Retirement … Sweet Retirement

It’s been approximately 16 months since I stopped punching the time clock {actually, I haven’t punched a time clock since the early summer jobs of my youth, but I digress} and stepped into “retirement.” It has been quite an experience — all in a good way. I should have done it, say, 50 years ago.

The best part about “retirement” is you get to pick and choose what activities to get involved in and what events you wish to attend. The hardest part of retirement is adjusting to a fixed income.

I was reflecting on the past 16 months however, and discovered my free spirit never got the memo. I have immersed myself in “me” work and “me” connections that has kept me as busy as I wish to be.

In the community, I became active at Dover-Foxcroft (ME) United Methodist Church, where I was named a co-lay leader and sometimes pulpit supply {something I enjoy doing}. I was also named church representative on the Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard board, dealing with the ever-growing food insecurities in Piscataquis County (https://www.dfafc.com/).

I started attending TIP (Thriving in Place) meetings to deal with local issues of interest t seniors, which morphed into Senior Commons involvement at the newly refurbished Commons at Central Hall (http://www.centralhallcommons.org/). As part of programming at the Senior Commons, I taught my first class, Take the Fear Out of Writing. Although the six week class has ended, we will gather together later this month to compare and conjoin the individual short stories produced by the class.

I have also been a fairly regular fixture at community events such as the weekly community dinner, Community Cafe and AARP Coffee Talk. The food {yes, I don’t have to cook!} is always tasty and the fellowship has led to new friendships in a community I’ve called home for just over a year {actually, it’s three years, but I was an upstate New York to Maine commuter for the first two years}.

I also rejoined Kiwanis International, Dover-Foxcroft Chapter. I was a Kiwanian back in the 70s in Illinois and 90s in New York. In a moment of weakness (?) or because of the 6:30 a.m. meeting time, I agreed to be appointed vice president when the vice president relocated to New Jersey. Of course, vice president means this year I’m president-elect and next year (2019-20) I’ll assume the president’s role.

On a personal note, I published not one, but two books in retirement. The first — a novella, Heaven Shining Through — was published last March and has been met with solid reviews. The second — Wisdom From a Father — will be formally released Sunday (Nov. 18) to coincide with a book launch at 1 p.m. at West Fayette (NY) Presbyterian Church. The book features a series of reflective essays based

Wisdom From a Father is a reflective look at life, love and family, segmented into chapters. The words are updates of posts made on this blog, wisdomfromafather.wordpress.com. All 52 essay chapters are written from the heart, sometimes seriously and sometimes with a touch of humor.

The cover features a photo of Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, ME. The long planks hopefully invite readers to the lighthouse and, in turn, to open the book and choose their own path and pace. The type — Edwardian Script — was chosen to be personal and intimate. The combination blends the illumination, resilience and comfort of the lighthouse with words that hopefully guide, build inner strength and give hope.

Of course, my wanderlust has kept me on the road a bit as well.

Before the ink was dry on the transfer of ownership of Reveille/Between the Lakes, I was on the road for our annual grandchildren gathering. This year, there were 12 of us — myself, my chaperones, grandkids DJ, Timothy, Karly, Ella, Kaydee and Gavin and adopted granddaughter Abbi. We called Circle B Campground in Angola, IN, our almost week-long home. But the adventure included a trip to Albanese Candy in Merrillville (the other side of the state, almost Illinois), the Indiana Dunes, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Fremont and the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion. Yeah, from my Maine location, that’s about 1,076 miles — stretched a little further because we zig zagged through the back roads of Indiana — each way. Loved every mile!

Then there was the December to Remember. There were so many memories packed into the 25 day, 5,267.3 mile trip to New York, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The blessing for the entire trip was no major incidents … just pure enjoyment with family and friends. Thank you Jesus! While those states are where Angelina and I rested our heads, we also traveled through Canada, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and New Hampshire before rolling into the parking lot back in Maine. I visited each of my five children; took in two pro {Green Bay} football games {in Cleveland with grandsons and Carolina with oldest and youngest sons}; visited with long-lost cousins in Ohio and Indiana; finally visited the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, IN, and National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY; traveled to Florida to spend some time with my childhood friend, Bernie; spent a spectacular Christmas Eve in Nashville, TN, with my oldest son, taking a walk around Gaylord Opryland Resort (about three hours worth) and the Ice Show (Charlie Brown Christmas) including a turn down the ice tube and capping it off with dinner and Diamond Rio; and spent some time at the Jersey shore {including a visit with Bernie’s mom in Toms River, NJ}. Whew!

After a week of “rest” I was back on the road for a mini reunion in Paterson, NJ, with Don Bosco Tech classmates, Class of ’65.

After Heaven Shining Through was released, I embarked on a May mini book tour, making presentations to the library here in Dover-Foxcroft, and the five libraries in Seneca County, NY. And it was a whirlwind! Six presentations in nine days.

A four day stay in the hospital for a bout with cellulitis disrupted June plans for attending my granddaughter’s graduation, but I made it back to New York for three meet and greets in September in upstate New York.

Retirement? It’s been a blast!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Love people more than they deserve.

 

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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