Life Topics

His Hands

The skin on his hands were pale and paper thin
showing a tangle of blue veins.  Fingers longer and
thinner than I remember.  I stopped and stared at
the age spots and bruised skin of purple and blue.

Those hands changed my diapers, helped me cross
the street, tied my shoes, turned pages of a book
and spanked me.  I’m sure I deserved it.  My little
hand fit so well inside your warm fingers.

Now with weak hands, you reach for help and comfort.
We will hold them to support you, hold them to
assure you, to raise you up.  Our touch is compas-
sionate and real.  You’re never alone.

Daddy, when did you get old?  You didn’t warn me.
Signs of decay and weakness overlooked.
A gradual slowing down to a stop, to a chair and
to the bed.  Resting your hands or pressing them
together for prayer.

My life started with you and will end without you.
Nature sometimes sings a sad song you can’t conceive.
Those hands have always been a gift.  You lovingly used
them for giving, never for taking.

Life Topics

A Fabulous Retirement

I dream about retirement these days like a dog dreams about a bone.  That blessed and well-deserved day when I get to call it quits.  I imagine the leadup to “o-dark-thirty” may be stressful trying to wrap everything up for the next sap, I mean person, who takes over my job.  My boss will say, “Jo, make sure he/she is well trained…and will you be available if we have any questions?”  I’ll be like, “absolutely, and I will be around if you need anything”.  Right.  Of course, I would never leave anyone high and dry, but already my priorities have changed.  Sometimes learning OTJ is the best way.  I’d be doing them a favor if I was unavailable.  Baptism by fire and all that.  When I’ve finally fulfilled my parting duties, there’ll be no more looking at the clock, no meetings, no deadlines, no projects, no managing people and no boss.  A blissful life full of nos.  But even more so, a presence full of yes’, for anything I want to do if it’s within my newly fixed income.

I’m not what you would call a “planner.” So I may be in a bit of a financial crunch when I stop taking in my lucrative Public Access pay.  I could learn to live meagerly if I had to.  Coupons and day-old bread could be adopted into my routine.  On the bright side though, I’ll be rich with time and an overactive imagination.  Think of the possibilities!   Lunch with friends, reading novels, showering daily, writing stories, walking the dog, sitting in the sun, doing light chores, getting a haircut, maybe do artwork, plan get togethers and floss my teeth.  And, if I get even the slightest bit bored, especially with the personal hygiene, I can get a little part-time job for some pocket change and mental rescue.  As long as the job’s hours are short and flexible with an obscenely high pay rate.  I most definitely plan to live a dilettante life.

Who do I want to be when I’m done being a grown up; fabulous, absolutely fabulous.  My life of leisure will be outrageously delicious.  I will amusingly pretend to forget what day it is saying, “is it a weekday, or weekend day?” I’ll laugh as I say this, feeling clever and witty; feigning confusion.  I’ll be old enough to be excused for being obnoxious.  The only people who would take offense would be those who begrudgingly must work the next day.  Pontoon boat rides in the summer will be a daily activity, staying out late, as there are no more “school nights” to worry about.  Young people may seek my worldly, yet practicle, advice on everything from boiling an egg to changing their motor oil.  I’ll arrogantly think I have it all together, or maybe just bluff, like only a seasoned retiree can do.

I’ll have to wait a while to become that eccentric, retired old lady.  There is still a whole decade before I start to live this fanciful existence.  In the meantime, I’ll practice saying “get off my lawn!” and “God love ya’”.  There’s time enough now to start my retirement hobbies on the weekends to prepare the future.  As far as my job, I really like it and have little to nothing to complain about.  It has served me well.  My mid-life has had no crisis and is mostly unremarkable.  My fifties have been a training ground of fetching rocks and putting out fires, teaching me how to be a stronger woman. All these experiences have helped create a solid gateway to my next phase.  Afterall, a fabulous life must be built, it doesn’t magically happen one day.