Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to everyone else. Although it is holiday time, no one could accuse our writers of being particularly in the mood for giving. John I. Blair does mention that activity, albeit, in a negative manner in the loving plea "How Can I Say No?"
Able and conscionable, Blair apparently exudes poetry as blossoms waft their perfumed aroma into the air, though to himself, perhaps it may seem more like sweat from his pores. We applaud his diligence and his sharing of his perspective with those of us not so quick to see the subtle beauty in many objects and views around us.
His other works this month include "In Defense of Vanity," "Veterans Day," and the very timely "Autumn Dress Code." Wife Clara Blair submitted "Kingfisher," "Table Dance," and one many of us may have penned in our thoughts at one time or another, "For My Old Boss, at Menopause."
The prolific writer Bruce Clifford shows his talent with "You Can't Take Away My Soul;" while daughter Brooke Clifford sketches her thoughts graphically in "The True Essence of the Color Green," and in a self-analysis, "I Am." Mattison Jay Mansfield starts with the playful thoughts of "~~~snowflakes_rainbows_butterflies_puppies~~~" and leads us to a dire conclusion. His "Sweet Sin" will make many rethink their innocent dreams, but his "Someday" has to be the best poem he has ever rendered, and that word was chosen because it is a distillation of hopes and dreams and others to come. Noreene M. Bailey adds her own somber take on some well-publicized situations with "Invisible Children." Just as somber, Gregory S. Hargrave eulogizes in "On Veterans Day."
"E>MC2" by Brooks Taylor, an author new to our magazine (do click his name and check out his biography) who explores being's relativity. Another single offering this month includes returning author Rochelle Hope Mehr who brings us her explanation of a poem in "Specimen." A couple more to round out the month by yours truly are "Drawn and Quartered" and "Fall Garden." Sheila Joy Keith also shares two poems, "May you find Peace!" and "Taking Care of Our Souls" as well as her brave tale in the story section, "Saving my life! My Story!"
In addition to two Christmas stories ("The Christ Gift" by Noreen M. Bailey and "Christmas Present" by Clara Blair) two more stories are aired this issue from new writers (again - read the bio's.) Gerald Sheagren tells the ironically humorous "Big Hit at the Lone Wolf." Jerry Vilhotti's "Once Lost" written as though from a dream sequence is not so cheerful; however, it should give one something to think over. LC Van Savage offers a brief, but taxing revelation, "Confession Can Be Bad For The Soul," and the more timely one, "Agatha's Story," if you consider the many wounded now returning from Iraq.
We thank our columnists who showed up before your editor headed off into the eastern repair center part of Texas for her second knee replacement - this time for the left knee, which is only logical since it is the one that wasn't done the first time... would have to be the left, right? Don't be confused, and pray that the surgeon won't be. Anyway, thanks to Leo C. Helmer, "Cookin' With Leo" who updates our festive season with various margarita recipes; LC Van Savage, "Consider This," as she soapboxes on a serious subject; Gerard Meister who lightens the news of the month with his viewpoint in "Thinking Out Loud;" and our courteous author Mattie Lennon who discusses being An Only Child in his column, "Irish Eyes."
We hope that "Stellar Notions" shows up in this issue, from our dear friend Pete Miller, as it is always wonderfully written and very informative. If you haven't been hitting the links he provides, you have missed seeing some spectacular astronomy photography and discussions expanding the points made in his column. Thanks, Pete, for your research on our behalf.
Thanks to webmaster Michael Craner, without whom we would never be online!! We know it is a special bonus when he brings us an article or column as he is one of the busiest persons one could ever meet... and does well all that he does.
Once again we remind you that The Wall clickable from the sideline is available for readers to post accolades or constructive criticism for the magazine and any of those authors who move you to speak. Some have comment sections pertaining directly to the work presented in the issue and will promptly see your compliment or advice.
With next month being the last of our current volumn as well as the beginning of a new calendar year of 2004, we invite you to turn over a new leaf and tell us how you plan to do so. Please do send in your thoughts for a New Year that you wish publicized as poetry, story, or article, by using the submit button from the sideline bar.
See you in January 2004!!!
PS: As of November 28, your editor is cheerfully recuperating at Health South Rehab Hospital in Plano, which led Leo C. Helmer to write up the article, "Another Class Act At Health South Rehab Center" (another lovely entertainment arranged for by Betty Dunnam, the Recreational Director of the facility)-- don't miss it. Also, once again being inspired, she has written a couple of poems to add to the December issue: first, for a wonderfully brave and sweet lady, my roommate at both the hospital and the rehab hospital ("For Marla"); the second, "Workshop?" is a little ditty for the occupational therapy therapist Sami, as she turned us to the task of making Christmas ornaments from a little kit. Such therapy brightens the day, and truthfully fulfills the purpose of using hands better, paying attention to directions, and the social type interaction is a morale builder. Once again (see the "Tribute of a Patient" in August issue)Health South Rehab gets a big BRAVO!!
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse. A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a St. Nicholas a/k/a Santa Claus (hereinafter "Claus") would arrive at sometime thereafter. The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein vision of confectionary treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.
Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as "I"), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the party of the second part (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.) Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e. the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.
At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter "the Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus. Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved.) The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.
Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations. Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minor pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.) Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts". Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination. However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" Or words to that effect.
Comment: Hi Mary and joy to you at this time of year. Pencilstubs just keeps on getting better and better. I'm so happy to be a part of it---and yes, I'll worry about "taxing" and "soapboxing" but hey---coming from you means I've been critiqued by the best. I'll work on those things Mary.
Are you OK? Are your knees OK? I sure hope you're not a runner---I hear that's the worst thing anyone can do to one's knees. I suppose swimming is the best thing of all for exercise.
Congratulations on a wonderful full year at Pencilstubs---you and Mike have a genuine gem---one of the best things on the Internet and yay, we all get to be a part of it. May your days be merry and bright Mary Adair. lc