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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Englewood - Elsie Quirk - Meeting Schedule

Dear Members,

I have posted the meeting calendar for 2015-2016 through May 2016.

Please note the one week the Library (Elsie Quirk) has a program scheduled for our meeting date. The date was moved back one week.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Southwest Florida Writer's Groups

List of Southwest Florida Writer’s Groups
Name of Group
Englewood Authors
Englewood and Venice
Ed Ellis
Florida Writers – Nokomis
George Mindling
Florida Writers – Manatee
Dona Lee
Sarasota Authors Connection
Fruitville Library
Sarasota Fiction Writers
Pat Gray
Peace River Writers
Punta Gorda
Venice Writers Group
Roger Sakowski
Charlotte Harbor Writers
Paul Holmes
North Port Poetry Workshop
North Port
Scott Zirkelback
Port Charlotte
Carl Megill
Suncoast Writers Guild
Ann Favreau

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 2015 Featured Story

The Race
by Richard Davies
I’ve been told that the only way to learn a new language is to be immersed in it. I am sure there is some truth in that, but here I’ve been in Taiwan for one month and can speak virtually no Chinese, but I will keep trying. I have however learned a lot about the Chinese people, their country, and their culture, and am fascinated by it.
I was just told that I am a dog, and by such a lovely young lady. Seeing my dumbstruck face she tried to explain in her English, which wasn’t much better than my Chinese, that she meant I was born in the year of the dog. She was getting flustered trying to explain it to me so I decided not to pursue the subject further. This was a job for Paul Wang. Paul was our Far East marketing manager, a Chinese Air Force pilot, retired, who speaks near perfect

English, and is the best source I knew for explaining anything “Chinese”.

Paul advised that the story began long, long ago when the Jade Emperor ordered a race for the animals in his kingdom. The race was across plains, thru the forest, and across a river to the final destination. The purpose of this race was to assign names to the twelve years in the Chinese Zodiac. The years would be named after the animals in the order in which they finished the race. The Jade Emperor knew that certain animals such as the Cat and the Rat were poor swimmers but should compensate with their intellect. This seemed to be true from the very start of the race when the Cat and the Rat jumped onto the back of the powerful Ox. The Ox, being naïve and good-natured, did not object to his passengers.


As the race progressed the Ox took a commanding lead as they entered the river. Before they reached the shore of the river the Rat sneaked up behind the Cat and pushed it into the river. After crossing the river the Rat leaped from the Ox’s shoulder and hopped over the finish line and was proclaimed the winner of the race and named the first year of the Zodiac. The Ox plodded along right behind the Rat to take the second place.

The Tiger followed, panting, and explained to the Jade emperor how the strong currents and cold water hindered him, but with his great strength and cunning he made it in to take third place and his place in the Zodiac. From the distance came a thump-thump sound as the Rabbit approached. He explained how he had crossed the river by cleverly hopping from rock to rock but almost lost the race when he slipped off a rock into the water. He was Lucky enough to grab on to a floating log until he reached the shore taking fourth place in the race and the Zodiac. Coming in fifth place was the flying Dragon.


The Jade Emperor was curious as to why this powerful flying creature was unable to attain first place. The mighty Dragon explained that he had to stop along the way to make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth which slowed him down. Then as he approached the finish line he saw a  little Rabbit clinging to a floating log and stopped to do a good deed and with a puff of his Dragon breath blew the little creature to the shore.

The Jade Emperor was very pleased with the good actions of the Dragon and he was added as the fifth year of the zodiac cycle. Suddenly, from a distance there came a galloping sound as the Horse appeared. Wrapped around the Horses front leg was the

Snake who’s sudden appearance startled the Horse causing it to rear up as the Snake slithered across the finish line in sixth place. The Horse followed in seventh place.

Not long after that, a little ways back, the Goat, Monkey and Rooster came to the shore. The three creatures had helped each other to get where they were. The Rooster spotted a raft, and took the other animals aboard.  Together the Goat and the Monkey cleared the weeds, and tugged and pulled until they got the raft to the shore. The emperor was pleased with their spirit of cooperation and promptly named the Goat to the eighth,  the Monkey to the ninth, and the Rooster to the tenth year.  The eleventh animal to arrive was the Dog.

Although he was known to be one of the best swimmer the Emperor asked why he was so late to finish. In truth he could not resist the temptation to play a little longer in the river.

His explanation to the Emperor however was that he needed a good bath after such long spell and almost didn’t make it to the finish line in 11th place. Just as the Jade Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink, oink and a squeal was heard from a little Pig approaching the finish line. The Pig had gotten hungry during the race and stopped for a bite to eat, and then promptly fell asleep. After that the pig continued the race and just made it in time to finish in the twelfth place and take his place as the final year in the Zodiac cycle.

The Emperor was always ready to applaud the good deeds and cooperation and fair play, but not to castigate or punish the naughty guys. He had made few rules and abided by them. My kind of guy!

The Cat drowned after the Rat pushed it off the shoulder of the Ox, and it has been said that this is the reason why cats always chase rats, to get back at them for this dastardly deed. There are several other versions of this tale from Chinese folk lore, but they all have one thing in common, the Rat did the Cat a nasty, and to this day the Cat hates the Rat, always chasing him, and most of the times catching him, bye- bye Rat.

This tale also tends to suggest where we got some of our Western expressions, such as “eating like a Pig”, “Lucky Rabbit’s foot”, and “you dirty Rat”.

I knew there was a logical explanation for all of this, and there it is!

Rich, Thank You for the Story