The other night while watching YouTube I heard a song by country singer Tom T. Hall called “Our Little World.” He sang of the tranquility of his home, and the efforts to keep his life free of strife now that he is no longer in the public eye.
“A little old cabin out back, sun shines in at the door, can’t ask for very much more, a little ‘ol pup at our feet, never seems to catch up on his sleep, the whole wide world is at peace in our little world.”
His words, “like cats ‘round a saucer of cream, happy to sit here and dream,” describes our life as new retirees. My wife Brenda has been retired for three years, and I am four months into the curious world of Social Security and Medicare.
We were at Kroger’s recently when a friend tapped us on the shoulder and asked, “How do you like retirement?”
“Fine. Retirement has been a good fit. We are enjoying ourselves very much,” we replied.
Retirement brings on new challenges, and like most people, we were a bit apprehensive about the financial and medical challenges we might face as we both eased out of the workplace. A quick glance at our modest savings gave us pause.
“Remember when we had only a few dollars to our name?” I asked Brenda.
“Sure do. We made it then, and we will make it now,” she replied. So, like two kids holding their noses as they dived into the river from a swinging tire on a tree, we entered this new stage of retirement with both feet.
We were sitting on the deck like two crows reminiscing the other night about some of the things we have done and now no longer have to do, as our lives continue to evolve.
Brenda and I attend a daily exercise class, something we weren’t able to do when we were working. Sometimes we go to the movies during the day and it’s nice to have our pick of seats.
Last week, I had the opportunity to fix our riding lawn mower, which may not sound like a big deal to most people, but I have almost zero mechanical ability. Thank you, Google.
Spending more time with family and friends is probably the most rewarding part about retirement. Grandson Jack is a frequent weekend guest, and we see son Greg’s family more regularly, which is a pure delight. We run errands with sister, Rita, and help where we can.
We both now walk three or four miles a day, which has allowed us to lose weight, and the moderate weight training is toning our muscles.
We are no longer on Facebook, and although I miss some of my friends and hate to lose contact with classmates and out-of-town friends, my mind has been free to concentrate on more important matters.
I would like to say my hair is growing back, but I can’t. It is still very wispy. I recently dreamed my hair returned and I “feathered” it.
Speaking of dreams, I had a sweet one a couple of weeks ago. My dreams now are unburdened by thoughts of work that before made me toss and turn during my working career.
Last week I dreamed I was in the Apple commercial featuring the Elvis impersonators. This was the ad for iPhone’s Group FaceTime video chat that brought Elvis impersonators together looking to harmonize with fellow “Kings” from all around the world.
The opening scene is in the Las Vegas desert with an impersonator sitting on the edge of bed in a small hotel room singing, “When the Evening Shadows Fall.”
Next, a Japanese Elvis impersonator is sitting in his high-rise apartment as a big airliner flies past his window. Then, an Irish Elvis is seen singing in a small, thatch-roofed cottage as we hear a cow mooing.
In rapid succession comes Elvis impersonators from the South Pole, a bus shelter in India, a rocking boat on the North Atlantic, and a man sitting at a piano in a luxury New York apartment, high above the city.
As my dream ended, the final scene finds me dressed in a familiar Elvis jump suit with cape, sitting beside our backyard fire pit near the creek. I wasn’t singing, but I was wearing golden, oversized sunglasses, and when I bent down to start a fire, I awoke from my dream.
Again, Tom T. Hall summed our new life nicely. “If they came and took all our stuff, they sure wouldn’t get very much, some grass and some flowers and trees, days filled with old memories, these things that come round again, cannot be held onto by men, love is to share with a friend.”
Yes, in our little world.
Pat Haley is former Clinton County commissioner and former Clinton County sheriff.