vacation you’d like to take.

This experiment of manifesting might even convince you that you have easy access to your own Woo Woo side of life. Thanks for reading. Keep safe. Honor yourself and others.


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Encore: Cookin' With Leo


By Leocthasme

Making Good Irish Cream

Even if my Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother taught me how to make all sort of things, whether alcoholic or not, she never knew anything about good Irish drinks or drinking, but then she ain’t Irish. Italians make good wine, but they don’t know doodly squat about good Irish drinkin’ stuff. My fore bearers from Paddy on knew very well how to make a batch of Irish Cream for their morning waker/upper. But then in those days they had to drink what they made on the spot because they had no such things like egg beaters or condensed milk so they had to drink what they made as soon as they made it. Not much refrigeration in those days so eggs and fresh cream would only last maybe a day or two in some cool cave. Paddy’s pal Hennessey knew all about corn and barley squeezin’ and when he and Paddy had their morning coffee it was easy to keep the snakes out of Ireland.

Now I know you can go out to the Liquor Store and buy some Bailey’s, but then as good as it is, it is just not got the kick as some good home brewed Irish Cream. So here is a great recipe to make some very good

Irish Cream

No substitutions here at all, except the choice of Whiskey you may want to use.

Here is what you need:

    6 oz ®Egg Beaters
    12 oz ®Rich’s Coffee Rich
    1 regular size can ®Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
    3 tablespoons ®Hershey’s Liquid Chocolate
    1½ cups Blended Whiskey, your choice, but at least over 80 proof, 86 proof is fine, but 90 proof you may like even better. The best I made was with ®Wild Turkey 101.

Here is how to mix it:

In a mixing bowl combine the egg beaters and the coffee rich, you can use a mixer but use slow speed. While combining these add the Eagle Brand milk slowly and mix well. Use some of the mixed liquid to clean out the condensed milk can. Add the chocolate and combine all the ingredients well. You can store this mix in the frig for several days, when you are ready to drink it add the blended whiskey and stir in gently and mix well. This will make one quart or better of Good Irish Cream.

An’ tha’ Top o’tha’ Marnin’ To Ya!

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Living in Minnesota

In a joking way, I say that I am serving my second sentence in Minnesota. To explain: I first moved to Minnesota in 1966 when my husband got a job with the U.S. Public Health Service and found that I had to make a number of adjustments in my life. First of all the social change is huge. Famed “Minnesota Nice” is more like the description of the Platte River by Pioneers -

“A mile wide and an inch deep.” A Minnesotan is very friendly on the surface, but there is another saying I have learned: He will tell you how to get anywhere but the way to his home.”

Other conundrums involved learning to cope with the long winters. It was a year of epic snowstorms. The University of Minnesota closed for the first time in its history due to weather.

We had few adequately warm clothes and were poor as church mice, so I learned to knit hats, scarves, mittens, and sweaters as soon as possible by reading directions in a magazine. I was in grad school studying for a Master’s in Public Health degree made possible by a scholarship. Classes were held on both sides of the Mississippi, meaning I had to walk across an open bridge with frigid winds blowing down the valley. The only thing that made it survivable was a ratty old fur coat that I inherited from my husband’s grandmother. It was ragged, but it was warm. I had no car, so I traveled by bus to and from campus with my three-year-old son, Ben. He attended a nursery school near the campus while I attended classes I would stuff him into a nearby phone booth to shelter him a bit while we waited for the bus to come.

For the next seven years, I worked at General Mills. The company recognized that employees sometimes needed help with transportation so they provided electric hookups at each parking space so we could plug in a device called a “head bolt heater”. I still have no idea what a “head bolt” is, I was only interested in knowing that my car would start in sub-zero weather. When I visited Missouri, people would ask me why I had a short electric cord hanging over my front bumper. One bitter cold day, my ears were frostbitten in the short time it took to walk to my car. I learned to not wear earrings on cold days.

After leaving General Mills, I worked at the University of Minnesota for another 4 years before returning to Pineville to go back to attend the University of Arkansas to earn a Ph.D. in Food Science. I found it much more difficult to drive in winter weather commuting to classes in Fayetteville than in Minneapolis because there was little equipment to handle snow or ice. The prevailing thought was “God put it there, God will take it away.” One memorable morning while driving on black ice, I slid into ditches three times when I stopped the car. Finally getting to the campus unscathed I parked, and the car was later hit by another driver in what I thought was a safe place.

I never planned to return to Minnesota, but fate had other ideas. In the spring of 2011, we lost our home to a flash flood on Big Sugar Creek. In the next few weeks, nearby Joplin was blown away by an F5 tornado and my husband nearly died from a gushing ulcer. While we were distracted by his illness, a second flood destroyed many of the items we had “rescued” and thought were safe. My son and daughter-in-law found a house for us to rent in Minnesota and it was the best option, so I began my second sentence in Minnesota and will remain here until the end of my days. This time I am better prepared for living in cold weather: Instead of a single garage at the end of a long driveway behind the house, there is an attached double garage and I have warm clothes. No shoveling huge piles of snow, there is a nice company that does it for me.

Here are a couple of photos of the big storm in February 2023: The street scene was taken at 1 a.m. I was amazed at how much light was reflected by the snow.

The view from my office was taken through a screen as I wasn’t about to let in the sub-zero weather.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

The Sage Of Millville

On a moonless night a car was traveling down a long winding dirt road, “will this dirt road ever end,” the driver thought to herself. Her headlights dimmed by dry mud.

It was in the early morning hours that she placed the few belongings she had into her car. She drove off leaving her home behind. She stopped several times for gas, for some food, and to relieve herself. Sixteen hours later she was still driving with no particular destination in mind, “I just need to get away from him he’s a low life, good for nothing, S.O.B,” she said to herself out loud.

She made several turns but she was clueless as to where she was or how she got on that endless dirt road. She didn’t particularly care where the road was leading her, as long as it took her far from where she was in life.

Her man or lack there of would describe himself as having a slight drinking problem. He would start drinking early in the morning and by evening he would be crashed out on the couch. When drunk, he is verbally abusive, extremely condescending, and just down right nasty. He can not hold down a job due to his alcoholism but yet he finagled his way into receiving government disability checks. She had enough of her now former boyfriend’s uncontrollable rants and drunken stupors. She had everything she needed in her car and she was now through with him.

He, on the other hand, was leaving numerous voicemail messages on her cell phone, cursing her for not being home to cook him something to eat. She ignored the ringing of her cell phone as she drove.

She can remember one particular Doctor’s appointment that her low life man kept in order to be approved for disability,

“Do you have a drinking problem?” asked the Doctor.

“Oh yes, Doc, do I ever have a drinking problem,” he said with a concerned look on his face, “my hand shakes so bad at times that I spill my beer when I try to drink it.”

“Well I think the shaking in your limbs is a result of the amount of alcohol you’re consuming, throughout your day. You should consider signing into a rehab clinic, to dry yourself out.”

“Is that required to be approved for disability?” he asked the Doctor.

“No, but it may enhance the quality of your life.”

“Well, Ralph,” she said out loud with her hands clenched to the steering wheel, “you may be collecting government disability checks, but you have no quality time added to your life, you low life drunk,” her mind and thoughts raising with anger as she continued driving down that long, winding, dusty road.

She is now hopeful though, with steering wheel in hand, that the quality of her life will be enhanced, far away from her former boyfriend as possible.

It happened quickly, due to her headlights being covered by dry mud. She barely saw the outline of the man that caused her to slam on the brakes. The car skidded; her vehicle then struck a pedestrian walking on the side of the road.

“Oh my God,” she yelled looking down at him lying there, “are you alright?”

“Ahhghh, my leg,” he said with his face grimacing from the pain.

“Jesus, I need to get you to a hospital,” she said, “is there one around here?”

“Thirty minute drive from here,” he told her trying to fight the pain in her car, “do you do this often?”

“You mean take people to the hospital? Well…….”

“No, run people over,” he said in a sarcastic tone of voice.

“Well look here,” she fired back at him, “first of all you were walking down a dirt road, in dark clothes, in the middle of the night. It’s not my fault you walked out in front of my car.”

“You ran me over,” he said trying to remain calm with the pain visibly on his face.

“Now look here !!!!' she yelled, 'I could of let you lay there on the side of the road but I didn’t.”

“I don’t have any Insurance for a hospital.”

“Well, I will check and see how much damage you did to my car. Then you can claim the hospital bill against my auto Insurance.”

“How much damage I did to your car? You ran me over…….”

“Your leg is fractured” said the Doctor in the hospital emergency room, “it’s not displaced but you will need a cast on it for about three weeks.”

“Well at least it is nothing really serious,” She said to him.

“How did it happen?” the Doctor asked.

“She ran over me with her car.”

“Now look here…….” she fired back, “you are the one that walked out in front of my vehicle.”

“Domestic dispute,” the Doctor mumbled to himself as he wrote something down on a medical chart, “I am going to write you a prescription for your pain. The cast will have to come off in three weeks.”

When she was driving him home,

“How many miles do you have on this thing,” he asked her.

“Two hundred and fifty three thousand,' she said, 'two hundred and ninety two, and three tenths of a mile,” she rattled off in an exact tone of voice, “don’t even think about suing me because everything I have is in this car.”

“Where were you headed?” he asked her, “not too many cars travel to Millville or on this dirt road since the closing of the mill.”

"I needed to get away from, Ralph; he’s nothing but a real A-hole.”

“Did you run him over too?”

“No, but I sure felt like it,” she said.

“Who is he your husband?”

“No, not my husband and I never ran him over,” she repeated, “Boy, I sure as hell felt like it though, many times. He is nothing but a drunken loser. We never got married we just lived together for three years. He is the biggest mistake of my life.”

“Any kids?”

“I wanted kids, he didn’t, but I am glade we never had any because he would have been an abusive father towards them.”

“So where were you headed?” he asked.

“Nowhere in particular, this morning I packed up everything I own got in my car and drove off. I couldn’t deal with that drunken slob forcing himself on me again.”

“And you wound up here on this dirt road in the outskirts of Millville?” he said slightly perturbed.

When they arrived at his home she helped him out of the car and into his living room, “is there someone here that can help you,” she asked.

“I live alone; I have been here alone for a long time,” he told her. He was in pain from his broken leg but he became more concerned for her. In his mind, she seemed a bit scattered, like a broken child without direction.

“She was abused,” he thought to himself, as she helped him over to a chare, “abused by a person who put his own needs first. Her needs were of less importance in the hands of her abusive boyfriend,”

He watched her move through the room like a curious child, “a loser and an abuser, is not what she needs in life,” he thought, “I will help her get back on her feet.”

She moved a foot stool over to his chare and gently lifted his broken leg and placed it on the stool. “If you want,” he said, “you can stay here until you get an idea of where you want to go.”

“Thank you but I feel that I would just bother you,” she said, “but, I hate to picture you here all alone with a broken leg in a cast.”

“Is that a yes I will stay or a no I am hitting the road?”

She paused for a moment and then slowly said, “I really don’t have anyplace to go and I am partially at fault for your leg. I can stick around until your leg is better.”

It didn’t take her long to settle in, “I just realized something I never got your name.”

“Mark,” came the reply, “I gave all my personal information to the Emergency room nurse at the hospital don’t you remember?”

“I am terrible with names. I am much better with faces then names. By the way my name is Linda.”

“Well make yourself comfortable here, Linda,”

“There is something childlike about her,” he thought, “she is very open and trusting. She is to trusting perhaps; maybe that is why she got caught up in an abusive relationship with her Ex - Ralph.”

“This is more of a cabin then a house,” she said, as she began to look around.

“It is quite comfortable here and quiet,” he said to her.

She noticed beautiful woodcarvings on the fireplace mantle of various small animals and of a little girl, “they are quite beautiful,” she said referring to the carvings, “where did you get them?”

“I made them; I use the wood from the old abandoned Mill. That is where I was headed; I was going to the Mill when you hit me with your car. I used to work at the Mill before it closed. I now sell my woodcarvings at various craft shows a few times a year. People also mail orders to me of what they want me to carve for them. I will never get rich doing it but it gives me enough to live on.”

“At least you are doing what you enjoy doing,” she said as she admired the intricate details in the wood of a Bald Eagle. She then picked up a woodcarving of a little girl in a dress, “who is this little girl?”

“She is my daughter.”

“Where is she now?” she asked.

“She is with the angels, and at times here with me.”

“With the angels? you mean she died?”

“She went to visit the angels,” he said once again, “ten years ago, she accidentally drowned in the lake out back,” as he pointed in the direction of the near by lake he said with tears in his eyes, “she was only six years old.”

“Where was her mother?”

“Like your Ralph, my wife also liked to drink, but her choice and preference was vodka. After our daughter died, my wife’s mind deteriorated, and she was institutionalized in a state psychiatric hospital. I heard from the hospital a few years ago that she is living in a group home for the mentally ill.”

“I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child,” she thought as she listened to his story.

“I feel my daughter with me though and I made that woodcarving of her from memory. Sometimes when it is very peaceful and quiet here. I could see her standing and looking at some of the small baby animals, outside the cabin. She then looks over at me with a large happy smile.”

“I believe she is still with you here because she loves her father.”

They slept in the same bed that night but Linda seemed restless and she snuggled up to him in a somewhat childlike way. She trusted him and thought about the pain he must have endured from the loss of his daughter. She thought about what he must have gone through caring for his alcoholic wife.

The next morning as Linda was making a large pot of Coffee on a wood burning stove, she looked out of the cabin window. She saw a large beautiful bald eagle standing on the banister on the cabin’s front porch. She quickly woke Mark up to tell him about the beautiful Eagle. “That is Liberty,” he mumbled as he awoke from a deep sleep.

She helped him into the kitchen and he took some bread out of a cabinet. “I raised that Eagle when she was just a young hatchling. Her mother was killed by a hunter, when ‘Liberty’ was still in her egg,” he said. “When her egg hatched, I had to feed her from an eye dropper every twenty minutes. Now, she comes by every morning to see me and I give her some bread.”

Linda helped him out to the front porch and he held out the bread in his hand. The large female Eagle with its powerful beak, took the bread out of his hand. It then raised its wings, turned, and flew high into the air. She circled the cabin high in the sky with great majestic beauty.

With Linda’s help he went back into the kitchen and he drank a few cups of coffee with her. “He is such a sweet sensitive guy,” she thought to herself.

That afternoon he made a pair of crutches for himself out of wood, with Linda admiring his handiwork.

That same afternoon Liberty returned with a large fish and dropped it on the front porch, “Well, it is not much but that is our lunch,” he said.

“That is so cool,” she said to him, “she does that everyday.”

“Yes,” came the reply, “I don’t eat meat but fish I eat. Somehow Liberty knows I like fish and she brings me one everyday.”

“Eagles must be really smart,” she said.

“She is very smart, and very strong. She can hear and see things from extremely far distances.”

“Its better then having a watch dog,” she said.

“Well, I never seen her attack anyone.”

“I suppose she could if she had too,” she said with curiosity and excitement in her voice.

Over the next few days Linda became more and more fascinated by what she witnessed through the kitchen window. She watched various animals around the cabin walk up to Mark and he would pet them. “They just run away when they see me” she thought, “he is such a gentle soul.”

They began to trust one another with deeper intimacy. She wasn’t used to being with a man that showed compassion and a deep caring warmth towards her. She didn’t know how to accept it at first. She opened up to him and he listened, completely listened, he was completely there for her.

The relationships she had in the past were mostly fueled by a sexual attraction but they were lustful passions that slowly fizzled out. Those short lived relationships were built on superficial foundations; they were shallow, with no substance. A person like Mark never entered her life before he accentuated all that is positive within her.

One evening as they lay in bed, she explained in greater detail, what she lived with and endured, at the hands of her former boyfriend. “I can never return to that relationship,” she said with tears in her eyes, “I would rather die then go back to him.”

“You can stay here for as long as you like,” he said.

She was slowly putting her past behind her and she was accepting the fact that this was now a new beginning for her. The cast eventually came off Mark’s leg and she remained with him.

The simple life that Mark is living was a bit difficult for Linda to adjust to. He has no indoor pluming or electricity. He has a ‘Well’ for water but before he could use the water, for washing, cooking, or drinking, he has to boil it. The boiling of the water kills off any contaminates that could make them sick. They cook on a wood burning stove and they have a makeshift fireplace for heat. Next to the cabin is an outhouse and for Linda it has an unpleasant order. But for Mark that is the life he chose to live. The food they eat always has to be fresh because they have no way of refrigerating or freezing food.

Linda has no way of charging her cell phone battery so she is unable to use her phone. She was unaware of the numerous rants of voicemail messages that Ralph was leaving for her. Her cell phone was eventually turned off for lack of payment.

Linda often made comments about how Mark is a leftover from a different century. But then she realizes he could never afford the modern conveniences due to his meager income from the woodcarvings.

He once said to her, “when fools strive for the possessions they do not have - but wish to gain. The wise are developing what they already posses within themselves.”

When she would complain about their meager lifestyle, he would tell her, “what we have, is all we need, Linda.”

The little money that is generated from his artistic talent is used for purchasing hygiene supplies and various spices for cooking. The store they shop at is three miles from their cabin. Other then going to the store for purchases, they are isolated from the rest of the world. She stayed with him though because she sees a gentleness in him, a kind, and caring soul.

In the short time she was with him she never saw him frustrated or angry. She also never saw such concentration in a person especially when he is creating a woodcarving with intricate details. He would carve for hours without taking a break, to eat, drink, or sleep.

She is also continuously fascinated by Mark’s relationship with the animals near the cabin. How they walk over to him without fear. The birds do not fly away when he goes near them. Baby dear eat food out of his hand. She is also a bit amused with the thought of a large female Bald Eagle watching out for him. “He is different from other people,” she would continuously say to herself as she learns more about him.

He also understands her better then other people. Most importantly he helped her gain a deeper understanding of herself. He brought out an inner strength in her. She was beginning to realize why she chose to live with the abusive men in her past. She learned that she had a low opinion of herself.

She felt she needed a man for security but now she understands it is a false security. The life she is living now is by choice not by an insecure need. The security in her life now rests on a strong foundation of mutual trust, understanding, and love.

She is also learning to put the past behind her and to move on with her life. She enjoys Mark’s company, his sensitive demeanor, but most importantly she wants to stay with him for the rest of her life.

He also enjoys Linda’s company, he enjoys their closeness, and their intimate moments together. In a short time they learned a great deal about each other and the paths in life that brought them together.

One morning as Linda sat in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee. She saw a little girl running near the cabin playing with a baby deer. She heard the little girl’s excited laughter.

The baby deer seemed to take the little girl’s lead by chasing after her. When Linda went outside she continued to hear the little girl’s laugh. She went looking for her, down by the lake, but she was no where to be found.

When she told Mark about her,

“That’s Emily,” he said to her, “she has accepted you being around here.”

“Emily?” she asked.

“My daughter,” he said, “the one I told you about.”

“The one who died in the lake?” she asked in a slightly concerned voice.

“She likes you,” he said.

“The animals see her and play with her,” she asked in a confused tone of voice.

“She is very sweet and playful, she loves the animals,” he said.

“When you said she comes around, I didn’t know you meant she literally comes around,” she said with a shocked look on her face.

“There is nothing to be concerned about,” he said.

“That baby deer enjoys playing with her,” she said in a surprised voice.

“That deer was her pet. She really loved that deer,” he said, “she was devastated when a hunter shot her pet. She was crushed and cried for days. I think her coming around is her way of saying she is happy.”

“You mean that baby deer and your daughter are ghosts?” she asked in a surprised voice, “I heard of such stories about ghosts but I never thought they were true.”

“My daughter accepted the fact that you are here,” he said.

“How could that be your daughter?” she asked, “when you yourself said she died.”

“Well, I am not an expert on death,” he said, “I like to think of myself as being an apprentice in life.”

“She is really your daughter,” she said in a perplexed tone of voice.

“Emily is not a problem for us,” he said, “my former wife, on the other hand, can be more of a problem then Emily,” he said in a slightly concerned voice, “Agnes is very unstable and she would never accept you being here.”

“Should I be concerned about her?” she asked.

“She hasn’t been here in a very long time,” he said, “since she has been living in that group home.”

“How far is the group home from here?” she asked.

“A good three hours,” he said, “so I wouldn’t be that concerned about her.”

Unbeknownst to Mark and Linda, the former wife was planning a visit to the cabin in a stolen vehicle. Two weeks earlier Mark’s former wife, Agnes, stole a vehicle from a gas station. The purpose being, she was coming back home to Mark.

In her reality their daughter Emily was her traveling companion. She was delusional from being off her medication and in her mind her daughter was very much alive and Mark was still her husband.

In her delusional thinking, she was simply returning back home from being on vacation with Emily. She drove aimlessly but she talked to her daughter as if she was sitting in the passenger seat. She constantly told her, “Mommy and Daddy love you, and how happy Daddy will be to see us back home.”

She asked total strangers for money for gas and they normally complied to help her out. Agnes was living a delusional existence while Mark and Linda were enjoying their life together at their cabin.

One morning, Linda, saw the little girl running near the lake and she followed after her. Emily pointed to shrubs and once again Linda heard the little girl’s laughter. When Linda looked down at the shrubs she saw a large female deer licking its newborn. “How cute the little baby deer looks,” she said to herself.

The appearances of Emily shocked Linda at first because as quickly as she sees her and hears her excited laughter, she is gone.

“Is she physical?” she asked Mark, “or is she just an apparition? Can she physically be here with us?”

“I like to think, she is just visiting us,” he said to her as they walked through the woods together, “it has taken me many years to get over her death. Her visits might be her way of showing me that she is happy. It may have been my pain that kept her around and her coming around might be her way of trying to ease my pain.”

“I am not much into religion,” she said, “most of life to me is a mystery. I don’t really believe in miracles.”

“To me there are no miracles in life because life itself is a miracle,” he said, “look around and take a really close look at nature, it’s around you, and part of you. See the beauty of it all.'

Mark slowly walked Linda over to a tree limb and showed her a beautiful Butterfly delicately moving its wings, “We as living beings, are part of life’s miracle, and part of god’s beauty. You and I and all of nature make up the beauty within the magnificent face of god.”

“I never heard it put that way before. I always saw god as being far away from us at a place called Heaven.”

“To me god is intimately part of us,” he said as they continued their walk, “we are intimately part of god.”

He added, “the life of god is our sustenance, our essence; god is the life and the love that is within us.”

“What is death then?” she asked.

“Like I said, I am not an expert on death. I am merely an apprentice in life,” he said, “but I like to think of death as being part of the cycles of life. The cycles of life and death are part of god’s artistic symmetry. When we die we may rest for a bit, to assimilate the sum total of our experiences. I like to think that in time we return. We are reborn so that we can learn and grow with others. We gain greater self-awareness of ourselves and all of nature by living, growing, and sharing our lives with others. We are simply growing within god’s beauty and enjoying the gift of life.”

“So you believe in reincarnation?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said, “but not in a traditional sense but I do believe we are reborn. I like to think also that when we die we simply wake up to a higher awareness. It is like waking up from a dream. We simply have a greater awareness of life.”

“Death is like waking up to higher awareness,” she asked in a slightly confused tone of voice.

“We simply become more aware of life - when we die,” he said, “We become more aware of the life that we are living.”

“Like waking up from a dream?” she asked

“When we desire to sleep our dreams become our reality and we participate in our dreams. When we wake up from a dream we become fully aware that we were dreaming. Some of our dreams are good and some of our dreams are bad but we can learn more about ourselves from our dreams.”

“And then we return?” she asked.

“In time we desire to return, in order to delight in the game of life,” he said. “When you play well with others - in this game called life - others will want to play with you. We are simply learning and growing with others, like children, we learn by playing with others.”

“Do we meet the same people as before with each return,” she asked.

“People come into our lives for a reason. They come into our lives out of our soul’s desire, which is to love and to be loved,” he said, “We need others in our lives, not just for our physical sustenance, but because they help us learn more about ourselves.”

“So we met for a reason,” she said, “so my running you down with my car was no accident,” she said laughing.

“I would have preferred meeting you in a less dramatic way,” he said with humor in his voice.

“So what you are saying is we are reborn in order to learn more about ourselves so that we can grow and become more aware of our self,” she said.

“Yes,” came the reply, “we are reborn so that we can become more aware of our self in relation to others. In order to grow in self-awareness we have to fully live and participate in life with others.”

“Then when we die we analyze the events in our lives like we do with our dreams?” she asked.

“Yes, sort of like that,” he said, “I like to think of death as waking up, becoming more fully aware.”

“I was always told about a place called Heaven, where good people go, and Hell where bad people go, but what you’re telling me makes more sense,” she said.

“Yes, it makes more sense,” he said, “we learn a great deal more about ourselves from the life that we live with others. We are growing and evolving with others. With each return we will continue to evolve, physically, psychologically, socially and in greater self-awareness. We participate with others because we desire to be with those we love and to learn, and grow, in the game of life.”

“So then what is the purpose of life?” she asked.

"The purpose of life is to become more actualized,” he said, “to become more aware of all that there is.”

He began to show her the natural beauty of the forest as they continued to walk and talk, “our purpose in life” he said, “is to become more aware of god, life, and love. We are evolving, physically, socially, psychologically and in greater self-awareness with each return.”

“But why?” she asked, “what is the purpose?”

“We are helping nature move forward because we are part of nature,” he said. “We are also helping humanity move forward because we are part of humanity.”

“In what way do we help humanity?” she asked.

“We are helping humanity and nature move forward,” he said once again, “we are evolving, collectively, and on a more personal level. What we give to humanity and nature we give to ourselves.”

“I think I understand but it still does not answer the question as to why we exist,” she said.

“We must eventually come to a greater awareness of all there is,” he said.

“All there is?” she asked

“God,” he said. “God is the intimate essence of who we are and what we are becoming in life. I do believe god is the reason we exist because god is very much a part of us.”

“But you still haven’t answered the question, why?' she said, 'why do we exist, for what purpose?” she asked in a frustrated tone of voice.

“As we become more self-aware,” he said, “we come to a greater realization that the only thing we truly posses is life itself. Life is also all around us. Life is the expression of god's love.'

'That still doesn't answer my question,' she said.

'The life within us is the life of god trying to become more actualized in our very being,' he said. 'With each return we are trying to refine our expression of life. We are sharing the life of god and the purpose being. God communicates its presents through us because the life of god is an intimate part of us.'

'We are 'One' with God, is that what you are trying to say?' she asked.

'Yes,' he said, 'God’s life is within us it is becoming more actualized through us. As we evolve in life god becomes more known to us and we communicate the presents of god more fully.”

“So what you are saying then Death does not exist, there is only life?” she asked.

“Death is just a recycling process, its nature’s way of recycling itself,” he said.

“I was told evolution goes against god’s intelligent design and creation,” she said.

“The intelligent design of our own being,” he said, “is a reflection of the intelligent design within all of nature. Empirical evidence has revealed to us that there is an evolutionary order to all life which some Scientist’s believe is an intricate part of nature’s intelligent design. Today’s Scientist’s recognize intelligent patterns within nature. That is why we continue to rely on Science and continue to develop scientific methods to help us gain greater insights in understanding nature’s intelligent design.”

“So evolution is part of nature’s intelligent design?” she asked

“Yes,' he said, 'all we have to do is look at our humanity. We are pushing to better ourselves with each generation. It is within that desire for self improvement that we have evolved to where we are today and will continue to evolve, socially, physically, consciously, and spiritually, for countless generations. With each new generation humanity is gaining a deeper self-knowledge and becoming more self-aware of the essence of who we are as human beings. We are also very much a part of the evolutionary process of nature.”

“So we are evolving out of our own desire to better ourselves?” she asked

“Yes,” he said, “we are collectively pushing nature and humanity forward.”

“So life is all there is,” she said.

“The gift of life is all that we truly posses,” he said, “that is why the wise develop what they already posses within themselves.”

“You said before that we are becoming more actualized,” she said to him in a slow tone of voice, “by evolving to a greater expression of life, I think I understand what you meant.”

“The life of god that is within us,” he said, “is becoming more fully expressed through us as we push ourselves forward and evolve.'

'Are you saying that God is part of our evolution?' she asked.

'I think you understand what I am trying to say,' he said. 'The life of god is evolving through us as we push ourselves forward with each generation. The purpose of life is to evolve, to allow the life of god to fully express itself through us. The life of god that is within us is our sustenance, our essence, and god’s love.”

When they were walking back to the cabin he turned to her and said, “the wise understand that there is nothing we truly have but life itself and we determine our life’s worth.”

“How do you determine your life’s worth?” she asked.

“By what I give to others,” he said.

“And what do you give to others,” she asked.

“My woodcarvings are one way that I have chosen to reach out and connect with others,” he said, “one aspect of my life’s worth is through my artistic expression.'

“Your carvings are beautiful,' she said, 'absolutely beautiful.”

“My woodcarvings,” he said, “are my way of communicating and giving to others a part of my labor of love. What we give to others determines are life’s worth.”

“You are lucky that you found your nitch in life,” she said, “I suppose I haven’t found myself yet, but your certainty that there is only life brings me some comfort. My seeing Emily also brings me some comfort that we continue on in life.”

In time, Mark began to teach her a great deal more about nature and about the animals around the cabin. “They are much more sensitive then us,” he said, “they can pick up your vibrations, and your smell, but in time they will get used to you being around. The animals know me and they will get to know you as well.”

Their isolated world was about to be jolted by an unexpected visitor. From their kitchen window Linda was the first to see the dust rise from the dirt road. A vehicle pulled up close to the cabin. Linda heard the unfamiliar voice,

“Mark we are home.”

Upon hearing Agnes’s voice, the former husband felt a knot in his stomach as if someone without warning punched him in the gut. He quickly yelled “Linda,” who was standing in the kitchen, and urged her to quickly move to a back room in the cabin.

Liberty perched herself high on a large tree limb as if standing guard. She somehow felt the uneasiness in Mark.

Agnes walked up to the porch before Mark could brace the door closed with a chare. She yelled out, “Mark, sweetie are you home?” He ignored her but Agnes walked into the cabin and saw Mark and Linda in front of the Fireplace.

“Mark aren’t you glade to see us home?” she asked.

“What are you doing here?” he asked her with a concerned look on his face.

“I came home with Emily she missed her Daddy.”

“Whose vehicle are you driving?” he asked.

“Ours silly,” she said, “are you alright Mark?”

Linda nervously walked over to a metal poker that was leaned up against the fireplace.

“Give your Daddy a hug, Emily, he missed you,” Agnes said.

In her delusional mind, Emily’s death was erased from her memory. Her daughter was still very much part of her life and Mark was still very much her husband. Mark however was not concurring with his former wife’s reality.

Agnes looked at Linda with a fiery temper and with sheer hatred in her voice said, “who is she, Mark!!!!!!!”

“She is my friend, and you need to get back to the group home, Agnes,” he said to her in a calm voice so that she would not violently go off.

An eerie feeling came over Linda as she picked up the metal poker. She felt she may need it for protection. Agnes walked up to her and quickly pulled the poker out of her hand. She swung it like a baseball bat waking Linda across her arm. Linda cried out in pain and quickly ran out of the cabin.

“Run you little tramp,” Agnes yelled and ran after her. She whacked her again across her leg.

Linda once again cried out in pain and Agnes was about to strike her a third time. Liberty with outstretched wings flew around Agnes distracting her from continuing her assault on Linda. Liberty then grabbed the poker with her clawed feet and Agnes quickly let it go out of fear. She watched Liberty fly off with the poker.

She then quickly turned and began kicking Linda. Mark ran over to stop her but she quickly turned and began hitting Mark with her fests, “you’re a no good two timing cheating louse,” she yelled.

Liberty instantly flew down from her perch on a high tree limb and grabbed Agnes’s hair with her clawed feet. She pulled her forward causing her to fall to the ground.

Linda was in terrible pain. Mark helped her up and slowly walked her to her vehicle. He drove her to the hospital and called the police.

She not only had a broken leg but a broken arm as well and they were placed in casts in the hospital emergency room. The police followed them back to the cabin from the hospital.

When they arrived home Mark was first to notice Liberty standing guard from her perch high up in a near by tree.

Agnes was too scared to leave the cabin due to a large bird grabbing her hair and pulling her to the ground. The Police placed her under arrest and charged her with auto theft and the assault and battery of Linda. A judge involuntarily committed her to a psychiatric hospital, due to her being a threat to others. “She is to be remanded there until she is psychologically fit to stand trial,” the Judge said.

It was now Mark’s turn to care for Linda. He felt guilty and somehow responsible for what happened to her.

“I should have reacted faster and got to her in time, to stop her from hitting you,” he said to Linda.

“It wasn’t your fault; I shouldn’t have grabbed the poker in the first place. I am just glade Liberty was there to help out,” she said, “she sure is smart.”

The next morning with Mark’s help she held some bread out with her good arm. To her surprise Liberty flew down onto the porch banister and took the bread from her hand, “thank you for helping me,” she said to Liberty, “you are one great friend.”

Over time Linda’s leg and arm healed and she remained at the cabin with Mark. Her former boyfriend is unable to track her down but even if he could find her. She feels safe knowing that Liberty is close by watching over the cabin.

It was shortly before Linda discovered that she was pregnant. That Emily stopped appearing to them, “Emily, is much closer to us now,” Mark said gazing at his baby daughter’s face. As he held her in his arms he smiled.

He continues to make his woodcarvings and he added a few additions to his personal collection on the fireplace mantle. One addition is a carving of Linda and their baby girl in her arms. Another addition is Liberty standing on a tree limb looking down at Linda, Mark, and their precious baby girl.

Linda remembered that the last time she saw Emily she was pointing to a newborn baby deer, “perhaps it was her pet retuning,” she said to Mark.

She then walked out to the front porch. She held out her hand with bread in it to see if Liberty would take it without Mark being around. To her surprise Liberty flew down and took the bread from her hand. Liberty turned, with outstretched wings, she flew high circling their cabin. Linda then noticed a much smaller Bald Eagle in the sky remaining close to her.

She quickly called out to Mark so that he to could see the baby Eagle,

“It looks like Liberty is now a Mother too,” he said to her.

That afternoon Linda saw three fish lying on the porch. “I guess one fish is for me, one is for Mark, and the third fish is for our daughter,” she said out loud, “thank you, Liberty.”

Mark is a proud father and he increased the number of woodcarvings per week so that he could provide for the new addition to their family. Their lifestyle, perhaps simplistic to an extreme, especially, for our modern time, but their quality of life is rich and they are a happy family.

He is looking forward to the day his daughter can start school so that she can prepare herself for a brighter future. “She will learn, and grow,” he said, “she will learn much more then you and I will ever know.”

“Life is still a mystery to me Mark, but I suppose life is all we really have,” she said.

“Wherever there is life, Linda, there is love,” he said as he held his baby girl in his arms.

Always with love,
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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On Trek


What time is mine?

I lose it all the time.

Every day I give my time away,

Someone calls on the phone, I give them my time.

With the job, the boss gets it all, for pay.

My pets get a ton, the house, the yard, it never ends.

I want some time for ME, so I have to take it.

I have to steal it from something else and make it mine.

It is there for the taking, and giving, and sharing,

You can’t lose it, you can waste it so to speak.

Now imagine living where there is no time.

Does that mean it's all mine?


We give it we share it, and we keep some for us.

Time IS all ours in the end, as humans we choose to divide it.

As pure energy spirits, where there is no time,

Imagine, just imagine!!

Judith 2/18/23

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

Recommended Reading and Listening for Saint Patrick's Day

“The axe forgets what the tree remembers.” (African proverb.)

The Autograph Tree by William Henry was published just before the pandemic and because of lockdowns and the resulting chaos, it didn’t get the sort of media attention that such a work deserves. It is essentially a history of the Irish Literary Revival. The story is told through the biographical accounts of those who signed Lady Gregory's copper beech at Coole Park. Many of those signatories of the famous tree played major roles in the literary life of our country.

It was only when I saw the wonderful TV show, Lady Gregory: Ireland’s First Social Influencer, with that talented pair Miriam Margolyes and Lynn Ruane that I decided that The Autograph Tree was a must-read for me. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Lady Gregory was one of the driving forces behind Ireland’s Literary Revival. The big house at Coole Park hosted many of the greatest names in Irish literature and art. W. B. Yeats was a constant visitor, while the likes of George Bernard Shaw, J. M. Synge, Jack B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey, and Sara Allgood all spent time there. The most favoured of Lady Gregory’s visitors were invited to carve their initials on ‘the Autograph Tree’, which today is a living monument to this vibrant period in Ireland’s history. Willian Henry has given the reader concise put fact- packed biographies of the twenty-seven people, twelve of whom were born outside of Ireland, who left their mark on the copper beech (see pic) at Coole (and on the world of literature.) The Autograph Tree gives an insight into the lives, loves, and tragedies of the signatories, as well as into the social, political, and cultural events of their day.

The famous twenty seven are:

Augusta Persse, ‘Lady Gregory’, Robert Gregory, William Butler Yeats, Jack Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, Sara Allgood, Frank Fay, William George Fay, George William Russell, John Quinn, Augustus John, James Dickson Innes, George Bernard Shaw, Lennox Robinson, Sean O’Casey, George Moore, Douglas Hyde, Violet Florence Martin, ‘Martin Ross’ 182 Lady Margaret Sackville, Countess of Cromartie, John Masefield, Robert Ross, Elinor Monsell, Dame Ethel Smyth, Theodore Spicer-Simson, General Sir Ian Hamilton, and General Sir Neville Lyttelton.

Dr. William Henry is a native of Galway City. He is an out-and-out Galway man who grew up with an astonishing love of his own place. He has an unquenchable appetite for history and culture. A prominent historian and author, he is a graduate of University College Galway (NUIG). He studied archaeology and was involved in several important finds and is a member of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. He is the author of several books all researched to the nth degree and The Autograph Tree is no exception. Mark Pattison’s claim that “Research is always incomplete,” certainly doesn’t apply to William Henry. From John Quinn’s affair with Lady Gregory to J.M Synge seeking, “The Creator in places where his family would not have cared to look,” it’s all there. He also works for Mercier Press in Cork, which is one of the leading publishers in Ireland, and is the publisher of this book which is a treasure and not to be missed.

* * * * *


From Kilmore in Wexford originally, John Kinsella started singing with his brother in the early 60s. They sang mostly Clancy Brothers songs at that time and had several appearances on Telefis Eireann.

He played in a band with his family (The Kinsellas) and they performed twice at The Royal Albert Hali and on a children's programme called Seoirse Agus Bartley and on programmes with Seamus Ennis and Shay Healy's Ballad Sheet l in the early seventies and released an album that included the first recording of Slaney Valley.

John moved to Kerry in 1980 and took a break from performing for a number of years. And being in the culture capital of Ireland how would he escape writing?

( The late John B. Keane once said, “ It’s easier to write in Listowel than not to write.” ) John told me, “ In 2010 I started to write my own songs and have won the Sean McCarthy Ballad Competition in Finuge twice. These days I am singing and playing accordion with Listowel Folk Group and a group called The Japanese Knotweeds.”

His latest CD is titled “Goodbye to the Maharees”, which is the title of one of his winning songs at the prestigious Sean McCarthy Ballad Competition. Singer/songwriter John is now part of the vast pool of talent which is Listowel. It could be said that “He came on to his own.”

In the emotion-filled- songs such as the title track Goodbye to the Maharees and The Slopes of my Own Cnoc An Oir John pays tribute to the colourful place names of his adopted county. He accompanies himself on Guitar, Piano Accordion, and Harmonica. He is also ably assisted by Andrew Doyle on Acoustic Guitar and Banjo and Brendan O’ Conor on Piano, Keyboards, and Whistles.

If you’re from Kerry or Wexford or anywhere in between this is the album for you.

Details from;

See you in April

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A Mother's Lessons


By Danielle Cote Serar

This last month we took our babies to Disneyland. If I’m being fully honest, it was just as much my gift as it was theirs because it will forever and always be my happy place and where some of my best and hardest memories are. With a four-year-old and a 20-month-old, every amazing and joyful thing happened along with the “oh no!” moments included. The moments of my son having a full-on meltdown on The Storybook Canal boats where I had no escape, him chucking his little sneaker into the water, and quite a few more were tempered by the smiles and laughs at seeing Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy and all our favorite characters, the squeals of delight on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and moments of peaceful meals and cocktails for mom and dad.

It was our son’s first trip, our daughter’s second (well third if you count when I was just pregnant with her), and I can’t even begin to count the times visiting. It was my escape from reality when I lived in So Cal. My mom and I would often play hooky and go for the day until we got tired or the park got busy. So many mundane days turned into magic just by us being kids at heart. But it has left me with so many ghosts. I see Eeyore and my heart aches because he was her favorite. We dine at Carthay Circle and I look for her favorites. We ride on Soaring of The World and I vividly remembered how my very much afraid of flying mother relished flying over California when we went. So many ghosts.

Before she passed, my husband and I had talked about moving back to my home in NC. Being her only child and wanting to be a part of her grandchildren’s lives, she always intended to follow where we moved. But she confided in me once she hoped we’d not decide on NC because it carried too many ghosts for her. Our past had been complicated and challenging there. I understood that more than any because I had lived it with her. But I had visited a few times since we had moved and it had changed. She shared that it was almost worse because the ghosts were still there but everything would be foreign. She was afraid the ghosts would be too strong.

I never fully understood what she meant until I lost her and visited Disneyland for the first time after she passed. Her ghost was everywhere, no place untouched in either park. But the one thing about Disney, it’s never stagnant and is constantly evolving. It hurt more to see something we loved no longer exist but the memory, the ghost of it still burned hard in my heart and in my mind. When we took my daughter just before the Covid shutdown, I thought she was once again right. The ghosts of what we had experienced were strong but the ghosts of our dreams of taking her together were stronger still.

But I realized something after this last trip… the ghosts don’t have to be heavy. No, I will never not have them. I will forever visit Disneyland and think of my mother. But as I watched my daughter this time as we both rode Soaring Over the World, watched her delight and got to share her grandmother with her, that I could remove the chains that the ghosts carried, and lighten the load I felt. As I watched my son's delight at the same characters she loved, I could once again take joy in seeing them. As I watched both their intensity on Astroblasters and their wonder on It's A Small World, I realized her ghosts were just the foreshadowing of what it would be with my own babies.

Disneyland won’t be the same. But I can make new memories and in doing so I can honor our memories, and our dreams and I can use them to help my babies know her.

Below are photos of one of the trips with my mom and our recent trip.

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Noralee's Story

 By Mary E. Adair

Noralee Edith (Carroll)Crowson was the second child of John (Jack) Edward Carroll and his wife Lena May (second legal name of Carolyn Ethel Joslin, a whole other tale) among three sisters. A natural blond with curls and the golden complexion to match--she resembled her mother's sister Linnie Jane in stature and cheerful personality.

She was a good student, a great Frenchhorn-playing MHS band member, who was one of the Jr High Band majorettes. During the end of summer before she was to be a freshman, she declined that position because when she began practicing her twirling, she was having difficulty with the baton. We didn't know it then but this was her beginning symptoms of Myatonia Dystrophy, a Muscular Dystrophy variance that starts by affecting one's digits.

She was popular and preferred chumming with her group of friends rather than dating until as a Junior she met her only husband-to-be, Johnny Robert Crowson, and wed him on August 16, 1953, before she was 17 in December. They had a son Johnny Edward born July 13, 1956, who died just 3 days shy of being four months old. Next year on December 30, they had Carroll Anne, an exceptionally bright and caring child who had internal birth defects and died March 30, 1963, in the Houston Children's Hospital during her third surgery to attempt to correct the kidney problems. The photo below is of Carroll Anne and my first husband Ray (Curly) Dwayne Nicholson.

Carroll Anne on Sweetheart, Curly's mare.

They had two more sons David Lee who was two when they lost Carroll Anne, and William Earl born August 17, 1964. Both boys inherited their mother's MD, and David passed after her death from complications of it on June 24, 2014.

Already a compassionate person, Noralee, partly through the loss of her children, the estrangement of her marriage, and her deteriorating health, was determined to find a way to help others. Therefore she continued her education, graduating from Dallas College. Although when she enrolled, she was already requiring a cane to walk, when her diploma was awarded she was wheelchair bound. However, she was able with the assistance of her brother-in-law Amos to walk across the stage to receive the Diploma to a standing ovation from all present, staff, and other grads.

She was used to work, having begun as a switchboard operator in Monahans shortly after her marriage, and several years later was also the switchboard operator at the then largest Dallas Hospital. So she wasn't going to let the wheelchair (she referred to herself as a "wheelie") keep her from using her degree to accomplish her goal of helping others. She became a volunteer at the Dallas County Library teaching the necessary requirements to become a USA citizen, including teaching the English language and sometimes using ASL to accomplish the task. Before being a "wheelie" while walking down one of the college halls using her cane, a mean-spirited person deliberately kicked her cane away from her. This led to both her sister Jacquie and herself taking self-defense lessons for disabled persons. She would advise others to take the course if they too used mobility aids.

She also did relationship counseling, continuing it even after she was confined to her hospital bed, and those requiring her advice came to her home. In fact, when she passed, the female Police Officer that answered the ER call along with an ambulance was one who had conferred with her and she remained consoling her sons and our mother who lived one street over with our sister Jacquie who was at work in Fort Worth when Nee passed. Because in the Dallas area, including Haltom City where she lived required unattended deaths to be attended and confirmed before being transported anywhere, the officer waited with the family some six hours before a Justice of Peace arrived. This was not required of her but done out of love and respect for Noralee. That is how she affected everyone she was around.

The first day of March is her Angel-versary, and this has been written through my love and grieving for her. We were so close in age that she always wanted to be "the oldest" and when she grew taller than me, she began calling herself my "big" sister. When we got home from a ballgame once, I fussed at her for telling a falsehood at which she declared "I didn't lie! I am taller and that is bigger!"

I miss you, Nee.

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Honey Dog Tales - 7


By Walt Perryman

Honey Dog Tales - Seven

By Honey Dog

To: All Canines on Earth.

Honey Dogs Last Farewell

Hello friends, A lot has happened since the last episode I wrote because I am writing this from Heaven. Yep, I got sick and had to come on up here. It is great up here.

First, I met a man by the name of St. Peter. He has a long beard just like some of the musicians in Luckenbach. He said I could wait here until my master dies and comes along.

Friends, they have real jerky up here, not that old “Taste like bacon imitation stuff I used to get”. Oh! I do miss him, but this is not a bad waiting place, there are a lot of dogs here waiting on their masters.

There are no dog fights, everyone just lives in harmony. The weather is perfect. There are no stickers or fleas, we run and play, then eat and sleep. Then, when a dog’s master comes through that Pearly Gate, there is a big reunion, they hug, and kiss then go off over a cloud to be together for eternity.

Oh! And I do not hurt anymore. It is great! I know my master misses me and I wish I could bark loud enough to tell him I am fine. But I think he really knows that. We Dogs do not live as long as some creatures, but we sure put our time in loving and pleasing our masters while we are there.

I miss Luckenbach, but this place is good, too. So, friends, love your masters all you can, and I will see you later up here. Arf! Arf!

©2021 Honey Dog
with Secretarial Assistant and Master Walt Perryman

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We Can Learn From Our Dogs.

We spend our life trying to love and be happy,
Dogs know how to do this as a little puppy.

A puppy love’s you right from the very start,
Then it loves you for life with all its heart.

Dogs can show love by wagging their tails
. Often, we do not show our love and it fails.

Dogs may not live for as long as me and you,
But they give more love in less time too.

We can learn a lot from our dogs about living,
Like unconditional love and a lifetime of giving

. Dogs may be dumb, but their love is so true,
I guess we are too smart to love like they do.

Had you rather be dumb with a happy heart
Or be unhappy because you are too smart?

A hug, a smile, and the words. “I love you”,
Might not be such a dumb thing to do!!

©2021 Walt Perryman

Honey was the dog of the Luckenbach poet and she left memoirs for canines.
May ‘Honey Dog’ RIP. (2021)

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Two Bridgets

By John McGrath

There was Brigid, the sainted one,
who begged her father, Dubhthach,
King of Leinster, for some land,
enough to raise a shelter for her friends,
from where their kindnesses could flow
and flourish, benefit the poor and needy.
But being of spirit niggardly,
the king would not relent and so
she pressed him further, ‘Grant me ground,
as much as I can cover with my cloak!’
He scoffed at Brigid’s folly and agreed.
So Brigid shook the cape before her,
called her sisters, bade them take an edge.
They pulled towards each compass point
and as they pulled, they prayed, until
the pious cloth had stretched a mile or more.
‘Enough, take what you need!’ cried Dubhthach,
‘Choose your ground and call your maidens home,
lest they lay claim to half my kingdom.’
Such was the power of Brigid of Kildare
Who raised her Church of Oak above the shrine
of Goddess Bríd, where burned her endless flame,
now Brigid’s too, their name and deeds entwined forever.
For Bríd of many names had gone before,
older by far than Brigid of the Mantle.
She who put songs and music in the air
before the bells of chapels rang in the West
or echoed in the East; before Patrick himself.
Bríd that breathes in the reeds and on the wind
and in the hearts of women and in the minds of poets.
Banmór-na-mara, Lady of the sea, Daughter of Lir,
who lost her brother Manan to a wicked fate,
wept and searched lamenting for three hundred years
until at last she found him, coaxing him with song
back to the world of men, so ships could sail again
and nets once more be filled with wave-fruit.
Bríd, Goddess of Forge and Hearth, Daughter of Fire,
whose nineteen virgins, Keepers of the Flame,
have kept your name alive since prayer began.
And we, your humble children, chant your song
for you have long been life’s-breath in our hearts,
torch to our dry-grass thoughts, our poets’ dreams.
© January 2021 John McGrath

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Sometimes The Moon

 By John I. Blair

Sometimes the moon
Peeks through the branches
Of the ash trees down the street,
Teasing me with flashes
Of white loveliness.

Sometimes it surges
Slowly past the roof
Of my neighbor’s house,
Soothing me with its
Soft and creamy disk.

Sometimes in summer
It drenches the dimness
With a dreamy light,
Making the mockingbirds
Kiss my ears with song.

And sometimes,
Like tonight, the moon
Sails smoothly above me
Through the inky skies,
Towing a planet in its wake.

But even when the moon
Goes in disguise, even
When it’s masked
By morning mists,
I know it’s mine.

©2003 John I. Blair

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Tribute to Uncle Abe


By Marilyn Carnell

(Revised February 27, 2023)

On a cold, gray day we laid him to rest. A man so still and quiet.
          So hard to believe he was gone from us. Why did he leave
          so suddenly? How could he slip away without our knowing?
          Who would fix our steps?
          Who would fix our doors?
          Who would fix our broken hearts?

On a cold, gray day we laid him to rest, a man so still and quiet.
          Surely God must have a greater need for him – things he could tell
          the angels. But we were not ready to say farewell.
          We thought our needs required his steady hand.
          But he needed to rest – a new job to take.
          It wasn’t our decision to make.

On a cold, gray day we laid him to rest, a man so still and quiet.
          How could this big man with a gentle heart
          be gone from our lives forever?
          He was a success. A man among men.
          Somehow, he knew that doing for others
          brought true happiness within.

         He loved his family and friends and
          was rewarded with the respect and love of all who knew him.
          We loved him so and wanted him to know
          How sorely he will be missed.
          So we said goodbye with a sigh and a cry
And on a cold, gray day we laid him to rest. A man so still and quiet.

©1998 Marilyn Carnell

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