Give Me a Break

I have often wondered what the average age is of viewers and posters on this board. Don't know if there is any way anyone can ever determine this but, for the sake of discussion, let's assume it is somewhere between the ages of 35 and 45. If that is correct, I have good news for you. You, in all likelihood, are going to love retirement.

Now why in the world would I come up with that bit of wisdom? I guess I would have to say it is based primarily on my personal experience, but my conclusion is also based somewhat on conversations with others who have and are experiencing retirement.

There are no guarantees and, like marriage, you have to work at it. It doesn't hurt to do a little planning either.

I will relate an experience I had yesterday which I think substantiates my point. I don't know how you feel about the election debacle in Florida but I've had enough of it. If you watch television at all, you can't escape it and to have our election procedures exposed to the light of day is enough to make me ill. I have concluded that the messiness of the electoral process hasn't just "come upon us". I am convinced it has been a mess for a very long time, maybe forever, but there never was a need for it to be exposed as it has for the last 9 days. There are things about this country that are great. Others are not so great. How does it make you feel when an expert on the subject says that expenditures on improving the voting procedures are always of the lowest priority? Or how do you feel when our voting procedures are compared to a country like Brazil where the discrepancies we have experienced are unlikely to occur? I'm speaking of the voting itself and the reporting of the same. Enough of this though. Let's talk about retirement and yesterday's day trip which was a relief from the election furor.

My traveling companion who is also my ex-boss and I put 460 miles on the "Heel Mobile" yesterday. We went from Richmond to Lexington, Va. where we walked around the streets in a town that looks to me like it could have come from a movie. Lots of book stores, gift shops and restaurants. We ate in a restaurant that opened in 1932. The art deco furnishings look like I imagine they did on opening day. It was a weird feeling to think about the fact that the restaurant opened in the same year I was born and the same year Big Little Books were first published. The fun part of history to me is trying to put all of these individual facts together so that you feel like you know what it was like back then. It's really a "turn on" for me when the people now working in an establishment that dates back in time, shows an interest in what you are doing and provides you with assistance like showing you old pictures, artifacts, etc. My friend and I have made the location of old country stores our principal interest and in the last several years we have located close to 100 stores pictured in a book published on the subject entitled "A Quiet Passing". We have about 50 more to go.

We left Lexington and headed north (not on the Interstate) and stopped in Rockbridge Baths, the home of Rick Mast of NASCAR fame. RB has 1 business and a post office. The business is a bookstore who does most of its business on E-Bay. I asked the owner if he could help me find a copy of Bones McKinney's biography and within a minute on his computer he had located 3 copies for sale at the Carolina Book Store near Charlotte. He said the web site he used to locate the book had 20 million books listed for sale.

On to Goshen, Va. where we bought gas and went into an old time "honky tonk". Now mind you, it wasn't a honky tonk during the day time, but I know a honky tonk when I see one. The juke box was great and had just the right "somebody done me wrong" songs on it. I'm telling you right now. If I were in that place at night, I wouldn't say anything but good things about everything. I know I would be reluctant to wear my Carolina sweat shirt like I was doing yesterday, but you've got to remember it was day time. The owners and service help all gathered around us to talk (they were all female) and I started worrying about one of their "men" coming in and not liking what he saw. I'm not a coward but I've learned over the years how to behave in these kind of places. Hell, given the right set of circumstances, I might have led cheers for the Wahoo's. Always pays to know where you are.

What's the point of all this rambling? Well, for one thing, I am refreshed. The 1 day relief from the election news has left me renewed. I have now decided I am not going to follow this "election thing" anymore because as the old country tune says, "The pleasure ain't worth the pain". Sort of like my attitude towards the UNC football coaching situation. The second point is that I want to let you guys coming behind me know that better days are ahead. This is not coming from a motivational speaker, a human relations counselor or a minister. It's coming from one of us and it's for real. Hope this makes your working day a little shorter.