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 .
Category Archives: My Life Story
The story of my life as I remember it starting with my early years
Funny thing that when you are young and your life has just begun you never think of that day when your life starts slipping away as the present is all fun and play and the body reacts in a normal way then one day what used to be fun now takes more effort as aging has begun the aches and pains and all the hard knocks take longer to heal and are more of a shock bathroom breaks come faster it seems and walking past one the impossible dream the hair is gone and now there’s a gut no matter on how hard you suck to try to make yourself look thin for that is an unlikely dream pretty girls are still worth the time to watch them out of the corner of your eye for to stare at them admiring their form only gets you treated with scorn and labelled as a dirty old man though what it is that they don’t understand that looking at them is all you can do as age has left you a little askew and things that used to work so fine now are reminders of a different time with physical pleasures a thing of the past alas good things just don’t last you sigh and walk slowly away with thoughts abound of a long lost day when girls looked at you with smouldering eyes handsome and confident needing no disguise not thinking that this day would come and an old man in more ways than one and that is about the extent of my life which now resembles more of a strife to get my body to work just fine even though it takes more time to crawl out of bed so cozy and warm with the company of dogs who true to form snuggle up in the night which is no mean feat staying close to me to get the heat that my body puts off to keep them warm thinking that this is the norm and is what dogs do in their natural way to protect their hooman from going astray the body may be weak but the spirit is strong though it takes more effort to drive it along it’s still worth the time that the effort does take as even an old man has a future at stake it’s not time to lay down and die but to give it a shot and your best try and to work through the aches and the pains and be smart about what is possible to attain as an old man still has his pride in allowing his body to be his guide if he can physically perform each task then there is nothing left to ask and until his dying day this old man will do things his way…
I woke up this morning to a day which will be to me, very much like any other day at this stage of my life. Just me and the dogs hanging out as we do every day. The difference is, that to the rest of the Christian World, it is Christmas day, when according to the Bible, Jesus was born in a stable in a town called Bethlehem.
To many, this is a very sacred day celebrated in all kinds of different ways based on the particular brand of the religion and what country the celebrations are occuring. I live in the United States and before that grew up in England where I lived for thirty one years.
My English memories are what I like to believe, closer to the truth about the true meaning of Christmas at least to me and the family I had way back then, all of those years ago. We had gone through and were just recovering from the Second World War which in turn, had led to several inventions and modernizations to help make life better for the average family. Food, although still scarce was becoming more available. We did not eat turkey for Christmas Dinner because it was only for those that could afford it, what we referred to as the “Upper Class”. We killed a chicken from our yard and were very grateful for it, not so much for the chicken. We did not give each other expensive gifts but those that we had made ourselves and each was received with the graciousness they so richly deserved. As time went on, a lot of the old ways were disappearing and by the time we left to come to the States, material things were becoming important as the world began to become Americanized.
I am now almost eighty four years old and have spent fifty three years in this country and have watched as Christmas has turned into a celebration of gifts and possessions. Add to that the amount of food and drink that is consumed (and wasted) on this day and it would seem to me that instead of this being a simple celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, it has turned into an excuse to eat, drink and spend money on very expensive and many times, unwanted gifts.
If I sound a bit like an old Scrooge, that is maybe because in a way, I am. Giving expensive gifts does not necessarily make you a better person. Maybe, in your own mind, you are trying to make up for all of the things that you didn’t do through the year. Like you are appeasing your conscience and trying to make up for it with the gift.
I am not a particularly religious person although through my lifetime, I have dabbled with a couple of different kinds mainly to satisfy the person that I was married to at that time. I was raised as a Church of England Protestant and in my youth, actively practised religion. At one time, I dabbled in Catholicism again because my wife at that time was Catholic. But is was only a passing whim and when she quit going to Church, so did I.
Now, with no wives to push me in the right direction, I have chosen the route of non religion. I find it so hard to believe that with all of the suffering in the world, the general hate for persons of different religions and color, the wars, the famine’s and the natural disasters that there is a Divine Being that watches all of this going on and does not help to guide us in a different direction. If he or she, is waiting for mankind to save itself, then it will never happen. As a race, mankind is it’s own worst enemy and will not be satisfied until it has pushed the world to the point of extinction with global warming and only then, if it is not too late, will maybe change it’s ways and make the effort to save the world and the remaining inhabitants. Then, if I was around, would I begin to revive my faith and believe that maybe there is a God after all and that the Spirit of Christmas would rekindle mankind’s belief in himself.
I live in a Nation of greed and prejudice where the almighty dollar, to many, is the only religion. The top one percent own more than the combined assets of the remaining ninety nine percent and that is wrong. That coupled with a hate for Jews, Muslims and people of different ethnicity, race and color often times make it very hard to believe that there is a God and that any form of religion is going to change the way things have become. In all of my years on this earth for which I am very grateful, my best recollection of that time was when I was a young man living a simple life in England before the age of progress.
Alas, I can’t wind back the clock to those better and simpler times. Happy Holidays Everyone.
Once again I find myself back at the Ford Dealership getting my truck serviced. I have routinely and I might add, faithfully brought my truck back here to get it serviced every 5000 or so miles. Now, there is 30,000 miles on the clock and we are at a major service with a lot of stuff having to get worked on.
The Dealership is Covert Ford which is also where I originally purchased the truck a couple of years back. They have always treated me with respect and the service has always been good but it is still a hassle every time I bring it here. They service on a first come first served basis for the normal type of services that most vehicles require. Consequently, it is a bit of a free for all when first arriving as it doesn’t matter what time I get here, there is always a long line of cars and trucks in front of me.
I attempted to bring the truck in the day before but a series of events prevented that from happening. Well, actually, that is not quite true. The first thing that happened is that I slept through the alarm not waking until an hour after I had set it at 7:00 am. I scurried around and got on the road only to run into the normal rush hour traffic as the commuters wended their way to their various jobs. The traffic was stop and start and when it did move, crawled along at a snail’s pace until coming to another stop. I feel really sorry for the people that have to face this every day. What a hassle and nightmare both to get to work and to get home. When I was a working man, I faced the same traffic problem but not anywhere near as bad as it is nowadays. We moved into the house that I currently live in 34 years ago and it used to take me 30 minutes to drive to the University of Texas where I was employed. By the time I retired 17 years later, the traffic had increased so much that it took me an hour to make the same trip. Goodness only knows what it would take today.
But I digress. I attempted to drive in although much later than I should have and got stuck in this traffic. I went a few miles at a stop and start and then decided that I was wasting my time and turned round and went back home with the idea of delaying the trip for an hour or so hoping that the rush would slow down to a somewhat more normal flow.
I tried again an hour later and made it to the Dealership in a more normal time only to be told that it would take all day to complete the work and that the best thing I could do would be to bring the truck back in the morning as early as possible. The next day, I set the alarm close to my head so that I would hear it and got up at some unearthly hour that I didn’t know even existed since retiring. I rushed around and got on the road by 6:30 am and even then, traffic was beginning to pile up in places. I made it to the Dealership by 7:00 o’clock and there was already a long line of vehicles in front of me.
My Service Agent, an older gentleman by the name of James, wrote out a long list of items that needed to be checked or replaced at the 30,000 mile service and rattled off a few numbers which represented the dollars it would end up costing me. I could tell from what he told me that this was going to be a lot of money. I handed over the keys and found my usual seat in the lobby, got out my computer and started writing…
A couple of hours and a couple of blogs later, another gentleman came in to tell me that my truck was ready and I could go home. I paid my bill which was not unreasonable considering the amount of work they had to do and hit the road. This journey was much quicker than the one coming in. My homecoming was noisy as 3 little dogs greeted me at the door with waggly tails and noisy barks as they jumped and cavorted looking for attention.
At least I have a truck that should be good for another 5000 miles before I have to do it all over again. The next service will be at the 36000 mile mark when it goes out of its factory warranty although I do have an extended warranty that I purchased which will cover me for any of the large items that might require attention in the future.
I was reading about some well known folks
whose lives made them famous in years gone by
all of them living in the past
they never knew the reason why
today we read about their feats
and wonder what made them the way that they were
what drove them on against all odds
with no thoughts of any retreat
Will I go down in history
I doubt very much if that man is me
as I am not famous in any way
and have accomplished nothing to say
to the rest of the world take notice of me
for I want to be part of history
so what can I do for the world to see
the next famous man is going to be me
Fame and fortune are not my lot
content and happy with what I have got
my house and a little piece of land
enough to make my life grand
my pets for company who wants more
no one knocking on my door
food on the table and a truck to drive
making everything great just being alive.
As many of you that follow my blog may know, I live in the grand old State of Texas and have done for these past 42 years. I moved here in 1977 from Upper New York State where I had resided for the previous 10 years after emigrating from England. Circumstances in the form of a divorce, a marriage and a job offer are what led me here. That plus the very cold, very snowy and very long winters.
On the whole, life has been good to me in this great State although there have been a few ups and downs, the one major one that came in the form of yet another divorce resulting in my living the life of a single man for these past 27 years. Actually, in retrospect, I was more upset at the fact that we sold our 5 acres out in the Hill Country just to move closer to town and our jobs than I was at yet again, being a single man after only 5 years at the new place. Don’t get me wrong as I really loved that woman but I also loved that place in the Hill Country where I had built a house and a horse barn and fenced it all in and would never have agreed to move if I had only known what was in the future. How many times have you heard that one before? On the other hand, a few years later, both the barn and half of the house were blown away in one of the relatively infrequent times when a tornado touched down in the Hill Country.
Being the adaptable sort of a fellow that I am, after my ex had gone, I readjusted and turned this place into my own little piece of paradise by building and maintaining five ponds complete with Koi and Goldfish. To date, four ponds remain after I took down the smallest one which was only 350 gallons, earlier this year. The other ponds ranging in size from 6000 gallons, 5000 gallons and two of about 2500 gallons each are still flourishing although, as the reader can imagine, require considerable work in both upkeep and maintenance. They tend to keep me close to home. That and the four little dogs that live with me and share my life and who are my best and I sometimes think, only friends.
Time is passing by at an alarming rate and I am fast approaching my 84 birthday. Naturally, I have slowed with age and am no longer able to play soccer which I had done for many, many years. I retired from that game when I was 72 mainly due to having a knee replaced so it has been a while. For those of you that follow my blog, you know that I have filled the gap left by not playing, “the beautiful game” by hiking the local parks and then writing about the hikes along with a multitude of pictures. Which brings me to my latest chain of thought.
Recently, my mind has turned to the future and what may be in it for me and my doggy friends. I love this house and the ponds and have wonderful and caring neighbors but both house and the ponds are increasingly making demands on my time and on my aging body to where I have been having serious thoughts about the future. My mind is on a constant merry go round as to what to do. For one thing, the house is way too big and I have rooms that are storage sheds rather than anything they were originally designed for. Amazing the amount of “stuff” one accumulates over a lifetime and that is not counting the contents of my workshop and the two real storage sheds that are outside. All are filled with hand tools of every description as over the years, I have made full use of my skills and dexterity in using these wonderful items. Then there are the bigger items like the mowers and other mechanical gadgets that I have in my posession. I love tools…
That coupled with the fact that these Texas summers are becoming brutal and I can’t stand the heat like I used to. This year has been the worst in that respect and I find that unless I have an emergency requiring my attention, I keep putting off the normal day to day projects choosing instead to stay indoors and the air conditioning. I have barely gone hiking for fear of collapsing in the heat. For those of you that are not used to hot weather and anything close to a 100 degree heat, let me remind you that our summertime overnight lows are usually around 80 degrees which for many of you is hot and sometimes even the same as your highs, depending on where you live. Without air conditioning in both our cars and our houses, life would be unbearable. On the other end of the scale, it is true that in Central Texas around Austin, our winters are mild with only the occasional frost and sometime a few snow flurries and on the whole are very easy to put up with. A few years back, I painted the outside of my house over the week of Christmas and New Years without any fear of the paint freezing or of it being too cold.
But I digress. What do I want to do for the future is the question uppermost in my mind. I have a few choices included in which and in no particular order, are as follows.
I can stay here in this house until I am either to old and feeble to look after myself and then get shipped off to an Assisted Living Home. I don’t really care for that idea as I would probably have to give up my dogs. On the other hand, I could just stay here until someone missed seeing me around and upon closer inspection, discovered that I had died here in which case they can carry me out feet first as I won’t care. In these circumstances, I have already made provision for any remaining dogs to be taken care of. In any case, those are the two obvious options.
On the other side, I could close down the ponds (or not depending on the buyer) and sell the house which would give me the freedom to do any of several different things one of which is to move into the aforementioned Assisted Living, give up my dogs and become just another old fogy waiting to die. Not very appealing especially as I am still very active.
Another thing that I could do after or probably before selling the house would be to buy a Motorhome and fill it with whatever dogs are still alive and drive off into the wild blue yonder and follow the good weather where it is not too hot and definitely not too cold. I hate the cold more than the heat after spending 10 years in the Upper New York State winters. And, when I can no longer drive, find a place to park and live out the rest of my days as I wait for the inevitable.
If I get really desperate and or depressed, with a lot depending on next year’s Presidential Elections, I could just sell up everything and dump myself on my two sons in England. I am quite sure they would take me in with open arms. The problem with that idea is that the main reason for moving to America in the first place was to get away from the constant cold and rain and I don’t suppose that even Global Warming has done much to change that. Then of course, the dogs would have to be quarantined for 6 months which is almost half a lifetime for both them and me.
What to do, what to do? If I still had a wife, she would have made the decision for me whether I liked it or not. As it is, and as much as they try, the dogs can’t seem to communicate enough to give me their views and in all probability, they can’t agree either. So, as has happened over these past 27 years, I will worry and fret over it wondering just what is the best way to go and if I’m really lucky, may even find an answer or literally die trying.
The one obvious and constant fact of all of these thoughts is that I will eventually and certainly die, time and place and method yet unknown but definitely not yet. I still have a lot of living to do someplace and anyway, I need to work out an answer to all of these questions before I do….
My previous blog about my wives,
Seems to have troubled many lives,
Some of the comments I have received,
Are both good and bad and some aggrieved,
The truth of the matter is, I am not sad,
Just sharing my life both good and bad,
If fate decrees for the rest of my life,
I shall never have another wife,
Please, understand that because I’m not sad,
and thank the Good Lord for the pleasures I’ve had,
with the three wives that have been in my life,
and the fact. there was little strife.
More than half of my life with these women I spent,
most of it, I was very content,
But again, I was still in my prime
and could handle their wishes most of the time,
I could adapt and readily did,
made adjustments that were not exactly the fit,
but close enough on the day,
for the way they wanted to play.
Nowadays it’s a different story,
I’m set in my ways and no longer the glory,
of having a wife to cause me a worry,
as I can no longer adapt to the flurry,
of wishes and demands set by a wife,
and that is why they are not in my life.
I got up early today as I was going to play and take a hike my idea of heaven I set the alarm for six o’clock and didn’t get up when it stopped instead lay there for an hour until seven another hour later I jumped in my truck thinking that with luck I might get walking before the sun threatened I started to drive and my thoughts came alive of the stuff at home I had abandoned I turned around and was homeward bound in the blink of an eye to my island to be met at the door with dogs galore glad about what had happened I went out to the ponds and before very long was working away like I bargained cleaning this filter here and another one there and finally into the ponds as they beckoned where I made a repair to the waterfall’s hardware and set the urn back so emboldened hoping this time things will stay in line and the problems forever will be solven.
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".