Fifty Years and Counting…

dsc_4586It is fifty years since I set sail
far away from that distant shore
leaving behind all I had known
hoping my dream was not alone.

I had no reason that I should leave
away from the land that I called home
but given the chance for a future untold
a new land to visit and behold.

My Mother was there to welcome me
along with those of my family
pleased that we had decided to come
to make our American family as one.

Fifty years have passed since that day
my Mother has also passed away
the family has grown and to pastures new
all that remains are memories so few.

As I look back to that day
when a new life before us lay
I think how different if we had stayed
what other games we might have played.

The past is something come and gone
and we have to keep moving on
decisions made are there to stay
as time marches along the way.

If I could do it over again
would I still have travelled all this way
to spend my life in a country so new
the answer to that is I haven’t a clue.




Hot Water and Life

DSC_0768I sat staring at the screen but the words would not come,
it was as though the rainy weather outside my window was shutting off my writing,
many thoughts flashed through my mind of what had recently transpired,
the things I had managed to accomplish around the house these last few days,
like installing new leaf guards on all of the gutters and blowing off the roof that had the usual collection of fall leaves,
or installing a four gallon water heater under the sink,
to help out the existing one which, like the owner, is getting old
and now I have instant hot water,
if I could wind back the years like I just fixed the hot water
life would be grand.

Christmas and growing up.


The Round School, Old Heathfield, England

When I was a young boy, many, many years ago growing up in England under the very difficult times of World War 11, Christmas had a whole different meaning than it does now.

My family was not particularly religious and never actively practised any faith as a family and for me, any contact that I had with religion was through my school and that was not very much. Sometimes, the whole school of probably not more than 50 kids of all ages, would visit the local protestant Church of England for a special services for this or that but that was the sum extent of my religious training. Although I have dabbled with several different religions over the years, I do not consider myself a very religious man.

ALL Saits Church

All Saints Church, Old Heathfield, England

Because of the shortages brought about by the War in Europe and also because traditionally, turkey was a real luxury, most English people would kill and cook a chicken from those that nearly every country household had. There would always be much preparation in the way of baking and cooking and mince pies and Christmas pudding were the order of the day. The Christmas pudding would contain silver sixpences so you had to be carefully not to bite down hard or you would risk losing or cracking a tooth, that is if you’re serving happened to have a sixpence. We made our own christmas decorations and went out to pick holly which we hung up indoors. If we were lucky enough to find mistletoe, it would be hung in the house and any unwary person would be subject to being kissed under the mistletoe, or maybe it was planned…

The same could be said about gifts nearly all of which would be handmade. A pair of knitted gloves or maybe a knitted scarf. Handmade wooden toys for the boys in the family and rag dolls for the girls. A really big item which my family did splurge on, were the christmas crackers that contained a novelty toy and a paper hat and these would be pulled at the Christmas Dinner. Everyone would wear their paper hats and blow the whistles and sing Christmas carols, or swap their toy for someone else’s and would create an atmosphere of fun and joviality.


Pulling crackers

The point is that no one expected anything expensive in the way of gifts. Families would come together just to sit down and have a meal on Christmas Day. The adults would drink sherry or maybe a beer and everyone would revel in the company of the others around them. The war would be forgotten for a little while. There was no television to hamper the proceedings and no other diversions other than that what we made for ourselves. It was not a bit unusual for some of the male adults to take a nap in one of the more comfortable chairs following the meal while the women of the family would clean up and wash the dishes. The kids kept themselves busy with their new gifts or played games of hide and seek and other youthful activities.

Life was much simpler back then and even though the war was going on all around us, Christmas Day was still a very special day. It wasn’t about how many or how expensive were the toys or how sumptuous the meal or the decor and the lights. There was no one upmanship and there was no outside lighting decorating the house in an attempt to outdo the neighbors. We were just grateful to be together as a family or with neighbors and friends and at least for this period in time, the war was forgotten.

Now, 80 years later when I look back on life back then and think how simple it really was as compared to today, there is much to be said for living in an uncomplicated world. Even with the advances that mankind has made in technology, health and a general way of life, I wonder if I am any better off than back in those war torn years when life was so very uncomplicated.

I guess I shall never know the answer to that question.



Filling the Time

Old Man Water Feature

It used to be six months ago when I was sitting around and things were slow trying to find something to do, something useful, something new.

Generally, I would find something of the physical kind as that is what I have always done when I am of the mind that something I need to do today in the yard that I can say, “Look at this, look what I have done, different from I did before” as I view my work and feel so fine that I was not wasting my time.

Now, I am much older and know that physical things no longer show as top of the list when things are slow as they used to years ago.

My thoughts turn to the writing thing, a story or poem anything is better to fill my time instead of things of the physical kind.

It’s not that I am a lazy man, far be it for I have found that I enjoy working hard and things I take
to put together, something to make or a garden to shape so that things will grow, flowers will bloom and people will know that it did not happen all by itself, it took a little work from me and Nature and God and between we three we have turned what we have for all to see into this thing of lasting beauty.

The Old Man

The old man lay in his bed not moving much except in his head. His thoughts were whirling round and round as he remembered things and places, thoughts of oh so long ago when he was young and all the faces of those he had known he tried to recall but alas his memory could not relate to all of those whose fate he did not know or those of him as between them many years had passed and for this old man would soon be the last. For most of his friends were already gone to that distant place beyond where old men go when they are through with this life here on earth.

The old man lay in his bed thinking of all of the pets he had over the years they came in all sizes, dogs and cats, horses with bridles, saddles for riding and then there was Zippo, his faithful old horse who was just like a dog, would follow him around and nuzzle him looking for goodies and hand outs of the kind that only horses find, good enough to eat. Zippo lived to be thirty six years old and right at the end his spirit was strong and only the ravages of time slowed him down and he died in the arms of his long time friend.

The old man lay in his bed and wondered of the wives he had had when he was much younger, of the good times and bad, their beauty and grace, the way they moved that caused him to ponder and think of them then not just as women but of someone who he would like to be living for the rest of his life but as it turns out, he is alone in his bed with his thoughts as things did not go as planned and each of them left for a different life no more to be his wife and not here to comfort him as he lay die-ing on the bed.

The old man lay in his bed and his thoughts turned to the life he had led when he was younger much younger and his skill on the fields with a soccer ball that to him meant more than work or women or any of those things that make living on earth a part of the dreams of success but to him his greatest wish that was not forthcoming was to be a player with skills so outstanding that everyone knew his name.So he did what he knew he could do and that was to share a part of him to coach little kids in the arts of playing that wonderful game that had given him pleasure and was so much of his leisure. He hoped that this part of his journey was not wasted and that the kids he taught would go on to greatness not necessarily with a ball at their feet but life in general as they get to meet all of things that life throws at them and as they grow into men, somewhere in their memories are thoughts of the old man who lay die-ing whose race was run and who handed the baton to them.

The old man lay in his bed and remembered when he was a lad how irresistible were members of the opposite sex and how good or bad were his encounters with so many of them over the years. It has to be said that all were most willing and captivated by the charm he had then and even if a husband they had were ready to a take a chance to spend some time with this interesting man who it has to be said faced the wrath of of the man, the husband of this particular wife who for whatever reason was out and about and looking to seize on any man who gave them a glance and who was willing to take the chance.

The old man lay in his bed and lifted the covers so that he could see his body and how wasted it was no muscles not much more than skin and bone and he remembered when his body was a beautiful sight with muscles that were taut and tight that rippled at the slightest movement of the time when he could run like a deer and jump so high that he felt he was flying in the sky. He remembers that as time moved on, how much harder he worked to keep the shape he used to be in. Muscles turned to fat where before the muscles rippled under his skin. Alas no more would this old man be a thing of beauty for all to see instead the covers on the bed were pulled up high as far as his head so that the shrunken body soon would be and a thing of history.

The old man lay on the bed his thoughts turned to what would happen when eventually he would breath his last breath and he hoped that in the end, his passing would be no more than a formality and people would mourn at his funeral and say he was a good man and boy could he play for it has to be said that this old man now dead would be remembered most for the life he had led on the soccer fields daring to create strife with those around him both good and bad and all the friends he had would say he tried hard to make others see the way, the difference between the night and the day and the wonderful life that he had.

The old man lay on the bed and thought, what time is it I need to be up. I have things to do people to see a life to live and more memories to create as this is another wonderful day and look it’s raining now that’s a switch, that’s good that’s great as we could use the rain to make things grow, make things green was that a horrible dream I just had or a premonition of things to come. Who cares, todays just begun and I intend to enjoy it as though it’s my last to hell with things that are in my past. When the day comes that I am due to meet my maker and hope its true that he looks kindly at an old sinner like me.

Kids in the Park

“Why so sad” the old man asked of the little kids at the Park?
“We would like to play “they said, “but we do not have a ball and  it will soon be dark”.

“You are in luck”, the old man said,
“A ball is in my car. Wait here while I get it for you as it is not too far”.

The old man returned with the soccer ball and tossed it to the kids and said,  “Have fun with this and I will wait and watch to see if you can head”.

The kids being American, immediately began, to toss the ball from hand to hand, remembering  what they had seen, on the television screen.

The old man, who was of English descent cried, “No, no that is not what I meant, this is a football but of a different shape than what you know. This to you is a soccer ball and you should place it by your toe, so that with the foot it can be played”.

The kids gave the man a despairing look as if to say,” Play with the foot”?
“Why would we want to do that when it is so much easier to catch”.

“Watch me”, the old man said and began to juggle with his head, from there he moved the ball down to his feet and while juggling began to speak of games from long ago. He mentioned all of the famous players, like Rooney and David Beckham and said to them, “You know, these famous players all began, kicking a ball in the Park. They did it then for a lark and now, look at them”.

His juggling was very fine so he kicked the ball to the biggest kid and said, “Now you try”.
The  biggest kid gave it a go but did not have the skill to show and quickly gave it up.

The smallest kid stepped up and said, “Let me try for what I can see, all it takes is dexterity. I believe that I have this skill to get this ball up off the ground and to my head where I can see just how good I think I am with this new skill that I have found”.

The little kid did his best but found, that even though he felt it was something he could do, the ball to foot dexterity was something very new. If, he was to succeed, more training he would need and promised himself that it was something he could do.

The old man said, “Look, let me show you how it is done. I have more balls in the car and you shall each get one so that you may try to learn to juggle just like I”.

So started the first of many, training sessions for the kids who’s self-esteem was sent sky-high, boosted by their attempts to juggle and willing to give it a try. Like the old man who showed them the way who just happened to be around that day.