Today


What did you do today the store clerk asked
as I checked out the things I had bought
groceries and such and things put away
in case I get hungry during the day.

Oh I don’t know let me think
what did I do different than any day
I said as I helped her pack my stuff
in the bags I had brought just two were enough

Nothing much was different I said
a shower to wake my sleepy head
and coffee to start the morning off right
and feed the dogs with their eyes so bright.

Check on the ponds just to make sure
that everything works just as before
and feed the fish as they splash around
as the gurgling water makes its sounds.

Read my mail and send a response
to all of my friends who have taken the time
to read the blogs that I posted there
as sharing with them to see if they care.

Then back outside in the garden to work
as usually something needs to be done
trim the paths and rake the leaves
as I look at the beauty that my eyes perceive.

Lastly I am here at your store
buying groceries just like before
as I have done about everyday
nothing much changes along the way.

Now I have told you the story of life
as you asked me how was my day
this is how it is now I am old
very little changing as my story is told.

What you heard from me today
of things that happen along the way
is pretty much the way it will be
from here on out to eternity.

The store clerk looked at me so sad
I could tell she wanted to pity me
she went all quiet as if to say
You poor old man what a terrible day.

I looked right back at her and said
young lady I know it’s hard to reply
but look at this from another way
the alternative is that I will die.

As we live our lives out to the end
we make the most of the life we have left
and if that means everyday is the same
I’ll take it so my life to sustain.

She looked back at me and gave me a smile
the look on her face made it all worthwhile
as she finally realized what I had said
that to live like this is better than dead.

She rang me up so I went on my way
thinking of things that happen each day
if nothing much changes from the day before
then I’ll be happy for evermore.

The joys of being old. Who says change is great…

Written 7/10/2018

Life and Its Peculiarities


old man digging

Life is such a peculiar thing
as we go about our daily lives
for every action whatever it is
is needy enough to take our time.

How varied our tasks through the day
each important in their own way
to take up our time as we hurry along
trying hard to get everything done.

I used to think that when I retired
I would have more time to call my own
and yet in truth more busy am I
then ever when I was gainfully employed.

That is not to say that a slacker was I
as I went about my daily tasks
it’s just that now that I have more time
I pack more into every day.

Sometimes the work is very hard
when digging or building some project new
at others like painting, more tedious by far
hardly working my muscles except in my arm.

The work I do has a twofold task
one  is that it needs to be done
the other is to keep my body fit
and my mind active both as one.

And then at the end of each day
my dogs and I sit and relax
and watch a game on the TV
usually of soccer, my favorite sport.

To bed to refresh and recharge
ready to do it all over again
as with each day a new set of tasks
to keep me busy in the usual way.

 

A Poem – Dedicated to a Friend


Sunset

Sunset

 

I read a blog from a friend who cares
one I have known for many years
in it she talks of her life
and the twists and turns and many strife’s
of failing health and the fight back
to bring herself on the right track
to where she can enjoy what is left
knowing she has given her best.

Like me she finds solace in her mind
the written word and thoughts from within
as she talks about the stress and strain
of how the body is not so strong
but puts up a fight with the will to live
and the spirit fights on brave and longs
to send the word both far and near
to all of those that she holds so dear.

Two different kinds of people are we
as I write about my stupidity
and forgetfulness always an excuse
and if under the weather I feel
no others need to know that fact
so instead talk about the beautiful day
with the birds and animals all out to play
and lots of pictures to light the way.

She has her readers as I have mine
both are probably of a different kind
as we both work and scribble away
trying to send a message each day
of the things we believe and about what we write
both trying to stir up some strife
as the written word we both send forth
our choice of words from a different source.

What do we have in common you say
as we do our writing in a different way
she is the artist, the singer, the muse
and writes about dreams and sweetness and life
while I am straightforward and more down to earth
and write about nature and things I can see
no make-belief or dreams of pie in the sky
no romance or endings happy or sad
just words as I see them no love left in me.

When we are gone to that other place
what will our friends on our tombstones write
that we both believed in the written word
hers so sweet and gentle and kind
writing with care to those left behind
while he likely more remembered will be
for reporting more than artistry
as it takes skill to pen the words into rhymes
and requires a much more active mind
to write the words and still be kind.

 

Truly Lost or Just Brain Dead


lostandfoundI made the mistake of ordering some plants through a garden catalogue the other day. This was not on-line but the old-fashioned way of filling out a form with a pen and other details along with credit card information. I was so happy to be ordering some wonderful looking roses that I did not give too much thought to the methods I was using to make my purchase. I was more worried about how the letter/form was supposed to fold and that if I enclosed a check, it would probably slide out of the sides.

I stuck a stamp on it and put it in my mail box and waited for the roses to be delivered. Three weeks later, I began to get a little worried as I had not heard from the nursery. I decided to call them to see what had happened to my order. First call was a busy signal. You have to remember that I hate using the telephone. I would rather e-mail any day. I called a couple more times that day and still the busy signal and I began to suspect that something was wrong with their phone system.

The next day, I tried a couple more times but nothing. Just that infernal busy signal. Business must be good, I thought. Either that or they were getting a lot of complaints. So the next thing was an e-mail which they had already stated might take up to 2 days for a response and sure enough, 2 days later, I had an e-mail back that said they had no record of the original order and I should go ahead and order again. I still had the original catalogue and went ahead and re-ordered on-line and this time used a different credit card, you know one of those gift cards that is only good up to a certain amount, in my case $150.

Then another thought struck me. I had been able to re-order the plants that I wanted but where was my original order form along with its credit card information (and my signature). Lost in the mail, never-never land, someone’s pocket? That last one really bothered me as you hear so much about on-line theft and all that sort of stuff.  Lets see now, first thing is check my bank statements (also on-line). check my American Express (on-line). Nothing there yet but keep an eye on it.

Two days later, I received a letter from the Catalogue place and in it was my original order that I had sent, you know, the one they had said they didn’t have. Attached to it was a note stating that the credit card was not honored and if I still wanted the plants to re-order and choose a different method of payment, if you don’t mind. I had already received a response to my on-line order thanking me and giving me some shipping details so I thought that at least, I would get my roses soon. I really had to wonder how they managed to run their business if one hand didn’t know what the other was doing.

I’ll bet that if the original credit/debit card had gone through (which I fail to see why it didn’t considering how much money it is worth) along with my on-line order, I would be getting two of everything.

A couple of days later, I was looking for the returned order form to check out the card number and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I knew that I had it on the table close to my computer or on the island where I spend some time eating and watching TV but it had disappeard……again. I turned the place upside down and couldn’t find it. I had just recently, the night before, paid a visit to the dumpster that HEB has in their parking lot to take re-cycled materials. I am pretty big on re-cycling doing my small bit to save the planet and I collect all of my re-cycleables in the bags that normally contain bird seed.They are a decent size and as I go through about 40 pounds of seed a week, what better use to put the bags to. Anyway, my feeble brain began to think of all kinds of scenarios as to what may have happened to the letter. I remember cleaning up a lot of junk mail deciding who to donate to the night before and so my first instinct was to look in that bag to see if I had accidentally re-cycled it. The problem was, the bags were already in the dumpster. By now it was already dark and I couldn’t put the thought out of my mind as to what to do about it. I did not know what happens in the re-cycling plants and whether things are sorted  and if so, into what or even if they look very closely at what they are sorting. I had visions of my credit card information getting stolen and sold and all I could think of how bloody stupid I had been to even think of doing what I had done. I thought of paying a visit to the dumpster but decided against it in the dark. Needless to say, I barely slept a wink all night, tossing and turning to such an extent that the dogs and cats left the comfort of the bed to find quieter places to sleep. I must have eventually settled down as they were all back on the bed in the morning.

The next morning saw me up early hurrying the animals through their breakfasts and not even stopping for coffee in my urgency to visit the dumpster. I had brought a step-ladder with me to make it easier to get into the dumpster which luckily for me was only half full. I knew exactly where I had put my two bags and headed for that corner falling over beer cans and other bags that hopefully only contained re-cyleable materials and located both my bags. I carefully sorted out my bags going through the thrown away mail not once but twice but could not find what I was looking for. With one last look around, I thought about that guy that lived in a dumpster for a year as a part of some project of another and wished him well. I wasn’t about to do it and clambered over the side to get out.At least, that was my intent but the step ladder was outside and when I tried to build something to stand on, there was nothing solid inside of the dumpster that I could use. I could reach the top of the sides and with a tremendous effort managed to pull myself up half way and got a charley-horse in the back of my thigh which was painful enough that I had to drop back down into the dumpster falling over the stuff that was in my way so that I could stretch it out.

After a few minutes of stretching and massage, I tried again and this time managed to get to where I was able to drag the step ladder close enough for me to climb out. All of the pull ups were like going to the gym only a little bit messier.I still hadn’t located that bloody form and was getting really PO’d at myself for being so stupid in the first place especially after it had been returned with no harm done.

I drove home and searched the place again but with no luck. It’s hard to get mad when there is no one to blame except me. Then, I had a brainstorm. I had stopped from my work out in the yard yesterday and is my won’t had made tea and and taken it and a couple of magazines outside to drink on the patio. I thought that it couldn’t be that simple but I went out and looked on the coffee table outside where the magazines were and lo and behold, there was the precious letter that I had worried and fretted over. it had been there all of the time and obviously, I had accidentally picked it up and carried it outside along with the magazines.

I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. A part of me was very pleased that the letter had shown up and that the worry of my credit card information floating around for all to see was gone. On the other hand, it brought up the question that has my brain deteriorated so much that I can’t remember my actions in the past 24 hours? It’s a little annoying but also funny when I have to retrace my steps because I can’t remember why I went into the other room or whatever the action is but this whole story is one mistake after another starting with releasing the information in the first place. It’s easy in this modern age when things are always at your fingertips to get complacent and careless.

If nothing else, I learned a valuable lesson with this whole episode. I don’t want to live in a dumpster. I’m not into dumpster diving, and oh yes, I’m still waiting for the roses…

Zilker Gardenfest Spring 2015


Zilker Gardens in Spring from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The gardens are indeed a thing of real beauty and I couldn’t resist in taking more pictures of the flowers already in bloom and of course, to share them with you.

Zilker Gardenfest 2015

I attended the Zilker Botanical Gardenfest last Saturday, May 28, partly as a volunteer to help man the Austin Pond Societies table but mainly to take pictures and report on the event. The start time for the general public was set for 10:00 am and I got there around 8:30 or so  planning on getting an early walk around to beat the throng of expected people. The weather was warm and sunny and it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Inside of the Garden Center Auditorium was the “This Land is Your Land” Flower Show so I made that my first port of call before the crowds arrived. I pretty much had the place to myself as I wandered around admiring the wonderful displays and taking as many pictures as I could. The artistry of some of these pieces is truly amazing. The timing had to be perfect for the flowers to be on show.

Zilker Gardens Flower Show 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

I left the beauty of the Flower Show behind and started to walk through the Gardenfest. There were more than 100 booths and tents set up mainly in the normal parking areas under the trees which was called the Vendors Circle and extending all the way down the hill to the Rose Garden. As I strolled around, there were a great number of different wares on view including a lot of hand-made items. I was talking to one vendor and she was telling me that some of these storekeepers, including herself, spend their summers driving from show to show to sell what they have spent the winter months making.

Some of the items included clothes, art, glassware, ornaments, jewelry, things for pets, kitchen ware, wooden furniture, fans, cactus, pottery, spices and much, much more. There were booths that offered new windows or special house insulation or even rain gutters and yet another had a demonstration of a Hydroponic system for growing plants and vegetables. There were so many different things offered that it is impossible to name but just a few.

At 11:30, I took my place at the Austin Pond Society booth along with another member, Delaine Brady who I was meeting for the first time. Delaine was more than eager to talk to the many people who approached our table and I was more than content to sit back and only put in a word here and there when it was required. I didn’t need to say much as Delaine had it pretty much under control. We did not actually register any new members but gave out a lot of advice on how interested people could register and we handed out a lot of information. We got to meet some interesting people many of whom had ponds.

When our hour and a half was up for which incidentally, I was grateful for the time to sit and rest as it is very tiring walking up and down the hill inside Zilker Gardens. I went back and did one more circuit this time joining many throngs of people. I wandered around the booths slowly making my way back down the hill on the Escarpment Trail. I passed the Food Court where just about every type of fast food was available until I arrived at the Rose Garden where a stage was set up. On the way, I found myself in the Faerie Grotto and had taken a couple of pictures not realizing where I was before I decided to get out of there before the Leprechaun’s and Goblins got me and turned me into a frog or something like. Probably in my case, it would be a toad.

I had heard singing as I was making my way down the hill and the music sounded very interesting. I had never heard the artist before so I sat and listened for a while and of course, had the camera taking a video of the artist and his music. Unfortunately, he is very much in the shadow and is not too visible but his music is great. The wind played hell with the acoustics as it blew across the mic. I introduced myself to his sound man, Carlos Conseca and found out that the artist’s name is Jonray Higginbottom an extremely talented singer and musician. He played and sang on at least three different instruments, electric piano, mandolin and guitar. The link to Jonray’s website is http://www.jonraymusic.com
The link to Carlos Conseca’s website is http://www.facebook.com/cansecomusic

Jonray from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

In all. I took well over 200 pictures of just the booths and the people. The photography was a challenge with the different shades of light and shadows and the huge spread of white canvas everywhere I looked. I had to make many adjustments to even get close to a decent shot on many occasions. But then again, that is the fun of photography. I opted to put over a 100 of these pictures in a gallery for viewers to see. Clicking on the picture will get an enlarged view.


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Another Grey Day


Another Bright and Sunny Day

            Another Bright and Sunny Day

It’s another grey and cloudy day
enough to make me want to stay
in bed with the covers over my head
and sleep till noon and hopefully then
the sun will shine through the gloom
and I will want to leave my bed.

The dogs will not let me stay there long
as their breakfast they want to eat
and they will start to make a fuss
and lick my face as I try to sleep
until whether I like it or not
they force me out to face the day.

I do not like it when it is grey
and wish the clouds would go away
and let the sun shine through on us
to feel the warmth and the shiny light
that the sun provides when it can be seen
shining down on us to make everything bright.

Happy New Year, for some…


Helping hand

Helping Hand

Another year is on us
and how will we treat it
do we continue in the same old way
or maybe a change or two
even a Resolution as a last resort
when all else has failed.

Will we be kind to others
much worse off than we
as they stand at the intersections
and show their signs
at us as we sit in our expensive cars
or will we turn the other way
and not look them in the eye.

Is it our fault that we have
while others have not
did we choose our path
or was it chosen for us
and what makes us any different
than those less fortunate.

Of one thing we can be sure
we would not change with them
even if we could.