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 .
My very good friend BJ came up with a new place for us to walk within her hometown of Bastrop. This time, it was another LCRA Park and is named Lake Bastrop South as there is also a Lake Bastrop North which, depending on what we thought of this hike, will be our next one.
In actuality, there is just one long trail of about 4.5 miles that connects the North and South locations of this lake and as we parked in the closest one, decided the we would walk about halfway leaving the other half for another time and from the opposite end, the North location.
There was no one else around that we could see as the parking areas were empty of any cars and people. We parked right next to the trailhead and after our usual preparations started along the trail. Turns out that this is a great trail to walk with only a few hills and very easy going with mostly sand underfoot. It has a lot of shade of Oak trees intermixed with the Pines. In some places, we walked on a carpet of pine needles making for a very pleasant odor as we moved them around.
There are several bridges along this trail all having there own names. The ones that we crossed were named Twin Bridges and yes, there are two bridges side by side, Big Oak Bridge although we could not decide which was the Big Oak and Thrill Creek Bridge which was as far as we went for this hike. None of them had any water flowing in the gullies beneath the bridges as we have not had any real rain in almost 3 months. This started a conversation about the Grand Canyon and how deep it was so out came BJ’s cell phone and she discovered that it was almost 6000 feet deep at its deepest point. That is a little over a mile. Absolutely amazing when you stop to consider that most of that depth is caused by the erosion of the soil by the Colorado River over millions of years. Nature sure is a wonderful thing. Pity that mankind is doing its very best to make sure there is no tomorrow for this wonderful and amazing planet.
We turned back and retraced out footsteps for the return journey having solved most of the worlds problems in about a two hour time span. We got back to the parking lot and this time, there were three Bluebonnet Electric trucks parked in the lot. Whether they were on lunch break or official business, it was completed when we walked up as they all drove off. I didn’t realize it until I went in the Men’s room to change but they are set up for the campers to shower which I could have done had I been so inclined. Maybe next time now that I know.
All in all, we covered 5 miles of very easy hiking with the added bonus of it being shady for most of the way. Next time, we will park in the North Lot and walk the trail from the opposite end to where we ended this time around.
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.
Sitting here too hot to roam or go outside and hike in the sun instead writing about my life free of strife as I have no wife although I do have to admit that not having one with me is a fit as I do not share my life very well by not falling under their spell a typical bachelor’s life for me and has been for a quarter century and I have enjoyed the single life because it has not had the strife that living with others does present a selfish man but so content please I beg of you don’t get me wrong I like girls but where they belong which is not living along with me but in their own space happy and free it can be said that I’m already too old for the physical pleasures that girls behold with their beauty and grace and looks so sublime promises of having a wonderful time alas their beauty is all I can see as the passing of time has caught up with me my flesh is weak is all I can say but the spirit is willing for some other way it’s hell growing old it has to be said so many things that no longer can do but at least I have memories of years gone by things that I can no longer try and even though the spirit is willing the flesh has grown weak and the passions are chilling.
I was looking hard for something to do to pass the time on this day it was way too hot to go outside or take a hike in my usual way I’m already blogged out for a month ahead at two a week which is my goal so what is it I can do instead to keep me busy and fill the hole I could clean house but that is a chore not something that is my usual way no interest in that sort of thing guess I’m not the housework king a typical batchelor you might say I could go to the gym but that sounds like work this time of a different kind to push and shove and grunt and groan I think I’ll leave that for a different time I’m running out of ideas fast can’t think of anything that will last long enough to pass the day until this evening when it is time to turn on the Tele and watch a match between the English football teams to cheer on my favorites of which there are two sometimes they win and sometimes they lose and I really have to pick and choose to see which game that I need to watch first and at the end of the day it makes no difference who beats who I spent an hour this afternoon listening to 2Cellos as they played sometimes they play with a wonderful sound easy to lose oneself in this way and others they lose control on the stage and the noise they produce stimulates the soul and gets to the very depths of the mind fast and furious of the rock and roll kind for the purists definitely way overboard for those of us with an itch in our pants going crazy with them with hardly a glance at anyone else watching them perform knowing full well it is only an act and the next time you see them they will be back to playing straight in a beautiful way and listening to them will make my day well I managed to fill an hour writing this poem so what to do next I guess I’ll just have to jump in my truck and go for a drive a very long way listening to Audiobooks as I drive in awe of the authors whose stories I buy and wonder how they can write what they do such talent and such wonderful minds me I do not have a clue as poetry is the best I can do I do not have a devious mind and can only think in the usual way and so without a story of any kind reporting the facts is how I pass my day.
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".