First Few Days of Retirement...

by Jane Walker

I know too many details can bore you dear reader, but they are important to this story. I also promise these events really did occur. I promise some surprises before you get to the end. Bear with me.

Having to go on disability forced me into foreclosure on my home and led me to this wonderful spot on the lake. My first day was very busy. I had spent the morning packing and issuing orders to the movers and getting my van loaded with breakable items along with four dogs and a cat. The movers were to follow me to the new house.

Since foreclosure was emanate time was important. I had purchased the house through a realtor, on line, and with only one walk through. I had met her at her office and she brought me out to the property. The closing came a few days later at her office.

I drove around for three hours (with the moving van following me) until we all had to go back to the highway to get gasoline. I could not find my house.

Granted, I do not have the best sense of direction, but I was so sure… I finally called the realtor. She had to laugh when I told her someone had stolen my house. She came to the gas station and we followed her to the house.

It was getting close to dark. I scrambled through boxes looking for light bulbs. I finally found the red light bulbs used as part of my Christmas decorations. I put it in the front porch light and we proceeded to unload.

Suddenly a young man pops his head in the back of the truck and says, “Hi, I’m Chris. I live across the street. You need some help?

I quickly introduced myself and ushered him inside. The movers had gotten all the furniture inside and were just beginning toting the boxes inside. I had two six packs of beer I had promised the movers if they would stay (after dark it was over time) and unload the truck. They had just been giving me a hard time about finishing when Chris pop in. I told them (quietly were he could not hear) I think I’ll give this nice young man the over time you wanted and the beer. The movers quickly changed their minds about giving me a hard time.

Chris and the movers had the boxes unloaded in no time at all. We all sat on my patio watching the dogs run around sniffing everything. The movers had a couple of beers each and then I got out my money. They left as soon as they were paid. Chris and I sat outside getting acquainted until almost midnight. He helped me get the dogs inside, fetched me a couple light bulbs from home for my lamps, and then said good night.

The next day I set up my tomato plants in the back bedroom window. I had decided it was too late in the season to put them in the yard so had decided to grow them inside. After a few hours of unpacking boxes I was ready for a break.

Since I sunburn easily, I put on my big floppy hat, sun glasses, and proceeded to the back yard with the dogs. Chris showed up with some groceries for me. I told him I was so surprised. He said his mom told him I would be probably too tired to go to the store and sent the stuff over with him.

He stayed and helped me eat part of it as well. I also told him I was surprised that a teenager was hanging around a senior citizen instead of being out chasing girls. He informed me he was nearly 20 and in the reserves. I did not press the subject any further.

The next day my phone was installed. I immediately called Shirley, a lady I had worked with for years. Her husband was a minister. When she retired he had taken over a congregation in this area. I let her know where I was and by afternoon she was helping me unpack more boxes.

She remembered that I had a secret for getting rid of aphids. Yes, my diatomaceous earth. I buy the food grade variety. I use it for a lot of things, but it is excellent for getting rid of aphids. I buy 50 pounds at a time and it had gotten put in the storage shed so it would take me a couple of days to get to it. I told her I would put some in a freezer bag for him. She said she would send her husband by for a bag of it later in the week.

A few days later, he came by and he asked me if I would let some of his buddies use my boat house and let them fish off my dock. They lived in the area, but not on the lake. The dock prices were too high for them. I assured him his friends would be welcome.

When he got ready to leave, I ran out the front door and gave him his bag of aphid cure. He had agreed to pay me for it since I bought in bulk it was cheaper and I could put it towards my next purchase. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Three gentlemen showed up the next day. I sent them all out to the back. I stayed in the house going about my business. I had noticed one of them with his canteen turned upside down. I went to the window and offered lemonade. They all said yes. I made the lemonade, but could not find any plastic glasses. I did not want to take glass out to the patio. I finally found some plastic margarita glasses and decided, they were better than glass. The guys got a kick out of them. A few hours later they one at a time came in to use the restroom. Then at dusk they packed up and left.

I had noticed the mail man had stopped and decided to go check my mail. I had forwarded everything from the other house so was hopeful in finding it.

My property is covered with oak trees. Oak trees shed acorns. I had acorns all over my driveway. I have hip implants and knees that sometimes wanted to go in the opposite direction. This made me walk funny to begin with, but with the acorns it was much worse. I wobbled up the driveway to the mailbox and retrieved the mail. I knew I would have to sweep the drive before attempting that again.

Shirley called the next morning. She asked me to join her for lunch. She wanted to introduce me to some of the ladies in the church. When I started to tell her I still had a lot of work to do, she insisted. She even said she would pick me up. She said it was vital that I be at her luncheon. I started getting ready and was waiting for her when she came to get me.

Not knowing what to expect I had put on one of my business suits that I had previously reserved for executive staff meetings when I was working. There were three ladies already at Shirley’s home when we arrived. I was introduced and joined them at the kitchen table. After Shirley brought me coffee she asked the ladies to show me why they had come to see her.

They opened a large envelope containing several pictures. My mouth flew open when I realized they were pictures of me. My face could not be seen, but I recognized my back yard and my floppy hat. I asked what does this all mean. It was apparent the ladies did not realize it was me in the pictures. They proceeded to tell me that the newest arrival in the neighborhood was a drug pusher and a prostitute.

There were pictures of my tomato plants in the window, one of me taking cash for a bag of white powder, several pictures of me giving drinks to apparently waiting customers, and a couple more of me being drunk on my own driveway. The ladies informed me that they had sent a copy of these pictures to the sheriff’s office and were prepared to testify to get rid of this new comer. Their mouths flew open when Shirley and I began to laugh.

I once again introduced myself. I began telling them about my first few days of retirement, about my tomato plants, about my cure for aphids, and even about my fisherman. I then told them I hoped that their need to start rumors from such malicious gossip and provide proof of their suspicions was cruel and unchristian.

I was so angry, I asked Shirley to give me a ride home. I knew I would have to calm down before I would be able to accept their apology.

When I got home the sheriff was waiting for me. I told Shirley to go back and get her lunch guests and meet me at the sheriff’s office. It was not long before everything got straightened out.

The sermon the following Sunday was on judge others. I watched the three ladies from the luncheon turn red. No one has heard any gossip from them since.

Comments for First Few Days of Retirement...

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by: Valencia

What a story! It never ceases to amaze me how people in church can be more judgmental than the unbelievers. And there are no excuses.

I used to be a regular attending church member, but got fed up with all of the phoniness and begging for money. I visit now, and prefer to remain somewhat distant from the fast friendships. People are still people.

I would love to live in a place where neighbors really are sweet. I live in Georgia, in the country. But being a person of color, I notice that people are really not so friendly as they first appear to be. It hurts to be ostracized because of different skin color, but I've been this color my whole life.

God didn't make a mistake when He made any of us. So I am looking for friends and activities that are affordable (free).

by: mike

enjoyed reading your welcome to the new community

by: Donna Augusta, Mo

What a great story loved it. Today is Sunday, got me thinking how we jump to conclusions not really the Christian way. But, thanks it gave me a chuckle!

This is great
by: Anonymous

A great lesson for so many...

Great story
by: Elizabeth/Spokane

That was a really good read. Even reading the details before the ending was entertaining. I loved the ending. You are a good writer.

by: Sheila

I am wondering now if you were friends with those two ladies after all the fuss subsided? Did you forgive and -- well, you obviously haven't forgotten!

Thanks for the great tale!

First few days
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Jane,

No one would ever have been able to guess from the beginning of your story, what the ending punchline would be. The story does have humor -but even more-it tells all of us how seriously wrong it is to make snap judgements.

In the first chapter of my memoir, I tell how a neighbor in town who was old, had a long beard,and looked like Gandolf in The Lord of the Rings, took a lot of grief from people who didn't know much about him. Boys would throw stones at him. He used to gather mushrooms in the woods while people made fun of him.

People didn't know that he had published important religious books in the Boston publishing house where my mother worked. The editors and staff were in awe of him and his brilliance. He was deeply respected.

As a young girl this fact struck me to the core. And even today, when I write so many letter to the editor, I do a thorough search to make sure my facts are valid.

God bless and thank you.

Who is that man?
by: Jeff

Like you people don't always see things as they are. I am a single male and had just moved into a senior apartment complex.

In the past I had worked with Medicare and Medicaid insurance. So because of this people would show up at my door looking for help with insurance problems or questions.

I was told one day that there was a man on the 8th floor that you needed to stay away from as he has people in his place all the time and some stay for hours.

At the next resident council meeting, I stood up and told everyone who I was and why there were so many "friends" going in and out of my place.

After a week no one said a word about people seeing me!

Too Funny!
by: Wendy

OMGoodness Jane, you are one heckuva story teller!


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