Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Or Maybe Not

 Our blogger today is one of our regulars...enjoy Tom's slice of life story. 

All of my working life, I have worked in an office as an office or business manager or salesperson. I semi-retired in February 2004 to drive a mail truck for a friend. It was a night run to six rural communities and I wanted a change of pace. I enjoyed driving the winding roads in the Ozarks hill country in southwest Missouri. It was just me, the road and good music. I enjoyed slinging seventy-pound mailbags and pushing three hundred pound carts up ramps. 

In April of that same year, I had a major heart attack. I had a strange feeling in my chest one evening. Fortunately, I was off that night. I told Barbara, my wife, there was something wrong. She rushed me to the ER of a hospital close by. I had the actual attack in ER, which the doctor said saved my life. The cardiologist told me, if I had had the attack while on the route, they would have found me in a ditch. The Lord took care of me.

The attack disabled me. Having been a workaholic all of my working life, I found twenty-four hours to be too much free time. I had been a writer since the age of fourteen so I turned to writing. I have since written my first historical fiction Night of the Cossack

Somewhere along the way, I felt the need for connection to other retirees. Barbara was still working. We spent the weekends hanging out together, but during the week, the house was too quiet. I decided to check out a senior center not far from the house. I was a little nervous. Although I had been in sales and did a lot of speaking, it was different walking into a place alone and not knowing anyone.

II walked into the center, stood just inside the door, and surveyed the place. There were posters on the wall advertising square dancing, bus trips to Branson and other places, and other social activities. There were many grey haired people, mostly women, who appeared to be older than I was. Sure, I had grey hair, but I was not old. A woman behind a desk greeted me and said there was a meal being served and to help myself. I did. It was institutional food and not terribly tasty. Most of the people just stared at me, but no one went out of their way to welcome me. I was not used to people staring at me like the new kid on the block.

After twenty minutes of scrutiny, I decided to leave. As I passed the woman at the desk she said, “I hope you’ll come back. Many women here will be very interested in you. I held up my left hand pointing to my wedding ring. She quickly said, “Or maybe not.”

That evening Barbara and I laughed as I told her of my experience. I assured her that I would not be doing any socializing without her by my side.

Night of the Cossack available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble              
10 Day Lesson Plan for homeschool


TNeal said...

As one happily married Tom to another, I understand walking into a situation where you don't know anyone. I experienced that Friday when I approached a group of out-of-towners in our local park. They looked at me like they needed to keep a close eye on their wallets/purses.

Thanks for a good story.

tomynate said...

Thanks for your comment. Yep, us old geezers are strange and need to have an eye kept on us.

Caroline said...

Funny post, Tom. New people and new places are hard--at times. :)

Loved your book too.

tomynate said...

Thanks, Caroline. Appreciate your stopping by.

Barbara Ann Derksen said...

Great post, Tom. We've had a few people in our small town suggest that we join the local 55 plus center, too. Neither my husband nor I feel we are old enough to join the senior set, yet. We motorcycle, and I'm a certified scuba diver. We travel ... A lot. Not ready to play cards or square dance.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

Thanks for sharing a "slice of life" piece with us--I really enjoyed it!

tomynate said...

Thanks Barbara & Sandra. Appreciate your comments.

Monica M Brinkman said...

Funny how life works. Your story brings back remembrance of my step-father wishing to find friendships after my mom passed away. He too searched for a group within his age range, and found most were those who had given up on life, complained excessively of pain and ailments and found little joy in life.
He decided his friendships better found with younger folks or those seniors who weren't part of such groups.
Sure the wife and you still laugh about your experience.
Enjoyed the story.

tomynate said...

Thanks for the comment, Monica. Most of our friends are younger. We're like a mom & dad to them. Interestingly, we are working with our church leaders in starting a Legacy group--those who are 55 and up to somehow leave behind our experience and wisdom to those who will be the leaders in the next generation. There are about 250 - 300 of us. We think it's going to be fun.