Lifestyle of the Retired: Who is Watching Your Retirement?
by Jane Curtis aka texasjane
I know too many details can bore you dear reader, but they are important to this story. I promise these events really did occur.
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 imminent-- time was important. This was a one way trip; I could not go back to my old house. I had purchased the new house through a realtor, on line, and with only one walk through. I had met the realtor 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 so we could see the steps 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 had just begun toting the boxes. 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 pops in. I told them (quietly so Chris 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 said he would be right back.
He was, with light bulbs for the lamps so we could see better--inside. 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 then left as soon as they were paid. Chris and I sat outside getting acquainted until almost midnight. He helped me get the dogs inside, 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. I knew I would be using some myself to aid in getting rid of any insects in the house. I bagged up several bags.
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 for non residents were too high for them. I told him I would have to pay higher association dues if I used the dock so they could just give me a little each time they came and I would squirrel it away towards my dues. 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. This also seemed like a good idea—at the time. 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 looked at each other with very confused expressions. It seems they had come to let her know what her preacher husband had been up to the previous week. They opened a large envelope containing several pictures. My mouth flew open when I saw the red porch light on my porch. Then realized the pictures were of me. My face could not be seen, but I recognized my back yard and my floppy hat. I was photographed taking money for a bag of white stuff, of taking money from three other men. The ladies were proud they had discovered the problem and brought it to Shirley’s attention.
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, several pictures of me giving drinks to apparently waiting customers, and a couple more of me being drunk on my own driveway. They even rationalized that I also took in young customers with a picture of me with Chris in the backyard. 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 also told they had proven my grandmother’s saying about if you are looking only for the ugly, that is what you will find. I also suggested they take up photographing birds instead of their neighbors. Gossip is cruel and unchristian and I stated that before asking Shirley to give me a ride home. We left the ladies with their mouths open staring at one another.
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 judging others. I watched the three ladies from the luncheon turn red. No one has heard any gossip from them since.