The ointment of a single page salve …


If you’re like me – and for your sake hopefully not – you gotta wonder from time to time how it is that life has ended up the way it has. The twists and turns or the odd bit of fortune that was a life changer. I do. Like North Carolina. How the hell is it that I ended up here, and for nearly 10 years? It seems to me the weekly letters are that odd bit of interpretation of a life that changed – in large part for the better – by landing here.

So that’s what the kids see and hear; a nuanced existence that, for nothing else other than luck of the draw, came to be the way it is today. As it has done for you, life here has demanded a whole new set of adaptations; attitude, discipline (sort of), Southern-isms (sort of), pluck, introspection, maturity and no doubt a host of other things that escape me at this very moment.

It’s 1,165 miles to Ellen in St. Paul and 765 miles to Reid in Chicago. Hardly the stuff of weekend jaunts. But once a week there is a piece of paper that makes that trek in my stead and in some ways closes the gap and cuts the separation, the me-from-them isolation and the depressing distance to more tolerable limits. Perhaps that single page salve is an ointment of sorts. You wonder about it, or at least I do, because life has ended up the way it has.

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October 19, 2015

Ellen/Reid: There may be some frost on the ‘ol pumpkin this morning; stepped outside to fetch the newspaper and got bonked in the noggin by 34F temps. Aside from being a vegetable killer, it’ll also make the Bermuda grass go dormant by this time tomorrow which will make golf all that much more difficult than it already is. Such is living in the South. The space heater is on in the office.

I head to the mountains, such as they are in North Carolina, for golf this weekend with my Golf for One Meetup group. Six or so months ago, on a whim, I set up a weekend outing for about 20 people which ought to be a lot of fun. We golf Saturday and Sunday, and the drive is about two hours straight up I-77 with a little veer to the left to a place called Olde Beau.

The North Carolina mountains were a sight to behold this weekend. Incredibly beautiful.

The North Carolina mountains were a sight to behold this weekend. Incredibly beautiful.

They say it’s a lovely spot and I’m anxious to see it. I set up another Friday music situation and 10 folks have signed up but the odds are I’ll bail and head to the hills sooner than later since I’m perpetually nervous about all the details for the 20 people that will be there. We’ll tee off at 11 a.m. both days with a cocktail hour/dinner squeezed in on Saturday night. There’s been five straight weeks of tournament play for the group and I’m totally fried from the organizing of it all. So I may switch from Guinness to G&Ts to set the world straight.

The plumber/tile guy grouted the new tile yesterday and did a terrific job. He comes back tomorrow to set the fixtures, baseboard and, short of me installing some new lights, the job will be done. It’s a relief to have it nearly finished rather than dragging out for weeks and weeks like was done with the master bath. The total cost will be in the $3,200 range which was more than I planned for but when you consider the payback, it will be a good deal for your old man. My rough calculations are in should add – knock on wood – about $7,500 – $8,000 in home value. Ellen, I really, really, really appreciate your help and guidance. There’s a bit of sanding on the walls today and the walls will see a first coat of paint so I won’t have to sweat painting behind the new vanity and toilet.

For a while there I thought I was headed squarely down the vegetarian path and then I got crosswise with a big slab of prime rib on Saturday followed by a big burger yesterday. Hopefully my right-minded senses will return this week but then there’s this weekend’s outing and my diet might go to hell all over again.

I got drilled by friends yesterday for not yet signing up for Medicare. I’ve been oblivious to some of this retirement stuff and they pressed me to sign up today – not tomorrow – otherwise there would be some sort of penalties involved. We shall see. Last week I got to thinking about what would lie ahead in retirement and it dawned on me that there are no real hobbies that have captured my time or attention. I don’t paint or play music or other arty things like that. Golf more than twice a week would bore me to tears. The Harley is going to go away since its time has passed. Perhaps there’s more tennis since my shoulder seems to have held up to it. A guy can only write so much although you never know. My hoped-for letter writing class on eventbrite.com has seen no takers so that will likely get scrubbed. For a while there I thought that might be a fun thing to do, teach class after letter class, but that appears headed down the tubes. pickupyourpath.com seems to have gained steam in terms of visitors, about 50 a day which, in the grand scheme of blogs, isn’t a lot but there does seem a spike in interest. Perhaps I can parlay that into something. You never know. Maybe that’s the way retirement goes; you figure it out as you mosey along. One thing I do know for sure: I sure as hell want to sleep in beyond the usual 5:00 a.m. wake up. That’s no way to live. Later, guys.

Love, Dad

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