Beanery Online Literary Magazine

January 9, 2011

Train Up a Child




Scripture: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Reflection: It is 1980…

     “Dad, it’s Sunday. I need some sleep.”

     The voice of a young boy rang out loudly through the house in response to his father’s call to awaken, knowing what his father’s answer would be—it was always the same: get up, get dressed, and go to church.

     It is 2007…

     “Dad, it’s Sunday. I’m tired, let me sleep.”

     The man standing at the staircase bottom heard these words as he called to awaken his son. The memory of those same words he told his father in 1980 made him smile.

     The boy of 1980 had become a good father, faithful to his God and church, never failing to seek help through faith. Two hours after awakening his son, he watched the child don his robe and light the candles as acolyte at Sunday services. The young boy was proud, smiling. He told everyone (more…)

December 23, 2010



No Room In The Inn – Or In Your Life?*

Rev. Albert W. Kovacs**


And she gave birth to her first-born son

and wrapped him in swaddling cloths,

 and laid him in a manger,

because there was no room for them in the inn.


     Babies can come at the most inopportune times.

     A young couple may delay having a child until circumstances improve. They want to save for a home, become more secure in the job, wait until the economy improves, or until the spouse returns from Iraq.

     As the Bible tells us, the Lord who opens and closes the womb sometimes has other ideas—and one of His new creations is on the way, the latest handiwork of His awesome wonders.

      Mary’s son was on the way when she and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem. What a time for a census! Such a long way to go just because of some fool politician’s effort to exact taxes. And now that they finally arrived. Joseph talked to the innkeeper, then had to go out to tell his oh- so-pregnant wife: Mary, there’s no room in the inn. The best he could do was let us stay in the manger.

      Yet that was just the beginning of the intrusion of this son on their life. Just days later they would (more…)

December 19, 2010

Christmas 1998—A Memory Embraced




Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.  Cicero


The following prompt was e-mailed to members and friends of the Beanery Writers Group, which meets in Latrobe, Pennsylvania:

 Recount your Yuletide memories, the sweet and yes, even the bitter. Laugh and cry as you reflect and think of the lessons learned from the good and not so good. Embrace those memories. Don’t run from them. For they all will serve you well.*


     What is wrong with me?  I, the one who is always early with the tree, the
lights, the Christmas cheer, cannot find any spirit this year. Strange, for it
is always me, who is first with the fun, and always the first person to say “hey, what’s wrong with you?  Get your tree up!”

     Always, by Thanksgiving, our family is well into the holiday season, for in truth, I was raised that it is a season, not just a day or week, to celebrate. 
     From my earliest childhood it was a season we celebrated, with dinners for
neighbors, walks in the snow, ice skating, and just spending time together. 
Somehow I think that has been lost upon the current generation of young people.
     It’s now December 13th. My mother is calling, again, to ask What is wrong
with me????  Why haven’t I put up the tree?
I promise her I will truly do it
today. Much to my surprise I actually do it. She is in Yuma, Arizona and I’m on Cape Cod, so she wouldn’t know it if I didn’t do it, but then—somehow she always knows everything!!
    The next morning I call her to tell her the tree is up and decorated. We
talk for about a half hour, general stuff, mostly about the holiday and what
her plans are. 

<— Fran’s Mom


     Later that evening I received a call that she had a gall bladder attack, and they were going to operate.  Not to worry: she had a longtime gall bladder surgeon, one of the best. He ran tests, told us she was fine to have the laproscopic surgery.  She came through it OK.

     But perhaps in hindsight, we should have had a (more…)

November 21, 2010

All is Well




SCRIPTURE:   Psalm 139:5  …Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.   

REFLECTION: Many years ago, while pregnant, I was diagnosed with a very serious illness called diabetes. Usually diabetes goes away after the baby is born. In my case, it did not.

     With diabetes, your body stops producing a drug called Insulin. Insulin maintains the sugar in your body at an acceptable level. A too high or too low sugar level requires medication, in pill form or a shot, to (more…)

November 10, 2010

Sing to Me Softly



Malaika King


I remember when

You used to sing me to sleep


The softness of your words

Bouncing off the walls


And cascading me

With your voice


I remember when

You used to (more…)

July 14, 2010

The Legacy of Hopedale, Massachusetts




    Throughout her life my grandmother often spoke about growing up “near Heaven, this wonderful Hopedale of ours.”

Elizabeth Noyes (rt) with her sister May (c 1898)

     Elizabeth Amanda Noyes was born in Hopedale, Massachusetts, in 1890. Her parents, William and Mary Cotton Noyes, had moved there to raise their children in a place where faith and family came first, where they knew a hard work ethic would prevail, and where they would feel secure. The self-contained town was religiously based. Sundays were always for faith and family. It remained that way during my grandmother’s entire life.
     Lizzie, as she was known, loved to speak of those first days swimming in the pond was allowed for girls. Apparently a somewhat scandalous event, she felt it was a big step forward for women. This always amazed me as she truly was old-fashioned: she cooked, cleaned, knew nothing about driving, or voting, and my grandfather made all decisions.


     Draper Mill, one of the oldest textile mills in the country, dominated (more…)

May 17, 2010

Idlewild Amusement Park Memories



Patricia Orendorff Smith

     Many of us have visited Idlewild Park in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania. I asked my friend, Jackie, to recount her memories in the late 1950s to the 1970s.

     “Since I was a baby, my dad attended Rockwell Manufacturing, Inc. picnics at Idlewild,” Jackie said. Her family has slides of their time spent there. “I wonder if I remember the occasion or if my memories come from the pictures.”     

     Jackie’s first memory at four years of age revolved around the roller coaster. She thinks she was too young to ride the tall ride.

     “My sister and I always wanted a gold fish at the Goldfish Pond,” Jackie said. “My sister got one.” Jackie was determined to get a goldfish. She saved money and when she was eight, she won a goldfish. “I had to walk around the park all day (carrying it).” On the ride home, Jackie remembered (more…)

April 21, 2010

A Family Grows in Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Greensburg, PA, as seen from the top of the Courthouse




(Southwestern Pennsylvania)

Sarah K. Byrne-Houser

       While I never quite pictured myself evolving into a minivan-maneuvering soccer mom, I spent my childhood playing on a cul-de-sac in a streetlight-free township east of Pittsburgh. Suburbia and I came to know each other well. 

     Brooklyn born and bred, my fiancé possessed no true understanding of life outside a city.  Apparently, he harbored some serious delusions upon his relocation to Greensburg in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

     We moved from our college campus in Baltimore, Maryland to an apartment near my old high school. The apartment was a standard beige-and-white two-bedroom cheap enough for recent grads. His adjustment to Greensburg would take some time, we both knew.  After all, his new “city” operated a very limited (more…)

January 28, 2010

How to Give Support to Caregivers




It’s not just about the person who has that disease (whatever it may be), but everyone who loves and cares for that person.  —Leeza Gibbons*

     In today’s world of expensive nursing home care, low or no insurance, and the worry of finding a good home for a loved one, more and more of us find ourselves becoming a caregiver in our own home.
     I’ve found through my last five years, as my husband’s a caregiver,  that often my friends will call to ask how he is, what he needs, if they can stop by to visit him. What they don’t think, or don’t realize, is that maybe they can help me too. 

     Care-giving is a non-stop job. It never ends—not when the person is asleep, not when they are in the hospital for something, not ever.  The home caregiver and the patient are always one – they become one as both lives revolve around each other, totally dependent on each other. As a result, my friends who have lost their spouse, after care-giving them at home, find themselves completely lost for quite some time. 
     What I find helpful is if friends and family understand that the caregiver is not just someone who takes care of the ill person.  The caregiver still exists as an individual, with needs of their own that often go unmet. 

     If it takes a town to raise a child, it surely takes a country to care for the ill.       

     Everyone, including you, knows someone who cares for an ill relative. And everyone, including you, can offer much more than help to the patient.  You have the ability to lighten the burden of the caregiver, to realize that no matter how much they love the person they are caring for, it is a burden—one they grasp onto willingly, and with the hope that they are giving the best care to this person that they could ever get.


     With this in mind, I have a few tips for those of you who visit a home where there is a caregiver.
     First, when you


May 13, 2009

Mother’s Day




Two toddler boys run in for hugs and kisses,
     but someone’s missing
Two little boys, bearing gifts made themselves,
     but someone’s missing
My teenage sons, now working, take mom out for lunch,
     but (more…)

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