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We spend our years like a tale that is told… Psalm 90 verse 9

This is a first attempt at telling my tale.
It is also the foundational work for leaving my story behind in book form, for my kids and grandkids to read.
Nothing like this was done for me with my family and I sure would have liked the tale told to me.

My Mom and Dad were interesting people.

My Dad was  a highly intelligent, well dressed, soldier, chauffeur, socially skilled, well read, insightful in the workings of human beings and a fierce fighter of men. He was a man’s man. Handsome. He died of alcohol poisoning effects on his body. So did all his five brothers.

My Mother was savvy, a seamstress, silver service waitress, loom operator in a linen mill, socially skilled and a fierce defender of the forgotten. She was a woman’s woman. Beautiful. She died from complications of bone diseases.

I have three siblings: Kathleen, then me, Samuel then Donna. It is commonly known among all my family and relatives that my Mother favored me. I was the blond haired, blue eyed boy and she would sing to me. She loved all her kids, but for some reason she knew she needed to love me a little bit more in different ways than the others.

As I tell my tale you may see why I say this, for in retrospect I was walking the tight rope way too often and needed care to keep me pulled in.

We lived as a family. Troubles, trials and all the intricate mechanics of love, rivalry, competition and blood between us all.

These two people gave me themselves in many ways. I am a product of their lives. I love them both to this day.


1st 10 – life for starters
Belfast, Africa, Germany and Belfast

A city to be born in and one always to come home to, no place like it anywhere on this earth. It always will be home…

Growing up in exotic places and visiting sites that chill the bones and grip the heart.

Africa – Libya and Germany – Hanover
sunshine, beaches, camels, desert sands, glass bottles of Pepsi at the square, noisy people busy places and smells that are still with me to this day.
Germany snow, autobahns, swimming naked, flying kites, multinational schools, knocked out, meeting polio, Belsen concentration camp that is still with me to this day.

Belfast the place I call home.
Streets of terraced housing that made the little house movement of today a late comer to my party.
Community, poverty, camaraderie, gas lights, cobbled streets and the love of childhood friends.

Traipsing around a city that was my playground, before the bloodletting.
Time to move on, as always…

Homes: 13 Gaffigan St. Belfast, The compound Tripoli, Some Straussa in Hanover and 86 Donegal Rd Belfast.

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have layed me down to rest in.
I was not allowed a dog at home. But my uncle and I picked out a white German shepherd which my Grandfather raised. He was called King, I named him. I loved that dog. So did the people in the community of Sandy Row, my part of the city.

Friends of mine were both boys and girls. Many are still known to me to this day. thanks to the digital age and social media.

The fields were libraries, the botanic gardens, roofs of buildings, railway lines and parks all around my little burg.


2nd – 10 for the love of travel
Belfast, England, Scotland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, England, Amsterdam, Caribbean Islands, Gibraltar, Greek Islands, Turkey, Malta, France, America, England, America

The Royal years, in the British Navy that is.
The greatest traditions Ganges and climbing the mast, sailors rituals, ships for war and camaraderie and more bars than I ever could number.
Places I remember here’s why.
Water, lots of it in Atlantic, Caribbean, Irish Sea, North Sea, Med sea, Black Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Arctic Seas, Scarpa Flow.
Looking for peace while a member of the greatest drinking mens club in the world.

Jim the man who changed the direction of my life. Always will be the friend and mentor I needed.

Finding a girl that took me away and still is with me.
Sharon all I ever needed, wanted and hoped for in a woman.
Kids, adopting them is never what they say it, it’s more much more.

Homes: 13 Moores Place Belfast, Shotely Gate England, Rosythe Scotland, Chalets and rooms in Europe, War ships HMS Hermes and HMS Brighton, and the oceans of the world.

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have played me down to rest in.

The dogs still were unavailable due to the same constraints. Can’t have a dog on a ship, everyone would want one.

Friends were few and also many. The life of a sailor is the life of a social butterfly. Always on the move, and off with the next breeze.

The fields were amazing. I’ll run you through a few, here goes…


3rd – 10 for the eye of the storm
America, Ireland, America, Ireland America

The Unknown Book revisited and the raccoons that waited at the gate.
Standing for a book against the stand for mediocrity.

Finding my way to the strangest man I ever met and learning how to navigate the Unknown Book.
No one knew the Unknown Book like this man. Eccentric, unnerving, off-putting, lame, masterful, and much more. He was my tutor, my enemy, my friend.

The Start of the hospital beds and the worn out soul.

Speaking for dinner and working for love and respect.
Learning all about the America interpretation of living, life and the Uknown Book.

At last back home, but in the middle of the battle field.I never was a follower, it just looked that way for some people. All the tunes were in my head not theirs.

Adopting a girl, getting a daughter and the grey hairs on my head.

Civil wars are not civil and family suffer for that.

Homes: Sunnyside drive Ohio, Melv St Akron Ohio, Lonnies trailer park Florida, Pace Florida, Rowland Way Belfast, Palmer Ave Lisburn, Flomation Alabama, Baumburger Ohio. A Winnebago Brave America, a few more temporary addresses. Before taking off again…

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have played me down to rest in.

My first dog was Greta: a blind German Shepard that I adopted. Sadly she had to be put to sleep. The second was Greta Von Grumble, a pure bred German Shepard. Black as coal, devoted, sneaky and ready for anything as long as it meant going out for long walks. We walked in Belfast many times. I rescued a beagle, he was called Buddy licks, guess why? He was just not right. It was impossible to keep him, he went back to the orphans home for dogs. Often wonder about him. The short haired Weiner dog Missie, we loved her dearly. She was a traveller with us. Some good people took her in and gave her the farm.

Friends I had a couple of valuable ones. Jim and David.

Fields were the green bye-ways of Ireland, park benches, famous libraries, ocean side dawdlings and drives with Sharon. Various places in Ohio and Florida and the highways and side roads of the Great United States. I can do road trips.


4th – 10 for battle fields and bandages

Baker for a living, ptsd for a friend.
This life is full of tales here is a few that stand the time in my mind cinema.
Leaving the battle fields and finding the bandages.
Loved ones the suffer and the life and living we struggle to deliver.

Unknowing what I didn’t really believe in or care for. Finding my way back home.
The loneliness of the long distance runner.

The hospital beds and fears of loss.

Grandbaby and new love found for living.

New friends, old family and the losing years that the locusts had eaten.

Homes: Hidden Lake Apts, Fishcreek Apts, Summit St Doylestown, Georgetown Condo’s, Akron.

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have played me down to rest in.

I found a Cairn Terrior who was needing rescued. He was always mad. We lived with him in Ireland and America. He was called Charlie. Full name, Charlie-Barley-The Bear. Often called Shaggy Boy. Seldom not in trouble. A constant runaway. He even ran away to die.

Friends I needed and it was always the same few. David, Florida and the hospital for the souls.

Fields of play, a state mental hospital that I worked in. The Gulf of Mexico, the prairie of the Florida I love.


5th – 10 for things that hurt when making your better
America, Ireland

Building a better me at the price of sleep.
Becoming a baker, learning the human condition again, and finding my mothers admonitions still bearing down on me to bear me up.

Working through the bad things, dancing in the kitchen and scars that healed.

More hospital beds but never beaten.

I can still feel the hurt and I can still show you the scars, but it didn’t stop life from rolling along.

Homes: the kennels, Broadiew Ave all in Ohio.

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have played me down to rest in.

Lily butowski came to stay for two weeks, that was nearly seven years ago. She is elegant, sweet, and devoted to me. A by my side dog, always.

Friends grew while the enemies could not find me. David, another David, Pat an ally and conspirator.

Fields of play were limited to backyards, hospitals and surgeries for my sweethearts girlie, and care giving.


6th – 10 for love of family and mercy from God

How many ways did I move, let me count them for you.
The good years started to grow from broken dreams and promises made into good living.
Family got to be the butter on the bread and who doesn’t need that.

My woman, my friend, my wife. Beating the odds and laughing all the way through.

All my living has been with one woman, she faced down terrible illnesses, and recoveries from them. Still that smile she smiles makes this life of mine good.

What I still determine to do with the tale before it’s all over.
Fresh-oil and more. Maybe we can do this with you too?

Homes: One more time to Swanton Ohio. A bungalow. Room to be love and be loved by our family.

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have played me down to rest in.

Dogs, still with Lily Butowski, aging and doing so gracefully.

Friends, Pat and Ginny, David and David, family getting closer as the years wind down.

Fields of play are going to be the Great Lakes a few miles up the road. Country roads all around us. The back yard.


7th – 10 final things and beyond

The last set of ten’s who knows? There may be another set.
Who knows what these years hold in my tale if I am fortunate enough to read them!!
What I’d still love to do if I ever have the chance and can muster up the courage and take it.

Sailboats and oceans.
Songs and melodies.
Making a dent in the digital space with my words.
Words fitly spoken and written down for the kids.
Last goodbyes to people, places and things that mattered to me.
That should be enough.

Homes: We will see, my track record isn’t one for staying places too long.

Dogs, friends of mine and fields I have played me down to rest in.

Dogs, we will see. Maybe a Cairn Terrior.

Friends, I’ll keep those I have while they and I are around.

Fields of play: hopefully sailing on the waters around the Great Lakes, intercostal, Ohio canal. I can still dream can’t I??


navigating the human condition while coming to terms with the purpose of life.

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