Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .
I have one dog upon my lap another standing up on my knee looking at me with big brown eyes as if to say why him and not me the same is true when I make a fuss of anyone of the four dogs the others are there as if by rote climbing and jumping trying to be boss I pat them all upon the head taking in turns so as not to miss one as they push and shove each other away cold noses exploring to add to the fun Ginnie is my oldest girl a special place in my heart for twelve short years she is a part of the original pack the rest all gone to other frontiers then comes Buddy a funny little guy as old as Ginnie but lacking some sense as deaf as a post and with failing sight he does his best to recompense Mikey is but a young pup at two years old and full of life demanding attention at every turn not caring if he cause a strife Sandy is the latest guest she too is only two years old but full of love and energy as her life with us does unfold I love my dogs and I know they love me as between them all I share my heart something that the whole world knows the love of a dog and troubles depart if there’s anything bad about a dog it’s that their life so short can be and for all of the pleasure they provide there is that moment of misery but in the time they are alive they know no bounds in the love they give sharing their life with their human friends helping each of us to live.
I looked around and looked some more looking at my dirty floor hoping that someone would pick up a broom and sweep the dirt right out of the room then the thought I suddenly did see that the someone would have to be me the last I looked I was alone just me and four dogs and they have to be shown anything that I want them to do I have to do first as they don’t know how to and even after I showed them the way they ignored me completely and had their say “Cleaning house is not what we do so get to it Dad, we don’t have a clue” I took a deep breath and picked up my mop as they disappeared not up for the job and I swept and cleaned with no help from them and I really thought that we were friends it just goes to show that in times of need even those that you house and feed are not up to cleaning the mess that they make what good are they you ask, for goodness sake and then when your through at the end of the task out they come wagging no thoughts of the past but glad to have you back in your chair the house is so clean but they do not care just give them the time and before very long “The house needs cleaning” will be their song.
This is my one thousandth blog that I have written and posted on this site. I never thought when I started blogging all of those years ago and posted my first blog on July 12, 2011 that I would maintain the interest and continue on. But I have done and am still excited even today when I finish a particularly good piece or poem and have good quality pictures to go along with it.
Things are a little different now than it was eight years ago. Then, I thought that I would write short stories and post them for all to see until I figured out just how much work that was. I soon found out that I was not a writer as I don’t have a devious enough mind to come up with all of those plots and situations. Instead, I let Nature be the plot as she provides me with countless means of expression through her beauty. I added photography to my repertoire and have got to be pretty good at it. So, nowadays, I take pictures as I go on long hikes and then I write about what I have seen and show the photos that I took. Incidentally, I always do post camera work on all of my pictures to bring out the colors and shades that I did not capture with the original picture and in the last couple of years have got a lot of pleasure out of putting together videos of the pictures by turning them into slideshows, usually to music.
I discovered early on that I can write verse albeit a bit corny sometimes. If the words rhyme then that is good enough for me even if the words don’t make too much sense. I love writing poetry and I really feel my creative side coming out when I put down the words.
I write for myself and publish it for others to share if they are so inclined to read it. Early on, I wanted everyone to “like” what I wrote until I discovered that I had to “like” them back. I soon tired of that game and nowadays only add a “like” if in fact I really do. Otherwise, a quick glance to see if the other blog is interesting and then move on although I do have a few fellow bloggers that I follow and “like” on a consistent basis and it still takes me an hour or more going through the blogs every morning.
I did manage to write an entire autobiography about my life growing up in England all the way from being a little kid during the second World War to the trip from England to America and it sits on a thumbdrive gathering dust. There is a second part waiting to be written, My Life in America, but if I ever will actually write it, remains to be seen. Maybe when I can’t hike anymore. It’s a sure thing that I am not going to get rich from writing or photography.
So why do we do it? What compels us to spend time and effort writing about our interests and then publishing it so that others may read about it? Why are we so arrogant to believe that others may be in the slightest bit interested in any of our work. I have no answer for that and can only put it down to the folly of human nature which is why some people are writers and authors and other are carpenters and bricklayers, which incidentally I was for many years of my life.
When I can no longer hike or when the ponds get to be too much work, what will I write about then? If I don’t live it, I do not have a story. Like I said at the beginning, I am a reporter not a writer and probably by then, my brain will be defunct of any creative virtues.
Here’s hoping for another thousand blogs and all the years that go along with it…
I got to thinking the other day after many long years of living alone just what is it that makes us this way with nobody else to share our home history shows that things went well in the first few years of married bliss but then as time did tell things started to come amiss and all of the love of those early days could not withstand in so many ways the pressures that life brings to the fore and loved walked out of the open door leaving behind a broken heart and the price to pay is living apart three attempts at trying to find love in a marriage and a happy home each one ending just like before with me being shown the door and finally choosing to live alone rather than try to do it again as a broken heart is not easy to mend and it’s much easier to just be friends after twenty five years of living alone with many pets that I chaperoned I do not wish to share my life or have any other form of strife and the remaining dogs get along just fine and the quiet life is so sublime they give me love and affection too and sense when my moods are blue they cheer me up with cuddles and wags and lots of kisses if I get too close these are things that I like the most so instead of a wife my life to share I have the love of my pets that are in my care there have been a lot of pets in that time as their lives are short beyond compare new ones fill the holes left behind each special in that moment so dear they ask for nothing and in return I give them love and caring too and together we will see the end when that final moment comes due…
For those of you that follow my blog know that I have recently adopted a new little girl who is a Maltese mix to fill the void left by the death of Gizmo. Her name is Sandy for her coloring which is mostly white with sandy colors mixed in. I adopted her knowing that she needed to be treated for heart-worm which we have been undergoing for the past couple of months with several more months to go.
She really is a very sweet little girl although somewhat demanding just as most females are. It is easier to cater to the demands of a little dog rather than a full grown person of the opposite sex. That’s why I have dogs. She gets along very well with the other three dogs even Ginnie who is the only one remaining from the original pack and can be a bit of a snot. She really likes Mikey who is super full of energy and himself very demanding for attention. As for Buddy, the other recent adoptee, he just goes about his business wandering around the garden or spending his time asleep. Buddy is very deaf and does not see too well either which makes him a bit of a slow mover.
When Richie was around, he was a really inquisitive dog always exploring in the oddest of places including the woods at the back of my house. He did this by digging out under the fence resulting in my scrambling over this 6 feet high wooden fence in order to get him back. At the time, the neighbor had a mean donkey that had the run of these woods and she had warned me that it was a killer of small animals so you can imagine how quickly I was after Richie. He came back after taking one look at the donkey and I quickly blocked up the hole he had dug. I then ran an electric fence all the way around the entire fence line really close to the ground to deter Richie from future explorations of the great outdoors beyond the fence line. He must have hit it at least once as he never again tried to dig his way out.
That was several years ago and the fence worked well. Richie joined the other dogs of my life in that great outdoors up in the sky after getting bit by a rattlesnake about 3 years ago. I kinda let the electric fence go a bit as none of the other dogs had any inclination to dig their way out being content with their lot within the confines of their own back yard. It hurts my feelings when they try to get out like that as I give them the best care and all of the love that I have. But, dogs are dogs and probably retain some of their wild instincts even after all of the thousands of years of domestication.
That is, until Sandy came along. I had no idea she was a digger until I happened to glance out of the kitchen window after coming in to get a drink and there she was, tail erect and trotting down the driveway towards the very busy road. I did a double take and tore out the door leaving the faucet running in my haste. I opened the back gate having enough sense to close it to keep the other dogs in and trundled off down the driveway after the dog. I can’t remember the last time I broke into a trot other than a fast walk but run I did even at eighty three. In the meantime, Sandy was heading back as the traffic on the road was enough to frighten her forcing her in the same direction from which she had come. I called her and she immediately came back to me and I was so relieved to get to her unhurt that I forgot to scold her for digging out.
I checked the yard and sure enough, in the area that the famous Murmuring Creek, which runs through the bottom of my yard, was a hole dug neatly under the electric fence which I should mention, was not working. The hole was big enough for a little dog to squeeze out. This creek only flows when we get a gully washer as it is located on the low spot of the land and all of the water for several hundred yard around finds its way across my yard and then my neighbors yard and on. Plus there is a twenty four inch culvert that runs under the road and empties directly outside of my fence line. The end result of all of this water is Murmuring Creek.
I grabbed my shovel and filled in the hole and reinforced the rest of that part of the fence line with extra dirt and then went to work on getting the electric fence operable again. This took me several hours and after getting zapped a couple of times myself through my own carelessness, decided that the fence was working properly. I had to check the wire in the creek area making sure it was not grounding out and was unbroken. Satisfied, I turned to go back up the garden and when all of a sudden, Sandy screamed in pain and I immediately rushed over fearing that she had gotten bit by a rattler. In fact, what she had done was touch the electric wire with her nose and quite obviously, it was working just fine. She ran back to the house crying all of the way. I hated that she had to get shocked but at the same time, she learned a valuable lesson that might keep her alive.
She comes down with me to the bottom of the garden but steers clear of the fence line. I still worry that she may get brave enough to try it again so I stacked rocks across the spot where the water flows under the fence allowing the water to flow through on the odd occasions when we get the gully washer but enough to where she cannot dig her way out. If we get a big enough wash, I will need to replace it as the dirt will get washed away.
I had this long conversation with her about how much she means to us as a family and that she needs to be careful but I don’t think that it sank in. She just looked at me with her big brown eyes and demanded more attention. Oh yes, I am no worse for wear after breaking into a stumbling run but I don’t think I will take it up as a form of exercise in the future. I also had one other stroke of luck as I was walking back to the house when lo and behold, the very large Turtle that lives in one of the ponds was walking down the path towards me. I scooped him up and put him back hoping that he will stay there. That with the luck of looking out of the kitchen window at exactly the right time was enough to make me jump in my truck and buy a lottery ticket. You never know as things do come in threes and I could use a couple of million dollars.
It’s been raining at my house for a few days preventing me from going out to play and any work around the ponds has to be done with a raincoat on and even after the rain has stopped everything has turned to slop and being outside is just not fun as the dripping trees continue to run I’ve spent time indoors sitting around not wasting it as I have found that time on the website that I maintain is put to good use as I make it the same as I picture exactly what I want it to be and then write the code so that others can see the pictures and words of upcoming things they can see for themselves my offerings in an attempt to show them what is in store including the fabulous Austin Pond Tour with fifteen ponds spread over two days all different kinds and so many ways to make a back yard a beautiful thing so that others can see and their praises will sing not knowing the time and the effort it takes to turn it into a beautiful place the rain has stopped and I venture outside to look at my ponds that Nature does hide from view as I sit writing these words with growth so thick that even the birds have trouble in finding the seeds that I spread as I welcome their presence and they’re not underfed birds of all colors some big and some small jostling to get to their share of it all the yard I have is a beautiful place everything so green filling a space in between the ponds of which there are four filled with Goldfish and Koi and plants galore with pathways between leading around and around until back at the start you can be found ready to do it over again to see what you missed as its never the same to maintain the ponds is a lot of work which in the past I did not shirk but as I now am eighty three the work is catching up with me and I’m no longer sure for how long I can last as I do not work like in the past and things are much harder than before as old age is knocking at my door and with it the loss of strength that I had especially when I was a much younger lad and what I will need to do is close down the ponds before I am through and still have the strength to perform this task just a few more years is all I ask as I live out my remaining days just me and the dogs very set in our ways.
As we grow old we are sometimes alone maybe through no fault of our own and even in another life we may even have had a wife or two or three whatever the odds and their actions mean we lost the toss and even though they left us to go and we grew too old and willing to roam and had not the urge to pick up the phone instead choosing to live alone along with our pets who are our friends who stay with us until their end both dogs and cats are in that group with one another in an endless loop as such short lives they all do have and when they are gone we are so sad at losing yet another mate whose love for us had been their fate if I had one last request it would be that at my behest when I die and my soul moves on and even if there is no song I want it to be at the very same place where all of my pets at their Pearly Gates are waiting for me and welcome me home and together we will never be alone for the past twenty years my pets and I have looked after each other with the lows and the highs they have been there through good times and bad and comforted me when I was sad and carefully laid their chin on my knee which was their way of comforting me and in return I would stroke their fur and the troubles would lessen with them being there as I grow old with the passing years and know that my end and all of my fears will someday no longer be and I hope then that my destiny once young and vibrant and full of life now old and wrinkled no longer in strife my pets will still have someone to care and look after them as I am not there to give them the love that has been their life and look after them without any strife and even though their lives are short this is one time that I have to report that they could well outlive me as my life fades into history.
Stories about family, faith, friends and funnies. Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of coffee and laugh, cry, ponder and inspire about ordinary events of this wonderful, ever changing, bubbling pot that we call "every day life".