Editor’s note. Bonus this week! A rare weekend post. If you’re not a fan of the fiction posts lately, maybe you’ll enjoy this…

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.

– Henri Bergson

One of the crazy ideas I keep pondering would violate the neighborhood Home Owner’s Association covenants. Haven’t ruled out this idea yet, but I fear my window of opportunity has just about closed.  See, late last February, on one side of me, some new neighbors moved in. But thanks to social distancing, I’ve had a good excuse to avoid them, therefore I’m not familiar enough with them to know how seriously they look upon HOA rules.

Also, the once-vacant lot on the other side of my house has a home under construction, so we’ll soon have new neighbors there, too. These developments probably squash my hopes of hiding my potential scheme from the HOA.  Of course, I’m talking about the desire to adopt some goats. Unlike my worm composting experiment from a few years back, I wouldn’t be able to hide a goat (or two) from anyone very long, not that worm compost bins were against any rules. Worms were just very quiet eaters. Then there’s the problem of protecting goats from the coyotes that roam out my way. That leads to having a donkey, then it’s full-fledged Fowler Farmville at that point.

However, I could really use the goats for yard maintenance.  See, I have way too many “natural” areas. “Natural” is a nice way of saying “out of control” flora. This happens when you live on a heavily wooded lot. Once upon a time, I enjoyed yard work and had many epic battles with the underbrush. Now, though, I’m older (and not much wiser) and would rather run 10 miles on Saturday mornings (see, not wiser) than battle sweet gum trees and prickly vines.

So, I could really use some goats to keep the underbrush under control.  And if the experiment worked, I could take the show on the road. I’d call it Greg’s Green Goats. Of course, the goats wouldn’t really be green (some knitted green sweaters might work), but rather this would be an environmentally friendly way to clear out overgrown yards.

OK. Maybe my goat goals are not going to happen, but I am going to be rooting for another goat this weekend. That would be written as G.O.A.T, an acronym for Greatest Of All Time, as in Tom Brady, the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In case you don’t follow pro football, I’ll bring you up to speed. Tom Brady is 43 years old, Methuselah by pro football standards, and in his first season with the perennial mediocre Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent the first twenty years of his career with the New England Patriots where he led them to nine Super Bowls (the league championship for those non-football fans), winning six of them. This makes him the quarterback with the most Super Bowl wins of all-time. And for those twenty years and all of those Super Bowls, I despised Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Parenting Mistakes

As a parent, I have made a lot of mistakes. Still do. Many of these I recognize, almost immediately, like the time I took my then 12-year-old son Miles to the Steve Carrell movie, Dinner For Schmucks.  Not sure how that one passed for PG-13. Oh, well, I think Miles learned a few things that day. I know I did. Like, do a little research on movies before buying the tickets.

Well, despite my dislike for Tom and the Patriots, my son turned out to be a huge fan of them. Obviously, I’d failed along the way somewhere. Just not sure where. I’ll blame it on the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers being sorry choices for us Southerners.

For years, I argued with Miles that Joe Montana was the G.O.A.T., not Tom. After all, he was from my era (the ’80’s) and he had what seemed to be an impossible record to surpass – four Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49’ers. Then Tom passed Joe, with a 5th and a 6th, and I reluctantly conceded that the numbers didn’t lie. Unlike many in my county, I try to believe facts.

Despite reluctantly conceding the G.O.A.T title to Tom, I didn’t have to like him. After all, he had one unforgivable problem from his past – he played for Michigan in college. Any self-respecting Southeastern Conference grad couldn’t possibly admire a Big Ten grad.

Then a funny thing happened. After 20 seasons, the Patriots allowed Tom to leave, and Tampa Bay signed him to a two-year contract worth $50 million dollars. I think most people thought Tampa Bay was nuts, but on Sunday, January 25th, Tom and the Bucs will be playing the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship. The winner will play in the Super Bowl in two weeks, which is in Tampa Bay. With a win, Tampa Bay will become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and I’m not betting against Tom. As I matter of fact, I’ll be in front of the television, cheering him on.

Tom, you’re now my hero. I’ve matured and have decided to let that Michigan thing slide. As I’ve tried to work myself back into decent physical shape since age 40, your accomplishments and fitness in a league of young, super specimen humans are even more amazing to me. I wish you the best against Green Bay, and, hopefully, in Super Bowl LV (55) as well.  Make us old folks proud.

Go Bucs. Go TB 12.

Ageless Wonder. Image "courtesy" of Buccaneers.com

Ageless Wonder. Image “courtesy” of Buccaneers.com

Thanks for reading,



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