‘I have retired once again, even though it doesn’t necessarily look like it’

Sure I am retired. Isn’t that what most people do after age 65? Isn’t 61 years long enough to be doing a job? What did I retire from? Lend-a-Hand Center activities and business? Farming? Most of you who know me well would say, NO!

In fact I have retired several times if you count changing jobs. For instance, for sixteen years I helped Sue set up and run a Bed and Breakfast in Middlesboro along with her helping me continue our work at the Center. Then in 2005 I retired from that and moved back to the Center to resume a heavier load here.

Part of retiring is changing from your responsibilities to a lesser load which should mean more time for what you like to do better. It should mean a letting go of the more stressful jobs or the parts you like least. The one thing I wanted to retire from was having to have a family breakfast at seven in the morning. Even the RidgeRunner Bed and Breakfast featured a family breakfast with our guests. This was not always at an early hour as some guests were on vacation. Another part of the family breakfast was to decide the activities for the day.

For years Peggy and I provided a home for school-aged children so they could catch the bus, especially high school. Since both of us believed in the importance of family breakfast, it meant the whole family (volunteers, work group participants, children and staff) had to get up for breakfast which usually was a hot meal, so the children could catch the school bus at the bridge. That actually was a step better than my childhood.

There I had to spend an hour in the barn milking or animal care, run to the house to wash up, change from farm clothes to school clothes, eat breakfast and gather my school things to run down a long lane to catch the school bus. I think back packs would have been a great help but a homemade cloth bag was our lot. To add to the stress I often had to be responsible for my younger sister who was not great in getting to places on time or have everything organized for a day at school.

So I have retired once again, even though it doesn’t necessarily look like it as I still do many of the same work I have done for more than sixty years but it is much more the things I like doing. Does that count? But one thing that I don’t miss is having to get the children on the bus. It means I can do some things before breakfast, like exercises to get all my parts moving and I can eat leisurely. That alone makes retiring worthwhile. So see, getting older does have its perks.