Saturday, April 1, 2023

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

April 2023

“When April winds
Grew soft, the maple burst into a flush
Of scarlet flowers
The tulip tree, high up
Opened, in airs of June, her multitude
Of golden chalices to humming birds
And silken-wing’d insects of the sky.”

– William Cullen Bryant

Although April begins with a joke in place, our authors were in a much more solemn mood. Lyric poems of lost love and lost lovers, sadness over one's plight in life, and other dire sounding themes have posessed their thoughts it seems. Strangely enough, it is the Tragedies by Shakespheare that reign in popularity, so all is not lost. Somehow it chimes, with the synchronicities between submissions, but we will let you find those for yourself.

Danielle Cote Serar's "A Mother's Lessons" always has enlightening experiences and shares them with the plus of a lesson learned. Judith Kroll's fans will be delighted at the backward glance she offer this month with the encore of her first "On Trek" column.

"Introspective" by Thomas O'Neill, now stateside and teaching in Pennsylvania, offers his advice to be heeded this Spring. Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" gives his review of a new novel that is the talk of the Irish literary circuit, along with a humorous reminder to guard your choice of conversationalists.

Roderick Cohenour's column introduces a guest with one of her recipes he has enjoyed personally. Since she is the family daughter Melissa, it worked out nicely. Melinda Cohenour gives a brief account of her unusual month of March and presents her first Armchair Genealogy column in lieu of a newly researched one.


 In "Woo Woo," Pauline Evanosky defines her take on the difference in talking to ghosts rather than to spirits. Marilyn Carnell, author of the column "Sifoddling Along," shares it this April with the writing of one of her cousins. Meanwhile, she pens a couple of poems for this issue, "Betrayal" and "Growing Old.".

Bud Lemire Has four poems for our readers: "She Is Always with Me," A Virus for Everyone," "Believe it," and "No Such Word as Goodbye." "Mornings" and "The Cruelest Month." both are new poems by John I. Blair who welcomes his muse back this issue..

Walt Perryman's three poems are "How to Stop Chasing Rabbits," "Men VS Women," and "What God Can Do." Bruce Clifford sent these two poems: "Broken" and "You Ghosted Me."

Our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowlege and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online, deserves our gratitude and appreciation. We are now in our 26th year. May your Easter bring you happiness and joy, Susie and Mike!

Look for us in May 2023.

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Armchair Genealogy - Encore

By Melinda Cohenour

This month your author has spent, first, in the ER, then Mercy Hospital, and finally three weeks at St. Ann's Skilled Nursing Facility having succumbed to a dreaded previously unfamiliar virus: the human metapneumovirus which ravaged our little household. I contracted pneumonia and AFib plus various other health issues that rendered me weak and ... Well, sick!

Suffice it to say, it has been another month where my family research fell to the wayside as I struggled to return home.

This seemed to be an excellent time to review and re-publish my very first column for PencilStubs. Not my first article but the introductory column setting forth the inspiration for my love of Genealogy and the method I find most effective and fascinating to explore my family's roots.

Armchair Genealogy

My First Column so Titled

      Genealogy is my passion. I dream of my ancestors and the fascinating lives so many led, the people they encountered, the struggles they faced, and the impact they had on the history of our world. Every day I research I find some kernel of wonder, a source of amazement, or a chuckle. Some of the stories uncovered leave me in tears but more often my thoughts turn to pride.

      Genealogists create their family trees in a number of ways. Some want “Just the facts, Ma’am” as Sgt. Joe Friday was wont to say – bare bones, direct bloodlines only, names, dates of birth, marriage, and death, and a list of the offspring. However, one of my favorite researchers is a cousin descended from our common Bullard progenitor from centuries past, Joseph Bullard (some list as Major Joseph Lindsey Bullard, choosing to use his rank as a Revolutionary patriot as well as a middle name attributed to him). This researcher, our modern-day Joseph Bullard, does an awesome job, preferring to paint a full portrait of the life and times in which the ancestor struggled with the adversities and met the challenges in his or her path. To my knowledge, this cousin has confined his research to the study of maps, history books, paintings, family documents, court records, newspaper accounts, and other documentation for only four individuals thus far: my 5th great grandfather Joseph Bullard, his son John Bullard (4th great grandfather), John’s son Isaac Bullard (next younger brother to my 3rd great grandfather Henry), and Isaac’s grandson, Paris, the researcher’s own direct line ancestor. Of course, he lists seven generations descended from Joseph Bullard, the Patriot; however, the full narrative texts replete with illustrations enlivening each narrative are currently confined to these four individuals. The treatment he has chosen creates more than a sketch, fully a rich tapestry that places the reader in the very midst of each generation’s culture. (See: )

      My preferred method of research falls, haphazardly – I fear – somewhere in the middle of these two widely opposing processes. First of all, our family tree was an inherited body of work from four primary family groups. My sisters, Mary Carroll Adair, Jacquelyn Carroll MacGibbon, and I worked together to build our fledgling tree using the photocopied works handed down to us by our mother, our maternal aunt, and their mother, our grandmother Joslin. We had materials from family historians concentrating on four surnames: Bullard, Hopper, Joslin, and Godwin. Mary and Jacquie took turns reading to me while I entered the data into our very first digital family tree software application. It was laborious, yes. But, it was also tremendously fun. We marveled together at some of the names, the bits and pieces of history that had found their way into the photocopies and, admittedly, we argued a bit over some of the data and where it actually fits.

      There were mistakes in those original works. Redundancies had occurred as the creators of the histories had either lost their own place in whatever source documents they were using, or typed the same page again after stopping for a day or a week, or a month before picking the work up again. Or, maybe they merely worked from oral histories, old letters, best memories of surviving relatives. For whatever reason, my research has resulted in some surprising disillusionment in many cases as I discovered family lore was not always substantiated by documentation.

      And now we come to the reason my tree is a mixture of lineal descent, painstakingly listing names, dates of birth, death, marriage, and descendants, and … stories. Wonderful stories were discovered as I strove to document the lineages first entered. For it is imperative that the genealogist seek to document each fact entered. In today’s world documentation is at our fingertips through the Internet. Just type in a name, a date, a fact, and thousands upon thousands of possible sources are offered at the click of your mouse. This is both incredibly helpful and, at the same time, fraught with opportunities for mistakes.

      My chosen method has been to work from my own core family as the starting point, with facts, names, dates, and so forth that are known to me and familiar. My siblings, my parents, grandparents and children, nieces and nephews. For my purposes, there are certain sites used constantly all day long: Ancestry, Find A Grave, Family Search, RootsWeb and Google. These are my primary resources, a mixture of relatively cheap and free tools available to me from my “armchair” (you know, that chair with the wheels and arms that sits in front of your personal computer if you are not hooked up with a laptop or notebook computer?)

      Ancestry now has available to its subscribers literally millions of scanned original documents: census records from 1790 forward, including those from states, Indian enrollment lists such as the Dawes registry, military registration cards from the Civil War, each of the World Wars, the Korean conflict and Vietnam, marriage, birth and death certificates and a myriad of other sources. You can even find your more modern ancestors’ names in city directories complete with street addresses, often the trade or occupation of the primary and the spouse’s name. Never merely enter the data. Take the time to click on the original document. This is particularly informative with old Census documents. Our ancestors did not have the ease of mobility afforded us today. The field of potential mates was relatively small and usually included those whose families traveled cross country in those westward-bound wagon trains with our ancestors or living with the neighbors whose farms were enumerated immediately before and after our own folks. The US Federal Census has evolved through the centuries along with our government’s most pressing need for information. The 1790 Census came about as a result of the recognition that the government needed to know the pool of families in each state from which soldiers could be drafted following the Revolutionary War. As tensions with other countries flared or waned, the census questionnaire varied. Perhaps taxation was the most pressing need; thus, queries about values of real and personal property appeared. Then it became clear familial relationships were becoming more difficult to ascertain as the population grew and our forebears migrated in search of richer farmlands, gold, adventure or to protect their family from hostile forces. Search those census records. Be alert for familiar names. I usually scan the immediate page, then at minimum look at the preceding and following pages.

      Find A Grave also affords the researcher immense data. This is the modern armchair genealogist’s answer to the work started by local genealogical societies from centuries past. My grandmother, Carrie Bullard Joslin, finished her chores, doffed her cooking apron, donned her sunbonnet, packed a picnic lunch, grabbed chalk and graphite, onionskin paper, and lightweight construction paper, and headed to the local cemetery. There she would trace the headstones for hours. She was not alone in this endeavor. Thousands of devotees provided their local historical society with these etchings, which would be turned into lists and made available through local libraries and to their memberships. Today’s tireless contributors use their iPhones and digital cameras to photograph the cemetery entrance, their GPS and maps to provide coordinates and directions for those off-the-path family cemeteries, and pics of headstones. These are then researched at home in an attempt to find and utilize obituaries, family trees, and other sources to provide as full a list of the persons who have found their final rest in that particular cemetery. Beware. Not all the information is accurate. Not even those dates etched into the stone. Be sure to document these dates by other sources as well. My hat is off to the volunteers who have enriched our lives with their work in this regard!

      Google and other search engines do the work for us across the ether. In the old days, one had to drive to NARA offices, libraries, cemeteries, courthouses, and other places to search for hours in the indices for family names, scan microfiche, then handwrite, or pay for photocopies of selected pages. A full day’s work may contribute not much more than a name, a single fact, or nothing. Today, the armchair genealogist has available thousands of potential treasures. I caution again. Never, enter the data without attempting to cross-reference factual content with actual documents to ensure you are not putting someone else’s story into your tree.

      Similarly, the other Internet sources (RootsWeb, Family Search, Fold3, etc.) are replete with the work of other researchers, books that may contain a reference to your ancestors, photographs others may have shared, or mention in historic documents.

      Another essential element for me is my printer/scanner. I have begun a project to scan in photographs from old albums. It is a tedious but rewarding project for sure. Many times I cannot identify the faces that look out at me from these yellowed, dog-eared pics of old. Often my attempts have been foiled by the practice of gluing down the photograph in the album, effectively obscuring any notes that may have been made on the reverse. And, to my dismay, I waited too long to begin this process, having lost my mother, her sister, and their mother in years past who may have been able to provide those missing facts.

      This brings me to my final (for today) hint for you armchair genealogists: Scan those photos now. Include names, dates, and places. Identify, identify, identify. Purchase a digital image editor. Such software provides immeasurable aids to make your photographs clearly legible. Higher-resolution scans produce photos that can be viewed as a much larger pic without losing details. Water stains, tears, and other damage can often be repaired. The software and a little practice using it is well worth the investment.

      Finally, simply enjoy your efforts. My mixed bag of bloodline relatives and distant in-laws, 8th cousins, and so forth has filled my memories with some incredible characters. Most recently, a maternal great-grandfather of my grandmother’s eldest brother’s wife…who happened to be a Lenni-Lenape native American who became known as a Delaware (by the white settlers), a Chief of his tribe who spoke seven languages including perfect English, negotiated with the United States government, made several trips with John Charles Fremont at the behest of the government to California, fought in the Mexican War under Fremont, saved Fremont’s life and the life of his other close friend, Kit Carson, was a personal friend of President Abraham Lincoln and…of Sam Houston. Wow. James Sa-Gun-Dai (Secondine). Look him up. Stretch your imagination. Enrich your life. Become an armchair genealogist, or at the very least, an armchair historian and researcher.

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Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky

Talking to Ghosts is Different Than Talking to Spirit

I haven’t had much experience talking to ghosts, but I can tell you that it is slightly different than talking to Folk in Spirit.

When I talk to Spirit, which for me is a group of unseen entities comprised of spirit guides, teachers, saints, God, people who have passed on like your great aunt or my parents, or even animals, my pets and yours or animals in the wild, the conversations are done telepathically and are completely understandable by me.

My mother might say something like, “It’s okay, Honey. Just wear an apron.” Or my long-since passed-on collie Laddie might say, “I loved eating up the cereal you all did not eat.” No grunting, no meowing, no barking or tweeting. No half sentences. Just full on communication same as any of us talk to others.

However, the few times I have talked to ghosts have been just a few words, strong emotions, or just vague impressions. For instance, Dennis and I had an appointment at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California, where we will eventually be buried. We had bought and paid for our plot and headstones years ago, but there arose the matter of deciding how we wanted to be buried and in what. The expenses for those arrangements needed to be discussed. For instance, the representative from the cemetery wanted to know if we wanted a party. He actually said a celebration of life. I said if I went first, Dennis could throw a party if he wanted to. I didn’t care one way or the other. It was just administrative things like that.

We also didn’t plan to have fancy caskets. Why spend money on something expensive enough to put wheels on? We elected to have cardboard boxes that would eventually decompose and become part of the earth to the tune of $130. I didn’t know you could do that. As the discussion of all these particulars ended, I felt a wave of love, and a voice said, “We are all happy here.” They also said, “Thank you”. I told our representative, and he said that other clients in that same conference room have echoed the same sentiment. In fact, he said that many of the people working at the cemetery had encounters with folks who were buried at the cemetery.

Once, many years ago, when I was walking around the cemetery just enjoying the peace and quiet, I ended up at our plot. I pulled a few weeds and dusted off the headstones. I turned around to leave, and a voice said, “Don’t you want to get to know your neighbors?” It was just one of those funny channeling moments. At the time, I thought it was my guide who said that. Who knows? Maybe it was one of the tenants. To be polite, I did walk around and visit the rest of the plots on our hill.

The other time I knew I was talking to a ghost was when I visited a friend of a friend who lived in a building where they would often hear bumps and thumps in certain places or when being in areas of the house where they would get goosebumps or the hair on the back of their neck would rise. So, I went to see what was up.

We were going to meet in one of the apartments for tea which would include savories and sweets. I remember being in our local grocery store beforehand and somebody insisted I purchase some Oolong tea. I didn’t know if it was a joke on the part of my guides or if it was the ghost of the lady who supposedly haunted the house. I did buy the box of tea, but what struck me as a real communication from the ghost was on a tour of the building, I heard, “My house. My house. My house.” That happened as I made my way up the grand staircase in the middle of the house, right in line with the front doors. It was filled with emotion, and my heart did beat faster. It wasn’t scary. It was just really emphatic. To this day, I count that as me hearing a ghost.

I don’t understand ghosts and have had several discussions with my guide, Seth, about them. The way I understand it, ghosts are not caught between one spot or another. They are where they are. Eventually, they might move on, but there really is not anything we need to do to help them. My guide said it’s like a needle on a phonograph record stuck in the same groove. The same scene plays over and over for them.

I encountered another ghost once when I did a bit of ghostbusting for a friend of mine. I wrote an article about it here at Pencil Stubs in the October 2021 issue of WooWoo.

My husband, who works at the same cemetery where we have our burial plots, told me he was doing some research in an area where there were a lot of old internments. He had a sense that somebody was sitting in the only chair in the room that was behind him. He had left his phone on the chair. He turned around quickly, and there was nobody there. But his cell phone was now on the floor. He left soon after. I asked him if he was frightened, and he said he was not.

There is no one right way or wrong way to talk to either a ghost or your spirit guide, though one of them said to me just now you would never go wrong with being polite.

I hope you enjoyed this article and I’ll see you next month with another one.

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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

You have all seen me share various recipes by my darling wife; but she and I are not the only ones in our family who can cook. Our daughter Melissa is a good cook in her own right and this month I prevailed upon her to provide a recipe that I particularly like. Mexican food, of course!

This is Melissa's take on one of my favorite recipes in the world: green chile chicken enchiladas. Thank you, sweetheart! And, why is it called Gemma's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas? Because her grandbabies call her Gemma!

Bon appetite~!

Gemma's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas


  • Casserole dish ( lightly sprayed with olive oil)
  • to cuddle 12 -18 White corn tortillas
  • Two cornbread muffins (special to heart) See note below
  • 2-3 fresh Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 small cans of green chilies
  • One can of green chili sauce
  • One can cream of chicken soup
  • One or two white onions chopped
  • Pepper Jack cheese with jalapenos grated (or Cheddar)
  • Salsa for topping (your favorite)

This will be your meat mixture to add in between your layers of your corn tortillas:

    Slow cook your chicken breast with your cream of chicken soup and seasonings to satisfy your taste such as light salt or no salt, pepper, and one cup chicken broth.
    Once cooked, pull apart your chicken breast
    Add your green chilies to your meat mixture
    Add your green enchilada chili sauce

Note: Special to your Heart Muffins:

    I use a couple boxes of Jiffy Corn Bread Muffin mix.
    Add minced jalapenos to taste preference
    one can whole kernel corn
Some small cubes of cheddar or pepper Jack cheese


    1. Chop or pull apart your jalapeno corn muffins in a bowl and set aside
    2. Line your casserole dish evenly with four to six white corn tortillas (depending on the size of casserole dish.)
    3. Next you will gently spread your green chili enchilada chicken mixture over your white corn tortillas ( leaving enough for two more layers.).
    4. Sprinkle half of your corn muffins over the top of your meat mixture to leave enough for the next layer.
    5. Next you will sprinkle, to taste, your chopped onions over the top of the meat mixture
    6. Follow the pretty white chopped onions with your grated mixture of cheese, Pepper jack -- you can mix a little bit of cheddar to taste, don't be sparse on your cheese! It's to your satisfaction.
    7. Repeat this process one more time by gently laying another layer of tortillas over the cheese and repeat what you just did with the first layer.
    8. On the last layer pour your remaining meat mixture on top (leave off the cornbread - but top it with your onions, green onions, cheese, and sprinkle pepper, and lightly salt the top. 

          9. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 35 minutes.

Garnish with green onions and a side of sour cream if you like, and your favorite salsa!! 

Enjoy with your sweet or unsweet tea or beverage of your choice or maybe a nice fresh glass of ice water to wash it all down smoothly and enjoyably.

You should have enough to last a couple of days and you can also freeze this so that you can reheat it when you're ready to finish it off.

Don't forget to throw some salt over your shoulder for good luck and open up your heart to enjoy.

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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

So far in March 2023, we are experiencing near-record snowfalls here in Minnesota. So far more than 80 inches have fallen, and another big storm is predicted to come this week (March 16-17). Being semi-housebound, I have occupied my time by sorting through papers and organizing files. It is my version of Spring Cleaning. Today I found an assignment written by my first cousin Frieda more than 20 years ago when we had a small writing group meeting at the Methodist Church in Pineville, MO. I thought it was worth sharing as it chronicles the way our shared Grandmother Bunch coped with her life in the 1930s. It was a first draft, so I have lightly edited it for clarity.

The Person Who Changed Your Life and Still Influences You

Frieda Lines Royer

          During my lifetime there were many who, at different times influenced my personality. But perhaps the most prominent model for living was my grandmother with whom I spent much time when growing up. I never heard Granny complain although her life was fraught with tragedies and disappointments. Her oldest of seven children died in France during World War I and her youngest son experienced problems that caused her great heartache—never reaching his potential. She often quoted a Bible verse or sang a hymn that seemed to soothe the pain she felt as she went through the long days of labor which was her role as a farm wife.

          Her goal was to provide love and stability to “her” household. She was up at dawn preparing a gourmet breakfast complete with meat from the smokehouse, hot biscuits, home-churned butter, eggs from the chickens she incubated and raised, and numerous condiments from her having canned blackberries, huckleberries, etc. that she gathered from the fields, and woods. Then she milked the cows, strained, and poured the creamy milk into large cans to be picked up by truck. She kept enough for her own use, separating it with a hand-operated machine into skim milk and thick cream.

          When the outside chores were finished; it was time to clear the kitchen of breakfast dishes. before the trip to the immense garden where corn, potatoes, onions, and a myriad of other vegetables were gathered to fill the deep-well cooker or the wood-burning stove which held “always ready” soup. Also, “starter” had to be made into bread dough to rise for the rolls or loaves that must be baked at just the right time for dinner. Preparing this big meal of the day for the harvest hands who came in at noon took most of the morning after which came Granny’s only recreation of the day when she lay on the living room floor and listened to the soap opera “Stella Dallas”.

          Afternoons could be spent sewing on a pedal machine or gleaning from nature – foods such as hazelnuts and black walnuts or preparing crocks of sauerkraut, pickles, et. For storage in the deep cellar dug into damp cool rocks to keep foods cool. The kerosene lamps had to be filled with oil and the chimneys cleaned. The gas lanterns needed an occasional mantle change so light would be available after sundown. Laundry day came once a week with water boiling in the big kettle over an outdoor fire. All scrubbing was done by hand with a washboard and lye soap which had been made in the same pot. Often, the water left over from boiling “whites” to the shade of snow was used to scrub the rough-hewn log floor of the kitchen. Lye was added to the water to bleach the white oak boards and then followed by many buckets of rinse water carried from the well.

          When I am tired and hurting with tasks waiting, I think of times when in spite of a diagnosed heart condition, Granny would chase an errant calf back to the pasture and return to the house saturated with sweat. Recalling her hardships and the courage she possessed give me the willpower to go beyond what I perceive to be my limit (at times!)

          Granny was fun to be with and could tell interesting stories such as when they buried the family silverware and wedding rings during the Civil War. Shad had little money because profits were spent mostly on the best of equipment to keep the farm running smoothly. She took extra eggs and cream to the market and spend her cash proceeds to buy treats like bakery-sliced bread and candies for her grandchildren.

          She rode to town in the rural mailman’s pick-up (for 10 cents a trip). She loved iced drinks and sometimes would take a gunny sack with her, buy a 50-pound block of ice and, somehow, manage to get it home from the mailbox drop-off more than a mile away from her home. What joy she brought to share with others as she did with Sunday fried chicken dinners for the kids and grandkids who always arrived on time to eat even if they had to walk six miles to the farm. Dishes were washed with well water carried into the house in a bucket and heated on the kitchen stove. They were rinsed and scalded with boiling water before drying on lovingly embroidered feed sack towels.

         Lessons learned from my precious grandmother have helped me through many of my life’s crises.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

Spring has sprung, so find a spiritual direction to follow it can be taken from the rhythm of nature. Begin your new spiritual journey this spring by observing the growth of nature around you.

Feel your feet connect with the earth (even if they are physically separated by concrete or wood), Imagine yourself growing spiritual roots.

Feel your heart lift as your breath becomes easy and full. Imagine that you can lift yourself up and outward with the same amount of energy as you are witnessing in the rebirth of the spring season.

This spring, bring out your inner love from your center, acknowledge it, and allow yourself to find the stillness and calm as you grow spiritually by becoming one with nature. Gently reach out, as a bud would from the end of a tree branch.

Let yourself begin the spiritual process slowly, acclimating to a more active state. Return yourself always to your inner voice, honoring what your true self is telling you, beyond the stories, beyond your limiting beliefs - listen to your inner truth as spring blossoms around you.

Beauty can undoubtedly capture our attention, but the inner core of a beautiful personality captures hearts. One’s outer beauty may fade over time, but the elegance of one’s inner beauty can never be overlooked or dissipated with time.

Always with love,
Thomas F O'Neill

    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Phone: (410) 925-9334
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill

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On Trek -Encore


By Judith Kroll

I was recently talking to some friends online, and we got into discussing our old cult-like religion. We all left the religion, for some of us it has been a while since we left, for others, it is a new experience coming out of this cult-like religion.

The problem we all faced was what do we do now? Should we start going to other religions right away, and if so which one?

Most of us that had left the religion decided to take the time to step back from all religions, manmade teachings and all the different avenues of a spiritual approach to life, and look within ourselves deeply. We all needed to take the time to notice where we were, and where we are, and figure out what makes us happy. We are here, on this planet, each with our own journey. So we should be looking at our own journey as just that, ours alone. Most of us had to abide by the choices our parents made for us, but it is possible it just isn’t a perfect fit. I might add there is nothing disrespectful in finding our own nitch in beliefs.

One needs to find out what they like and dislike. We should walk thru the trees and along the beach if we can. The old saying, take the time to smell the flowers truly is great advice. We need to clear our head and start over in our thinking, feeling, seeing, and tasting life. We do not want to jump out of the fire into the frying pan. We need to see the world thru our own eyes of understanding, and our own light and love, not someone else’s.

When we hug a tree, we know that God made that tree. He made everything. So becoming one with all things is a great start on our new chapter in our trek thru this life. It never hurts to talk aloud to the universe, God, etc. Our thoughts become alive once we think them, but I like to picture them traveling thru the universe once they are airborne.

We need to say thank you also for everything in our life. Gratitude is a great quality to have. Maybe our leaving the religion is traumatic, but being grateful we are not there anymore because it no longer SERVES US and moving on with our life is something to smile about. I am not saying it is wrong to be in a religion, if one is happy there, then that is where they belong. But choosing cult like institutions that control our every thought in life, is not using our free will, it is more like letting our free will become stomped on.

My advice is to take the time to indulge in reading whatever suits your fancy. Take the time to find who you are and what motivates you. Always be happy in your pursuits, and if it feels right, then it is right, FOR YOU. Of course, we would never judge another in what they decide, but what we do, do it for us, and not for someone else.


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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon


Kitson’s Irish War, by David Burke tells in some detail the story of Frank Edward Kitson who was the eldest son of Sir Henry Kitson vice-admiral in the Royal Navy. For generations Kitson family members had been officers in the Royal Navy and Sir Henry expected nothing from Frank Edward but it wasn’t to be. Kitson himself wrote; “Being asthmatic I was no use to the Navy so I had to join the Army instead. This caused some stir in the family, but as I was obviously unsuited to the Church there was no alternative short of breaking a father-to-son tradition which had lasted for over 200 years.”

Kitson was The Brigadier of 39 Brigade – the officer in charge of all British soldiers in Belfast during the Ballymurphy massacre. His accomplice was Colonel Derek Wilford, the former commander of 1 Para.

Prolific author David Burke takes a fresh look at Bloody Sunday and provides information omitted from two tribunals of inquiry.

The author says, “The British Widgery and Saville inquiries did not hold Kitson and his elite troops accountable for Bloody Sunday. Kitson's Irish War lays bare the evidence they discounted and unlocks the some of the key secrets of the Dirty War that the British government is still determined to cover-up.” And, as in all his previous works the extent of his research is unbelievable as he leaves no stone unturned to uncover facts which were undisclosed for forty-nine years. This book includes evidence from a deserter from the Parachute Regiment who joined the IRA and a whistle blower as well as what ,” . . .British diplomats might have circulated in Washington and elsewhere around the globe.”

The late Paddy Devlin, once commented that Frank Kitson, “Probably did more than any other individual to sour relations between the Catholic community and the security forces”. I think David Burke would omit word “probably.”

The facts uncovered by Burkes are unbelievable. He doesn’t pull any punches, “To nationalists, Kitson became the personification of evil, Britain’s counter-insurgency bogeyman driving young men into the ranks of the paramilitaries, “Had he set out to become a recruitment sergeant for the IRA, he could not have done a better job.”

David Burke

David Burke is a practising barrister and is the son of Dick Burke, a FG TD in the 1970s. His other works include, An Enemy of the Crown and Deception and Lies all well worth reading.

Kitson’s Irish War, which is dedicated, “To all victims of state violence”, was published in 2021 but between one thing and another I only got to read it last week. It is published by Mercier Press. ISBN:978 1 78117 798 3.

The cover: Kitson's Irish War

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“The first race meeting of the Kildare Hunt Club took place at Punchestown on 1 April 1850. According to the Leinster Express

The morning broke hazy and threatening and caused an exceedingly thin attendance from Dublin, the assemblage at Punchestown being chiefly composed of persons from the surrounding neighbourhood…while the course was laid out with about a score of leaps in the three miles, and fourteen in the two-mile run, several of them teasers, the arrangements lacked perfection.”

In my young days the Punchestownn races which were held in the last week of April each year. It was imperative to have the potatoes sowed “before the races.” And during the Month of May some Priests would be heard to say, from the pulpit, “This is the second Sunday after Punchestown.”

For many people in west Wicklow and the surrounding areas it was their only outing for the year. One year, on his return from the races a neighbour was asked, “I suppose there were thousands in Punchestown.” His reply, “Thousands the divil. There were hundreds at it.” You would also hear post-festival comments such as, “ I backed the right horse but the wrong one won.” And of several jockeys, it would be said, “He wouldn’t ride a fat woman in a settle-bed.”

After 173 years the Punchestown Festival is still going strong. The 2023 event runs over five days, from Tuesday 25th April to Saturday 29th April. This Festival is the highlight of the racing calendar and our favourite week of the year for the horsey set..

Essays, poems and ballads have been penned about this unique festival..

If you are one of the diasporas who will be back in the green and misty island at the end of April you could do worse than spending a day at the races.

* * * * *

A Thought to Ponder


The donkey said to the tiger:
“The grass is blue”.

The tiger replied:
“No, the grass is green.”

The discussion heated up, and the two decided to submit him to arbitration, and for this they went before the lion, the King of the Jungle.

Already before reaching the forest clearing, where the lion was sitting on his throne, the donkey began to shout:
“His Highness, is it true that the grass is blue?”

The lion replied:
“True, the grass is blue.”

The donkey hurried and continued:
“The tiger disagrees with me and contradicts and annoys me, please punish him.”

The king then declared:
"The tiger will be punished with 5 years of silence."

The donkey jumped cheerfully and went on his way, content and repeating:
"The Grass Is Blue"...

The tiger accepted his punishment, but not before he asked the lion:
- "Your Majesty, why have you punished me? after all, the grass is green."

The lion replied:
- "In fact, the grass is green."

The tiger asked:
- "So why are you punishing me?

The lion replied:
- "That has nothing to do with the question of whether the grass is blue or green.
The punishment is because it is not possible for a brave and intelligent creature like you to waste time arguing with a donkey, and on top of that come and bother me with that question."

* * * * *

The worst waste of time is arguing with the fool and fanatic who do not care about truth or reality, but only the victory of his beliefs and illusions. Never waste time on arguments that don't make sense. There are people, who, no matter how much evidence we present to them, are not in the capacity to understand, and others are blinded by ego, hatred and resentment, and all they want is to be right even if they are not. When ignorance screams, intelligence is silent. Your peace and quiet is worth more.

Have a Happy Easter.

See you in May

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A Mother's Lessons

By Danielle Cote Serar

I know I’m not alone in the interesting dynamic of my family makeup but I know I’m also in the minority… blended, 17 year age difference between my husband and myself. A twenty-plus age difference between my stepchildren, one I raised, and my own biological children. I’m finding this is making me both an “expert” and a “novice” in this role called parent in my network of friends. Both, having gone through some of the hardest part of parenting called the teenage years yet a novice at toddler.

But something that has become clear as I attempt to succeed at this thing called parenting, regardless of the stage of parenting, we have to get comfortable in our discomfort. We have to learn to thrive, being calm cool, and collected in the moments that our insides are churning and we don’t want to do what we know we have to.

And it can be something as simple and as gross as the blowout diaper from the exorcist that makes you want to run for the nearest hill. Or a sick kid covered in vomit and your gag reflex kicks ins. We have to get comfortable in that discomfort because babies can’t do it themselves.

But we also have to get comfortable in the discomfort of questions. My daughter is four and very inquisitive and like all four-year-olds, her favorite question is why? But not all of them are as simple as why is the sky blue? (On a side note, you never fully know how absolutely limited your knowledge is and just how unintelligent you are until you are trapped in a conversation of whys with your four-year-old.) Sometimes she asks the hard why… the why that turns your gut or you think to yourself I’m just not ready to answer this.

I talk about my mother and my father with my daughter all the time. I call them by name. I tell her about them. And recently she’s started asking more about them. One of the most uncomfortable came just the other day, “Momma how come Grandma Bobbie died?” I’m an adult and I struggle with this question and it wretched my insides daily. How in the world do I even begin to break the surface of such a complex issue with her, knowing what is coming next? It was ironic that the question was about my mom because she was the one who taught me by the example of living comfortably in discomfort.

I was admittedly a unique child. I spoke more to and had more adult friends than children growing up and my mother always talked to me on my level but with tone and respect afforded her adult friends. So when my inquisitive and observant child mind would come to her with tough questions like “what if I were gay” or “what if I dated someone who wasn’t white” or “what if I got pregnant as a teen” or “what if I got into a fight to defend someone” or “mom did I break up dad’s marriage before you”… and yes as a child I did in fact ask all of these questions without any malice in them… she had to hide her discomfort for the sake of keeping communication open. For creating a safe space where I could come to her, without judgment, at any time. And it worked.

She never sugarcoated what her thoughts were, often saying I would be disappointed if you got pregnant as a teen but we would figure it out together, or it’s not the life I would hope for you but you are my daughter and I will love and support you. But because of those open conversations, when I became a teen and was being bullied and even had my life threatened, I knew I could go to her. When I was being pressured to drink or have sex, it was her I came to for the hard conversations. And as she later confessed to me she hated those conversations because they made her uncomfortable talking about them but also because she’d see a different world from what she grew up in. Yet I never knew how she felt until I was well in my mid-twenties. She was that good at living in her discomfort.

My stepson I helped raise is now 25 years old. I made him a promise when he was much much younger… that I would always tell him the truth, even if he didn’t or wouldn’t like what I was gonna say. And I did. I found myself in many awkward and uncomfortable moments. But he knew he could come to me for anything. And he did. He still does. He will still call me, his stepmom, with the tough questions.

We live in a world where the things our children face are leaps and bounds in their complexity of what we experienced as kids or even what my 25-year-old experienced. At preschool age, my daughter is already confronted with concepts hushed under the table until I was in my teens. She’s seeing people more sexualized than ever, faced with drills for getting shot at, and so much more. She is exposed to, hears more, and sees more than I ever did. I’m not commenting on the right or wrong of it. It’s just reality. Now more than ever, I feel strongly that the bond we need to form is one where she always feels safe coming to me. The bond that every parent needs to form with their children is just that… they can come to us with anything. And that starts by being comfortable in my discomfort.

My mom taught me so many things. And the lessons have shaped my life in so many ways. But this one concept has been without a doubt the most impactful in my parenting from my 10 to a now 25-year-old AND my babies from newborn to now almost 5 and 2.

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How to Stop Chasing Rabbits

 By Walt Perryman

Do you ever feel you’ve gone as far as you can go?
You must keep going, but ‘how’ you don’t know?

You’ve chased too many rabbits down the wrong trail,
Then you run into thorn bushes, and your efforts fail!

Your, ‘want to’ is tired and your dreams are fading away,
You listen, but you never ‘hear’ what God has to say!

Every rabbit you’ve chased, disappeared under a fence,
Maybe it is time for you to hear God's words, make sense!

It is your choice, you can either chase rabbits today,
Or ask God for help and believe what He has to say.

©Marc 9, 2023 Walt Perryman

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 By Marilyn Carnell

It’s said April is the cruelest month
I beg to disagree
March is much more devious
It likes to toy with me 

March lets me think Spring is on its way
And I will be set free of snow and ice
To revel in its vernal warmth with bliss
And greet the flowers I now miss

Then suddenly a blizzard comes
And makes a fool of me

© March 2023 Marilyn Carnell

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A Virus For Everyone

 By Bud Lemire

There's a virus for everyone, it makes you sick
So many to choose from, take your pick
If you don't get one, you get another
If you get any, keep away from your brother

Don't want to spread it, stay inside awhile
Rest and drink fluids, then you can smile
Spreading it around, makes everyone mad
Then they'll get, the same thing you had

Use your mind, do what is best
Drink those fluids, and get your rest
Follow the rules of common sense, when sick
And you'll feel better soon, it'll do the trick

Keep away from your sister, she doesn't want it too
Take care of yourself, it's all up to you
Get the vaccines, that'll keep them away
So you can be healthier, every day

As you get older, your immune system isn't found
Every virus out there, knocks you into the ground
Be careful, be safe, and please take care
There's a virus for everyone, please be aware

©Mar 11, 2023 Bud Lemire

                      Author Note:

There are so many viruses out there these days.
If you are older, there are more to be aware of.
Use common sense. Stay in, drink fluids, get rest.
Take the medicine prescribed, and you'll get better
soon. Don't go out spreading it. It makes people
mad, and doesn't do anything for you either. You
are using energy needed for you to get better.
Save the energy for healing your body and feeling
better. Then you can go enjoy your time, and you
can smile.


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 By John I. Blair

Mornings circa six o’clock
Rain or dry, dark or light,
Cold or hot,
I keep my unwritten vow
To feed the quadrupedal beggars
Around the sliding door
Onto my patio.

The menu is the same –
Two bowls of cat chow,
Flavor of the week
Whatever that may be,
Scooped out from a bulging bag
Bought by mail
And kept beside my fridge,

Rolled out on my walker
To where I greet my gang of cats,
Possums and raccoons
And they greet me,
Agreeing on a backyard truce
That holds so long as no one
Gets too greedy or too near.

The cats I’ve dubbed with
Unimaginative names
Describing features and behavior,
Hoping with this trick
Not to get too close to them
In a world where life is fragile.

Senior by how long she’s lived here
Is “Patio” so named because
When we removed our rotting deck
We found she’d lived there all along
Atop the crumbling patio beneath.

Next in rank is “Blacky”, not
A spot of white upon him (Patio’s a tux).
My theory is they’re siblings; who’s
To contradict me?

Third of blacks and tuxes (who seem
To dominate the neighborhood)
Is the ever-shy Miss Perky Whiskers,
Named for a remarkable explosion
Of white hairs on her snout
And distinguished by
Reluctance to approach.

Just last month came “Bib”
Whose white fur spills
All down her front.

And for variety two spotted cats,
“Big Spot” who claims to be Egyptian Mau
(But has lost his papers)
Then “Little Spot”, apparently Big Spot’s
Disreputable brat, cutest of the lot.

So that makes six thus far.
(I do not count Georgina,
Who by her name alone reveals
She lives indoors and has
Never stepped beyond the glass.)

The possums and raccoons come and go,
Are never given names (they do not
Get their mail delivered here)
And serve as cleanup crew. While I know
They are wild animals who’s to say
The cats are tame? While considering this issue
Who’s to say that I,
Most dangerous of the lot,
Am tame myself? Are you?

©John I. Blair, March 20, 2023

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Men VS Women

 By Walt Perryman

Do women handle pain better than men do?
And do women handle being sick better too?

My Covid seemed worse than what my wife had.
There must be a woman’s covid that isn’t so bad!

When I had Pancreatitis the pain drove me wild,
I was told, “Pancreatic pain is like having a child."

Maybe God made women to handle more pain.
Therefore, for us to fake it, would be all in vain.

I believe women handle their pain better by far,
Like taking care of us, hurting worse than we are.

So, men take care of and cherish your little lady,
Because we need them and that ain’t no maybe.

©March 29, 2023 Walt Perryman


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You Ghosted Me

By Bruce Clifford

You ghosted me in ways that take me to the darkest places.
You took the most of me and left me alone with detached empty spaces,
You ghosted me.

You left me alone on this lonely island.
You broke my heart time and time again.
I thought you were my friend.

You ghosted me and took me to this tragic place.
You were supposed to be the only one I could never replace.
You ghosted me.

You left me alone on this tiny mountain.
You broke my heart time and time again.
I thought you were my friend.

Why did you do this to me?
Why can’t you try to see what you mean to me?
Why are you ghosting me?

You ghosted me and left me stranded in a state of hurt.
You took the faith and belief away from what I used to see.
You ghosted me.

©3/15/2023 Bruce Clifford

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She Is Always With Me

By Bud Lemire

Wherever I go, she is walking next to me
She sees everything, that I see
When I am taking pictures, everywhere
She is with me, and I'm well aware

When I'm in bed fading into sleep, I feel her warm embrace
Her love from Spirit is strong, though I can't see her face
When I am eating supper, and I'm all alone
I feel her presence, up and down my backbone

When I feel her presence, I smile, because
Of the love we still share, and of all that was
Her presence here, she guides me from the Light
It helps in all my decisions, makes everything right

For those who don't believe in the afterlife, and everyone is just dead
How would she know what I am doing, or everything that was said
She is here, and watches over all I do
Your loved ones, are there with you

They want you to know, the love you share, never dies
And that grieving is natural in any loss, everyone cries
If you feel their presence, it's really true
They are standing, right next to you
I know wherever I go, Vicki is there with me
As I take the pictures, she sees everything I see

©Mar 4, 2023 Bud Lemire

                     Author Note:

Death is not the end. The souls we carry inside
our bodies, go on in the Spirit world. They can
do even more there, without limitations that our
bodies had. I believe they do their best to guide
us, but not being able to hear or sense them, many
of us feel lost and alone. I can feel Vicki, and have
for many years. So I know, Love never dies. I know
when my time is here, I shall be with her again, soul
to soul, in the Spiritual sense. That helps me to know
this. Do I have any doubts, No! I know! .


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Growing Old

 By Marilyn Carnell

Aging is not for sissies
It may beat the alternative
But the price you pay
For one more day
Is higher than you think

Your eyes start to blink
You leak like an old sink
Your teeth may ache
So you take pills to make
things tolerable

Your arms grow too short to hold a book
Where you hope to look
At life more brightly
Others comment on how spritely
You are
You know it’s a lie
But you don’t want to cry

So you consider a drink
But soon you think
If you go on a bender
Your family would say “send her”
To stay in a place far away
Where you find it is only
Designed for the gray and lonely

You know to pretend
You are not nearing the end
And are pleased to live so long
But it is hard to sing a song
Of gratitude
So you fake a cheerful attitude
To reassure your loved ones
That you are fine, just fine

©March 2023 Marilyn Carnell

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What God Can Do

 By Walt Perryman

Last week I was back in the hospital for a few days,
And this is my proof that God works in many ways.

I was very sick and, in the Hospital, lying in bed,
Knowing there was a chance I could wind up dead.

My body was trembling, and my fever ran high,
I could not stop shaking and thought I would die.

Then I felt the warmth of my wife’s loving hand touch me,
And in a strange but Godly way I was as calm as could be!

God was healing me through her hand was all it could be,
Because my shaking stopped, every time, she touched me.

I believe God healed me through her hand in some way,
Because I did not die, and I went home the very next day!

©March 8, 2023 Walt Perryman

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The Cruelest Month

 By John I. Blair

T. S. Eliot once famously remarked
That April was the cruelest month;
I think he never lived in Texas.

Pick almost any day in Spring,
Then seek a closet
Or a sturdy toilet
And cower in a corner.

Week after fickle week
Enormous storms form,
Spin into wall clouds, into funnels,
Ravaging the land and living things
Who choose to dwell here.

Yes bub I do realize he wasn’t really
Speaking of the weather
But believe that if he lived here
This gusty afternoon
He’d be butt-down
In a bathtub.

©2023 John I. Blair 3/26/2023

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Believe It



By Bud Lemire

Passing over, is like walking into the next room
Believe it, because it's true, you don't have to assume
Those loved ones who passed, are often with you
They watch, everything you say and do

That Cardinal on the bird feeder, is someone you knew
You can sense it, in the way it reacts to you
The soul can do so much, no need to cry
They can be within a bird, or even a butterfly

They long to let you know, their love never died
And they are with you, with love, they're your guide
In life, with everything you are going through
Forever, their love will be connected to you

Their soul is on a journey, to learn even more
It started, when they walked through that door
While they learn over there, they want us to learn here
Enjoy every moment, let go of any fear

Over there, they are helping many souls
Because each of them, has their own goals
Passing over, is like walking into the next room
Believe it, because it's true, you don't have to assume

©Mar 15, 2023 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

Vicki just crossed over into the next room. That's
where your loved ones who passed, are. Even
though they are there, they can also be here too.
Those who love you, are with you wherever you are.
Can you picture me out taking pictures, and Vicki
and the whole gang are with me. They can't always
be seen by every human eye, but they are there.
So you see, you are never alone, even when you
think you are. They hear you, they know what
you are going through. They want to help you
with whatever they can. They love you!

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By Bruce Clifford

We never went out for a pizza.
We never drove to that quiet place.
It’s not like I ever really needed you.
But I needed you more than I needed the space.

We never talked about my childhood.
We always talked about the smile on your face.
It’s not like I ever shared what I was going through.
Maybe you thought I was going through a phase.

I was already broken before you.
Then you broke me more in other ways.
All the silence on top of what I was going through.
It left me alone and feeling betrayed.

I’ve never felt the same.
We never went out to a movie.
I’m not quite sure what got in the way.
I don’t know what else I can say.

I was already broken before you.
Then you broke me more in other ways.
All the silence on top of what I was going through.
It left me alone and feeling afraid

I’ve never felt the same.
Since then I’ve been broken.

©3/22/2023 Bruce Clifford

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