Sunday, July 01, 2007

I haven’t had much time to think about retirement. I believe I will have enough to do. Just reading the stack of books I have piled up is enough to keep me busy the rest of my life. I plan to scan several thousand family photos onto my computer and make albums to show on my new Apple TV. There are also a few places I would like to go but not by plane. Don’t mind flying, it’s just the hassle factor at the airport.
My model for retirement is my Uncle Mit. He was a great role model in many ways, but it’s his retirement years I wish most to emulate. Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago and I had so much more to learn from him.
Uncle Mit spent most of his life on a plot of ground in northwest Montgomery County. He farmed the land for years, then, when he got too old he simple sat on the porch, most of the time, and rocked. One day I drove up and he didn’t move from his rocker. He apologized for not getting up, but said he was just too lazy and was waiting for it to rain so he could get a drink of water. He always had a dip of snuff in his mouth and usually drank from a common dipper out of a bucket of water hanging on the porch. I usually didn’t drink much water when I visited.
When I was 11 years old, my mother died. This was at the very end of World War II. I would go and spend several days at a time with my Uncle Mit and Aunt Oie (pictured above). They had no electricity until I was out of high school. They got their water from a well by a hand drawn bucket or from a cistern that caught rainwater off the roof. We bathed once a week. Bedtime was when the sun went down and we were up well before dawn to fed the stock and milk the cow. After the chores we came in for a hardy breakfast cooked over a wood stove. They had an outdoor privy and we kept a chamber pot under the bed in case there was a need to go during the night.
There was no television and we would sit around the radio for one of the old time shows, which stirred the imagination. The action was more vivid than the gore we see on today’s screen.
The greatest entertainment was to hunt squirrels in the woods. These were country squirrels and were meant to be eaten, either fried or as part of a mouth-watering dumpling dish. The best meal was fried chicken. The chickens were killed and eaten fresh. They were yard-raised chickens that yielded rich, tender meat rather than the bloated, anemic, frozen stuff now purchased in modern supermarkets. The rich, deep yellow-yoked eggs from those chickens also resulted from the yard diet of the hens.
My kids and grandchildren simply don’t believe me when I describe this life-style. It would be miserable going back to it now, especially since I have become spoiled with all the modern conveniences. There are some things I would still love, especially the eating.
I am going to follow Uncle Mit’s example in retirement by just sitting on the porch, rocking and waiting for it to rain so I can get a drink. I’ll watch the squirrels scamper around my tress and on the roof but I wouldn’t dare eat one of those nasty, contaminated pest. Mostly, I’ll just think about the good times I had as a kid with my Uncle Mit and Aunt Oie.


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