Feeling A Little Sad

My Sister at 18.

I have a sister and truth to tell
I do not know her very well
as she is ten years older than me
and growing up was a mystery
as I was too young to join in her games
and her friends to me were just names
she was the youngest of the older three
two brothers and her and then came me
as we were the family so urbane
Barbara Eileen was her given name
but we called her Peggy or Peg for short
how that name stuck I cannot report
she was a soldier during the war
in the ATS but who’s keeping score
the years pass and time moved on
married was she to a Scotsman name Ron
both happy to raise a family
two kids so proud for all to see
Jim and Sheila were their names
and babysitting for me was the game
as I lived with her for a short while
when my own life was in a turmoil
my share of life that I could do
as anything else I had no clue
time passed as it it always does
as we lived our lives without any fuss
then to America I did go
my sister and family also did show
along with my brother whose family and wife
had followed me there to make a good life
and as time passed some of them died
until the only ones left alive
of the adult members of the original clan
were my sister and I in all of the land
my sister now is ninety two
and until last year had every clue
and apart from being hard of hearing
was as just as sharp and just as endearing
and then this Christmas as we usually do
I called my sister which was long overdue
as in the space of the past few months
she had become confused her brain that once
was sharp and quick and was no dunce
had slipped into its senior mode
and nothing that was said would goad
her brain to react in a positive way
remaining firmly in the past
and conversation would not last
at least in anything that we could share
and even though I gave it a try
my sister did not know why
I had called or who I was
and conversation was at a loss
I spoke with Gary with whom she lives
who is married to Sheila one of the kids
and he sadly mentioned to me
that she needs to be in a Facility
that understands her very needs
and can give her the help to succeed
to live out what remains of her life
in comfort and without any strife
surrounded by caregivers trained in the ways
of those whose brain does not behave
in the way it used to do
like a poor soul that has no clue
I hung up the phone feeling very sad
for my sister whose mind has gone bad
and wondering if that is in store
any reason can I expect more
or will life be kind as I end my days
with my brain intact in so many ways
enough to know when it is time
for the life to run out of my body and mind.

Written 12/28/2018

My Sister

My Sister at 20 years old.I talked to my sister today. She lives in Florida with her Daughter Sheila and her Husband Gary as she has for the last probably twenty years or more. Every year, we try to talk around the Christmas season our way of staying in touch. Neither of us can die because we have this annual ritual that neither of us can break. We have not seen each other since they all moved to Florida and although I keep saying that this is the year and I am going to make that trip, so far it hasn’t happened.

My sisters name is Barbara Eileen but for some reason has gone by Peg or Peggy her whole life. There is probably a story behind that somewhere but I have not heard it. Peg is ten years older than me which makes her ninety two (almost). She sounded upbeat when I spoke with her, getting a little hard of hearing and spends a lot of time in a wheelchair but she still has all of her faculties. No sign of any of those nasty old peoples conditions like Dementia, thank goodness. Our Mother was 94 when she died so Peg looks like she has every chance to make it that far with any luck. To keep herself busy, she does a lot of knitting. Being ten years older than me, she actually participated in World War 2 and joined the ATS serving as a truck driver. She made it to Europe but not on the front line as back then, women were not allowed anywhere close to the fighting. How times have changed. Following the end of the war, she came back and married a Scotsman and they raised two kids, a boy and a girl. They also volunteered to let me live with them for a few years during another unsettled time in my crazy upbringing for which, later on as I matured, I was forever grateful.

Now, sixty six years later, we talk on the phone several times a year and reminisce of days gone by when life was so much simpler and we were both younger and in good health. Ah, those were the days. If only we could wind back the clock…

I wrote a similar piece a couple of years ago which can also read by following this link.

Written 12/27/2017

To My Sister.

Peg at 20

Peg at 20

My sister called the other day
just wanting to chat and pass away
the time, as Christmas is drawing near
and this is when every year
we write or call to say “Hello”
and make inquiries of each others health
and catch up on our lives so small
because apart we can tell it all.

I have not seen her for many a year
and in my thoughts she is so dear
to meet seems like an impossible task
for the distance is long and our time is short
and to travel so far will come to naught
as she in Florida now resides
with me in Texas, the distance divides.

My sister is ten years older than me
our Mum lived until she was ninety three
we are both hoping in our own way
that we too shall live to a ripe old age
I shall be eighty in just a few days
and my sister ninety at the start of May
as Mother lived as long as she
if we have her genes, maybe will we?

Heck, if we are truly blessed
and we have our Mothers genes for old age
and both of us as we do now
living our lives as best we know how
knowing that neither has a choice
in this matter we have no voice
when the Angels come looking for us
our souls to take as we turn to dust.

Alas, we cannot pick and choose
instead we live by making the best
of whatever time that we have left
her with her family warm and close
and me with my pets who I choose the most
each very happy in our own different way
living our lives from day to day.

When for us the time is up
whether it be my sister or me
we both know we have lived long lives
doing our best this world to survive
sharing ourselves that others may see
though far apart for many a year
we both hold each other so very dear.

Francis at 20

Francis at 20

My thoughts are with you Sister. Happy Holidays.

Their Project is Complete, well almost.


Last Block being laid

Last Block being laid

My friends finished their project today
at least far enough that they can say
we have finally laid all the new stone
to replace the real stuff now at my home.

Between them they laid a lot of new walk
that ran from the street up to the front door
and then turned both ways across the front of the house
and then down one side 40 yards or more.

Now they can walk in from the street
without getting mud on their feet
when wet and  muddy it occasionally gets
when those brief moments of rain besets
us which of course we all know
is not very often as rain does not flow
here like it does in wetter climes
as this is Texas where everyone thinks
we all ride horses and wear boots and big hats.

Some of my friends from across the pond
have asked if hitching posts are still the norm
and I tell them with tongue in cheek
“No, we use the cactus that grows in the street
to tie up our horses when we ride into town,
as the hitching posts are usually down”.

But, I digress as I usually do
back to my friends who hadn’t a clue
when this project they decided to do.
But now, people in the street
have stopped to admire just how fleet
of foot these old fella’s can be
as they shovel the sand and carry the blocks
and put in the edging that in place locks
the stones so that they do not move
and say,”Can you come and do my blocks”?

The one good thing about all of this work
is that most of the time they were in the shade
from the trees that grow next to the house
but even so it was hot and hard work
that this happy group did not shirk.

I’m proud  of my friends for what they have done
in my book they are all number one
for daring to take on a task so big
that could easily have turned bad
and they could have all got mad
with each other but that was not the case
as they all handled themselves with grace.

All that is left is to add some new dirt
and plant new seed or maybe use sod
along the sides where the old lawn has gone
or needs raising to bring to the top of the walk.

When they finally do this last thing
they plan a party to invite all their friends
so they can see and admire their work
that has brought them both back together again.

Gloria-George and Abel

Gloria-George and Abel

Now to use the old stone at my house…Build another pond.


An Adirondack Mystery-Chapter 3

Julie greeted me as I walked in. “Hi” she said, “Haven’t seen you in a couple of days and was beginning to think that you had left town already”.
“No”, I replied. “Had to go into Buffalo to settle up some business and got out of there as fast as I could. I don’t like big cities very much unless I have a project there. Guess I’m just a country boy at heart”.
Jack walked over and looked down at me from his six-foot something frame and joked, “Julie must have missed you. She was asking about you every day”.
“Go on”, I responded, “she just missed the big tip I always leave her”.
Jack gave me an odd look as though he wanted to tell me something but in the end, went back to his table where he sat with his hunting buddies. I didn’t think anything more about it and turned back to watching Julie’s heavenly body as she reached high for this and low for that.

The bar was a typical mountain resort sort of place with lots of wood and natural stone everywhere. It had the usual trophies on the wall and probably any of the regulars could tell a story or two about how they bagged that bear or this buck and then gave it to the bar owners to display.

Personally, I was not much of a hunter  and when I did go, was usually for the companionship of spending time at a hunting lodge with a lot of friends and associates. The actual hunting was with a borrowed rifle and the one time I did see a big buck standing not twenty yards from me, I was so taken with how majestic an animal it was that I just stood and watched it. The buck knew I was watching and at one point we locked eyes and he knew he was safe.

On the other hand, I was filled with wonderment of the moment and wasn’t about to spoil it by shooting the animal. We stood for what seemed an eternity but was probably no more than a minute and the buck snorted and moved swiftly away. For me, that was much more pleasurable than killing a living thing. I knew that this was a moment between me, the buck and Mother Nature and was one of those magic moments not to be shared with my hunting buddies. I could hear them now making fun of the fact that I didn’t shoot and at the same time complaining that their share of venison was still running around somewhere out there. It turns out that this was the only deer spotted by anyone all day long. I felt really good that I had not shot it and it was still alive and running out there in the wild woods.
I had said a silent prayer in the hope that it would survive that hunting season.

The bar business was beginning to slow down as more people were leaving for their winter homes in Florida and warmer climes and others had already moved back to the small villages in the Mohawk Valley like Fort Plain and Canajoharie where their real homes were. They were the Adirondack summer tenants and they moved out of their regular homes because there was more comfort living in the resort villages in the mountains where the air was a little cooler and much less humid. Some of their “camps” as they called them were almost as nice and in some cases nicer as their regular homes back in the Mohawk Valley so it’s not like they were roughing it. Of course the black flies were big enough to carry off a young child and had the fiercest bite imaginable but somehow, these people ignored them and just piled on more fly repellant. Go figure.

Julie came over to me slow and easy just like a big cat. “It’s good to see you back again” she said “Have you decided how much longer that you are going to stay”?
I looked at her admiring her beauty with wild thoughts in my head and nonchalantly responded, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t have to be anywhere specific but I really don’t want to be here when the snows hit”.  She shook her hair and laughed and said “That is the best time. You can’t go anywhere and nothing opens up for a couple of days. It’s like having a holiday as we don’t bother to open the bar at least until the streets are plowed and the cars can move.  I imagine it could be very quiet and boring though if all you have to look at are the four walls of a Hotel room and a TV that only shows four channels and that’s if you are lucky”.

Click on Chapter 4  for the next episode