May 7, 2017
I am retired. There, I’ve said it.
I still have trouble believing such a three word sentence. Retired. Wow! Now people are asking: What are you going to do next? What are your plans?
I don’t know.
I didn’t plan to retire. I argue with myself most every day. I want to work. I feel lazy since I’m not working or thinking about work. You see, working has been on my mind for a long time.
I took my first real job when I was twelve years old. I mean a real job, where I had to get up, get on my bicycle and go to work. I’m not going to tell you I had to ride up hill all the way, through blinding rain, sleeting snow and raging thunderstorms. My Mom or Dad would take me to work on those days. But, when the weather was nice, I pulled on my clothes, jumped on my trusty Western Flyer bicycle and headed north, to Monte’s Bar-B-Que. I was a 12 year old carhop and doer of all things for Mr. Reeves. He kept me busy. He taught me how to work. He taught me a lot of things about life and I was his young learner.
I loved it. Mostly, I was a car hop. Other times, I washed dishes, swept then mopped floor. I kept the place clean.
When you drove up, I took your order while you sat in your car. When your order was ready, I delivered it to your car. You paid me and gave me a tip. A reward for a job well-done. Those tips weren’t much in those days. Ten cents here, a nickel there and sometimes a quarter or two. I learned a few cents at a time.
Over time, they turn into dollars. At the end of the week, I got paid real money. I worked for two dollars a day. Five days and I had a ten spot in my pocket, plus those tips.
I was twelve years old, making anywhere from ten to fifteen dollars a week. I had folding money before I needed gas money, before I had a girlfriend to impress with the money I could spend. I was rich before I needed to be rich.
That was more than a half century ago. As they say, I went on to bigger and better things. I learned to work harder, to shoulder responsibilities.
I worked in the rain, the searing heat, the cold, the snow. I worked when I was too tired to even think. One time I stayed awake for forty eight hours at work. Had to!
We ate cold bologna sandwiches. Water was all we had to drink. Often, I thought about quitting, but I never thought about retiring. I considered myself rich a few times, even though I’ve been poor more than I like to think about. I’ve always been blessed.
Today, I am retired. Maybe. I think. Then again, I’m sitting here writing something for you to read. Trying to deliver something you will enjoy, like a meal.
Still a carhop, still looking for that reward for a job well-done.