Land of the Free.


Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York
The inscription reads:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

I had another day today
when I could not think of a thing to say
that others might find interesting to read
and stay awhile their curiosity in need
of something stimulating and bright
or make them laugh with all of their might
alas no humor in me today
as I go about my way
with the world a somber place
and wildfires threatening the human race
animals in need of a helping hand
as the fires spread throughout their land
closer to home we have troubles of our own
as Congress sits the President to de-throne
turning this country to an upside down place
as the Politicians take sides whether to displace
and impeach the President of this land
if there are enough votes at hand
making the people to choose sides
awaiting for the Members to decide
even while waiting for these actions to start
the country is hurting being torn apart
with no hope at all to politely disagree
and friends and neighbors will be enemies
such is the way of the modern world
where news spreads fast the mind in a whirl
I too am an immigrant to this land
from England where it was originally planned
that America as it was known
would always belong to the English throne
but the subjects who were already here
had different ideas and with no fear
sent the English back to their land
causing them to disband
declaring the country the Land of the Free
and giving the Nation its liberty
but Americans being the mix that they are
no longer like strangers from countries afar
they are not welcome to inhabit this space
no more the land of the free a terrible disgrace
the people here have memories so short
that everyone was welcomed through New York’s port.
and erected a statue for everyone to see
that you are welcome here to the Land of the Free.

Written 01/14/2020

January 20th was My Birthday


Me at 19 years old. A long, long time ago when I still had hair

January 20th was my 84th birthday. Happy Birthday to me…

Who would ever have thought that I would have managed to last this long. From avoiding the bombs and doodlebugs of World War 2, to playing soccer all of my life and suffering blows on the head causing concussion, numerous broken limbs resulting in time spent in a cast, from irate husbands for daring to flirt with their wives and girlfriends including a spell in hospital by one who really did a number on me, living through three broken marriages including outliving one of those wives, losing the lives and friendship of countless doggy friends and living a solitary batchelor life for the past twenty eight years giving up on women and wives as a lost cause at least for me and preferring the company of those same doggy friends. Did I mention the trip across the Atlantic to a new life in a strange country? By the way, after fifty three years of living here, this country is still strange and bewildering.

Looking back on all of those years wondering what I would have changed if I had foresite really becomes a bit of a puzzler. Thinking about it, if I could have changed just one thing early in my life, which would have changed the whole sequence of events and making the future different, it probably it would have been that when I was ten, my Mother never left my Father to come over to America to marry a GI she met in the war. Who knows what would have happened if our family had stayed together back in those troubled times. One thing for sure is that I would never have come to America which for all of its greatness does have a lot of problems especially in the modern day political picture. Even after all of these years, I very much miss the old country although it has probably changed to where I wouldn’t recognize it.

Still, all of that is history as is my life up to this point. Nowadays, my concerns are much more mundane. Things like when and where to go for the next hike, what problems do the ponds and fish have today, is that a Heron out there? are all of the dogs OK and what to eat for dinner tonight. I do worry a bit about what little future I have as the body grows older and weaker and the mind is not as sharp as it used to be. Should I sell the house and move where? Into an old folks home to join all of the other old fogeys sitting around and waiting to die. I am not ready for that so I will probably live the way that I am until I am senile or I get carried out feet first in a wooden box preferably a plain old pine box with no trimmings to be buried under a tree in a natural setting.

Compared to a lot of people, I have been fortunate to have lived as long as I have and with relatively good health and being comfortably enough off to enjoy it. I hope that I can continue living for a few more years as long as my health stays good. If I do become senile, then I give anyone permission to shoot me just as they did in the old Wild West as I don’t want to become a vegetable.

Life is way too beautiful for that.

Written 01/20/2019

The Dogs on a Rainy Day


Mikey, my affectionate little boy
Buddy just living out his life
Sandy looking pensive…

Today outside it is rainy and cold
and my interests in being out there are on hold
as I had planned to hike today
but the inclement weather has made me stay
indoors along with the dogs in the heat
who are all snuggled up warm and asleep
all of them have their favorite places
where none of the others dare show their faces
Mikey has a chair right next to mine
where he spends most of his time
when I am working at my desk
this is the spot that he loves the best
just a paws length away and close to his Dad
surely the best spot of all to be had
and occasionally when he thinks it is time
he will jump from his chair and onto mine
looking for attention that he knows is there
spending time on my lap which the others can’t share
although Sandy is not going to be left out
her favorite spot is without a doubt
one of the dog beds that are spread around
of which at least four can be found
but the minute I get up or stroke Mikey’s head
she is right there beside us with a, stroke me instead
making sure she gets her fair share of attention
wiggling away to be part of the action
and the minute she figures the treats are all through
back to the beds more snoozing to do
there is only one more dog in the clan
since Ginnie has gone to the Promised Land
Buddy the little old man of them all
at fourteen or so and not very tall
who is deaf and half blind but still trucks around
on walkabouts in the garden where he can be found
wandering on pathways where he gets confused
and quickens his pace as he tries to choose
the right way to go to get back inside
as his senility is sometimes a little hard to hide
he always eventually gets it right
and pushes through the doggy door with all of his might
and heads back to his basket where he can sleep
and dream of the walkabout his memory can keep
it’s great to have four legged friends
who are loving and faithful right to the end
who sense my moods if I am down
or join in with me if I act the clown
who ask nothing more than to be by my side
with love and affection they do not hide
if dogs have a fault then it has to be said
their short lifespan breaks hearts when they are dead
till another comes along not to replace
but to fill in the voids in that big empty space
that their passing does leave as Nature does say
that the cycle goes on for another day
I will always have dogs right to the end
until my flesh is so weak that I cannot fend
for them or for me and my time will cease
as I lay down by their graves my spirit at peace.

Written 12/20/2019.

Growing Old


It is too late for regrets, just be thankful you are old and not dead.

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…

Written 12/15/2019

Christmas-What Does it Mean to You?


Simple Beauty

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.

Written 12/25/2019 – Christmas Day.

My Ford Truck-Another Service


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.

Written 9/26/2019

Go Down in History


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.

Written 7/20/2019