Sunday, October 1, 2023

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

October 2023

“October was always the least dependable of months
… full of ghosts and shadows.” ”

— Joy Fielding

The weather is still warm but we are seeing dire signs of what could be a frigid winter. If and when it arrives will be a time of cozy nestling before the stove with a stack of books ready to be read.

Our family was strung like beads on a wire from the depression years to the close of WWII, meaning as your editor was the first born, being frugal was the code everyone lived by then. When baby sister arrived the initial month and year of the newly christened Baby Boomers, the war was over, jobs were available and it was time to enjoy family and with most of the war separations repaired it was time to celebrate.

That youngest sister, only six when yours truly wed the first time, has some memories of her big sister she shared recently so here they are with the child view accentuated, and some more impressions than reality.

Copied from Melinda's page on 9/28/2023 (not sure which birthday she sent this before.)

Came up in my Memories ... wrong date for Mary's birthday:

Sweet memories on your BIRTHDAY:
    * You holding my hand as we trod up to the top of a sandhill.
    * The crazy midnight food fight among you, Nee, and Jacquie that woke (first) me, then MomMay. (BIG trouble for you girls!)
    * Handing you wooden clothes pins to hang just-laundered sheets, toes scrunched in the West Texas sand.
    * You on horseback in the Quadrille, you and Curly in matching Western fringed shirt and pants, looking so sharp, maneuvering on matching horses in the Squaredance on horseback that moved so fast, intricate lacing movements where horses colliding at 30 mph would have had the impact of a 60 mph crash!
    * The flower show where your last minute dill flowerhead you had stuck in a 7-Up bottle and set, momentarily, on a table at the show ended up with the biggest ribbon! (It was a spectacular bloom!)
    * So many of your zany original dishes ... but maybe the one I remember most ... the pie dough circles made to adorn a fresh peach concoction on a really hot summer day on the ranch behind the rock house. Ray Ivan, Kitten, Wolf (the rescued albino wolf pup saved from the bear trap ... half one front foot lost), you and I sitting under the shade of a tree on one of the Summer days I got to spend at the ranch near Palestine.
    * Staying over night in Monahans with you when Ray Ivan was just a diapered infant, hernia not yet surgically repaired. Remember? The migrating tarantulas started dropping in on one side of the (dining?) room. They never went around obstacles, merely climbed up and over.
    * Another memory of a tarantula migration where MomMay and Aunt Margie Meacham, GEM (Grace Elizabeth Meacham) and I had to sit in the car while Texas Rangers stopped traffic to let huge, huge masses (looked like shadows of massive clouds moving across the gently sloping hills of South Texas) of them to safely traverse. Think we were headed to see a relative of Margie's?
    * You doing chores at home, while singing opera in your amazing voice when we were kids!
    * You in a lovely formal, sitting in the back of a Permian Ice truck (?) on a 300 lb. Block of ice in a 4th of July parade in Monahans. Think you were about 15 ... and SO pretty.
    * The Snowcone Year. You, Nee, and Jacquie had the little kiosk set up outside Andy's Grocery on the parking lot next to the Ice Plant. I loved the grape snowcones! Then ... Audaine Terror!!
    * Noralee cradling me on her lap, me able to only see in black and white after my "circus stunt" - convinced I knew how to hang by my knees on the clothesline support post, point my toes "really sharp", then kick loose so my heels would catch and I could swing on the post like the pretty acrobat had done. (I think Daddy's Lions Club sponsored the circus that year? Fuzzy memories of cotton candy, the parade of performers, hot roasted peanuts in paper bags...) My heels caught ... for one New York nanosecond before I plunged head first into the sand! Darn near broke my neck, obviously a slight concussion. And YOU ... furious with Noralee who always chose to babysit me when chores were handed out, leaving you to dishes, Jacquie to trash ... because Nee must have been daydreaming when I made my nosedive.
    * The Band. My most exciting memory of football at our home stadium. I must have been about 5 because you were not yet married and marched that night. They presented the Homecoming Queen and her Court by having them in giant gift boxes, towed into the stadium on decorated and be-ribboned flatbed trailers behind fancy convertibles. Each "present" was opened to let a living Doll step out, five in all. I did not know the girls, too young, but I well remember my amazement ... thought they were real dolls come to life. MAGICAL!
    * The horrible night Noralee's and your girlfriends were involved in the fatal car wreck ... Nee was grounded and, fortunately, was not with them as had been planned.
    * You telling Kitten when she was almost three, "Baby, PLEASE don't HELP MOMMY TODAY!" as you struggled to get housework done and tend to Ray, still in diapers!
    * Our family campouts. Especially the one where a tornado wrecked the camp. You in a swimsuit, donning some wild arrangement of driftwood and grasses, flowers, as your "mermaid crown." And, of course, the one where AG thought his arms were cramping from driving, but was having a heart attack!
    So many, many memories ... sweet ones, nostalgic ones, tearful ones ... but wrapped up in my love for you sweet sister!


So Thank you Sis, for growing up to be our author of the Armchair Genealogy. Your continuation of the importance of DNA in Crime Detection covers a lot of ground in this issue. And with Rod still under the doctor's care, his column "Cooking with Rod" features one of your recipes, and sounds delicious.

Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" does a tongue in cheek recognition of the relaxed standards of dining in public, then teases us with the new book he promises to present more about in November.

"Introspective" by Thomas F. O'Neill discusses the possibility or lack thereof for changes in major relgious icons. Judith Kroll admits that life and every living creature puts a Twinkle in her eye in her column "On Trek." Pauline Evanosky in her column "Woo Woo," opens up about getting unsought psychic impressions, and how she handles such.

Danielle Cote Serar, whose column is "A Mother's Lessons," lists the main Lessons she is finding hold primary self discipline for herself. Marilyn Carnell's column "Sifoddling Along" shares her experiment with testing the AI information received from the burgeoning new sites purporting free use for the public.

Kay Forristal brings us a couple of her poems ("Gypsy Rose" and "Wounded Child") with very different impressions from the women who inspired them. McGrath shows three sonnets, "Cremations," "In Ballyegan Bog," and "Phyllotaxis."

Walt Perryman has three poems for September with "So far this morning," "Our Cell Phone Addiction," and "Sunday Morning Sunrise." Bruce Clifford submitted "Before It Begun." John I. Blair sent a new poem "Jenny Wren." Bud Lemire's poems this issue are "The U. P. State Fair 2023" and "Mackinac Island 2023."

Bud Lemire's article launched in the September issue about his Mackinac Island Excursion was so ably presented by him that this month we draw the curtain and supply you with the link to his own recitation of it in his Blogspot. Great work, Bud.

We continue to bless our good fortune in knowing our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowledge and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online. We place our confidence in him as we have in the past and shall continue doing so.

See you in November!.


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

Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

This month's column furnishes the latest updates related to key news reports covering the Gilgo Beach Serial Murders and implicated perpetrator, Rex Andrew Heuermann.

* Importance of mitochondrial V7a haplogroup.

One of the most interesting DNA-related bits in this case pertains to the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup identified from the male hair found on the camouflage burlap binding the body of Megan Waterman and later matched to the DNA sample obtained from the pizza crust discarded by Heuermann: Haplogroup V7a.

From court documents we found and reported the following in last month's column:

Male Hair Linked to Defendant Heuermann
    "During the initial examination of Ms. Waterman’s skeletal remains and the burlap materials, the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory was also able to recover a male hair from the “bottom of the burlap” used to wrap Ms. Waterman by her killer (hereinafter “MALE HAIR ON WATERMAN”).
    "An initial examination of said hair revealed Caucasian/European characteristics. However, the hair was unsuitable for further DNA analysis at that time by the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory. This hair was subsequently submitted for further DNA analysis and on or about July 31, 2020, Forensic Laboratory #1 was able to generate a DNA profile for the hair recovered on the bottom of the Waterman burlap. Specifically, Forensic Laboratory #1 determined that this hair belonged to a male in mitochondrial haplogroup V7a."


Haplogroup V7a is not a common ethnic origin. Rather, it is a rather rare segment of Haplogroup V:


Source: Wikipedia:

Haplogroup V is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. The clade is believed to have originated over 14,000 years ago in Southern Europe.

Haplogroup V
    Possible time of origin
      Over 14,000 years BP [1]
    Possible place of origin
      Europe (southern)
      V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, V7, V8, V9, V10, V11, V12, V14, V15, V16, V17, V18, V22, V23, V24, V25, V26, V27, V28
    Defining mutations
      V7a found mostly in Slavic countries, but also in Scandinavia, Germany and France[19]
      V7b found in eastern Europe and France[20]

Haplogroup V is a relatively rare mtDNA haplogroup, occurring in around 4% of native Europeans.[4] Its highest concentration is among the Saami people of northern Fennoscandia (~59%). It has been found at a frequency of approximately 10% among the Maris of the Volga-Ural region, leading to the suggestion that this region might be the source of the V among the Saami.[5][6] Haplogroup V has been observed at higher than average levels among Cantabrian people (15%) of northern Iberia,[7] and among the adjacent Basque (10.4%).[8]

Haplogroup V is also found in parts of Northwest Africa. It is mainly concentrated among the Tuareg inhabiting the Gorom-Gorom area in Burkina Faso (21%),[9] Sahrawi in the Western Sahara (17.9%),[10] and Berbers of Matmata, Tunisia (16.3%).[11]

The rare V7a subclade occurs among Algerians in Oran (1.08%) and Reguibate Sahrawi (1.85%).[12] (~59%).


The finding of this rare V7a Subclade of the Haplogroup V related to both the Male Hair found on the burlap binding Megan Waterman and the pizza crust discarded by Heuermann offers incredibly incriminating evidence tying him to her murder. The probability of any other male with that rare V7a Subclade who also 1) worked in the specific Manhattan area previously identified as the source of burner phone activity tied to Heuermann and to cellphone activity tied to multiple Gilgo Beach victims; and 2) who lived in the Massapequa area previously identified as the source of both Heuermann burner phone activity and victim's cellphone activity must be astronomical!!

No wonder the judge found in favor of the Prosecutor's request for a full buccal swab.

Defense attorney Michael Brown made the bold yet apparently uneducated claim that "no one could prove that hair belonged to" his client in a presser following their September 27 court appearance. Guess again, Attorney Brown!!

From the September 27 court appearance, the following quotes:

    "On Wednesday, prosecutors told the court that a DNA swab they had taken from Heuermann’s cheek matched DNA obtained from pizza crust in a pizza box found in a Manhattan trash bin earlier this year. The pizza DNA sample had already matched male hair found inside a sack that wrapped one of the women’s bodies, they said. The Suffolk county district attorney, Ray Tierney, reportedly told the court that the latest swab sample “erases all doubt”.
    "Heuermann’s defense attorney Michael Brown questioned the precision of the mitochondrial DNA swab, telling CNN after the hearing that “a significant amount of people could be the source of this hair”. Brown added in court that the defense team had not received any DNA evidence as part of its ongoing discovery."


* Possible additional Heuermann victims:

    * Victoria Camara, Las Vegas (plus four or five other cases, victims as yet unnamed) being investigated. No update yet as to the investigation into Camara's murder and any link to Heuermann.

Also did Heuermann claim to be at Architectural Convention in Las Vegas in that timeframe in 2003?



'The Las Vegas Police Department’s DNA lab will be comparing Rex Heuermann’s DNA with DNA from the case of a murdered New Jersey mom. Victoria Camara’s results are expected in six to eight weeks. News12’s Tara Rosenblum’s investigation has identified four other Las Vegas cases that could be linked to the accused Long Island Serial Killer. Heuermann has had two timeshares in Las Vegas. The cold cases identified involve young sex workers who were killed in similar circumstances to the Gilgo Beach victims.'



Jessica Edith Louise "Jessie" Foster

One of the five similar unsolved Las Vegas murders is connected to the investigation into possible evidence Rex Heuermann is connected to their disappearance or remains recovered. The article states the following potential additional victims of Heuermann:

"Foster was one of five escorts working in Vegas who were either found murdered or had disappeared. They were between the ages of 18 and 25 and either died or disappeared between 2003 and 2006 under suspicious circumstances.

"According to KTNV, four of the victims were dumped off of remote desert roadways. Several were wrapped in cloth, a sign they may have been dispatched by the same homicidal maniac.

"Now, cold case detectives are asking themselves: Could that maniac be Rex Heuermann?"



Twenty years ago on Sunday, Jodi Brewer’s torso was found wrapped in plastic in the California desert off Interstate 15.

In the two decades since, the 19-year-old Las Vegas woman’s family and friends have struggled in their own ways to cope with her death. And while there have been suspects and theories, the main question — who killed her? — remains unanswered.

Now that hope for a resolution is running high again.

Across the country, the arrest of the suspected Long Island Serial Killer in connection with the somewhat similar slayings of women who were sex workers — Brewer was also a sex worker, though her mother believes she was coerced into it when she was 17 and in high school — is ringing alarm bells for Brewer’s loved ones

That, coupled with the revelation that the Long Island suspect, Rex Heuermann, has owned timeshare properties in Las Vegas since 2004, has them thinking Heuermann may have been involved in Brewer’s slaying, and they were wondering if Heuermann spent time in Vegas before records show he owned the timeshare.

“It makes me feel hopeful that something will be resolved,” Pamela Brewer, Jodi Brewer’s mother, said in an interview from her home in Oregon.

“There are similarities, but I could only just get my hopes up and cross my fingers,” said the victim’s sister Jacqueline Brewer, who was 13 when her sister died.

Heuermann, 59, an architect, is charged in the deaths of three of the women whose remains were found near Gilgo Beach on Long Island in 2010. He is the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman’s whose remains also were found there. In total, 11 sets of human remains have been found on or near the beach.

Because most of the victims found on Long Island were young, white women who were sex workers, comparisons have been drawn to Brewer’s death. While the three victims whose deaths Heuermann is charged in were found wrapped in burlap, and not dismembered, other victims found on or near the beach off the main road, Ocean Parkway, were dismembered. Police in Long Island have said it’s possible that one or more serial killers could be responsible.

In Las Vegas, Jodi Brewer’s case has been linked to other similar unsolved killings where the dismembered remains of young women were found off the side of the road. Brewer’s remains were found near I-15 and Cima Road, about 25 miles from the Nevada state line.

In a 2008 Review-Journal story, Las Vegas police said they were investigating possible links between the cases of women who had been sex workers who were killed or who had disappeared. They included Brewer, Lindsay Harris and Jessica Foster, as well as possibly a fourth person, Misty Saens.


* Julia Ann Bean, Sumter County, South Carolina



On May 31, 2017, Julia Ann Bean was last seen by her daughter in the Red Bay Road area of Sumter, South Carolina. The two had plans to get manicures that day and Bean showed up at the nail salon with an unknown man driving a dark truck.

The man told her daughter that he owned lake houses and big boats if she ever wanted to have a boat party. He also offered to take her to a concert and said he wanted to marry Bean.

Bean’s daughter, who was scheduled to graduate from high school the next day, gave the man two tickets so he could attend the ceremony with Bean.

Bean never showed up to her daughter’s graduation ceremony and hasn’t been heard from since.

Gilgo Beach Murders Suspect Linked to Missing South Carolina Woman

Bean’s daughter told police that she recognized Heuermann as the man with the dark truck who was last seen with her mother, but that he introduced himself under a different name.

Update: Sumter County detectives continue to investigate Julia Bean's disappearance; however, she nor her remains have been found. Unless DNA connected to Bean might be discovered in the Chevrolet Avalanche vehicle owned and driven by Rex Heuermann in 2017, no evidence other than the daughter's claimed identification has been found.


Other victims found on or near Gilgo Beach tied to Heuermann. (Quote DA saying would be announced in Court not in the press)

    Peaches ID: latest news
      SOURCE: Wikipedia
      Peaches (also known as "The Girl with the Peach Tattoo" or as Jane Doe No. 3) is an unidentified female whose torso was discovered on June 28, 1997, in Lakeview, New York, near Hempstead Lake State Park. The cause of the woman's death is listed as homicide, due to decapitation. As of 2023, she remains unidentified since her skull has yet to be found.[1] The woman had a tattoo on her left breast depicting a heart-shaped peach with a bite taken out of it and two drops falling from its core, which resulted in her nickname.[2] As of December 2016, additional skeletal remains found on Long Island in 2011 have been positively identified as belonging to Peaches, along with the remains of her child. As a result, Peaches is now linked to the Long Island serial killer as a potential victim.[3]
      On October 8, 2022, the Mobile Police Department announced on its official Facebook page that the FBI was seeking relatives and friends of Elijah "Lige" Howell/Howard (1927–1963). Howard lived in Prichard, Alabama with his wife Carrie and passed away in Mobile, Alabama in 1963 while living with a Ms. Lillie Mae Wiggins Packer. The FBI believed his relatives may be able to assist in identifying Peaches and her child.
      Investigators appeared to be one step closer to identifying Peaches and Baby Doe when, in October 2022, the Mobile Police Department in Alabama posted on Facebook that the FBI is seeking friends and family of Elijah “Lige” Howell/Howard, who lived in Prichard, Alabama, with his wife Carrie, and died in Mobile in 1963 with Lillie Mae Wiggins Packer.
      The agency included in the post a photo of Peaches’ tattoo.
      “His relatives may be able to assist in the case of a woman and child found in another state,” authorities said in the post. “Does this tattoo look familiar?”
      Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said at the time: “Investigators are following a lead to potentially identify a victim.”
      The FBI’s request suggests that the investigators have been using genetic genealogy to help identify Peaches, experts say.
      Police similarly used databases in which members of the public shared DNA to find family members to identify Mack in 2020 — two decades after she was found dead — and Vergata, nearly three decades after she was killed.
      Howard’s potential connection to Peaches remains unclear.
      Although it’s uncertain if he had children, records show he had three siblings that have since died, but who did have children.
      That means there may be surviving nieces and nephews who could help investigators put a name to Peaches, advance the case, and help find her killer.
      “I would assume the FBI ran the DNA through a genealogy site and got the hit, then passed along [the info] to the local PD in Mobile,” said Joshua Zeman, who investigated the case in the 2016 A&E docuseries The Killing Season. “The dead end is interesting. Hence why there might not be a missing persons report on a missing adult and toddler.”
      The apparent lead wouldn’t be the first that gave investigators hope that they were close to identifying Peaches.
      A tattoo artist in Connecticut previously told police that he was the one who gave Peaches her ink, but he did not have her name on file.
    Asian male victim: latest news
    SOURCE: Ibid
    Unidentified Victim: Asian Male Doe
    As for the Asian male, he is believed to be between 17 and 23 years of age, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, and, authorities have said, was missing his top and bottom molars and one front tooth for some time before he was killed.
    He was also found wearing women’s clothing, according to investigators.
    In 2011, police released a composite sketch of what he might have looked like, to no avail.
    Details are scant for the lone male victim found in the Ocean Parkway brush.
    Heuermann court date September 27: update
    Future Court appearances:
    Heuerman is due back in court November 15 2023.
    Heuermann court date September 27: update
    Heuermann was arrested in July and has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy in 2009 and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in 2010, according to Suffolk County prosecutors. He is also the prime suspect in the 2007 disappearance and death of the fourth Gilgo Beach victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, authorities have said.
    In court, prosecutors said they gave Heuermann’s legal team over 10 terabytes of information to review in August, including subpoenas and court records totaling roughly 8,000 pages. Prosecutors gave additional evidence Wednesday, including about 5,000 pages of evidence related to two victims, the grand jury testimony, police memo books from the search of his home and video surveillance.
    Prosecutors will continue to provide discovery on a rolling basis ahead of the next court date on November 15, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said.
    Speaking outside court, Tierney described the hearing as “typical,” dealing with logistics and discovery. “It’s not exciting, but it’s necessary,” he said.
    Heuermann’s attorney Michael Brown said there was still a lot of discovery that the defense has not received, including any DNA evidence.
    No New Charges for Heuermann, But An Expanded Investigation
    Heuermann still remains charged with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello, and is considered a prime suspect in the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, the four women found dead in Gilgo Beach in December 2010.
    But the investigation is continuing, according to (Suffolk County District Attorney Ray) Tierney, and has expanded.
    “We initially said that our investigation is centered around the Gilgo Four,” he said. “We’re prepared to bring charges with regard three out of the four, and we’re working on the fourth. Now we have expanded our investigation to include other bodies that were recovered in that area. We’ll speak about that when and if we’re prepared to bring charges.”
    The other remains found on either Gilgo Beach or other parts of Ocean Parkway include the partial remains of Jessica Taylor, Valerie Mack, Karen Vergata, and the still unidentified “Peaches,” her daughter, and a male victim known as Asian Male Doe.
    Peaches’ partial remains had first been found at Hempstead Lake State Park in 1997 before more were found along Ocean Parkway on Jones Beach in 2011. Taylor and Mack’s partial remains had been initially found in 2000 and 2003, respectively, in Manorville before each of their skulls were found near Cedar Beach in 2011. Baby Doe and Asian Male were also found off Ocean Parkway in 2011.
    Tierney did not directly confirm if all of those victims were being investigated as the work of Heuermann, but said “We’re investigating other instances where individuals were left on Gilgo.”

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

Chicken is always a welcome dish at our house. Our Miss M created her take on a delicious pecan-crusted chicken served in a luncheon salad at our favorite restaurant years ago.

For a heartier dinner meal, she elected to prepare it as a main dish with yummy sides of her creation as well. The Roasted Squash Medley was a big winner at our dinner table! Try it, you'll love it, too.

Bon appetit ~!

M's Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast Filets and Roasted Squash Medley



  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, made into fillets, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup roasted pecan halves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon equivalent salt substitute (such as Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/4 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • 4 small Bell peppers, (red, green, yellow, or orange or a mixture) seeded and cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices
  • 1 medium yellow Summer squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil, corn oil is nice
  • 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley flakes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • lemon, wedges (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Thaw chicken, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cut breasts in half; slip each piece into a plastic Ziploc-type bag, pound each piece until of an even thickness of about 1/2" each, and set aside. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Lightly grease the foil; set aside.
    2. In a shallow dish, stir together cornmeal, pecans, and Mrs Dash salt substitute. In another shallow dish, stir together flour and cayenne pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the egg and the water. Dip one chicken filet in flour mixture to coat lightly, shaking off any excess. Dip filet in egg mixture, then in cornmeal mixture to coat. Place the coated filet in the prepared hot skillet. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
    3. Saute chicken breast filets in an electric or heavy skillet lightly oiled, on medium heat, turning as necessary to cook through. This process may take 20-25 minutes, depending upon the skillet and heat on your particular appliance. When chicken is fully cooked, the center of a breast filet should run clear liquid or none when pricked with a fork and the filet should be a lovely golden brown on each side. Do not crowd filets or they will tend to steam rather than browning. If the size of your skillet precludes cooking all at once, divide into multiple sauteing processes.
    4. In a large bowl, combine sweet peppers, zucchini, and yellow summer squash (all should have been washed before slicing, no need to peel unless the skin is thickened and tough). Add cooking oil and seasonings; toss to coat. Arrange peppers and squash in the prepared shallow sheet pan, overlapping vegetables as needed to fit in the pan. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, Vegetables should be crisp-tender. If desired, serve with lemon wedges. (Lemon wedges roast nicely if desired, adding a piquant flavor.)

This dish is complimented nicely by a side of buttered mashed potatoes or even rice or pasta. The roasted squash medley provides a perfect counterpoint.

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Learning about Artificial Intelligence's Impact on Writing

Marilyn Carnell, PhD

I recently became aware of a technological change that either frightens or is welcomed by computer users. It is called “AI” for artificial intelligence. At an earlier time, it was better known as an abbreviation for animal breeding practices that were not appropriate for parlor talk. The impact of artificial Intelligence on the writing profession is now a topic of hot debate. After reading the responses generated by AI, I don’t think humans need to be alarmed….yet.

Below are examples of two sites that are free for experimental use – ChatGPT and Bard. I have a keen interest in McDonald County History so I asked the same question of both: “What happened in McDonald County in 1862?” Each gave three drafts of an article in response. I chose to share one draft from each. My comments are inserted in red ink.


In 1862, McDonald County, located in the state of Missouri, was primarily affected by the ongoing American Civil War. While there may not be any specific notable events recorded for that particular county during that year, it is important to understand the broader context of the region during the Civil War. ChatGPT is often inaccurate in my experience. It is programmed to be like an overly friendly buddy. If challenged, it apologizes profusely and makes another guess. Usually, it isn’t correct either.

Missouri was a border state during the American Civil War, meaning it had residents and factions supporting both the Union (Northern states) and the Confederacy (Southern states). The state experienced significant unrest and violence throughout the war as rival factions clashed. red This is true and especially relevant in McDonald County. There were four candidates for president in 1860. The county votes were as follows: John Bell (Constitutional Union) 138, John Breckinridge (Southern Democrat) 195, Stephen Douglas (Democrat), Abraham Lincoln (Republican) 3. The majority of voters favored southern candidates, but a significant number supported the north.

McDonald County, located in the southwestern part of Missouri, was generally sympathetic to the Confederacy. However, due to its remote and rural nature, it did not witness major battles or engagements like other areas in the state. Instead, the county faced sporadic guerrilla warfare, raids, and skirmishes between pro-Union and pro-Confederate irregular forces.

It is clearer to say that McDonald County is located in the southwest corner of the state. Although technically not in Missouri, the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas (March 7-8, 1862) was very close to the Missouri state line and affected the area severely. Many of the dead were buried in the nearby Roller (Missouri) cemetery.

Missouri's border region, including McDonald County, became a hotbed for guerrilla warfare with infamous groups such as Quantrill's Raiders, led by William Quantrill, and other irregular bands operating in the area. These groups frequently engaged in hit-and-run tactics, targeting both military installations and civilian populations, leading to a state of lawlessness and insecurity.

While specific events in McDonald County during 1862 may not be widely documented, the general atmosphere of violence, raids, and guerrilla warfare associated with the American Civil War would have likely affected the county during that time. See the Bard answer below: It records several events that occurred in McDonald County in 1862. It is important to note that for a comprehensive understanding of the local history and specific events in McDonald County during that year, consulting local historical records, archives, or local historians would provide more precise information. 



In 1862, Missouri was a border state during the American Civil War, and McDonald County was a hotbed of guerrilla activity. The county was controlled by the Confederacy for most of the year, but Union troops made several incursions.

Here are some of the events that happened in McDonald County in 1862:

  • February 17: A small skirmish took place on Sugar Creek between Union and Confederate forces. It is not recorded anywhere to my knowledge which Sugar Creek was the scene of the skirmish. It could have been either Big or Little Sugar Creek.
  • March: Union General Franz Sigel led an expedition into McDonald County to remove Confederate troops. The expedition was successful, and Union forces occupied Pineville, the county seat, for several weeks.
  • June 23: A skirmish took place at Pineville between the Second Wisconsin Cavalry and the Confederates under Major David Russell. The Confederates were defeated, with the loss of several prisoners and considerable property.
  • August 12: The Battle of Pineville took place between Companies I, K, and M, 3rd Battalion, 6th Cavalry under Captain Abe Allen and troops under Captain John T. Coffee. During this battle, county records were destroyed.According to the source cited below, this happened on August 12, 1863. Also note that county records were destroyed when a group of bushwhackers led by Bill Hinson, burned the courthouse and destroyed the records in 1863. If using AI, it is important to fact-check.

In addition to these skirmishes and battles, McDonald County citizens suffered greatly from border warfare throughout the war. Both Union and Confederate forces raided the county, stealing food and livestock and killing civilians.

The war had a devastating impact on McDonald County. By the end of the war, the county's population had declined by nearly half. Other sources say the population was decimated by the end of the war with very few occupants.

Suggest opening link in new tab. 1.

Civil War Incidents in McDonald County includes dates County Records Destroyed.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

Roman Catholic Church may be too reluctant to change. . .

My parents were devoutly Roman Catholic when I was growing up. Their devout religious beliefs had a huge impact on my views of the world and on how I interacted with others. I even served as an altar boy in our local church and was a Newman Center member at Lock Haven University during my University years. I later entered and graduated from a Roman Catholic seminary, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy. I had a great education and a spiritual foundation.

In 1962, the year I was born, few Roman Catholics would have predicted the problems facing the Roman Catholic Church of today. Sixty-one years ago, when Pope John XXIII headed the Roman Catholic Church, there was great optimism about the Church’s future.

Pope John XXIII was born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli on the 25th of November in 1881 and died on the 3rd of June in 1963. He was elected Pope on the 28th of October in 1958 and called the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) but did not live to see it to completion due to his death in 1963. He died only four-and-a-half years after his election.

It was Sixty-one years ago, in 1962, that Pope John XXIII said, “let us open up the windows and let some fresh air in the Church.” He was inviting change, which led to the establishment of the Second Vatican Council. The second Vatican Council led to great optimism among Catholics but ultimately was a huge disappointment.

Catholics worldwide expected to see huge changes in the church to address the social changes of the 1960s. Most Catholics in the late 1960s felt the Second Vatican Council did not go far enough and that the Church was out of touch with the times. It also marked the beginning of the decline within the church due to the church hierarchy’s inability to relate to the spiritual needs of its congregation.

Pope John XXIII would certainly be disappointed if he was able to witness the problems plaguing today’s Church. Many Catholics no longer view the church as being relevant in their lives. The US Catholic population is approximately 77.7 million, making it the fourth-largest Catholic population in the world, after Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Most would agree that most Catholics in America are Catholics in name only, not practicing Catholics. Most theologians would also agree that one of the main issues facing today’s Roman Catholic Church is its inability to adapt to the changing times. It’s no surprise that the church has difficulties. They are primarily due to decreased vocations, lower church attendance, and a lack of donations. This has resulted in church closings in the United States and globally.

The pedophile priest issues, the cover-ups, and the whispers of a homosexual subculture among today’s catholic priests and seminarians are not helping the church’s credibility issue either. I would never judge a person by their sexual orientation as long as it is between two consenting adults. I also admire Pope Francis's statement regarding the issue of homosexuality, “who am I to judge?” he said. In the seminary, I was one of a few who was [not] a homosexual. I did not care about the other seminarians' sexual orientations, nor was I homophobic about their sexual preferences. That being said, it has become more than evident that the drop in vocations has resulted in the lowering of church standards among Roman Catholic Seminaries worldwide.

Most Catholics today also believe the church’s teachings are somewhat archaic. They disagree with the patriarchal system and feel women should have authoritative roles. The majority of Catholics also disagree with the Vatican’s position on contraception. According to church statistics, Sixty-one years ago, in 1962, there were approximately 58,000 priests in the U.S. This was mostly due to the influx of immigrants from the previous generation. Since then, the numbers have drastically declined. In a few years, there will be less than 15,000 priests under 70. The lack of viable vocations for the priesthood has also resulted in many seminaries closing.

There were about 180,000 nuns in 1962. They were the backbone of Catholic education but will be virtually non-existent within the next 10 years. Seventy-five percent of Catholics went to Mass regularly in 1962. Today, it’s less than 26 percent. This is mostly due to changing demographics. The younger generations relocate for better employment opportunities. The average person will relocate five times in their lifetime, and their parents’ traditional church is no longer their core belief system.

Many theologians describe today’s Catholics as cafeteria Catholics because they pick and choose their beliefs. In 1962, a greater number followed church mandates dogmatically. Most Catholics today believe the church’s teachings are somewhat outdated.

The church’s beacon of light must shine on the spirit of the times, such as allowing women to become priests and priests to marry. According to recent Pew Research Polls, most of today’s Catholics are no longer relying on religious institutions to tell them what they can and cannot believe. Religious institutions have a tendency to give simplistic, black-and-white answers. The reality of life, however, can be very complex and very gray.

The mystics of old discovered that when the mind draws a blank to the world’s riddles, it turns to the soul for answers, for the soul knows what the mind seeks. As for the church, its spiritual knowledge is only as relevant as its application. Spirituality and religion are useless until properly applied to those in need within the spirit of the times.

I may not be a practicing catholic or religious, but I am spiritual. Centuries ago, the inward journey was taken by a few privileged souls, but in today’s culture, it has become a healthy trend among the young. Pope Francis once said that he sees a smaller but much stronger church in the future. He also said that the universal church is not ready for Vatican Three. Perhaps the next Pope, whenever that may come about, may see the necessity to reopen the church windows to invite the spirit of the times in because in order for the church to survive. It will have to bring about a positive, spiritual change out of necessity rather than convenience by reaching the hearts of its congregations.

Pope John XIII’s legacy was inviting change, but unfortunately, the change did not go far enough. There is a serious disconnect between the spirituality the average catholic seeks and the church’s institutional dogma. The Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy might be slightly fearful of the changing and progressive times. It has also been said that today’s Z Generation, perhaps lacking in spiritual insights, are still the most knowledgeable and educated of all previous generations. They rarely turn to institutions for answers, but that does not mean our era is not ready for a Vatican Three.

This is a perfect time for the Vatican Council to reach out to those who are Catholic in name only.

Always with love,
Thomas F O'Neill

    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Phone (410) 925-9334
    China Mobile: 011 (86) 13405757231
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill

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On Trek


By Judith Kroll

The Twinkle in my Eye

Everywhere I look there is a twinkle in my eye, just like the stars that shine, and twinkle all the time
The sights we see always amaze, and pass twinkles of love with every gaze.
I see a tree and think of me, loving the sun and rain, the shade it gives, the colors it shares, cause many a stare from me.
I watch the animals scamper around, wild and domestic. Curious little creatures, just like me.
The sun, the moon, the clouds that form, the peaceful serenity, cause that twinkle in my eyes, to flash incessantly.

WE, are all connected, and WE interact continuously. When I sight a loved one, coming into my view
My whole soul awakens with love, and reminds me...We are all one, permanently, making life twinkly.
I am grateful every day, for all the goodness I can see
May I keep the positive twinkles in my eye, and let the negatives Flee.
Judith 9/21/23


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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

Chew on This And A Life with Animals

      It all started at a dinner in Blessington last June. During the meal a person across the table was gazing fixedly at me. I was sitting beside one Tom O’ Connor and I said to him, “I think that person fancies me.” Tom initially informed me that the person to whom I had been alluding was not into necrophilia. He then said. “You are being watched because you are chewing with your mouth open and that is the height of bad manners. “

      I said “It’s not bad manners. Civilisation has warped our imagination and political correctness has made us victims of convention.” Then, because I knew his area of expertise ( he has a degree in Agricultural Science) I continued, “It’s not natural to chew with the mouth closed, there are 200 species of ruminant animals on the planet and you won’t see any of them chewing with their mouth closed,” I then pointed out that the Late Norman Wisdom used to do it playfully to “annoy” his family.

      Tom then quoted some philosopher or other whose name I can’t recall who, according to Tom, said, “Just because you can thrill a toddler by chewing with your mouth open doesn't mean you should.”

       This cross between a discussion and an argument continued between us until the dessert came around. At which point I said; “Listen Tom . Before the year is out I’ll give a speech that will prove beyond doubt that chewing with the mouth open is the most beneficial way to eat.”

      You see I already knew that an expert from the University of Oxford had established that eating with your mouth open is the best way to consume food, Prof Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist, found that it maximises flavour and allows you to get as much pleasure as possible out of each mouthful. Professor Spence and his team found quote; “ . . that chewing food with your mouth open can make food taste better and can help “volatile organic compounds” reach the back of the nose which can improve the taste of food. Volatile organic compounds are molecules that can create aromas and contribute to the flavour of food. So the benefit of them reaching the back of our nose means it can stimulate cells responsible for our smell, which can “enhance” the dining experience. “ Charles Spence, points out that we have, “. . . been doing it all wrong .When it comes to sound, we like noisy foods – crunchy and crispy. Both crisps and apples are rated as more pleasurable when the sound of the crunch is amplified ” .

      So, to best hear the crunch of an apple, a potato crisp, a carrot stick, celery or a cracker, crispbread or a handful of popcorn, we should always ditch our manners and chew with our mouths open. The professor also points out that people should use their hands to eat their food where possible. “Our sense of touch is also vital in our perception of food on the palate,” he says. The research shows that what you feel in the hand can change or bring out certain aspects of the tasting experience. Feeling the smooth, organic texture of the skin of an apple in our hand before biting into it is likely to contribute to a heightened appreciation of the juicy, sweet, crunch of that first bite. This can be extended to the feeling of grains of salt sticking to the fingers when eating say a smoked cod and chips with our hands or the sugary residue of buttercream on a hand after biting into a slice such dangerous food as wedding cake. The experts say the first taste is with the fingers/hand. Texture provide useful information about the freshness of produce such as apples.

      Wine experts and professional coffee tasters know to let the air in while tasting, so why not try the same by eating an apple with your mouth open. It may help to make the most of the taste that comes from the retro nasal olfaction – that as you know is the smell that emerges from the back of back of your mouth into the back of your nose when eating and drinking.”

      New York Post editor Maureen Callahan, spotted a raft of celebs chewing with mouths open. I’m not going to name them but Ms Callaghan did in her piece in the Sunday Edition of the paper.

       I contacted Professor Spence and asked him what sort of feedback he got from writers of food etiquette and allied politically correct institutions. He said his discovery had hit a nerve. He told me, “I have received some of my first hate email!!”

      The wine and coffee experts appear to be in agreement and had been in touch with him and Debrett's, who publish all kinds of handbooks on etiquette now allow their readers stroke fine diners to eat SOME things with their hands.”

       It is hard to believe but It's against the law to slurp your soup in public places in New Jersey. Apparently, noisy eating can be more than just a social faux pas in the state of New Jersey. This law may stem from an attempt to enforce manners in public, but it seems rather excessive to me and I think it would be difficult to enforce it today.

      I have come up with a poster for eateries that may want to attract less than polite customers such as myself. Now, with Oxford approval isn’t it time that we, open-mouthed chewers,

formed some sort of association. How about CAVE, C.A.V.E. “Chew and View Enthusiastically.”

* * * * *

      Raised by the Zoo, is the story of almost four decades spent working in Dublin Zoo. Gerry Creighton's father was a keeper at Dublin Zoo and young Gerry followed his father’s footsteps and joined the zoo at 15. I’ll tell you more about him next month.

      See you in November.

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A Mother's Lessons


By Danielle Cote Serar

In September I had the distinction of turning 43. I’m still on the younger half of the 40s, but I can’t help but reflect on the lessons of growing older as I celebrated another year around the sun.

Lesson One: You can’t give from an empty cup. If anything this year has taught me, or rather reinforced a lesson I thought I’d learned before, it’s that you can’t give from an empty cup. 2023 for me has been one challenge after draining challenge. I have found myself running on empty more than I care to admit, yet still responsible for so much. I was short-tempered, exhausted, easy to trigger, and prone to losing it. As a mom of two littles, that’s not a good position to be in. Taking care of myself wasn’t selfish. Rather it was necessary so I could be a better mother, friend, business owner, wife, and more. I needed to acknowledge what I needed AND follow through on it. By giving myself permission to put me first, I equally gave myself permission to do and be better.

Lesson Two: True friendships are rare. Cherish them. I shared recently how I lost my best friend. She and I had been friends for close to 25 years… at 43, while not impossible, that’s not a friendship that is easily replaced. The contentment in being ourselves around each other, the lack of fear of being real and vulnerable, and the sense of completeness when together is something priceless. Whether we saw each other the day before or hadn’t seen each other in months, it was always like no time had passed and like it had been a lifetime. My sister of the heart. That’s not something you find every day.

Lesson Three: Making friends doesn’t happen by accident. I can remember telling my son when he was a teen that you have to be a friend to make a friend. In the last several years, I have taken this to heart. Actively seeking out new relationships in hopes of making friendship connections. But it is through intention and commitment to making the time and effort that I have grown those connections into friends.

Lesson Four: The most dreaded words I can hear right now… “I do it.” In May my youngest turned two and with it he embraced two to the fullest… every single stereotype of a two-year-old, he has made his own and then some. But for the momma who is always in a hurry, desperate for one thing in her house to stay clean after cleaning it for the 100th time, and wanting peace so badly she feels it in her bones, the phrase I fear the most is “I do it”. The phrase that means my toddler is determined to do something, most likely something beyond his skill set or age, on his own. And it is always paired with we are running late, it will cause an unreasonably category 5 mess or my saying no will cause the tantrum of all tantrums.

Lesson Five: Saying no is saying yes to something else… and that is okay. Boundaries have always been a struggle as someone who gives. I don’t want to hurt or have people go without, but this year has taught me fully the value of saying no. Saying yes to sleep when I say no to a cookie order that would overtax me. Saying yes to peace of mind when I say no to an invitation when all I want to do is sit and refuel. Saying yes to spending time with my littles when they want to be held a bit longer at night knowing they won’t be little long.

Lesson Six: Toddlers are the real boss of the house. As my son turned two this year, it’s been a constant reminder that a toddler is the real boss. After so long of being screamed at, you just want peace so you give the toddler the gummies. They are in charge.

Lesson Seven: Laundry and dishes are never done. I’m not sure if they multiply overnight or what but they are truly never-ending.

Lesson Eight: Acceptance and Agreement are not the same. Age has taught me this for sure, especially as my own beliefs have evolved over time. Because I can accept someone’s life choices, political beliefs, partner in life or religious beliefs, does not mean I agree with it for my own choices or life. If for the sake of the value they bring into my life, I can and do accept that it is their life path. The value of what they bring to my life - their uniqueness, their perspective, their personality - is worth more than me being right.

Lesson Nine: Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. No one has lived a life where they have not needed forgiveness nor been in need of forgiving another. Holding on to the resentment and anger only festers in my soul I have found. Forgiving someone has not necessarily impacted the person I’m forgiving, but it always impacts me. By forgiving someone their transgression, I’m giving myself permission to let go of the pain that their action caused. Forgiveness is about me finding peace within myself and allowing myself to heal.

Lesson Ten: It’s okay to not be okay. And the biggest lesson I have learned in the last 365 days… is admitting that you are not okay, is not a weakness but rather a position of strength. It’s recognizing that I’m not in balance and by acknowledging it, I’m giving myself permission to seek the help I need. No one is 100% one hundred percent of the time. It’s normal to have moments or even seasons where we are not okay. But it’s not okay to bury it, giving it power over us. Being okay with not being okay… and working through that season of not being okay… is actually normal.

I’m not sure what 43 has in store for me but I know this much, I have many many many more lessons ahead… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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Mackinac Island Excursion-Finalie


By Bud Lemire

Mackinac Island Excursion

Completion - A Pictorial Review

This lovely trip that was featured in our September issue as it began, has been fully covered pictorially, and in the photographer's own words in his own Blogspot with every pic taken on the trip.

Choosing to reproduce the tale completely here is unnecessary. Just click the link and enjoy his photographic skills and explanatory words. It's like being along on the journey.

His poem about the trip to Mackinac Island is in this issue.

Here is the link to his Blogspot

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Sunday Morning Sunrise


By Walt Perryman

Here it is right before sunrise again,
A brand new day is starting to begin.

I talked to God before I got out of bed,
“It can be a good day,” is what he said.

I asked God, “What it is, that I should do?”
He said, “Believe in me and I will guide you.”

He added, “Keep a positive attitude today,
And, help someone in need along the way.”

It’s here the sun is spreading today’s light,
“Thank you, Lord and help me to live it right.”

©2021 Walt Perryman

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By John McGrath

We watched our life go up in smoke today,
forty years of photographs or more.,
So long we’d wondered what we kept them for,,
decades gathering dust until the day,
our children come to pack our home away.,
Far better now to cast one backward glance,
at those who’ve shared our mad and merry dance,,
a laugh, a tear, a wry smile of dismay,,
before committing each into the flames.,
forgotten friends and half-remembered names,,
With nothing now but memories to own,
of all we’ve lost and all we’ve ever known,,
the fire consumes our youthful selves and we,
are free to reconstruct our history.

©December 2018 John McGrath
Previously appeared in author's recent collection,
After Closing (Moybella Press 2021).

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Gypsy Rose


By Kay Forristal

I remember Gypsy Rose with hair sleek and black,
Decorated with pearl pins, cascading down her back.
Great rings dangled from her ears, rings on every finger,
I loved to see her call and loved to linger.

"Madam," she spoke in softest tones,
“Silk ribbons for the little one's hair,
Beautiful hair slides for the child.
Any colour, sold in pairs.
And for Madam.
Silk stockings, perfume and jewelry,
Rustproof clothes pegs, the strongest kind.
They'll last and last on your clothesline.”
“Choose something from my basket, Lady?"

On our kitchen table she spread her wares,
Lovely things, I could only stare.
Diamonds sparkled and she smiled at me,
She tossed her head and laughed flippantly.
Bracelets jingled on her arms.
We bought the goods from Gypsy Rose
Enchanted by her karma.

©2000 Kay Forristal

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Jenny Wren


By John I. Blair

Human ears so love a rhyme
Small wonder that this wren
I’m staring at today
Should be named Jenny
(As I’m sure she is).

Perched high upon the top
Of my ragged holly border
She sits and neatly preens
Each feather of her tiny body,
Ensuring none is soiled or out of place.

And as she preens, her pointy face
Looks thoughtful, for she knows this act
Deserves her best attention – as it does
Since pest-free health and fleet flight
Depend upon this care.

I hold my breath
For fear she’ll fly away
Before she’s done –
My contribution, if you please,
To aiding Nature’s order.

©9/16/2023 John I. Blair

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MackinacIsland 2023


By Bud Lemire

We were taking a trip to Mackinac Island, and an overnight stay
Thanks to the Senior Companions and Foster Grandparents, we could get away
Off to the Island, of the bike and the horse
I'd be bringing my camera, of course
A three hour ride on the bus, to take us there
Then we took Shepler's Ferry, to Mackinac Island is where
We left our luggage, at the Hotel where we'd stay
Had lunch at Mary's Bistro, which was a start to our day

I rented a bike from a Bike Shop, and went for a ride
Looking for the Secret Garden, now where could it hide
I found it by the Grand Hotel, it was among some trees
Then I rode the bike, to the next place with ease
Fort Mackinac, was the next place I'd go
Up the many stairs, I took it very slow
Met some soldiers, dressed up like long ago
Chatted with them, after I said hello

My next stop, was the Butterfly House
I quietly entered, just like a mouse
A big blue butterfly, was flying around
Butterflies were flying, close to the ground
Something was running around quickly, all over the ground
I was told it was a button quail, that was running around
Off to the next place, which was the Arch Rock
I took a roadside picture, I didn't need to use my lock

Then to the Chippewa Hotel, where I would stay
There was a mix up, but it turned out okay
I checked out my room, and had to smile
Then I went shopping, for a little while
Dropped off the stuff, then walked down main street to the west
Caught the sunset, past the Hotel Iroquois was the best
You could see the Mackinac Bridge, in the picture I took
It was a beautiful night, I had fun taking a walk and a look

I had Salmon at the Pink Pony, for a supper time meal
I really enjoyed it, for the price it's a great deal
Myk Rise was playing, all the songs that we know
I took a walk down Main street, taking pictures to show
A bride to be was drunk, but happy as could be
She posed for a picture, it brought back a memory I sat and visited with Connie and Kat, at the Pink Pony for awhile
Then I went to my room, because I couldn't walk another mile

The next morning, I was up early to catch the sunrise
It wasn't too bad at all, it was more of a surprise
Then I walked to the East, taking pictures on the way
What a wonderful start it was, to another great day
Packed up and checked out of my room, returning the key
Had Breakfast with Terry and Linda, blueberry pancakes for me Headed back to Shepler's Ferry, with our luggage in hand
We had a really great time, in fact you could say it was grand

©Aug 30, 2023 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

I had so much fun on this trip to Mackinac Island. I was able to fill
several things on my bucket list (Renting a bike, finding the Secret
Garden, seeing Fort Mackinac, going in The Butterfly House, and
taking a picture and seeing The Arch Rock, riding on top of the
Ferry on the way back). I made my time count!I took many pictures
(500), and had the time of my life.


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Our Cell Phone Addiction


By Walt Perryman

I am rambling some more about our cell phone addiction,
And how we stay on our phones without paying attention.

I have seen a family of three dining together, all alone,
A child wants his dad’s attention, but he’s on the phone.

The father pauses his conversation and scorns the kid,
Then returns to his phone not realizing the harm he did.

Someday the family will pay a price for their inconsideration,
Because the kid’s rejection will someday turn into retaliation.

I wondered if they were enjoying their meal together, alone?
Maybe God will call and say, “I’ve tried to talk to you,
but you were on the phone”.

©Sep 25, 2023 Walt Perryman

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By John McGrath

in the Thirteenth Century
discovered mathematically precise
progressions and went on to theorise
that zero, one and one and two and three
would show how rabbits breeding in a field
might multiply. Seven centuries went by,
then Turing in his garden one day spied
these self-same forms in sunflowers so revealed.
Such beauty and precision may be found
in ferns and fir-cones, flowers and all around
on land and sea – a golden ratio.
And yet for all this symmetry, we know
that sometimes flowers, like men, refuse to fit
our expectations and are finer for it.

© Circa 2014 John McGrath
Previously appeared in author's collection,
Closing The Circle (Moybella Press 2015)  

In Ballyegan Bog


By John McGrath

In Ballyegan Bog the cuckoo’s tune
has changed to mark the turning of the year.
Through summer’s haze the lark sings loud and clear
and soars above the dancing ceannabhán.
Where lines of neat turf-tepees strut and seem
to mock neglected neighbours with disdain,
sad strips of black spaghetti wait in vain
for willing hands. The bog-land trampoline
beneath my feet springs back as I march on,
remembering those summer days long gone
when life was sweet as heather-scented air
and feet were bare and fleet as children’s are,
when time endured and even work was play
and skylarks sang the live-long, lark-song day.

Ceannabhán = Bog c
©May 2017 John McGrath
Previously appeared in author's collection,
Still in the Dreaming,( Kerry C.C. July 2017).

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Wounded Child


By Kay Forristal

Hearing your step in the corridor, I trembled with fear
You had that effect whenever you were near
You would ask a question and though I knew the answer
My mind went blank, mouth dry, I couldn’t even whisper
You pulled the cane out slowly from behind the holy picture
Twelve lashes to the right hand, twelve to the left
You fed off my fear that whole year, brought me to despair
Did your job well, put me through hell, beat me every day

I believed that I was ugly, stupid and thick
Critical words flew like spears from your lips
Did everything you asked of me
Brought in money for the Missions
Gave my communion dress away
Sought your approval every possible way

Then came that dreadful day you stared at me and said
“Miss O'Carroll, come up here, speak up now!
Tell the class loud and clear who you love?”
I didn’t know what to answer, but then, whispered,
“I love God Sister.”
“You love the devil.
Tell the class you love Old Nick
Go into the playground where everyone can hear
Shout it aloud five times and return here.”

Sister, why did you do it? What did you gain?
You injured my body, mind and spirit,
Your actions caused long-lasting shame

©circa 1990s Kay Forristal

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So far this is my morning . . .


By Walt Perryman

Reach for my cell phone is the first thing I do.,
And I check for messages, weather, and FB too.

I even make coffee with my phone in my hand,
Why I do this is something I do not understand.

Next, I trade my cell phone for my laptop.
Even when I have stuff to do, I cannot stop.

I quit smoking because my addiction was killing me,
Now it is cyber space, something I cannot even see.

So, today I am going to stop my computer rage,
But first I will need to check my Face book page.

Good morning, everyone!
After I post this I ‘might’ be done

. ©Sep 26, 2023 Walt Perryman

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The U. P. State Fair 2023


By Bud Lemire

I was once again at U. P, State Fair this year
Night Ranger, Switchfoot, Jackson Dean, all played here
Ashley McBryde too, they had sung and played
On the Midway was freshly squeezed lemonade

The Strolling Piano, played and sang music everyone knew
The Pork Chop Revue had tricks, that the pigs knew how to do
The Doves were released, each day at three
Everyone loved it, when the doves were set free

I rode my bike there, every day
I enjoyed Fair Week, in every way
Norm's Fries, were so good to eat
A slice of Papa Murphy's pizza, was a treat

In all my years at the Fair, I've never tried
A Corn Dog before, but it sure felt good inside
I went through the barns, taking pictures along the way
I saw so many people, those I don't see every day

The Ferris Wheel, was changing colors in the night
Every ride was lit up, with some kind of colored light
Some of the rides, went so very high
You'd think, they touched the clouds in the sky

The Antique Village, and the Pocket park
Were booming with people, until it got dark
The Ruth Butler Building, had people selling things
The Petting Zoo was fun, but had no animals with wings

Some kids posed, with an alligator or a snake
Really? No kidding, give me a break
All in all, there were many people, it was a great time
I take it this year, with so many going, it was a good sign

©Aug 23, 2023 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

2023 was a truly wonderful year at the U. P. State Fair

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Before it Begun

By Bruce Clifford

I wonder if the game is over?
No longer having to look over my shoulder.
I wonder if you ever cared when you held my hand?
I wonder if you will ever understand?

Have we marched through life in separate ways?
Are we lost in past thinking of all of those yesterdays?

I wonder if there is still time for us?
Not knowing why you put up such a fuss?
I wonder if you ever thought of me after our time was done?
I wonder if it was over before it begun?

©9/15/2023 Bruce Clifford

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This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.