Don't think I'm back at the Chronicle Times permanently----just a visit to help out for a while. Many folks have stopped me at various times and places to ask how retirement was going.
To say I had no idea of what was ahead of me is partially true. We knew the time had come to take time and enjoy life's pleasures before it passes us by.
We had a late start traveling this past winter due to health issues but on March 1, we took off in our "94" suburban as we were on a mission to take three pair of iron wheels to friends in southern Arizona. I told everyone to pray for our safety as that vehicle had more than a few miles on it. In fact, before we returned home we put on another 5,400 miles and it ran like a top.
We had a late start Wednesday as I insisted I wasn't going to rise so early that I'd feel tired all day riding to begin with. By the time we left Sioux City it was nearly noon so I talked hubby into playing cards with friends in Omaha. We had a great time until mid-evening when we left to rent a motel room west of Omaha to avoid early morning traffic. I was very good getting my way for these stops. You know the saying, "Take time to smell the roses along the way."
Thursday we scheduled a stopped at our son's in-laws at Clay Center, Kans., for lunch and a tour of their home---another great day. We planned on arriving in Apache Junction, Ariz. on Saturday to surprise the son of our former minister at his church on Sunday. Our motel was only three exits away on the freeway. That visit was so pleasurable to see and hear this young man we knew as a child speak so eloquently in a relaxed manner behind the pulpit. We really hated to leave there.
It took Sunday afternoon to make our delivery of wheels to Sierra Vista. There we stayed with friends a week before leaving for southern Texas where many folks from Cleghorn and Marcus winter. We spent six days looking around and visiting. We found the Southern Texas climate wonderful. Eastern Texas is neat that time of year with all of the flowers and green plant life.
I wanted to see the Padre Island area as my older brother used to spend his winters there. The city of Corpus Christi is a beauty. We loved watching the birds and ships come in. I picked Victoria for our Saturday night stay as its claim to fame is being the third oldest town in Texas. It has a great deal of charm with large southern homes that have been refurbished and several antique shops.
God was looking over my shoulder as I selected that town as it had two hospitals with one a heart hospital. I was very fortunate. The next morning I awoke with terrible pain. It didn't take my husband long to get me to Victoria Medical Center. In a very short period of time I had an EKG, an x-ray, took blood for testing and put an IV in my arm. They wanted to see a previous EKG of mine for comparison sake and I gave them the local hospital number. In less than 30 minutes Cherokee responded with everything they needed. Now that's modern technology and hospitals that are on the stick. When you are in great discomfort, that is a very good thing.
After easing the pain, talking to a cardiac surgeon, surgery was set for Monday afternoon. My heart wasn't to be denied; at 1 a.m. I woke with more pain which prompted surgery in the wee hours. They kept me 9 days in the hospital and was told to stay another week in Victoria before we hit the road.
What a great bunch of folks. We had a terrific time looking around. I found an antique store where an older lady needed to hang it up. We purchased several items but wished we had a truck to load up more. What deals! Shopping always perks me up.
Our route home was determined by a couple of shopping malls where I wanted to find a couple of gifts for grandsons. We loved driving around northeast Texas. It took us three days before we found Arkansas.
With seriousness, wherever we sought a motel, we asked if a hospital was nearby---just in case. We took our time through Missouri and visited with friends in Kansas City. That old car was packed by the time we pulled up in our drive.
Don't you hate doing laundry on your return? Sorting the mail out of all the junk?
It takes a while to get your strength back. You start strong in the morning and wind down by late afternoon. There were times I felt old.
Retirement is what you make it. We intend to make it good. There are no promises of tomorrow, only hope that there is. Make the best of each day while you have it.