Happy Holiday
Inside the Outdoors, July 15
, 2011

It becomes a laughing matter when you think about it. We who’ve become 65 have gracefully slid into that one particular age bracket. But indeed, it’s become a transition to which many of us have had to adapt, it’s just that simple.

Part of getting older is parting from the eight hour work week (for some a longer stretch) into complete nothingness, actually abandoning worthiness whereby we often accepted challenges to accomplish achievements. Now many of us are taken from those positions and thrust into doing little tasks that at one time weren’t part of our job descriptions. I need not go on further. Most of you know about that which I’m speaking.

I sometimes wonder if the general public understands what we are going through. This brings me topic of the Fourth of July.

I wish I had a dollar for everyone who politely wished me a happy holiday. Hey folks, I’m retired. Believe it or not, everyday is a holiday. I know you mean well, but that’s like hoping only one day will be filled with merriment and not the others is ludicrous.

When I was working for North Electric Company in Galion, Ohio, doing industrial photography, I loved my work, but I also looked forward to my weekends. I was given two days of freedom to do as I pleased. However, no one called these days holidays. They were just weekends – a time to which workers of most professions recreated or caught up on their chores that they put off until Saturday morning rolled around. To say I looked forward to one of 52 weekends of the year was an understatement. After walking out the door Friday afternoon at approximately 5:10 p.m. and settling in my car, knowing that a weekend was just ahead of me settled the stress I had experienced all week long. Then I worked hard. Now, believe it or not, I still work hard, but really, don’t have to, but chose to write, conveying messages of thought and educating the public as to news that has crossed my desk, the environment and all that make up the great outdoors.

A number of years back, I recall a gent coming to me and addressing me as to the subject of retirement. He had said that he was thrown into boredom and found himself doing nothing most the time. “You better find yourself a hobby or you will go nuts,” he said. Back then I really never had a hobby. I was too busy selling items in my store (Pee Vee’s) to think of having a past time activity to keep me occupied. Most people don’t realize how much work that goes into running a retail outlet, doing the ordering, keeping up with the inventory, making entries into the books, and much more. The doors may have been open eight hours, but the behind the scenes work required constant attention, including input and output. It was one of those things that if not done immediately, responsibilities would build up quickly and I would be thrown back days on end.

But, I’m not caught up in all that mumbo jumbo anymore. To put it simply, I went from busyness to nothingness. So for a while, besides have the privilege of writing my columns, I had to make an adjustment.

One of the hardest thing about retirement, in my opinion, is knowing what day it is. They all kind of run together. If it weren’t for deadlines, garbage day and attending Mass, I would be in oblivion just what day was what, maybe being a little mixed up.

So, people, put yourself in our shoes. We experience seven days of holidays a week – most of us, that is. For someone to suggest or even pass along the thought of having a happy holiday seems to raise a question in my mind just what special occasion is on the horizon. The past Fourth of July sticks out on its own, because, really, not many days have happened up to that point where virtually stores shut down, employees were given the day off nationwide and there seemed to be a coming of togetherness that had been absent for a time. And it never failed. Someone always made comments that followed:

“Well, summer will go quickly now and fall is just around the corner (I don’t want to even think about the possibility of chilling temperatures pushing its way through the cracks of my woodwork).” “Here comes the really hot weather.” “Mommy and Daddy are taking Becky, Glenn and I on vacation.”

So here is my suggestion. If you know that we are retired, say something to the effect that you wish that we have a blessed Fourth of July. But whatever you do, please don’t wish us happy holidays. You’ll make us feel just a tad bit better about our age.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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