Old Friends


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I ran into a old friend the other day
in the SuperMarket as we shopped
both bachelors so shopping was not hard
as we were both set in our ways.

Neither of us could remember the others name
as we had not seen each other in a while
so we awkwardly re-introduced ourselves
and laughed as we commented about our slow brains.

The conversation turned to soccer
as that is where we first met
playing on the same old man’s team
pretending to be young again like no other.

We had a good laugh as we shared a joke
and shook hands as we went on our way
knowing better than to say, let’s get together
of that there was no hope.

We had not  bothered to stay in touch
and our mutual interest was long gone
as age had taken its toll
and the game no longer held us in its clutch.

I resumed my walk around the store
thinking about the years gone by
of the games we played and the people we met
and wished there had been much more.

Alas time has dealt us a terrible blow
weak in body and mind as the years pass by
and all of the friends we used to know
not even a memory left to show.

Written 9/26/2017

Lost Days


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I woke up this morning and have lost a day
somewhere I missed it along the way
I was sure that it was Saturday
with all of the games being played
instead it turned out to be Friday
with nothing new to view today
I wonder where those days go
the ones that get lost along the way
will I ever get them back again
one more day to live and play
or are they lost forever with no say.

At my age I can’t afford to lose
just one day out of my busy life
so few remain and every one
needs to count even with strife
I would rather have another day
to enjoy and have fun as I play
doing things I like to do
writing poetry and stories in my blog
hiking and Nature, tending the ponds
and being outdoors where I truly belong.

Even as I write this poem
the sun has hidden behind the clouds
and the day is growing dark
alas rain will leave its mark
no hiking to day, no outdoor play
instead I must find things to do
Indoors, and what I haven’t a clue
I could fuss with some legal stuff
that needs to be done and I keep putting off
but somehow no interest in it have I
even as a view grey skies.

If I hadn’t lost a day
and it really was a Saturday
then there would be plenty to view
with new games being played
with athletic young men kicking a ball
artists of their own beck and call
each one better than the next
young titans in battle but not vexed
as they fight for the ball and treat each other the same
as sportsmanship is the name of the game.

Now that I haven’t lost a day
instead have gained one along the way
what shall I do to fill the time
now that the skies are cloudy and grey
I could take a nap and the dogs would be pleased
to snuggle together in the middle of the day
but that seems like a precious waste
of valuable time in short supply
instead I think I will write some more
of things more interesting than keeping score.

Boxing Day


I wrote this last year and decided to re-publish it.

As an ex-pat from England, I will spend tomorrow celebrating the day after Christmas as most British people do and that is to sit back and relax and spend the entire day feasting on left overs, drinking beer and watching game after game of football (with a round ball) on the English Premier League.  I am an ardent Man U fan.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day in the UK to most and Saint Stephen’s Day to the religious. Most Brits think of it as another day off to recover from overeating and drinking on Christmas Day and of course, the opportunity to watch football. For those of you that want to know more about this holiday, read the article below from Wikipedia.
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Etymology
The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive.[1] The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to theMiddle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[2] which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[3] This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[4] This custom is linked to an older English tradition: Since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

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Efrain Loayza


Efrain Loayza

Efrain Loayza

AUSTIN SOCCER COMMUNITY LOSES ANOTHER ICON.

The Austin soccer community lost another one of its own on August 25, 2014 when Efrain Loayza passed on to play in that big soccer field in the sky.

Efrain first jumped into the spotlight when he formed and played with the Peru Soccer Team around 1977. They played in the First Division of the Austin Municipal Soccer League (AMSA) as it was known back then and went on to win the division for the first time in 1977. They later won the division again in 1981 and were a highly competitive team to play against.

In later years, as many of the players grew too old to play Division 1 soccer, Efrain formed the team known as Chez Nous playing them in the AMSA Over 30 division. By now the League had changed its name to Austin Men’s Soccer Association and as an Over 30 team, Chez Nous won the top Over 30 division several times and were always known as the team to beat. Efrain in his playing days had a reputation for his ferocious tackling and no-nonsense play. With him on the field, everyone knew what to expect, 100% effort for the entire game. One of these tackles led to him getting an ankle injury that subsequently forced him to retire from actively playing. Early on, Efrain coached a women’s team and rumor has it, that is where he met his wife, Katherine.

The Onion Creek Field Dedication Ceremony

The Onion Creek Field Dedication Ceremony

Although, no longer able to play, Efrain became the manager for the Chez Nous team which he did right up until the team retired from the league a couple of years ago. Prior to this, Efrain had become active in the running of AMSA. The league had grown under the different Presidents and had well over a hundred teams playing every weekend. There was a general consensus among a couple of the very influential members of the Board that it would be very practical to own and maintain our own soccer fields. A general move was made with that in mind but no specific plans were put in place.

Efrain also had his own opinions about the State Association that AMSA belonged to. Consequently, he ran for Vice President with a view to changing the way that the Association did business with  the teams. He served one two-year term before deciding that his services would be put to better use at the local level.

In 2002, Efrain became the President of AMSA and really began a push with the intent on finding land enough for several soccer fields that AMSA could develop. In the meantime, the City of Austin had passed a bond to acquire land to build a dozen or so fields but lacked the resources to develop them. With Efrain as the point man, Brian Hardin as the “money man” and Jim Alsup providing the legal counsel, an agreement was reached with the city for the City to partner with AMSA to develop Onion Creek into a soccer complex that AMSA would maintain and have the full use of.

Peru Soccer Team 1977

Peru Soccer Team 1977

In retrospect, it was a perfect storm of events. A Spanish-speaking AMSA President dealing with an Hispanic PARD Director to work out the details of this deal. He was the “Right Man in the Right Place” to make this happen and it is doubtful if it would have happened at all without Efrain’s drive and passion regarding AMSA owning its own soccer fields and his willingness to deal with both PARD and the Austin City Council.

It is only fitting that Efrain has found his final resting place under the green grass of the fields he worked so hard to acquire and that he loved so much. Even though many of us had our disagreements with him from time to time. there was no doubting his drive and determination in working with the City, with Brian Hardin and Jim Alsup, the other members of the group that helped negotiate the deal, the Captains and members of AMSA and his successor, Mark Gregg whose contribution cannot be understated in setting up the details of the care and maintenance of the fields.

On a personal note, Efrain got me out of a jamb one time and for that I shall be eternally grateful. He was a very colorful

Balloon Release over his tree

Balloon Release over his tree

character and the Austin Men’s Soccer Association has benefited greatly with his association. He was also a devoted family man to his wife Katherine and his son Nico and daughter Alex. He reserved one night each a week for his children and nothing short of a world catastrophe would get him to break those engagements.

There are now two very well-known personalities of the Austin Men’s Soccer Association who have found there final resting place on the green soccer fields of Onion Creek. They were both very different but both had the same goals and foresight in developing the fields that others could enjoy the fruits of their collective efforts.

Rest in Peace, Efrain Loayza. We will miss you.

Efrain Loayza Memorial Gathering from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Music by Habib Koite and Bamada entitled Din Din Wo (Little Child).

Another Saturday-Another Rainy Day…


Rainy and Foggy Day

Rainy and Foggy Day

Another Saturday and another rainy day
Lord knows we need the rain
but why does it have to be on a Saturday
one of the two days when we are not at our workplace
with grand ideas of what we want to do on our day off
and it’s raining.

It could rain any other of the five days of the week
and we would sit at our workplace and watch it fall
through the window that opens up to the outside world
but trapping us within its confines
and when our workday is done
we grab our umbrella if we remembered to bring it
and make a mad dash to our cars ready to fight the traffic
which, in truth, always drives a little faster
and a little scarier than when the roads are dry.

But, when all is said and done
and if you were to ask any Texan
and they would tell you
“We need the rain”
whatever the day of the week.

My 47th Anniversary…March 13, 1967.


Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Well, would you believe that on this day, forty-seven years ago, my family and I landed at New York Harbor on the magnificent Queen Mary. We were met by my mother and one of her friends who drove us back to the little village of Fort Plain in the Mohawk Valley in Upper New York State. Much has happened since that eventful day…

This blog is not a reflection of all that has happened since then as I have already covered that part of my life in previous blogs. No, I am writing this more as a summary and that today for me, is a day worth celebrating. Even though life has had its ups and downs in the past forty-seven years, the majority of it has been very good as I hope it has been for those that landed with me on that day.

Taken on the whole, the American people are a very nice and sociable lot with strong family ties. They have very firm beliefs in family values and in some cases, almost to a fault. The extent that some families will go to “protect” their kids from the normality of life is frightening as I see modern-day kids as mostly a bunch of super intelligent, spoilt and protected to the degree that they never have to face any hardship as they grow up. Part of that is the school system that extends every school day into a school evening in order for the kids to succeed. There is something wrong with a system that expects the kids to work every evening after spending all day at school. When do they have time to be kids?

Everything has to be organized. If is not, the parents won’t allow the kids to participate. City kids, even small cities, have to be taught about Nature. They don’t spend time in the woods among the trees with the birds and animals or smelling the flowers as we did when we were growing up. Granted, they were vastly different times and we didn’t have anything even closely resembling any of the electronic devices that we have to today to provide the entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I am just as fascinated with these modern wonders as the next person and for an old guy, know my way around them very well. The trouble is they have taken over our lives and the simple things no longer have the same interest.

Funny the direction this blog is heading. I meant to write about my feelings after being in this magnificent country for nearly fifty years but instead it has turned into a rant of how I see problems ahead for the wonderful people who live here, people who I live next door to or greet in the store as we pass, or those that work out at the same gym as I do. It may not be in their lifetime but it won’t be long before modern kids as they grow up, will not know how to cook a meal as they never learned it from their parents.

Enough of all of this complaining. Think of the good things that have happened over the past forty-seven years. Things like becoming an American citizen back in 1976 or having the ability to buy a house  and many, many cars, or moving out of New York State to escape the brutal winters to enjoy the great state of Texas, thirty-seven years ago. Thank you Dominic Fazzone for giving me the opportunity. I think of all of the people I have met and the friends I have made in both States and there is nothing that I cannot do if I so choose. Regardless of the things I see that bother me, this is a great country and it has treated me well and for that, I am very grateful.

Do I regret emigrating from England to the USA? In some ways, of course I do. I miss the English people with their weird sense of humor and the simpler life style at least when I lived there. I miss going to watch the Professional football matches of the English Premier League and have to make do watching them on television. I miss roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips eaten out of a newspaper and a pint of English beer. I regret that I was not able to make any of my marriages work and that I lost touch with some of the people who I knew over the years. I regret that I was not able to grow up with my two sons and that I only know them from a distance. The one thing I don’t miss is the incessant rain which was the reason we moved in the first place. Living here in Texas, I could sure use some of it now…

For me, my race is nearly run. I do not have time for regrets as I want to make the most of whatever years I have left and which I will spend in this great country. When I die, my ashes will be spread over this land and I will become a part of its history.

Rule Britannia and God Bless America…

Today is Saturday…


Have A Nice Saturday

It used to be many years ago that Saturday was a special day
a day off from work and all that went with making a living
and instead of jumping out of bed and fighting through the sleep
trying to be awake enough to be ready for the day
and then remember that I didn’t have to work
and would roll over and snooze for another couple of hours
until the dogs would fuss, reminding me that it was time for them to eat.

Maybe there were things to do that I had planned
things around the house or the yard
gardening and pulling weeds or maybe cleaning the filters on the ponds
or playing with the dogs in a game of tag
that they would always win as they were much faster than me
and in my much younger years, a game of football with my friends
to spend an afternoon just kicking a ball or kicking the other players
whichever got in the way.
and drinking beer and socializing and shouting insults to the men and women
all friends, in the games that followed ours.

In the evening, maybe a night out with my friends
or if I was very lucky, a hot date with a current lady friend
to take to dinner and wine and dine her
and pay her all of the attention that a man does
when he is besotted with her charms and good looks
in the hopes that the evening would end on a favorable note.

Maybe it was a quiet night, one spent in with the TV
watching the English Premier League soccer games
and marveling at the skills of the players
with the things they could do with a ball
thinking of my own skills
and feeling very inadequate.

Now, many years later, retired from work
no longer having to worry about the time
or even what day it is
when Saturday rolls around
unless something special is planned
it is just the same as the rest of the days of the week.

Too old to play football and no longer able to kick the ball or the other players
but still watching the  English Premier League
and now saying, “I used to be able to do that, way back when”.
I could run and jump and was as light as a feather on my feet
but now, every muscle aches if I try to extend my body
beyond anything out of the norm

So I am reduced to a work out in the gym every couple of days
lifting weights that are half what I used to be able to lift
looking at all of the beautiful women and the muscular young men
and then coming back to reality when the ones who really need the work
those that are very overweight and way too heavy
come into view.

There are many old people both men and women, like me
who exercise for a different reason, in the hope that
by thinking young and rolling back the years
that big clock on the wall will slow down
and buy us a bit more time on this earth
time that we will spend, dreaming of the past
and things that were and life as it used to be.

But, it is still Saturday
not like the days of old it is true
but any day alive on this earth is a good day
to breathe the air and feel the sun warm on my body
and know that I have been blessed
with one more day…
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