Beanery Online Literary Magazine

January 31, 2013

Modern Ruins of a Museum



by Mark Sliwa

As a kid, I loved to blow stuff up. Gunpowder bombs to destroy my plastic model car collection or a Polish cannon that could shoot a hundred yards.  For those who may not remember, a Polish cannon was five or six Pepsi cans that had the ends cut out. Construction was possible as soda cans were made of metal with a reinforced steel ring at each end. All were duct-taped together to resemble a small bazooka.

The base can was left partially vented at the drinking end and had a pinhole punched in its bottom.  Ammunition was a tennis ball and propellant was lighter fluid.  To operate, we stuffed the ball down the tube with a stick, squirted fluid in the pinhole, lit a match to the hole, and boom! The kick felt like a 12 gauge shotgun as you watched the ball sail across the neighborhood.  I had the most powerful one in the neighborhood until my mother captured it and proceeded to crush it with dad’s workbench vise.

It is no surprise then that a place called Forbes Road Gun Museum held great interest for me as an early teen.  Located in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania, at the top of Gravel Hill Road, it was a small brick two story Smithsonian of guns, some dating over 500 years. A field artillery cannon sat on the front lawn, commanding respect before one entered. The first floor served as a gunsmith shop and the second as the museum.  An elderly man named Russell Payne was the owner and seemed to know (more…)

December 5, 2009

Ligonier (PA)



Words and music by Joe F. Stierheim

Joe is a writer of many genres. Below is a song he wrote about Ligonier, PA, his town of residence. He brought the piece to the Beanery Writers Group and Ligonier’s Mello Mike night. At each event people joined in singing the lilt of the chorus. At the end are some Christmas verses.

Ligonier, Ligonier, whether I’m far or near
I’m so happy to say my home is Ligonier.

I love to see the mountains in the morning sun.
I love to see them once again when the day is done.
No matter where I wander (more…)

May 18, 2009

History reridden—The Pony Express


Ronald J. Shafer

        The morning sun still hung low in the sky as the Chevy pickup pulled into the parking area, where a small sign read “Pony Express Stop.” Rider 278 looked at one of the spaces near the front, then remembered the trailer he towed. He eased the truck and trailer onto the grass at the edge of the lot, walked to the back of the trailer, and lowered the ramp, before glancing toward the intersection of routes 30 and 981. Not many cars on the road today, he thought, running a hand through his blond hair. Maybe folks are celebrating the Fourth of July a day early.

     He walked inside, talked to his horse and patted the pinto before backing the animal down the ramp. As usual, the gelding didn’t (more…)