June 30, 2011

Short Life Long Lived



Russell E. Roy

The following poem was written by a board member of the Greater Jamestown Family Support Program, a former child abuse program in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.  It received  funded from a Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund grant. Its mission statement was to heal adult survivors of abuse to prevent them from passing their abuse on to their children.

I was pleased to be the facilitator of the grant, which I wrote. I directed the program, presented educational classes to the board and community, and in general performed administrative tasks. In counseling persons who were experiencing problems I learned as much as they did.

Russell E. Roy was blind by the age of 19. He was in his sixties when I came to know him. He delighted in writing poems on a tape recorder, and his friends often called on him to write special poems for their family and friends. He wrote this poem when the Family Support Program ended after a four year run.


In November of 1990 and one,

The Family Support Program was begun.

Some of us who are here today,

Were not there on that starting day.

We cannot tell the good that was done,

Or the goals that were gained by the race that was run.

Members come and members go,

But the facts live on through the ebb and flow.

As individuals we kept in touch,

We each might think we don’t count for much.

As a group we thought (more…)

June 27, 2011

Pennsylvania Heroes Walk for the Wounded Warriors




There’s been quite a change. When men arrived home from the Viet Nam war in the 1960s, there was no welcome. Today, soldiers return from war to bands and applause.

     The reception Ligonier gave to the walkers participating in the Pennsylvania Hero Walk showed that patriotism is not just a word to local residents. It showed that patriotism was alive and well in this community.

Pennsylvania Hero Walkers pass under an arch on the west side of Ligonier's Diamond

     “We were honored to be with several injured servicemen,” said one of the founders of the walk, Al Pulice, of Murrysville, Pennsylvania. “It’s a learning experience to be with the men who served the country…and (to be with people) who dedicated two weeks, 24/7 hours, to the walk. Thank you, Ligonier.”

Al Pulice (right) receives a plaque for the Pennsylvania Hero Walk

     (The background of the Pennsylvania Hero Walk is posted at the link following this post.)

     While the walkers, parade participants and others enjoyed a delicious, plentiful, meal prepared by the Ligonier American Legion, it was announced that the Hero Walkers “still have a walker who refuses to quit.”

      While waiting for the last walker, Al Pulice said that he is satisfied with this year’s 300-mile cross-state walk, which ended in Lower Burrell. It raised more than (more…)

June 26, 2011

Sydney—A One-Ton Camel—Visits Ligonier (PA)



During the Community Day open houses in Ligonier my husband Monte, our friend Lois, and I visited the Antiochian Village Heritage Museum. Outside, they had a camel—a real live camel—a living, breathing creature I wouldn’t expect to see in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

     Sidney, according to his handler Dave Baker, resides at the Living Treasures “Wild” Animal Park outside the city of New Castle, Pennsylvania, where visitors are encouraged to interact with him.

     One thing for certain—Sidney is fortunate not to live in Australia these days, where there is a great concern about green-ignorant camels who don’t (more…)

June 23, 2011

Mayflies & Blisterflies: Summer Pests



     In mid-June my husband Monte and I spent a week in Lakeside, Ohio, at what is known as The Chautauqua on Lake Erie. My son was a delegate at an Ohio  United Methodist Church conference, and was staying in accommodations that would allow us to visit him while he was there.

      Just about the time we were leaving Lakeside, the mayflies were arriving.

     While traveling and during our visit, I was reviewing the chapters I have written in my historic romance novel, Intertwined Love, which included information on a summer pest in Philadelphia, the blisterfly.

     I cannot help but write about the similarities and the differences between the summer infestations of insects in 2010 Lakeside and 1791 Philadelphia.


Mayflies usually live for 24-72 hours. Don’t forget that they’ve already spent 1-2 years on the bottom of the lake as a (more…)

June 21, 2011

Bird Attack! Dive bombing birds attack humans!



Dive bombing birds attack humans!

     Occasionally while I sit on my patio, a bird will sit on a nearby tree branch and squawk at me. I’ve learned that this means the bird is unhappy with my presence, because the mother is nesting, nurturing her babies. I listen, and tell them I’m harmless, I’m not going to move off my patio, and they’d just better adjust to my presence.

     No bird has ever attacked me.


     As my husband and I traveled to Lakeside, Ohio, on June 13, 2010, I read several days worth of newspapers. There was an article about an angry flock of crows which had the audacity to attack the police in Everett, Washington.

     The angry flock of birds were swooping down and dive-bombing the officers as they walk(ed) to and from their cars. One police officer tried to scare the velociraptors by turning on his siren, to which the birds responded by decorating his car with droppings. Crows, allegedly, have face recognition, and if angered, remember the face. But they apparently cannot distinguish one police officer uniform from another.

     Because the police learned that the birds, which are very protective of their young, are (more…)

June 20, 2011

Pennsylvania Hero Walkers to Stop in Ligonier (PA) June 22, 2010




     You suck up and deal with the soreness and tiredness that comes with a long walk, according to Al Pulice. After all, you don’t compare it with the discomfort of the guys walking with you, the soldiers who bear the wounds of protecting freedom.

     Pulice, 55, of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, is one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Hero Walk. This year a core group of twenty wounded soldiers will trek the entire 329 mile journey.

     He said the third-annual walk should remind Pennsylvanians of the sacrifices troops continue to make in Iraq and Afghanistan. “They hear about the casualties, the deaths, but they don’t hear about the injuries,” he said. “This definitely brings attention to the injuries.”

     Participants in the walk are collecting donations for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nationwide nonprofit that helps injured service members that offers counseling, mentoring, and support programs. The organization is based in Jacksonville, Florida. The goal for this year is $100,000.

     The 2010 walk began Sunday, June 12, at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and will end June 25 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 92 in Lower Burrell.

     Participants in the 329 mile walk expect to be in Ligonier on (more…)

June 19, 2011

Newspaper Acrostic: June 12, 2010



Last week my husband Monte and I drove to Lakeside, Ohio (on Lake Erie). While reading the newspaper during the drive, I decided to write an acrostic poem. June 12 was the perfect newspaper to choose, since that day is Monte’s birthday.

AMERICAN SPIRIT is live in large in small towns,

served generously in local roadside diners.

BLOOD—just a drop—of beautified Pope, John Paul II

Is now on a Krakow church altar, there to be venerated.

CAMEL’S carbon footsteps in Australia aren’t (more…)

June 16, 2011

Adoptees are Everywhere



“I just had a similar experience,” the young woman told me.


     My husband Monte, our friend Lois, and I were at a reception following a Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra presentation at Indiana State University of Pennsylvania. While standing in the treats line I asked a young couple if they were students.

     “I am,” said the young man, who was studying hotel management with a future goal of opening a European-style bakery.

     “There’s just not too much demand for that in this area,” he said.

     “Have you been to Europe to visit bakeries?” I asked.

     “Not yet.”

     “What country would you like to visit most?”

     He hesitated a moment before answering “France.”

     “If you’re ever in Paris, you must visit the le Procope Café. It’s the oldest longest continually running café in France. I’ve never been there, but I’ve researched it because I intend to use it in a scene in the novel I’m writing. In fact, several people have sent me pictures of the café.”

     That’s when the girl entered the conversation. She wasn’t a student, but had graduated and was out working.

     “You’re a writer? How long have you been (more…)

June 14, 2011

Do Social Welfare Programs Encourage Poverty?



     I had just completed preparing a post, Social Welfare***, written by my late mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius, when I read a similar article in the morning newspaper.

     The author of the newspaper article stated that Now I understand that government poverty programs encourage people to stay dependent. There’s money in it. The policy-makers would have known this 25 years ago had they read “The State Against Blacks.”

     If I were a betting person, I’d wager that my mother never (more…)

June 13, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Ligonier (PA) Resident: June 12, 2011



June 12, 2011

     The day—Sunday, June 12, 2011—dawned pleasant and sunny, with hints of summer heat as the day wore on. It was Ligonier Valley Community Days, when community resources opened their doors to residents to visit their facilities with no fees.

     There were six locations—the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum, the Valley Players of Ligonier (Ligonier Valley Theater), Antiochian Village, Fort Ligonier, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Arts, and Compass Inn. Somehow, my husband Monte, our friend Lois, and I managed to visit all but the Compass Inn. We live a mile from there and have access at any time, so when our time ran short, we chose to take a few minutes rest.

     When we arrived at the Rail Road Museum, it was still warm and sunny.

     “Should we lock the doors?” Monte asked.

     “Naw,” I answered. We had just emptied all the items from the car, and there was nothing to tempt criminals in this pretty safe spot. Not locking the doors, we also neglected to close the windows.

     You guessed it. As we were examining items in the museum, we looked out the window—it was pouring cats and dogs and anything else you can think of. We sat around the museum waiting for the rain to quit, rechecking the museum items several times over.

     The rain continued this way for probably a half hour. By the time we noticed, the damage was done. 

     When the rain let up to a drizzle, Monte went and brought the car to the museum door. His side suffered little. I sat in waterlogged car upholstery.

     On the way to the Ligonier Theater to watch their day’s offerings, I suggested driving to the top of the Ligonier Cemetery hill—with the weather, there might be a (more…)

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