Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

November 2023

“Peering from some high window,
at the gold of November sunset and feeling that
if day has to become night, this is a beautiful way.”

— E. E. Cummings”

Let us hope that November will have more stable, less temp fluctuations, than October did. The Thanksgiving month which none of my authors mentioned for this issue. We have a dozen poems, quite different from each other.

Kay Forristal brings us a couple of her poems "My Town" and "The Fairy Ring." and John McGrath's two sonnets, are "Crabs at Carrigafoyle" and "Ode to Age."

Walt Perryman"s two are "Man Pain VS Woman Pain" and "A Good Time to Pray." Bruce Clifford's "That Exact Way" and "Angel of The Past" came early for this month. John I. Blair has one new poem, "Flame Acanthus." Bud Lemire's illustrated November poems are "Cathy Plank," "Major Utilities," and "Halloween 2023."

"Introspective" by Thomas F. O'Neill shares his experiences at an early age, working with Mother Theresa,. in his column "Introspective." Judith Kroll's subject, "The Rainbow Bridge" is the whole "On Trek" column." Pauline Evanosky's column "Woo Woo," talks about how even psychics are affected "When Things Go Sideways." Marilyn Carnell's column "Sifoddling Along" shares a loving tribute to her uncle who was a WWI soldier. We wish the best to the columnist Danielle Cote Serar whose home and business activities keep her hopping, so much so she's going to close her very helpful and interesting column. "A Mother's Lessons."

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 December!.

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Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

Just when it seems all is quiet on the Gilgo Beach Serial Murders case, something new grabs the headlines. This one was a real doozy. For those readers who have not been following the case either through my columns or in the news, included are links to my first three columns as well as to newsworthy interviews or other video coverage.

Now, let's look at the blockbuster news.

Gilgo Beach Serial Murders Case

Additional Victims may be Tied to Rex Heuermann

(October 18, 2023. Press Conference held by Attorney John Ray and attended by Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison)

MILLER PLACE, N.Y. (PIX11) — In a jaw-dropping claim that took the Suffolk County district attorney by surprise, lawyer John Ray appeared with Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison at a Wednesday press conference and said he had four witnesses that tied Rex Heuermann to two other victims in the Gilgo Beach investigation.

“He was a serial user of sex workers,” John Ray said of Heuermann. “They would sometimes come to his house, sometimes two at a time.”

Ray said the first witness made a claim that Heuermann belonged to a “swingers club,” Le Trapeze, which was based in Midtown Manhattan, not far from where Heuermann worked as an architect. The witness said Heuermann had posted on a wall at Le Trapeze 27 years ago, asking for a sexual encounter at his Massapequa Park home.

The woman said her boyfriend in 1996 was an NYPD detective, referred to in a sworn affidavit as R.W.

“In February 1996, R.W. picked up a woman I believe to be Karen Vergata in New York City, on the way to the Heuermann house,” the alleged witness said. “She was hungry and homeless.”


Thus began the jaw dropping, news breaking, surprise Press Conference called by eccentric, dogged, long time attorney John Ray who has represented the family of Shannan Gilbert since she went missing in May of 2010. (He also now represents the family of another victim whose partial remains were found on Gilgo Beach, Jessica Taylor.)

The fact of a news conference being called by John Ray was not the tantalizing shocker that caused news outlets around the nation to sit up and take notice. Through the years since Mari Gilbert, Shannan's mother, engaged Ray to stir action in her daughter's missing person case (that was being purposefully ignored by then-in-charge and since dishonored James Burke), Attorney Ray has held numerous press conferences. No, it was the presence of Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison that jarred everyone's amazed interest.

SCPC Harrison needs no introduction to any of us whose interest in this case extends back to the news of Shannan Gilbert's terrified dash through the exclusive conclave of Oak Beach back in 2010. The baffling unsuccessful search for Gilbert is what ultimately led to the discovery of first one, then three, then four and finally ten sets of remains comprised of both decomposing rather fresh corpses to scant skeletal parts of long ago dismembered victims.

It was the appointment of Rodney Harrison as Suffolk County's Police Commissioner that really moved the stalled case along. Harrison came into office having stated unequivocally he planned to make the Gilgo Beach mystery his to solve. He began by assembling a highly effective interagency team of professionals dedicated to the Gilgo Beach Serial Murders case. . Appointed in December of 2021, by January of 2022 Harrison had assembled a top notch team. The dedicated task force included investigators, prosecutors, and analysts initially. In light of the expanding investigation into potential additional victims, two seasoned homicide detectives have been assigned to the team. Their focus will be on the Gilgo Beach victims and any new evidence linking Heuermann to other potential victims of the serial murder suspect.

By February of 2022, the task force had uncovered key information buried among the voluminous historical evidentiary materials that turned their focus to in-depth investigation of Heuermann. Aided by the FBI's specialized utilization of cell phone data drilling, the task force was able to compile extensive damning evidence linking Heuermann to 1) burner phones he used to solicit the Gilgo Four victims, 2) to their personal cell phones (which he used to taunt their family members after dispatching the young women), and 3) to email accounts tied back to the burner phones and to his solicitation of the women for sex. Their work resulted in an indictment by the secret grand jury (a strategy employed to maintain confidentiality as to the task force's activities once they discovered by scrutiny of his internet search activity that Heuermann was continually tracking the team's efforts.) Heuermann was arrested 13 July 2023 as he walked from his office to the commuter train he typically took to his home in Massapequa Park. It is believed surveillance of his burner phone(s) and Internet activity alerted the task force to the possibility of his having a new intended victim in his crosshairs.

SCPC Harrison comments during 18 Oct 2023 Press Conference and immediate reaction by DA Ray Tierney

The Suffolk County police commissioner said new witnesses have connected the suspect in the Long Island serial killer investigation to two more victims that were discovered along Ocean Parkway.

Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said he’s investigating claims from the witnesses who link suspect Rex Heuermann to Karen Vergata, previously known as Fire Island Jane Doe, and to Shannan Gilbert, the sex worker whose disappearance led to the discovery of at least 10 sets of remains more than a decade ago.

“It's something that we need to take a closer look at, and we need to make sure we're investigating it," Harrison said, adding that he personally interviewed one of the witnesses. "And that's why the task force will stay in place. That's why we added more manpower to it.”

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the cases of Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello and Megan Waterman.

The witnesses

Two women gave sworn statements to John Ray, an attorney who represents some of the victims' families.

The first witness claims she worked as a taxi driver in 2009 and believes she encountered Rex Heuermann and Shannan Gilbert at the Sayville Motor Lodge. She said she called the police tip line twice after Heuermann's arrest this summer but never heard back.

The second witness said she is a former swinger. She claims that she, her boyfriend and Karen Vergata (formerly known as Fire Island Jane Doe and Jane Doe Number 7) traveled from New York City to Heuermann's home in Massapequa Park in 1996 for a sex party.

The fallout

Ray detailed the claims in the two witness statements alongside Harrison at a news conference on Wednesday. Ray said the witnesses contacted him directly.

Harrison said the investigation is ongoing. "If people have a reluctancy to come forward to law enforcement and they want to go to John Ray, then it's important that we take this information and then we follow forward with furthering the investigation," Harrison said.

The comments took Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney by surprise. In a statement, Tierney said there are no private attorneys on the task force and urged tipsters to contact his office.


District Attorney Ray Tierney issues statement

Not everyone was pleased with the press conference jointly attended by Attorney John Ray and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison. Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney promptly issued a bulletin type statement that practically screamed his outrage. The full text of that statement appears below:


* * * * *

Gus Garcia-Roberts

Suffolk DA Ray Tierney effectively denounces the LISK-related press conference John Ray just held with police commissioner Rodney Harrison, saying that the case's task force was not informed beforehand - and that witnesses should speak with them, not a private attorney:


Without providing any advance notice to the prosecutors pursuing this case in court or the Gilgo Beach Homicide Task Force members investigating these murders day in and day out, we watched today's press conference not knowing what was going to be reported. We will continue to investigate this case through the Grand Jury process and not through press conferences. No private attorneys are or have ever been members or agents of the Task Force.

Any citizen who believes that they have relevant evidence regarding the Gilgo Beach investigation should report it to the investigative agencies that comprise the Task Force. Those agencies are the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the Suffolk County Police Department's Homicide Bureau, Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, New York State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Any attorneys representing victims or their families, by definition have a conflict of interest and should not be a part of the investigation. Accordingly, private attorneys are not part of the Task Force and potential witnesses should not be reaching out to a private attorney with an interest in the outcome of the case.

Interview with Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison

The "Fallout" so indelicately handled by DA Ray Tierney expressing his dismay and outrage at the hastily assembled press conference at Attorney John Ray's office set off alarm bells that another internal scuffle (if not outright battle) might, once again, result in the Gilgo Beach case being put on a back burner. The public, so long denied an honest and professional investigation into this serial murder case, feared the worst. To counter those fears, SCPC Harrison agreed to a publicized interview to discuss the task force's continued focus and to quiet rumors of an internal political squabble between DA Tierney and himself.

That interview may be seen utilizing this link:

Karen Vergata

“I saw Rex on T.V. recently and a picture of Karen Vergata,” the Aug. 31 affidavit released by Ray on Wednesday read. ”I recognized her as the woman who [my former boyfriend] and I brought to Heuermann’s home. I was shocked, and deeply sorrowful for having left her behind at Heuermann’s house. I told John Ray of these things because I needed to speak with him so that Karen would not be left behind again.”


The full text of the two Affidavits signed and sworn by the two witnesses (who are not known to one another and who contacted John Ray separately some time prior to August 2023 when he first spoke publicly about their information) can be read in their entirety, in redacted form, by utilizing the links at the end of this column.

New photo(s)

This was Karen's last high school picture as colorized and enhanced by Lauren Lee Malloy @LaurenLee_915 who explained "One more for Karen Vergata. Found the oldest photo I could of her, as close in age as she would’ve been in 1996. Enhanced…then age-progressed to see what she might’ve looked like as an older woman. She deserved to have those smile lines. Rest easy, Karen"

It shows how lovely she was with that gorgeous smile. The age enhanced version of this added the wrinkles one might expect at 34.

Father's photo and last call

Her father, Dominic Vergata, said in court papers that the last time he spoke to his daughter was on his birthday in February 1996, shortly before she disappeared. He hired a private investigator to try to find her and turned over DNA samples to authorities but was never able to locate her. That birthday was Valentine's Day 1996

SCPC Harrison statement re Affidavit from alleged Swinger witness

Commissioner Harrison acknowledged he had two detectives attend and participate in the deposition of this witness.

Further, he answered the question as to whether the NYPD detective, identified by the girlfriend/swinger partner as R. W., had been located. Yes. He said. That officer has been contacted.

Allegations of involvement of Asa Ellerup, estranged wife of Rex Heuermann

The Affidavit from the "swinger" witness implicated Rex Heuermann's wife, Asa Ellerup, as an active participant in his sexual escapades. Two other witnesses (who gave statements to Attorney John Ray but did not submit sworn affidavits) also indicated Asa was present when she, a sex worker, serviced Rex Heuermann downstairs while Asa went upstairs.

These claims are being investigated. Asa Ellerup's attorney has disputed these claims in their entirety. No charges have been filed or mentioned as an outcome of these witnesses providing their statements. It is understood any criminal involvement discovered in the course of investigation would be dealt with as appropriate.

Shannan Gilbert

SCPC Harrison statement re Affidavit from alleged witness Cab driver

Commissioner Harrison validated Attorney John Ray's statement that he had participated in that witness's deposition. He said her claims will be investigated. If found to be verifiable and accurate, a deeper investigation would be warranted. Should this uncover facts that might implicate Rex Heuermann in her death, that would result in an in-depth investigation with every effort made to find evidentiary materials that could be presented in court. "No stone will be left unturned" as the purpose of the task force is to find justice for the Gilgo Beach victims and provide closure to their families and loved ones.

Link to Affidavits
(9 pages in total for the two sworn, signed, redacted documents)

Scant additional information related to the progress of the case and ongoing investigatory findings is being closely held at this point in time. Very brief comments by District Attorney Raymond Tierney or Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison indicate the following:

    Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison stated in his interview with Joe Giaccalone (retired NY Police Detective who now hosts an Internet podcast) that he expects major news to link the murder of Maureen Brainard-Barnes to Heuermann. Further, he indicated that will occur due to completion of the DNA examination linking her death to Heuermann. (See link above.)
    SCPC Harrison acknowledged he sought out Attorney John Ray soon after coming on board as Commissioner and forming the task force. He stated DA Tierney was absolutely correct in wanting potential witnesses or complainants to go directly to the task force or the Crime Stoppers tip line; with the proviso that it be understood as a former working detective he values information from the public. If someone is more comfortable confiding in a valued community leader (clergy, medical practitioner, pillar within the community such as an organizer or activist, or to an attorney such as John Ray), he will investigate the tip and ensure the information is not ignored.
    Commissioner Harrison announced the task force has added two experienced investigators whose job will be to work exclusively on leads such as those provided by the witnesses who were deposed and signed official Affidavits. He further stated if the information linking Heuermann to the murder of Shannan Gilbert proved authentic and verifiable, he would absolutely cause a change to the manner of death from "accidental" to "homicide".
    Peaches' suspected identification and, by association, that of her toddler currently referred to as "Toddler Doe", is possibly imminent.
    The Asian male cross dresser's identity is still being investigated.
    Next day in Court for Rex Heuermann is scheduled for November 15, 2023.

Note:[See prior columns providing more comprehensive coverage/background: 


    Part 1.
    Part 2.
    Part 3.
    (Get to know SCPC Rodney Harrison:
Links to Affidavits:


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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

One of the nicest things about being a foodie is being able to experiment with things. One of the things that I really enjoy is French-based cuisine. This recipe sounds fancy (and it is) but it's relatively straightforward to fix and oh! So delicious. it's Crab Stuffed Flounder Almondine enhanced by Sauce Mornay, which in turn is the basic French white sauce known as Bechamel with a goodly amount of Gruyere cheese melted into the Bechamel and whisked to a silky finish.

My bride created this divine recipe way back in the '70's. It has stood the test of time.Try this recipe. It's beyond delicious, call it delectable!

Bon appetit ~!

Ms Crab Stuffed Flounder Almondine with Sauce Mornay


For the Crab-Almondine Stuffed Flounder:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch green onions, minced both green and bulb or 2 small shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced (de-string before cutting)
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth (can substitute white or red wine vinegar)
  • A few dashes hot sauce, such as Emeril's. (Can use Tabasco, Cholula, or Sriracha, but we prefer Emeril's.)
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup sliced and toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh crabmeat, well cleaned and shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 flounder fillets, skin removed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
For the Sauce Mornay:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced and lightly toasted almonds

Prepare the Flounder:

    Step 1.
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    Step 2.
    Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onion or shallots, garlic and celery; cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
    Step 2.
    Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and hot sauce to taste, and let cook for another minute.
    Step 3.
    Scrape celery, garlic, and onion mixture into a medium bowl. Add the Panko breadcrumbs and fresh parsley. Add Old Bay, salt and pepper (to taste); mix to combine. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Fold in half of the almonds, reserving half for garnish.
    Step 4.
    Prepare the Flounder fillets: rinse and using a paper towel, pat dry. (This helps the fish to achieve a nice light brown finish when baked.) Arrange each fillet on the baking sheet.
    Step 5.
    Divide the Crab-Almondine stuffing mixture in fourths. Spread one-fourth mixture evenly along half of each fillet. Fold fillet over to enclose (secure with toothpicks if necessary). Dot evenly with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    Step 6.
    Bake until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes, at pre-heated 375° temperature.

Prepare the Sauce Mornay:

    Step 1.
    Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a basic Bechamel (white sauce). Stir flour and butter roux until it passes its "raw" stage, and has achieved a light beige shade (like wet sand).
    Step 2.
    Step 2. Cook, stirring, for a couple minutes and then whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to blend roux and milk to a silky sauce, and cook for a few minutes. Lower temperature if necessary to prevent thickening or forming lumps.
    Step 3.
    Season with some salt, pepper and nutmeg. The sauce should be smooth and fairly liquid.
    Step 4.
    Remove from the heat and add the Gruyere, stirring until fully melted and combined. Cover and remove from direct heat but keep warm.

Serve each stuffed flounder fillet on selected serving plate, alongside mashed potatoes or wild or white rice or simple buttered pasta, as desired. Top with Mornay sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

A simple salad and a crusty hot bread with sweet creamery butter makes a perfect meal. Serve with a green vegetable side for a lovely touch.


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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

November 1918

      My uncle Clancy Estes (Jack) Bunch was a golden boy of his generation in McDonald County. The oldest of seven children, he was born on a small farm in a log cabin near Jane, Missouri, in 1896. The family moved to an 80 acre farm on Big Sugar Creek in 1903. My mother, the baby of the family, was 16 years younger and idolized him. She was about 5 years old when he left the farm to work as a cowboy on a horse and sheep ranch in Wyoming, so she had few memories of him, but because of his tragic death at age 22, his memory hovered in the background of her life like a saintly ghost.

      Uncle Clancy was often mentioned when I was growing up, and I felt I almost knew him. It seemed like he had just stepped into another room, but was still part of my family.

      In my mom’s unpublished memoir, she recounted his fate. “When WWI was declared he was drafted as he was registered in Wyoming. He didn’t want to leave from home so he left from there. He died on October 18, 1918 in St. Dies, France from flu and yellow jaundice. They had marched them in the rain the day before he collapsed in order to get his company to the front lines. We received the telegram telling of his death on November 8, just three days before the war was over. He was buried in France until June 1921 when his body was brought back to Jane Missouri for final burial. Jane had been my parent’s home before moving to Big Sugar.”

      Another account I read described how his casket was delivered to the train station in Lanagan and brought to the cemetery in a wagon hitched to a team of mules. Neighbors gathered at the graveside service and brought cut flowers from their yards to decorate his grave. A few years later, his army buddy came to visit and tell the family about his last days. He said that in addition to his physical illness, Clancy was severely affected by “shell shock” the WWI term for PTSD and would have never been the same had he recovered. I think my family took some comfort in that.

      In other stories I heard about that time, Mom said that my grandparents were among the few spared by the Spanish flu that was rampant in the Big Sugar Creek valley that fall. She also said that caring for the sick and doing chores for the neighbors probably saved their sanity, as they were too busy to go into mourning. My 6-year-old mom was so sick that it took almost a year for her to recover, and she missed an entire year of school.

      Additional information: I have been unable to find the words “St. Dies” on the internet which adds to the mystery of Uncle Clancy’s death. I recall hearing that he died in Flanders and as that term refers to an area that is in both France and Belgium, it appears that over time, some of the details have been scrambled. According to Wikipedia, this was a key area in the collapse of the Western Front and the end of WWI. The Hundred Days Offensive began on August 8 and ended on November 11, 1918. It mentions the 5th Battle of Ypres, the rains in October that made the land so muddy that provisions had to be parachuted to the soldiers. It must have been a horrific time. I have the small flag sent to my grandmother with a gold star that signified she was the mother of a fallen soldier. It will go to the McDonald County Historical Society as a token of the memory of a brave young man.

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

Raised by The Zoo and Pure Reflections

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened." (Anatole France.)

I promised that I would tell you more about a wonderful book and a great man- who loves all animals- in November. Well, here it is, “You spend a lifetime with an animal, sometimes more than you spend with your own family,” The words of Gerry Creighton, aged 54, who was a former elephant keeper and operations manager at Dublin Zoo and has now gone onto the world (animal) stage. “It’s very hard not to have a relationship with animals,” he says. Of elephants he says, “For so long we didn’t understand them. They mourn death, they celebrate life, they’re intimate with one another, and they’re intelligent, empathetic, compassionate and kind.”

His new book Raised by the Zoo is part-memoir of his life, much of which has been spent in and around the zoo and part-manifesto for the future of elephant care around the world. Gerry is no stranger to the media. He was the face of RTÉ's series The Zoo, in which his articulate and down-to-earth, charming manner brought the viewer behind-the-scenes to see the ups and downs of life in the zoo. He is regularly approached in his native city and further afield by those who refer to him as “the man from the zoo”.

“Since the show first aired in 2010, Dublin Zoo has welcomed more than one million visitors a year”, he says, lamenting that the unpredictable weather over the summer has threatened that milestone.

Between Gerry, his brother and his father they have more than a century of experience at Dublin Zoo. “I don’t ever remember not being in the zoo,” he says. “My father, Gerry Sr, who was a general curator here and worked his way up from a cat keeper, brought me up here as a young boy when I was two or three years old.” Gerry Sr worked at the zoo for 51 years and met his future wife in the restaurant there, where she worked. One day on his way to feed some animals – bucket in hand – he asked her out. “She refused,” he says. “A bucket of mackerel is probably the most unromantic gesture ever – but listen, the rest is history.”

“You spend a lifetime with an animal, sometimes more than you spend with your own family,” says Gerry Snr. Gerry Junior grew up in Stoneybatter, just off Manor Street. When he was growing up, his peers were often engaged in petty crime and fell into substance abuse. Instead of pursuing that path, he put his time into animals and boxing. He was the Irish under-18s middleweight champion at one point in the 1980s. On one occasion he visited Mountjoy Prison to give a talk on animals. The prison officers warned him that the inmates might be tough on him, he says. “When I walked in all I hear is: ‘Hi Gerry.’ ‘Howya, Gerry!’ They were all guys I knew from school, all high-fiving me ... We were from the same area but [had] very different career opportunities.” The kind and compassionate Gerry writes In his book, “Those lads were no different to me – they just didn’t get the opportunities I had.”

Gerry Junior and his wife Leona and have two children, Zach (12) and Mia (17). His eldest has recently joined him on some jobs. “Of course you would love to keep on the Creighton family dynasty that’s made a difference here,” he says. Yes it’s in the genes. You can’t beat pedigree. One day Gerry had the unpleasant task of accompanying his father to the vets. Gerry Sr’s 15-year-old German Shepherd had to be put to sleep. “There he was, a man heading for his 80th birthday, and he cried like a baby as Saoirse took her last breath. Even for all the years he was here in the zoo, it just showed what animals mean to him ... You never lose that compassion in you. For any zookeeper, losing an animal is like losing a part of yourself” he says. He has been present for the euthanasia of an old lion, which reduced many zookeepers there to tears. He was present for the death of a chimpanzee in her 50s who both he and his father had cared for over the years.

He also shot a rhino dead as it escaped from a transport container in 1996, something he describes as 'gut-wrenching.' “Zoo life is a very emotional life. People often ask me, ‘What’s the mortality rate at the Zoo?’ I say, ‘It’s 100 per cent.’ Everything has to die at some point but it’s how we take care of them.”

In January 2021 he left Dublin Zoo and started his own consultancy agency, Global Elephant Care. He is working on developing elephant care and enclosures in France, the UK, the US, Israel, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, where elephants will have air conditioning to save them from the 50-degree heat. He is also working on projects to manage the gradual release of elephants back into the wild, but nevertheless talks bluntly about their situation. “There are less than 40,000 Asian elephants left in the world. In the hour that we’re talking, there will probably be five or six African elephants killed for their ivory. There’s not one day where I haven’t woken up and not looked forward to going into work. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride, but it’s a wonderful job.”



(That is not a typo nor is it one of my oxymoron.) Pure Reflections is the first facility in Ireland and in Europe to offer water cremation or resomation. All thanks to the passionate journey of its founder, Elizabeth Oakes. Her story begins with an apprenticeship in funeral directing and embalming and set her sights on broader horizons.

Upon her return to Ireland, Elizabeth was determined to introduce Resomation to her homeland. And now the service is available in County Meath. Resomation is a gentle, eco-friendly alternative to burial and flame cremation. This innovative process employs water and natural alkaline hydrolysis to gently bring the body back to its chemical components, leaving behind only the bones of the deceased. It's a compassionate choice that aligns with a more environmentally conscious worldview. Pure Reflections is a community of like-minded individuals who share Elizabeth's vision. It's a welcoming, open, and compassionate space where discussions about death and dying flow freely. It is independent of any formal religion, respecting all values and beliefs to ensure that everyone feels valued and understood. Elizabeth's journey is making a lasting impact on Europe and beyond, offering a compassionate and environmentally friendly path for those embarking on their final journey.

During the resomation process, the body is placed in an especially designed vessel filled with a solution of water and alkali. The vessel is then heated, and the combination of heat and alkalinity causes the body to be brought back to its natural components. The resulting liquid by-product is a sterile solution that contains a mixture of amino acids, sugars, and salts. It is a safe for the environment and can be safely returned to the ecosystem. After the process, the remains that the family will receive are a flour-like powder. Like cremation, they consist of granulated bones but unlike cremation, there is no coffin matter present, purely bones. The remains are then returned to those left behind in an urn of their choice. Archbishop Desmond Tutu died on Saint Stephen’s Day 2021.The international press was responding to reports that the anti-apartheid leader, Nobel laureate and Anglican archbishop emeritus who called climate change “one of the greatest moral challenges of our time” had requested Water cremation. At 9 p.m. on New Year’s Day, a frantic phone call was made from BBC World News. The person at the other end was told, “We need somebody to explain what aquamation is on live TV in 30 minutes,” One year later they could simply call (01) 969 6990. Or email:


I wrote a One-Act play twenty years ago. It got a professional reading at Siamse Tire, Tralee , County Kerry in 2005. That was its first outing. If anyone is visiting this green and misty island the Mostrim Players will be staging “A Wolf by the Ears" in four counties during November.

If anyone wants to stage it Stateside just contact, Silver Birchington Plays at enquiries@silverbirchingtonplays.commostr

See you in December.

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On Trek

By Judith Kroll

The End of the Rainbow

We always talk about the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow.

    What is at the beginning of the Rainbow?
    Our hopes and dreams for starters.

Like a baby being born, Their life is just beginning. We have a part in helping to find a life filled with love.

I always had a dream with my kids in focus, and it was them on a farm running through the High Grass waiting to be harvested.

    It happened. We bought a farm, and when we owned it they ran across the field of soon-to-be baled hay.
    They milked cows, and raised heifers and bull calves.. A life we all enjoyed being part of.

The beginning of the rainbow, could be leaving a bad situation and finding our true selves, like I left a cult.

    Just being able to think for myself, and read what I wanted to read, led me on a journey of pure love.
    The Beginning of a rainbow, is as valuable as the end of it.

They say a pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow. Perhaps it should be called a Pot of Love.

    That is when we find our life winding down, with memories of a lifetime of love, laughter, survival, family and friends.
    When we see our next rainbow, start at the beginning of it and smile, because we are still part of the Glorious, Colorful Rainbow!

Judith 10/28 /23

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

The months of November and December have become more and more difficult for me. It is due to the holiday season with the hustle and bustle of the mad shoppers. I find myself going through the motions of handing out and receiving gifts in return. It seems more of an obligation than heartfelt gratitude for those people in my life. One way to overcome those feelings is by taking the time to tell children about my experiences in 1992. That was the year I volunteered in India with the "Missionaries of Charity." I worked at various centers where Mother Theresa and her religious order started. The Nuns ran the Centers, but the volunteers did most of the work. I enjoyed my experience there, and on several occasions, I spoke with Mother Theresa at her home. They call her home the "Mother House" in India.

Mother Theresa called us volunteers witnesses and believed every volunteer was there for a reason. She sincerely believed that every person she encountered was due to the spirit of god's love. It is still a deep belief held by her Nuns that the spirit of love attracts volunteers to India. Mother Theresa told us that the spirit of love is with us so that we can be the presence and subtle altruistic outreach of god's love to the sick and dying.

Most of the population in Calcutta, India, live, wash, and eat on the streets. When people die, their bodies are either burned or thrown into the Ganges River. The Hindu caste system led Mother Theresa to leave the Loreto Religious order. She was a Catholic Nun with the Loreto's for 20 years. But, she wanted to help the poorest of the poor in India, so she went off on her own in 1948. Eventually, in 1950, after her work became recognized, and due to the number of followers that joined her cause, she was permitted by the Pope at that time to start her own Religious Order, which she named the "Missionaries of Charity."

She opened several centers for the sick and dying throughout India: in Calcutta, there is "Prim Dan," which means "Gift of Love," the "Mahatma Gandhi" Center; and in Hindi, there is "Kali Gaht," which means "Shore of Kali." I also volunteered at one of her centers in Washington, DC. That center is called the "Gift of Peace." I worked with people who were dying of AID's. There was a stigma attached to people living with AIDS out of fear and prejudice in the early 1990s. They did not have the medical know-how to treat people living with AIDS like they have today adequately.

Today, Mother Theresa's Religious Order has centers in almost every country of the world, and they have more Nuns than all the other Religious orders combined. I would like to thoroughly write about my experiences someday, especially how Mother Theresa was revered in India. Every Religion in India before her death incorporated her into their belief system. They saw her as a living deity sent to raise humanity. It was a real eye-opening experience witnessing how powerful religious beliefs affect the Indian people. Religious beliefs are extremely powerful upon the individual believer and collectively upon the Indian people. In India, Photographs of Mother Theresa are extremely valuable because people believe possessing her image will bring them good fortune. They also believe a part of Mother Theresa's spirit will be with her image. Mother Teresa passed away in 1997, and the Indian people still worship her as a goddess -- especially among Hindus.

The Hindus believe that their Hindu feminine god, "Kali" was incarnated as Mother Theresa. To the Hindus, Mother Theresa was just one of "Kali's" many incarnations. The Muslims in India see her as a great prophet; the Buddhists see her as someone near Nirvana and choose to return to the world out of compassion for humanity. The various Christian denominations in India recognized Mother Theresa as a living saint. That is one reason Pope Benedict XVI pushed to have her canonized as a Saint, and Pope Francis did just that; and canonized her.

In 1992 I was able to get a hotel room in India for a Dollar a night and a meal for 20 cents due to the nation's poverty. India is still an impoverished nation for the majority who live in that country. But they have rich spiritual traditions that go back long before the written word was invented. The Indian people have had a deep, intuitive grasp of their spiritual interconnectedness that goes back thousands of years.

I have been to Ecuador, too, which is also an impoverished country. The people living in the hills of Duran in Ecuador live in sugarcane huts. They have no electricity or indoor plumbing, and they wash with rainwater. They eat only what they can gather for that day because they cannot preserve their food. Water must be boiled prior to using it to prevent an outbreak of cholera. Cholera is a common ailment in that country that can kill you. When I returned to the United States, I was grateful for what I had, and the little inconveniences were just that—little inconveniences compared to how people experiencing poverty live in India and Ecuador.

When I look at life in terms of my experiences, I realize how our beliefs are a significant part of who we are regarding how we relate to others. I also realize, more so now than before, how the people living in those impoverished conditions in Ecuador rely on their community for survival. The individual cannot put themselves above the welfare of their community because the welfare of the community is vital to their survival. In America, we rely on our rugged individualism. There is no such concept in Ecuador in the hills of Duran, where I lived for three months.

The people in Ecuador looked at me with such curiosity, and they were the most loving people. I washed my clothes with them and ate with them. We had to communicate in body language because I could not speak their language. There was one thing that they loved to do, and that was laugh. They were unaware of what they did not have regarding technology because they were isolated from the rest of the world. They were content to live in their community with one another because their community was their family, and they could rely on each other in times of need.

I have also learned over the years that much of my knowledge came from books. What I have read in those books helped me acquire a lot of knowledge, but now I recognize that I am learning much more about myself from what I write; it is also a way of sharing a part of who I am with the reader.

You are probably wondering what all this has to do with the season of giving. Well, I have learned that it is not just the material gifts that count in life, but rather it is all the unrecognized, undetected, and unremembered acts of loving kindness that one bestows on others that are the greatest achievements in a person's life. What we give to humanity, we give to ourselves. What we change in ourselves, we change in humanity. If we want to live in a better world, we must change for the better. If we want to see a world of loving and joyous people, we must be loving and joyous towards the people in our own lives. That potential is part of our humanity. When we reach out to touch others, we touch a part of the humanity within us. When we change the life of another for the better, we change our own lives for the better.

What I have learned in Ecuador and what I have recognized in Mother Teresa is the profound effect that she has had and continues to have on the world. Changing and enhancing the quality of human lives cannot be achieved by imposing our will or our beliefs on others. Rather, it is achieved by living our lives as we would want others to live; in doing so, others will embrace and emulate our way of life.

I find that my life has become a quest for self-discovery. My growing self-awareness has also become my means to greater spiritual growth. But, I need to reach out and bond with others to learn more about myself.

I have learned that throughout history, especially in India with its rich spiritual traditions, that the wise mystics rarely criticized others for their shortcomings. They understood that it is best to accentuate the positive in others. When you highlight the positive in people, you accentuate the positive within yourself.

For me, the inward journey helps me better understand who I am in relation to others. Greater self-awareness can only be achieved when we better understand our humanity.

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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Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky

When Things Go Sideways

I want to talk about what happens when things go sideways in your life. Sometimes, they are minor things like if somebody aces you out of a parking space and then, knowing they were being a you-know-what about it, won’t look at you as they stride by your driver’s side window on their way into the store. If they don’t look at you, there’s no point in sticking your tongue out at them.

That’s a minor thing. Granted, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they might possibly have been oblivious, but even a psychic would know in their heart of hearts that was a genuine you-know-what who just passed by. Don’t fret. There is always Karma.

The huge, major things that go sideways have to do with health, both for yourself and your loved ones, jobs, school, relationships, violence, dying, and going to jail. I’d add anything to do with the IRS to the list too. The IRS generally gives me gas.

I think the only thing our job can be is to recover quickly and gracefully. However, in the midst of a crisis, while bombs are dropping all around you, it is pretty much impossible to think ahead. You are in the moment. It’s pretty hard to get out of the moment.

Surviving these major events, first of all, takes time. It takes determination on your part to continue putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, doing that may be the only way you’re going to move forward through the mess. Putting one foot in front of the other might also be the only thing you can think to do with the immediacy of the trauma in front of you.

Your friends and family are either going to survive or they won’t. I do believe in prayer because I’ve seen work like that actually happen. Not always, but sometimes.

Living a life as a frightened rabbit at times has forced me to think of ways through the chaos. The one foot in front of the other technique is the only thing that seems to hold true, and many times feels like the only thing you can do.

Time passing, too, helps. The grief that you feel for somebody in your life who dies is always going to be there. People tell you that you get used to it, and to a certain extent, you do, but it never fades. I remember when my mother died. I missed her so much. I cried easily. Even in those first weeks, a memory of her would come at me out of left field. I can remember standing in the hallway at work. The morning sun was streaming in the window. I was standing in front of the grandfather clock. And a memory of my mother came at me, kicking me in my chest, in my midsection, and I physically doubled over. It was like a horse kicked me.

I don’t know who determined that a period of mourning would be for a year. I really think they got that one wrong.

Something that helps bad times to pass is faith. Whether you have faith in God or in time passing to heal the wounds. Sometimes, that is the only thing available for you.

I can remember being faced with something horrible and thinking about something that I knew about that would happen in the future. I thought to myself that the situation would be different by the time that event arrived. It was sort of stupid, but it got me through. Generally, it was the next episode of whatever was a favorite television show back when we all watched television and not the streaming services that we have now. Sometimes, it was a holiday or a birthday to look forward to. The idea was that whatever it was, it would happen in the future, time enough for whatever calamity that had befallen you had time to stop breaking your heart.

I do know some things that happened to me when I was younger that were paralyzing at that time weren’t as bad as they happened to me when I was older. Why? I guess we get braver. Maybe that is it. Braver with age. Like cheese or scotch.

I can tell you that as a new psychic, I fully expected to be warned of anything bad coming to pass by my Spirit Guide. That doesn’t happen. I remember him saying, “We can’t help you with things like that. You have to live your life by yourself. But we can help to pick you up and dust you off afterward”. That was nice.

The other thing with difficult things that happen in your life is to perhaps, eventually, think that somehow you are stronger than you were before. I’ve been told this is true. In the heat of the moment, you can’t believe you weren’t betrayed or victimized, but after a while, you might be able to sense that you are stronger.

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Halloween 2023


By Bud Lemire

Tess was busy, placing the R. I. P. casket in the activity room
When beyond her notice, in came flying a witch on a broom
Now she knew, she didn't have a witch that looked like that
The ugly face didn't look familiar, but she recognized the hat
A voice boomed out, from the witch flying in the air
“I've come to tell you people, you must beware”
“This year Halloween, will be stranger than the rest”
“You must be prepared, and do your very best”

Tess really didn't know, what the witch was talking about
The witch figured that, and so she started to shout
A black cat, was walking on the ceiling above her head
The witch said “you'll have a visit from the dead”
It happened so fast, they were phantoms of the past
Residents who had lived here, were gathered here at last
“We've come to join the party, we missed not being around”
Then all at once, came this loud swishing sound

A great pumpkin, wearing a terrifying smiley face
Came flying into the room, taking up a lot of space
Smoke that stunk was coming from it, too much to even see
The witch handed Tess a wand, “Use this to set yourself free”
Tess never used a wand, so she just waved it around
The giant pumpkin crashed, and made a horrible sound
The wand disappeared, and she looked around the room
There next to the skeleton, was that witches broom

©October 2023 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

Tess wondered if she imagined it. Maybe she was working
too hard. Then out of the corner of her eye, she thought
she saw one of the skeletons move. It actually waved at
her. She smiled and thought, “no, I just set them up like


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The Fairy Ring

By Kay Forristal

I arose early one summer's morning
Entered a glade to enjoy the view
Against a tree I rested
Above my head birds flew.

I heard the loud caw of crow
She disappeared into a tree
I saw a bush glow as if on fire
And asked myself what it could be.

A sweet fragrance filled the air
I could not understand
I crouched beneath a flowering bush
And sought a friendly hand.

Rat a tat tat, rat a tat tat,
I heard faint sound of a drum.
Rat a tat tat, rat a tat tat,
My body went quite numb.

I chided, pull yourself together, man
It’s time to be on your way
Just then I saw a miniature man
Approach miniature girls at play.

Akin to little butterflies
With wings upon their backs
And hair of golden silk
Swaying around in packs.

Flowers sprang up on the spot
Dewdrops formed a screen
The miniature man guarded a pot
Holding treasure's gleam.

Sparkling diamonds, rubies, pearls
Gold and silver coins
Entranced I watched miniature girls
Their eyes sparkling with joy.

The little man rocked to and fro
Fairies danced in glee
“Who will have me for her beau?”
They cried, “Not me, not me not me.”

The elf held up a jeweled crown
Treasure gleamed in the pot
Said he, “A gift to the first fairy down”
Spokes-fairy cried, "Not for all you've got!"

He stamped his feet in ugly fury
Muttering to himself all the time
“I am gaoler, judge and jury
I hold you captive, you are mine.”

My knees ached, I dared not move,
The fairies sang their lay,
My eyes looked round the woodland grove
I had to get away.

Then I remembered something wise
I'd heard in childhood years
I once was told by people old
Elves had sensitive ears.

I whistled to unnerve the elf
He lost his leery grin
I whistled louder, sharp and shrill
He couldn't bear the din.

He yelped out loud and sought his ears
A hat fell from his head
Tears sprang to squeezed-up eyes
His suffering face grew red.

The birds joined in and sang their song,
Elf cried loud, Boo Hoo Hoo,
Owls joined the warbling, singing throng,
To woo, to woo, to woo.

The fairies floated gently to the ground
And together began to pray
Each fairy knelt one by one
As mischievous elf ran far away

“For music we thank all the birds
For air we thank the breeze
For light we thank the shining sun
For shade we thank the trees.”

They lifted the jewel-studded crown,
And laid it near where I crouched down.
Spokes fairy gathered fairy clan,
And spoke to them of the hiding man.

'Let us reclaim our treasure dears
Store it safely beneath your wings
We must return to fairyland
To fairy monarch, queen and king.

“To you who rescued us, much thanks.
We do not know your name
We will send you good luck
From our own fairyland domain.”

I watched them float into the sky
Until they faded from my sight
Little beings graced the air
Cloaked in a shimmering stream of light.

I stood up straight and shook my limbs
And heard around me nature sounds.
I saw a tiny golden ring
Sparkling on the nearby ground.

I picked up that precious ring
Given me as a reward that day
For rescuing those fairy girls
And letting them fly free away.

I left the woodland deep in thought
Left the woods with heavy heart
I had seen a magical sight
Of which no other had been a part

I came into a sunny meadow
Suddenly my heart felt filled with glee
I had friends in fairyland
What a lucky fellow - Me!

©2000 Kay Forristal

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Man Pain VS Woman Pain


By Walt Perryman

I believe, man pain, coincides with our age,
If so, I doubt, 1 – 10 is a high enough gauge.

I can think my way into a good twenty-five,
I’ll probably maintain a nine, while I’m alive.

My wife can go for days at a woman’s nine,
When I ask her, how she is? She says, “fine”.

So, if I can think my pain up to around twenty-three!
Do women measure by a different gauge, than me?

My pain level seemed to be lower, many years ago,
But it is higher today because I’m no longer macho!

©10/29/2023 Walt Perryman

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Ode to Age


By John McGrath

I went to the chiropodist today.
That’s something that I’ve never done before.
As time goes by I’ll do it more and more.
My feet are hard to reach and far away.
When I was young and all my toes were near,
I’d pick them up and trim them one by one,
Admire my handiwork when I was done.
Now I can only view them from afar.
Last week I sat cross-legged on the floor
And pulled my feet towards me, all in vain;
I’d left my glasses over by the door...
You get the picture; no need to explain.
I’ve been to the chiropodist today.
Next month no doubt I’ll visit her again.

©May 2019 John McGrath
Previously appeared in author's recent collection,
After Closing (Moybella Press 2021).

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Major Utilities


By Bud Lemire

I loved music, starting when I was a little boy
It was the one thing, that always brought me joy
There was this place, that sold 5 45's for one buck
I thought at the time, I really had the best luck

It wasn't far from home, so I really didn't need a ride
Upstairs of B.F. Goodrich, open the door on the side
Maybe you heard of Major Utilities, the place where I would go
45's just out of the Jukebox, it was like listening to the radio

The Flaths ran it, two sons and their boss was their Dad
One son wore glasses, and he didn't seem too bad
He was the one who waited on me, whenever I came by
I'd enter, look over the records, and he would always say hi

I'd walk home happily, and I'd listen to each song
I was so excited with that deal, nothing could go wrong
Nothing ever did go wrong, with each 45 I bought
Memories of those times, are always in my thoughts

I'd see one of the sons at Elmer's, he listened to music a lot
He showed me his MP3 Player, and all the songs he's got
All three of them have passed, but I shall recall each in memory
The music from the Jukebox, and what it all meant to me

©Oct 18, 2023 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

Herb, and his two sons Warren and Harold. Warren was the one
with the glasses, who waited on me, and Harold was the one I'd see
riding his bike, and at Elmer's with the MP3 Player. Because of their
great deals with the 45's, I was able to explore music at that time.
Whenever I had money, I'd be there, and was so happy when
I found music I liked. Major Utilities & the Flaths, thank you.
for the music!


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That Exact Way

By Bruce Clifford

That exact way.
It’s how you behave.
I’m so afraid.
I am afraid.

That exact way.
Alone and betrayed.
Feeling unsure.
I don’t know anymore.
I just don’t know.

Is this all pointless and out of bounds?
Are we searching for dreams that can never be found?
Those memories stick to my dreams and all other things.
Are we still searching for moments inside our dreams?

That exact way.
Lost and afraid.
Circles in the night.
Another feeling takes flight.

That exact way.
It’s how you behave.
Promises we made.
The gifts that we gave.

Is this all pointless and out of bounds?
Are we searching for dreams that can never be found?
Those memories stick to my dreams and all other things.
Are we still searching for moments inside our dreams?

©10/24/2023 Bruce Clifford

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Flame Acanthus


By John I. Blair

A spray of bright green leaves,
Adorned by tiny scarlet trumpets

They seem designed (and maybe are)
As magnets to the passing hummingbirds
(Who work their long, fantastic path
From Canada to Costa Rica
Every week in autumn).

At just the perfect size and form
For tiny thrusting tongues
Each flower lasts a single day

Then drops to ground
As if exhausted.
To be replaced by more
Until December frosts
Chase their whirring fans away.

©2023 John I. Blair

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My Town


By Kay Forristal

In my town there are singers, shopkeepers
Tradesmen and dancers
Pub-crawlers and musicians
Crawthumpers and prancers

There are good neighbours and gossip-makers
The curate and the craftsman
Women of every stratum
Peace-maker and harridan

There's the scholar, playwright, poet and bard
Pompous, mocking foolish blackguard
Soothsayer and earth mother
In my town we laugh at ourselves
We help dry each other's tears
For we know that our inherited strengths
Will chase away all fears

©2000 Kay Forristal

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Cathy Plank


By Bud Lemire

She came to tend a garden, with every kind of flower
With a water hose, she gave each of them a shower
She was an artist, saw the beauty in each one
Appreciated it better, when each grew in the sun

Her flowers were her children, she cared for them each day
She'd feel so very bad, if one of them withered away
She preferred all, to be in bloom
Dying flowers to her, just brought gloom

Cathy was a sweetheart, with her laughter and her smile
I'd stop to talk with her, sometimes quite awhile
She'd come out of her back door, happy to show me around
There were tons of her flowers, everywhere, all over the ground

I'd take a picture of each, and show her what I took
She'd say “wow,” and was happy she had a look
She didn't like her picture taken, but I took one of her one day
She was watering her flowers, and I snapped one anyway

I kept missing her, as I hadn't seen her out at all this year
I found out she passed, and I was very sad to hear
I went by her Flower Garden, for some final pictures to show
A butterfly landed on a flower, and here's something I do know

Cathy came by, to check on all her flowers
Without any water, she was hoping for some showers
She didn't stay long, just long enough to say
“Thanks for coming by Bud, you'll see me again some day”

©September 2023 Bud Lemire

                            Author Note:

Cathy Plank was a wonderful soul. She loved her flowers,
and her love for them, got me taking pictures of them. I'd try
to take a picture in each position and with good lighting.
Her laughter was so wonderful to hear. She'd come out of
her back door and be ready to show me all the flowers that
were coming up recently. I never thought of me as a flower
person, but now, I see beauty in all things. Thank you Cathy,
for the beautiful flowers you tended, for me to share in pictures
with everyone on Facebook.


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A Good Time to Pray


By Walt Perryman

Before we go to sleep and when we wake up each day.
If we listen with our hearts we hear what God has to say.

Tonight when you are trying to go to sleep,
Try listening to God instead of counting sheep.

When you wake up and before your brain is in gear.
Before you start talking, listen and you can hear.

Be thankful for what we have that money cannot buy.
Like love, happiness and our ability to laugh or cry.

What better way to live could we ever hope to find?
Than to wake up and go to sleep with God on our mind?

O.K. none of us are perfect this may be true,
But, we can always do better if we want to

We can be more faithful when we pray,
We can thank God more than once a day.

We can help someone that is in need,
An extra verse in the Bible we can read.

Always tell the truth instead of a lie,
Then we can look anyone in the eye.

Today, let us try to give a little bit more,
It will make our life better than before.

©2022 Walt Perryman

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Crabs at Carrigafoyle


By John McGrath

By Carrigafoyle I found them on the shore,
catastrophe of crabs at Shannonside,
a hundred thousand corpses, maybe more,
abandoned high and dry by ebbing tide.
So small and white like pebbles by the sea,
I wondered what disaster had ensued,
what plague or poison shaped this tragedy
that wrought misfortune of such magnitude.
No massacre, I learned, but nature’s ways.
Somewhere beneath the wild Atlantic swells
each tiny creature sheds its carapace,
together they cast off their outgrown shells
and then, on cue, the mating games begin,
those age-old ecstasies of skin on skin.

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

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Angel of the Past

By Bruce Clifford

Angel of the past.
The quiet yesterdays.
Times, how I wished they would have lasted.
Slowly faded away.

Lessons from long ago.
Hearts meant to be real.
The truth you never wanted to know.
Not knowing how I feel.

You never gave me the chance to explain.
You never allowed me to ease your fears and your pain.
You never gave me the chance to be brave.

Angel of the past.
Memories of long ago.
Days that flew away too fast.
The many answers we may never know.

Dreams from long ago.
They never faded away.
So many forks left in the road.
Not knowing what to say.

Angel of the past.
I celebrate this day.
I have year after year.
All through each and every decade.

©10/10/2023 Bruce Clifford

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