One Less ‘Why’

No planned city, this happenstance of one way streets, alleyways where housewives gossiped over backyard fences, and one wide antebellum avenue lined with elms and mansions wearing the town’s best face.

Streets are cobbled beneath accumulated layers of asphalt. The town has survived war and pestilence (and Ms. Harper’s penchant for the profligate) with patches on the rough spots.  Its roadbed has risen faster than the hemlines of rebellious teens. The economy is steady in its decline.

In ‘the day’ of pulse rate with a rowdy rhythm, there was a promise of a burgeoning metropolis. Such passion now has faded like the cabbage rose wallpaper ; design worn thin but mindful of its glory. As if by some tacit agreement, tourists don’t get past the front room;  all secrets are held in protective custody.

Molly was here for a visit.  She was born here,  but it didn’t feel like home. It was just a town, a dwindling memory reignited by funerals and weddings, but not high school reunions.  She had said ‘nay’ to those many years ago…that night of the juke box theme when she suddenly realized that everybody there was drowning in their desire to be a kid again.

After that one, she refused to travel five hundred miles to feel so alone. No, no more reunions.  This was just a random destination. No one was getting married or being buried, no one was dying of some mysterious disease previously unknown to science. It was just a few days at the beach, a time to relax.

There will be no mysteries to solve, no romances pursued. The rise or fall of the stock market and the commodities projections  are irrelevant. Projects great and small are put on hold. Footloose with a glass of iced tea against her temple, she sighs contentment as she wriggles her toes in the sand. It is only now she realizes she has found what she had come home to find… anonymity.

John Wesley on voting

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them,

1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy:

2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And,

3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”


A lot of quotes attributed to Wesley don’t actually originate with the 18th-century Anglican preacher and founder of Methodism. But this one does. Wesley wrote it in his journal on October 6, 1774 in reference to the British Parliamentary elections held in the fall of that year. (copied from UMC newsletter)

My Dragon Story

Prologue (written 07/07/17)
Thirteen years ago, after a really bad experience at an online poetry site, I started a board of ‘my own’. A change in platform caused our site design to be destroyed so we, with great sorrow, closed the Peaceful Pub and reopened it with another web host.  I could fill volumes with the joys and the sorrows I’ve experienced during those thirteen years; someday I might but for now  I go through the many rooms of that site, reminiscing as I salvage a pitiful few special posts out of the hundreds of thousands of special posts that live there.  To be more precise here are today’s stats:

Community Statistics

Community Time: 07/07/17 06:16 PM (Use Community Time)

Founded: Sep 03 2004

2489 Avg visits per day
3047 Avg views per day
1,564,193 Total visits
13,011,566 Total views
607,701 Total posts

So what does that have to do with dragons?  That, too, is a long story, but I’ll try to cut it as short as possible.

The Peaceful Pub was never advertised.  It was like Topsy, it just ‘growed’. There was a magic to the place, or maybe just a benevolent hand from heaven on our shoulders. There were many who came and didn’t care for the family atmosphere and we bid them adieu and good wishes without regret.

The ones who stayed, oh my,  they are a part of my heart. A quick nod to those who have gone ahead to set up Poets Corner in Heaven.  Maire (it’s Maire, not Marie,) was the first of our family to depart for that far off shore. How we loved that talented poet lady.  Her memorial pages are here: Simply Maire
Then there was Jim Hartsell (Wintersong), a dear and talented poet, writer and abused children’s advocate via his work in Washington State Social Services.
And there was Willowdown. His pages are here:

So what does that have to do with dragons?  Everything.  Willowdown adopted each and every one of his fellow pubsters, and we adopted him. He was an Englishman who lived in Thailand. He spent his time writing, and painting murals for the mutilated children of war who lived at  The Redemptorist Vocational School in Pattaya.

One year he sent Trinimade (of course from Trinidad…we were an international site)
and me, twin dragons.  He named them before he sent them. Trini’s was named Eragon
and mine was Little Nag.

Today while I was tearfully saying goodbye to the posts in the Prose forum I came across the story of Little Nag’s arrival.  There are more than a hundred Little Nag stories at The Pub,
but I will share this one:

Little Nag Moves In  by smzang  (posted 08/09/10 09:41 PM)

Little Nag has moved in lock, stock and barrel.  The first day was easy.  He was hungry and sleepy.  I fed him and after what seems like hundreds of pierogies and a couple of cups of rice custard were devoured, he climbed up on my shoulder and nestled against my neck, blanketed by my hair which smelled of coconut from the previous night’s shampooing.  Apparently he was allergic to the coconut.  He sneezed twice and then went to sleep, his right front foot still keeping time to the music I was listening to.  At first the tickling was a terrible distraction,  but soon that and the music lulled me off to sleep and the two of us spent the rest of the day in the recliner.

Today was a whole ‘nother story.  Little Nag must be related to stone dragons.  Before I had even awakened, he’d eaten half the rocks out of my aquarium.  He is such a tiny creature, I don’t know where he put them, nor the three large bowls of oatmeal that he ate with apples and cinnamon and fresh cream.  When it was gone, he burped and went back to sleep.

While he slept, snoring gently as the babe he is,  I went online again to find out what baby dragons do all day.  It said they like to play in water, so I made him a cottony bed in a jewelry box and put him in my purse (he didn’t even turn over, just kept on snoring)  and off I went to the store to buy a gallon of purified natural spring water.  I fashioned him a pool and even put a plastic lotus blossom in it.  Then I made him a pair of miniature swim trunks. Partly to show off and partly to please him, I put the embroidery attachment on my Singer sewing machine and appliqued a likeness of  Little Nag himself on them.

When he awoke,  he ate the lotus blossom,  took one look at the swim trunks and said,  “Are you nuts?  First rule of this house is:  You don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons,  for you look crunchy and would taste good with ketchup.”

I dashed back to the Internet to see if sassy dragons was a topic that’s been covered by Wikipedia.  It was not,  but I did read that dragons are very intelligent.   “Aha,” I thought,  “I will reason with him.”

“Nag, ”  I said in my firmest voice,  “You are the baby,  I am the mommy.  If you sass me again,  I will buy a dragon pen,  and keep you in a cage until you learn to behave.”

A huge tear dropped from his eye.  He began to melt away right in front of me.  I caught him by his hind foot just before he would have turned totally to mist.  I held him cupped in my hand, petting him and talking soothingly to him.  Slowly he became visible again. He leapt from my hand onto my shoulder and found his special spot under my hair.

In a tiny dragon voice he said,  “I’m sowwy.”

and I said, “I’m sorry too.  I would never put you in a cage but you must promise never to put ketchup on me and crunch me for a snack.”

“Okay,” he said with a dragon giggle, “but what’s for lunch?”

The Nag and Eragon stories  continued for several years and as I return to the ‘demolition derby’ that is happening at The Pub, I will salvage as many of them as I can.

I thought that Willowdown’s response to this little snippet was particularly noteworthy:

“he likes fish – you must have noticed the fish bones!
ps. forget the swimtrunks
did you never hear of The Boxer Rebellion?”

And Trini’s too:

“I absolutely love this Sarah… even as I write Eragon is next to me blowing tiny wisps of smoke from his nostrils. He’s made friends with my little ceramic frog called Sapito, but I have not introduced him as yet to Marble and Tawny… that I shall have to write about.


I thank you for taking part in my farewell to The Peaceful Pub Interactive Forums.

A group of our Peaceful Pub founding members continue the Pub’s legacy at



A New WordPress Blog


The Peaceful Pub came into existence in 2004.  It began with five members and by the end of the year we counted our blessings for the twenty additional poets and writers who had joined together at the Pub’s fireside. We celebrated every new member and every new post.  It was a great source of joy, camaraderie and some pretty awesome poetry and prose.  In May of 2005, there was a ‘great disaster’ and suddenly all of our efforts were wiped out by a ‘massive server hack’.

Pubsters are a hardy bunch and the group became a family. They/we did not quit. In fact,
The Pub flourished in spite of the ever-changing platform. As years accumulated so did our membership.  It sky rocketed; 2007-2011was our heyday. Even when Facebook began the death knell for forums, we maintained almost a thousand members, until this, our thirteenth year, when the decision was made that enough is enough.

Don’t forget, Pubsters are a family and they are not quitters. The result is a new blog.  It is a multi-faceted blog authored by a group of loyal and talented Pubsters.  I hope you will stop by to imbibe of the literary libations and to offer your support.

The Peaceful Pub


About Forgiveness (and a movie called “Over-the-Rhine”)

I have long since reached the age of serenity, wisdom, and quietude. I have reached the age, but those inimitable qualities seem somehow out of reach. Of course, I see them in flashes; sometimes I think they are here to stay but then I break a fingernail, the very one I use for hanging on.

When I was young, old people knew all the answers. I don’t even know all the questions. I have given up on ever being wise. Fortunately, my patient Father allows me to dump all my messes at His feet. He keeps me from drowning in even the roughest seas but this article is not about me.

It is about a movie…not just any movie. This was the World Premiere of Over-the-Rhine, written and produced by Mitch Teemley. I write this article not as a review but as a thank you to Mitch and his cast and crew.

Over-the-Rhine” was filmed primarily in the Over-the-Rhine arts district of Cincinnati, Ohio. It begins in a coffee shop. Ingrid, the shop owner makes mugs, runs the shop, and mothers her teenage employees. She molds both teens and pottery with a loving touch. I not only viewed the movie through the eyes of Ingrid, I became Ingrid. It was I who told Ms. Short Shorts with the mesh stockings to go change clothes.

That’s the thing about this movie; you don’t watch it, you live it. The characters are strong and vibrant. My brother,(ok, it was Ingrid’s brother) the priest, was so believable that when I spoke with the actor at the after show interaction, I felt as if I should kiss his ring. The movie will get inside you. It has moments so intense that you forget to breathe. The guard at the correctional facility gave comic relief with impeccable timing. I can see him clearly as I type this and I’m laughing again. Poor Anne Boleyn. (I won’t explain that, but you will understand at the perfect moment in the movie and you will laugh as I did, and you will feel the tension drain away, just as I did.) The teen roles in the movie are pivotal. The young heroin addict will test every fiber of your being.

There are moments of gut-wrenching grief, there are moments of rage, and there are moments of laughter. There is love. I would tell you the pain I felt when a heroin addict on a high ran down Ingrid’s son. I would tell you how much I hated what he did and how it hurt to see it, but those are moments that must be experienced.

“Over-the-Rhine” is about forgiveness. It does not just show you the way,  it takes you there.

Nota bene:
The World Premiere of Over-the-Rhine took place on June 13th at the Memorial Theatre in the Over the Rhine arts district in Cincinnati, Ohio. The red carpet opening and delectable array of magnificent culinary delights were as glamorous and gourmet as Hollywood itself. The after show interaction with cast and crew rounded out a perfect evening. It was an unforgettable event.
The movie has already been nominated for best picture, most inspirational picture and best musical score at the 2017 International Christian Film Festival. It has also been nominated for best drama for the International Christian Visual Media Association Conference in Cincinnati. Mitch Teemley’s “Over-the-Rhine” will circulate in 2019. Ongoing updates
will be found here.

Goodbye, Elizabeth


On Monday,  they said,  ‘Enough!’  No more torturous chemo.  No more! She went on FaceBook and posted what we now know was her goodbye.  As a staunch opponent of FaceBook,  I must rely on a quote in the newspaper as to the content of that post.  It didn’t sound like an immediate goodbye.  It sounded like an announcement of gratitude.

You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

  And I was glad for her.  Having endured both chemo and radiation treatments,   I long ago said,  ‘Enough!’  and thankfully it worked for me.  In my case, the disease was much less dastardly than the treatment.  All too often it is the treatment that causes the heart to stop because it takes such a mighty toll on the body.  When I heard the announcement I felt an involuntary flash of anger at the doctors who had put her through so much. That was irrational.  Those awful treatments did prolong her life,  and gave her hope.  She even campaigned for her husband throughout much of the treatment process and when the election was lost she went back to what should have been a less chaotic life.  When it was exposed that her husband had  taken a mistress, Elizabeth stood beside him and defended him. I even remember that she once said,  “Cancer does not damage just the patient,  but the whole family.” When the ‘other woman’ gave birth to a baby girl, John swore to her he was not the father.  When it came to light that he lied,  she refused to divorce him,  though she did have the papers drawn up,  and pursued a legal separation. Then she wrote another book.  She wrote through the anger,  through the pain,  and she answered Oprah’s question,
“ Do you still love him?”  with an ambiguous,

“That’s a tough question.”  that made us know that she did.

Elizabeth died today,  Tuesday, December 7, 2010.  The cancer spread to her liver,  and it was one last blow she couldn’t weather. It makes me wonder,  more than with most deaths,  “Why?”  Why should any one person  have to suffer all the heartaches that Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards endured throughout her life.

Born July 3, 1949 to a military family,  she faced the heartache of loss at an early age.  All too often,  just when she had made friends,  her father was reassigned and they had to move.  Most devastating for her was when they moved in the middle of her senior year at high school.  That did not keep her from excelling and she continued her studies at MaryWashington College,  and then to the Univ. of North Carolina where she received a law degree.

It was during her years at  Univ. of  N.C.  that she meant John Edwards who would become her husband.  They were married July 30th, 1977.  Both John and Elizabeth practiced law.  He soon became a multi-millionaire from the malpractice cases that he won.  In the early years there were two children,  Wade and  Catherine.  In 1996,  Wade, age 16 was killed in a car crash just three weeks  after being honored at the White House by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as  a finalist in the National Endowment for the Arts essay contest.

When Wade was killed,  both Elizabeth and John quit working.  For almost three years they lived in the fog of their grief.  I am not sure exactly what turned things around for them,  but they began their rebirth by creating a Wade Edwards Scholarship Endowment.  They became regulars at fertility clinics deciding that they wanted more children.  At the age of 48 Elizabeth gave birth to Emma Claire  and two years later to a boy named Jack.

On  the  same day  the Kerry/Edwards ticket conceded defeat in the presidential election of 2004,  Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer.   She faced the battle with courage and concern for others. I can not say she lost the battle,  more like she was relieved of  duty. Always in the hands of God,  for the first time in too many years to bear,  she rests free from pain. Her rest is well earned.