As to my not having anything to do in retirement, I don’t know when I had time to work.In 2011, I decided to hang up my driving gloves and come off the road after 40-plus years of being a “road …
As to my not having anything to do in retirement, I don’t know when I had time to work.
In 2011, I decided to hang up my driving gloves and come off the road after 40-plus years of being a “road warrior.” I knew that adjustments would be needed, especially since Marriott had been my home away from home for many years. I called it Marriott Withdrawals.
I envisioned arising at whatever time I desired and sipping coffee on the deck as I greeted each new day.
I would have early tee times, visit my grandchildren and take leisure trips with my wife as I enjoyed the fruits of retirement after years of dedicated service to the people that depended on me.
My dad would tell me after he retired, he would like to put on his golf shirt and go to the mall, sit with a cup of coffee and watch the people as they walked by. That never happened, as my dad was always finding things to do to occupy his precious time each day.
I remember so well the phone call from my brother, several weeks after I announced my early retirement.
“I’m afraid you are just going to die,” was the statement I heard over the long-distance line. In questioning him as to whatever would give him such a thought, I replied, “I have so much to do, it will be as though I am still working.”
No truer thought has ever crossed my mind.
During the next couple of years, I was a consultant to a couple of companies, organized several golf tournaments and published my first book.
In 2014, my wife and I decided to make the move from our home in Macon, Ga., where we had lived for upward of 60 years, and move to East Tennessee.
The next year, I published my second book and became a contributing columnist for the Cleveland Daily Banner.
Leaving Macon was difficult in that I left my daughter, son-in-law and three sweet little grandgirls behind. My son was stationed in Mississippi with my three grands, making the drive there a little shorter from East Tennessee.
So, we decided to institute “Cousins Week.” This is a time after school is out when we bring the grands to our home for a period of time, which allows them to visit with one another.
It began with the two older girls, my daughter’s and my son’s children. They would spend maybe three nights and four days, then return back to their parents after being sugared up, bags full of Little Debbie cakes and worn out from the activities that we planned for them.
Don’t judge me, that’s what grandparents do.
We then decided to include the 4-year-old twins at a separate time from the others.
Call me crazy, but I enjoy watching them run around Chuck-E-Cheese laughing and having fun, and I kind of like their pizza, too.
So Cousins Week has become a tradition in the Matheny household. All of them can’t wait for school to end and they get to visit "G" and "Nana" in Tennessee.
Recently, a very good friend decided to wrestle with a chainsaw and I’m sad to say he lost that fight. After almost taking out a couple of fingers and splitting his palm, I think he learned his lesson.
An architect by trade and a photographer by hobby, he retired and spends most of his waking hours behind a camera.
He had a beach wedding shoot recently, and by the way his hand was bandaged. I knew he would have difficulty with his equipment and managing the drive to Florida, so I offered to accompany him to the beach.
What a great time we had talking about the old days. I have known him since I was 13 and we both played in local rock bands. We reminisced about our days of youth, our children growing up and having children, how time passes much too fast as we get older, but mostly about how the world has changed.
The kids of today seem to be without the etiquette training we had as we were growing up. They seem to think it is OK to call their elders by their first name instead of Mr. and Mrs. ... not that I feel a need to be called that.
They do not feel the need to write thank-you notes for graduation gifts. They tend to not say "sir" and "ma’am," as we were taught. It seems that respect takes a back seat.
Call me old-fashioned, and set in my ways, but I think the world would be a better place if we held respect for others.
Recently, I greeted a group of men my age by calling them "sir." One laughingly said, “What do you mean, sir? I’m older than you.” Call it upbringing.
Some may say that my generation is being left behind. I see it daily and it pains my heart that our children are not teaching their children the "ole Southern charm" that we were raised on.
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end, but sadly they have.
It is said that history repeats itself. Hopefully it will, and morals and charm — especially the old Southern kind — and good etiquette will make a giant comeback and we will all live happily ever after.
As to my not having anything to do in my retirement, I don’t know when I had time to work.
Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future.
(About the writer: Gary Matheny is retired after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry. Now a Cleveland resident, he is the author of two books, "If The Shoe Fits" and "The Bullet." He also writes a popular blog, "Life Happens." Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him at his website, www.garymatheny.net.)
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