I recently just lost a friend
one I have known for many years
another Englishman like me
straight here from the Old Country
a funny guy with a quick dry wit
a story to tell that rolled off his tongue
the times together were never dull
and in conversations there was never a lull
a mighty athlete on the soccer field
he was paid to play the game we love
skilfull  enough to be a pro
which brought him here years ago
he retired from playing and became a coach
teaching young kids on how to play
with gift of the gab and his English wit
the kids just loved hearing him say
“bloody hell” his favorite expression when
one of them screwed up again
he had a minor heart attack
while out running on the track
and ended up with a stent
and a bypass with the intent
of making him fit and well to return
to the land of the living with no concerns
this was several years ago
and I am happy to say he lived a good life
and met a lady to spend his time
and even almost made her his wife
they lived together for a few years
sometimes even with a few tears
as they went through the usual unmarried woes
keeping each other on their toes
till finally just a few weeks ago
they had the most terrible fight
so bad that it turned off the light
of any remaining feelings they had
and left them both feeling mad
my friend called me to say
that he was flying out the next day
back to the land where he was born
and that I should not mourn
but to make the most of our friendship here
and to say goodby with good cheer
we shook hands and gave a hug
and said take care and stay in touch
but the truth of the matter as we well know
even email and smartphones all the go
we probably will never see
or even speak to each other again
I surely will miss my old friend
for his wit and humor dry as can be
as life goes on maybe we are apart
and his memories will live on in my heart.


Lost Days


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.

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.


Keep on smiling…

Red Rose

Red Rose

Whether a cup of coffee or to buy a car
the people of Texas are by far
the friendliest that you can ever meet
even when passing in the street
a smile, a nod or a passing “hello”
they always want to let you know
that they noticed you as you passed by
and in return you have to say”Hi”.

It seems their nature is to be friends
and even though you never see them again
that passing smile or nod of the head
lightens up the day until in the end
you find yourself doing the same
to people you pass along the way.

A smile can be a contagious thing
and costs nothing to give and no meaning meant
other than to greet in a personal way
people  like you with good intent
to make this and every other day
as pleasant as can be in every way.

There are no strangers…only friends you have not yet met.


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.

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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TSSAS 2013 Annual Meeting – Dedicated to Carlos Rodriguez and my last as Administrator

Carlos Rodriguez - 2006

Carlos Rodriguez, taken in 2006

I attended the TSSAS Annual Meeting held in Houston, this past weekend, August 9/10. I was not to know this at the time but it turns out it was my very last meeting as TSSAS Administrator following the interviews on Saturday. After ten years in the job, the Board, in all of its wisdom, chose to appoint a new Administrator. I have many fond and happy memories of the times spent working and talking to my friends and soccer cohorts over the twenty or so years that I have been attending. Most are gone either having retired or some have passed on to that soccer field in the sky where all soccer players eventually end up. I would like to have continued on but it is not to be.

This once a year meeting holds special memories for me personally as it was one year ago on August 8 on my way down to San Antonio that I had the misfortune to somehow get a blood clot in my right calf (Deep Leg Thrombosis) necessitating me having to quickly return to Austin and the following day, to the Emergency room. Incidentally, that drive home was an experience all by itself and took an hour longer than normal due to frequent stops, not to mention the pain involved.

This turned out to be a bit of a life changer as I had to give up coaching the little kids and with it ended my physical involvement with the beautiful game. Sadly, all things come to an end but I guess it was time. After all, I am now 77 and soccer is considered to be a young man’s game. Tell that to my many 50-60 year old friends who are still playing.

This time, I allowed extra time and stopped several times on the way to Houston to get out and stretch my legs and arrived safe and sound.

As is usual, Friday evening was the Board of Directors business meeting followed by dinner at an Italian restaurant called Ciro’s. The food was excellent and the company was very amusing. All in all, a  good evening. It took all of my willpower to not indulge in one of the very fancy desserts that the rest of the table was sharing.

The following morning, after a very restless evening at the Hotel, probably due to not having the four dogs to keep me company, I was up at 6:00 am which I never do. Under normal circumstances, I am an 8:00 am person unless there are some other reasons like a doctor’s appointment to warrant an earlier rising. Luckily, the hotel also has its own Starbucks making me one very happy fellow. Armed with a non fat latte, I was ready to face the knowledgeable group of Registrars and other League officers as I lectured them on the finer points of running a league from the Registrars perspective.

The meeting went well and I was ably assisted by Neal Backes, the TSSAS Webmaster on the laptop and the overhead, showing the different slides of the documents required. Even though we started on time and that I was allowed an additional fifteen minutes, I was still hard pressed to finish on time. Guess I like to hear the sound of my own voice too much.

At 10:15 am, the training session ended and the members broke out to attend their sessions of interest, men, women and coed as each of these groups have their own commissioner and are run by their own specialty rules for things like the State Cup. For many years, Carlos Rodriguez, San Antonio Soccer Association, was the men’s commissioner but with his passing, the division was left without a commissioner. But, all was not lost as Gloria Rodriguez, Carlos wife,volunteered to step in and fill the role. It is a well know fact that behind every good man there is usually a good woman and Carlos and Gloria were no exceptions to this rule. Gloria has gone one step further and has volunteered her services to visit the Valley and talk to the leagues down there to see what TSSAS can do to help them. We have long recognized the fact that the Valley, both by location and by its very large Hispanic community, has not received the attention it deserves. Hopefully, Gloria will help to change that. Thank you Gloria for both stepping up to be the Men’s Commissioner and for taking on this additional role.

At noon time, we adjourned to the dining room for a luncheon that was held to commemorate the many years of service that Carlos Rodriguez had been involved with soccer and for his many roles with both USASA and TSSAS. Pascal gave a very nice speech to commemorate the occasion with Gloria giving the response. Again, I outdid myself and chose an apple over the scrumptious looking deserts that were offered and had to put up with a some harassment all in good fun, from Neil. I think I made him feel guilty as I noticed he was chowing down on a piece of pie.

The meeting itself went very smoothly with discussions mostly on the revised Constitution and Bye-Laws and of course the Budget took up some time. Funny how money can make the quietest person sit up and take note. We did not have any earth shattering things to decide. Pascal was re-elected as the President and he made it very clear that this was going to be his last two years in the job and he warned the members to start looking for his replacement. After the final Budget discussion, the meeting was adjourned.

Coming down, I traveled on Highway 71 from Austin until it intersected with Highway 10 and once I got past Bergstrom Airport, the speed limit changed to 75 all the way into Katy just outside of Houston. it was wonderful to legally drive so fast and the drive down, even with the three stops that I made, was very quick.

I was planning on stopping and taking rest breaks on the way back to Austin just to be on the safe side and so I decided to take an alternate way back home as I hadn’t driven Highway 290 for a very long time and wanted to see what might have changed. The speed limit was posted as 70 for most of the way and as everyone, including me, were driving a bit more than that, it didn’t take long to reach Austin. I have to say that compared to the other route that I took on Friday, things have not changed very much along Highway 290.

I arrived home around 6:00 pm to be welcomed by 4 very happy puppies. It’s so great to have that sort of welcome committee. Almost makes it worthwhile to be away although I was not “out of touch” with them as I have a surveillance system set up that allows me to watch them on live video on my iPhone. It’s pretty cool and it is very re-assuring to me to see they are OK as they go about their daily business, which incidentally, comprises of the occasional bark at something outside and then back to “napping”. Must be a great life to be so worry free as to sleep anytime you feel like it.

And they call it a “dog’s life”. We should be so lucky…

Goodbye to my friends as I fade away.

Fade Away

Fade Away