Well, today is Wednesday, January 20 and it is my birthday which makes me eighty five years old. I read somewhere that growing old is a privilege that not everyone gets to enjoy and having reached another milestone, I am very grateful. It helps that I am still pretty active at least as much as an old man can be and that my health is good except for the usual aches and pains. I am grateful too that Covid has stayed away from my door and that I have friends like BJ who encourages me to walk as much as I can. The dogs help in that regard, especially Sandy as she is not shy at letting both me and Mikey know that it is time for us to get out there. Mikey, not so much, but he goes along in case he is missing out on something.
Below is what I wrote for last years birthday when I was only eighty four.
January 20th Was My Birthday.
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 bachelor 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 those years wondering what I would have changed if I had foresight 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 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 folk’s home to join all 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.
Most of what I wrote a year ago holds true today but there are a couple of additions. The early part of the year was consumed by the Covid-19 virus and a very early Texas wide shut down and all it entailed. When those restrictions were lifted, lesser stringent ones were put in place and are still there. We adjusted and learned to live with the pandemic.
The Covid -19 pandemic has really impacted any social life that I might still have had. Things like attending Pond Meetings and social functions related to the ponds and Pond Society were all put on hold when the orders came from the Governor that there would be no large gatherings of people. That is not going to change in the near future. So for the past few months, we have been on an imposed lockdown. I go to the grocery store when I really need something and very occasionally to places like Home Depot for things to keep the ponds operating or for whatever work I am doing on the RV. Otherwise, its stay at home. The one exception is walking the dogs every afternoon. This year, the summer was exceptionally hot or at least it felt that way to me. I think that age has probably made me less heat tolerant than before. Consequently, I did not do anywhere near as much hiking as in previous years which also meant, not as many pictures and blogs.
Those of you that follow my blogs have read about the history of the two different RV’s that I purchased through the year and of the stories attached to them. The last one also entailed the purchase of a more powerful truck and I ended up with a 2016 F250 Ford King Ranch diesel which turned out to be a very nice vehicle. Of course due to the more powerful engine and the additional weight, I only get fourteen miles per gallon when I am NOT towing. It drops even lower when the RV is attached. It only has 72000 miles on it which is nothing for a diesel engine. I could never afford to buy a new model of this particular truck as it would be like taking out a mortgage on a house. They sell for over $80,000 brand new.
I lost my only Sister earlier this year at the grand old age of ninety five. Only at the very end did she lose her faculties to Alzheimer’s and that came on very suddenly. I miss knowing that she is here on this earth but we lived many miles apart and I should also say, many lifetimes apart. She was ten years older than me and due to the war and other events in our lifetimes, did not spend much time together except for the couple of years that I lived with her when I was in my very late teens. Our lives went in separate directions as they tend to do and we would only meet occasionally. Sleep well Sister Peg.
With my Sisters death, that leaves me as the only immediate living person of the Allcorn family. My Mother, Father and Stepfather are all dead as are my two brothers and now my sister. There are several of their offspring related to me that are spread all over the country. We occasionally correspond but not on a regular basis. The age difference has a lot to do with that. I have a stepdaughter living in New York who stays in touch on a regular basis. There was also one other who died and a stepson who is a very successful Doctor living in Houston whom I have not spoken with in years. I also have a daughter from my second marriage who also lives in New York State and who chooses not to correspond. She blames me for her mothers death although for the life of me, I don’t know why as her Mother died years after we split up. I do have two sons in England from my first marriage who are both in their sixties and we correspond on a regular basis keeping each other in touch with our respective lives. Incidentally, I also correspond with their Mother, my first wife whom I married when I was just twenty years old. The boys are both doing very well and work together in a Construction Company owned by the youngest. The oldest has a Grandson which makes me the Great Grandfather, who is a Professional Soccer player for Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League. Through him, I am living out my dreams as I was never quite good enough to be a professional player in my own right. I get to watch him play on the television and kick every ball right along with him. Way to go Solly.
And that is the history of the Allcorn family.
All in all, my health has been pretty good apart from the usual aches and pains of working too hard out in the yard or days spent hiking too many miles on a hot day. I did and still do, have an eye problem when one of my contacts damaged the eyeball given me a bit of a vision problem resulting in me being unable to drive myself. For an independent person with no close relatives within miles, or come to that, State’s of me, I had to rely on the goodness of my next door neighbor to take me to the Optometrists for treatment several days in a row. I think that secretly, she didn’t really mind as it gave her an opportunity to show off her Prius Hybrid and drive very fast while still getting a thousand miles to a gallon of gas. The vision is clearing up and I can drive again but it is the end of my wearing contact. It will be glasses from here on out.
Talking of hiking, my friend BJ and I have both cut back on our weekly hikes mainly due to the extreme summer heat. Neither of us like hiking in the sun and for me, this year I have not been able to either feel comfortable or tolerate the extreme temperatures that make up our Texas summers. Even now it has cooled off quite considerably, we still do not feel that comfortable due to Covid-19 and us being from different households. I spent an awful lot of time indoors in the A/C. On the other hand, the dogs have benefitted as we walk every evening.
On a similar note, I have met more of the people that live on my street these past few months whilst out walking the dogs than I have in all of the thirty five years of living here. Many of them stop and say hello and we even hold conversations from a very discrete distance of course. Around Thanksgiving, three different families brought me food for which I was very grateful. I hope that I do not give anyone the impression that I am destitute and broke as nothing is further from the truth in both respects as the very large RV and the expensive truck both sitting in my driveway portray. I am very happy with the current state of my life the one exception being having grown so bloody old and so physically wimpy. Wait a minute, that’s two exceptions…As regards wealth. as I am not one of the 5 percenters, we could all use more whether we really need it or not.
All in all, the world is a pretty good place when seen through the eyes of an old man. Memories are great but you can’t live in the past and have to stay in the present. I have never been much of a political person but I did change citizenship and become an American citizen way back in 1977 partly so that I could have a vote and have my say in electing those that run this country. I am very glad to say that the person that I voted for is now the President Elect and will become President on my birthday and hopefully, will turn this country back to the regular people instead of the wealthy five percent. I am a firm believer in Democracy and a Health System for all.
Here’s to this next year, 2021. It seems like something out of Star Wars instead of it being the year we live in. Hopefully, I will still be around to write the next one of these in 2022. Stay healthy and love thy neighbor. You never know when you might need help. Follow my blog to keep up with our adventures through 2021 hopefully on the road in these great United of States.
Oh yeah, Happy New Year.