Category Archives: Retirement

I miss the ice cream truck

I miss the musical jingle of the ice cream truck.  When I was a child it would come down our block playing its merry tune and all the kids in the neighborhood would suddenly stop blowing bubbles and appear in the street.

Most of the time there wasn’t money for our family to buy frozen concoctions, but when we could it was such a treat.  Buying actual ice cream was out of the question, but frozen flavored sugar-water bars called popsicles were just fine with us. A lot of popsicles came with two sticks.  Often we would buy one to share.  We’d break it down the middle and then we would lumber back to our own yard.

I also miss the bread man.  He drove his truck down our street once or twice a week. Mom used to buy day old bread and once in a while day old doughnuts.  We never ran out of bread even though Mom didn’t drive and couldn’t make a mid-week trip to the market.

We also had twice weekly milk delivery.  We would go out in the morning and find the fresh bottled milk sitting on our porch.  We never ran out.

But this past week I think I missed the coffee truck most of all.  We had Standard Coffee Company when I was very young and later the Jewell Tea Company had a truck that came down our block when I was older.  They also sold coffee, spices and other desirable products.  Last week I really missed the coffee delivery truck.

Last week it snowed for several days.  Each time the plow went past our house he piled up icy snow in front of our driveway.  It is an uphill drive out of our driveway to the road.  When we reach the road it is part way up a small hill on the road.  Getting out requires shoveling.  And if the roads are icy there is always the chance of getting into a wreck.  If I don’t have to go out when it snows, I don’t go out.  By Saturday I was out of coffee.  We had to shovel to get out to go buy coffee.  Oh yes, last week I missed the coffee man most of all.

Written for Three Word Wednesday:  bubble, lumber, wreck.

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Ring! Ring! RI-I-I-NG! Ring! Ring RI-I-I-NG!

Ring! Ring! RI-I-I-NG!  Ring! Ring RI-I-I-NG!  Two shorts and one long ring.   That was our ring.

In the 50’s, at our house,  the telephone was still a fascination.  It appeared to be nothing more than a shiny black box with a rotary dial and long cord running into the wall.  Each hole of the dial, except for the one and the zero, had three letters and one number.  Our number was LA2-1309.  I couldn’t understand how the telephone knew if mother was dialing LA or JB.

We were on a 4-party line.  Recognizing the ring was important.  Not everyone had phones in those days and if you did, it was common to share a line with two to four other homes.  Occasionally Mom would pick up the telephone and have to wait to make her call because the line was busy.  However, in the 50’s telephones hadn’t yet become an external part of the body.   She seldom had to wait long.

The phone in our house had a special stand.   It sort of resembled a school desk with the chair attached sideways.  It was shiny dark walnut and had a cubby-hole to hold the telephone book.  The top of the desk area was just large enough for the phone and mother’s desk calendar.

Although our telephone was fascinating, when we visited my grandparent’s in South Dakota their phone intrigued me even more.  It was a wooden box that hung on the wall.  The mouthpiece was black with a brass ring behind it.  It had two bells on top that you could watch vibrate when the phone rang.   It had no dial.   Grandma lifted the earpiece, cranked the handle on the side and the operator answered.  She would say something like “162W”.   Well Grandma wouldn’t usually say that because that was her number. But she gave the operator the number she wished to call and waited until the desired party answered.

Telephones were treated  differently then.  In our home the telephone was a tool for adults.   As children, we seldom used it.  If mother was there, she would answer it.   We answered it only when she was away. And we never answered the telephone at Grandma’s house.

One evening, however, when I was nine, the phone rang while Mom and Dad were grocery shopping.   “Answer it!” my older sister commanded.   She was a very meek 13-year old and didn’t want to answer the phone.  “Answer it!”  She commanded once more.

So I carefully slid onto the vinyl seat of the telephone stand and gently lifted the receiver to my ear.   I expected to hear the voice of one of Mom’s friends.  But I didn’t recognize the voice at all.

“Is the LA2-1309?” inquired the stranger.

“Yes it is,” I replied.

“Do you have your television on?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Does it fit?” with that comment from the stranger, hysterical laughter filled the air.

I quickly hung up and told my sister about the call.

She thought it was pretty funny, but we decided we wouldn’t tell Mom and Dad about the call because they might not agree.

It wasn’t long before “Ring, Ring, RI-I-I-NG.  Ring, Ring, RI-I-I-NG.  The phone once again began to ring.

“Answer it,” my sister once again demanded.

Now I wasn’t a very worldly nine-year-old so I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” I chimed.

“Hello,” again a strange voice on the line. “Is your refrigerator running?”

“I think so,” I replied.

“Well you better go catch it!” Again hysterical laughter filled the earpiece.

“Who are you?”  I demanded.

The phone went dead.

My sister thought it was pretty funny.   When we told our folks– yes we told our folks– they found it annoying.   Yes annoying, not harassment as it would be called today–just annoying.  But in the 50’s the telephone was a tool not an attachment to our bodies.  Six-year-old children did not carry them to school.  Telephones did not sing and show movies.  They had no ability to send a text message.  They simply transmitted one voice to another.  It was a much simpler time.

The nuisance calls of the years have gone downhill.  Now the callers are freaky, not funny.  Some of the pranksters don’t have a sliver of conscience to control them.

 

(Three word Wednesday:  freak, downhill, sliver.

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Things to Ponder While I Walk….

Things to Ponder While I Walk….

There is something irresistible about a sunny December day in the Pacific Northwest.  Even though I am somewhat out of shape and fail to exercise the suggested five times a week, the sun often entices me into my walking shoes and out the door.  Today while I took advantage of the sun I found myself pondering various unrelated questions, like:

  • Why is it that it took me so long to realize that every walk doesn’t have to be an endurance test?  It is okay, and probably even healthy to enjoy the walk.
  • All the leaves are off the trees and now the evergreens have lost their needles too.  It looks like a lot of people along my walk have used their leaf (snow) blowers to blow the needles and leaves into the gutter.  Shouldn’t it be their job to clean out the storm drains?
  • I often see children aged five to seven riding their bikes with their parents, but I never see children of twelve or thirteen years old on bicycles.  Is that because of the age of the child or the age of the parent?
  • When I am walking and wearing gloves, why is it that my hands get too warm and I have to take my gloves off, but the rest of me is still cool?

As you see there was nothing profound going through my head today, just things to ponder.

 

 

 

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Fill up the buckets–don’t kick them

Summer ends and autumn begins, both in the garden and in life.  We’ve dug the spring bulbs and will soon split them and replant in a few days.  Although their story for this year is told, they still have more to share–they multiply.  Just wait another year.

Those of us that have reached the autumn of our lives are not unlike the bulbs.   Although part of our story has been told it doesn’t mean there is no more.  I’ve been making a list of the things that I might still do.  This is not a bucket list, not a list of things I intend to do before I die, but instead a list of projects or challenges I might undertake.  This is a list to go to when I am uninspired and need to be motivated.  This is a list to give me the figurative kick-in-the-rear when I forget to live my life to the fullest. This is a list to fill up the buckets, not empty one.

I must go now.   I have several buckets waiting to be filled.

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Inspiration

I walked over six miles today.   For some that would be insignificant, but for me that is a monumental achievement.  Just three weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that I could make it around the park, the fairgrounds and back to my house, and that is less than two miles.

Every morning I watch, my neighbor, Shirley walk her dogs.  I have been told that she walks around the block.  It really doesn’t matter how far she walks.   The important thing is that I know she does it consistently.  And since I retired, I have sat in my chair most mornings and watched her walk.  Of course I have thought, I should be out there doing that.  But for a long time I just stayed put and read my paper.

I also have a friend named Barbara.  I know that she walks nearly everyday.  And every time I listened as she mentioned something, or some one from one of her walks, I have thought,   I really should do that.  But, for a long time, I failed to follow through.

Then there is my daughter, now over 40, she doesn’t just walk, she runs, she rides bikes, she teaches yoga and spinning and Tao Kwon Do and every time I see her, I think, I really need to be more active.   But for years I have ignored her gentle prodding and continued to be my lethargic self.

In July, I stumbled across a website called Gullible’s Travels.  Now Gully, as she is known by the followers of her blog, is a widow, over sixty and lives in Muskeg Manor, Alaska.  In July, I started reading her blog about a back packing trip she took, alone, across Resurrection Pass.   She hiked 26 miles in four days.

Something clicked. All of these women except for my daughter are over sixty.  All of these women are what I consider classy, sassy, woman.  Suddenly I wanted to be more like them.  I decided my first step would be to take a step and then another and then another and see what happened. So I started out just putting one foot in front of the other.

The first day I walked around the park and fairgrounds and made it home again.   Well, I thought, that wasn’t so bad.   So the next day I did it again.  This time I was delighted by a little girl wearing a dress so long that I expected it to get tangled in her bicycle wheels.  She was excited and called out, “I used to fall off, but now I can go really fast.”  And I thought, gee, we are both gaining confidence, I used to sit in a chair and watch other people walk.   Now I can walk almost two miles.

From there my world has expanded exponentially.

On the Olympic Peninsula we have a wonderful trail system, designed for walkers, bicyclers, and some places it is even appropriate for horses.  I have come to love these trails.  Over the years I have often walked the section in downtown Port Angeles. But lately I have expanded my horizons and I have been walking different sections.

Recently my husband and I walked the trail from Elwha River Road to the Elwha River Bridge.  Round trip this is about four miles, nearly all paved and a great place to walk when it is warm because it is shaded by the trees.  The bridge used to be a one-way bridge across the Elwha River, now it is two-lane road with a suspended walking/hiking/biking deck below. From the deck the views up and down the river are fantastic.

Today I started the trail at Ennis Creek in Port Angeles and walked east.  This section of the trail meanders along the water for quite a distance in shade created by trees along the bank. When I started the fog was off shore and the sun was warm.  I love the sound of the tide in this area.  If you are quiet you can hear the water suck through the rocks as the tide recedes and then watch it pull itself up and over as it tumbles back onto the rocks.  As I walked I lost all sense of time and did not realize how far I had walked.  I was one with nature.

Almost every day now I am finding there is wonder in a walk.   I walk with my camera, my dorky hat upon my head and a refillable water bottle slinging from my fanny pack.   Did I tell you, today I made it over six miles?

I owe it all to Shirley, Barbara, Judy and Gully.   Way to go gals.  You inspire me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harbor’s Edge

The fog crowded the shoreline as I walked along the harbor edge of the Port Angeles Trail today.  It has been a year since I walked this section.  It starts downtown at the Port Angeles waterfront.  I had planned to climb the tower at City Pier when I first arrived, but the fog was so dense that it hid the view. So I didn’t bother.

The first person I passed on the trail was an older man who was busy cleaning up what someone’s dog had left behind..  I am certain he was wondering why people don’t use the doggie bags that are posted at each end of the trail.  I guess I was wondering the same thing. 

Large rose bushes grow along one section of the trail providing a pleasant distraction.  The plant blooms are receding but the rose hips provide their own display this time of year.   I watched as several people stopped to get a close-up view, as did I.

 As I continued to walk, the fog moved farther out exposing the shoreline.  Past Ennis Creek a couple of older men were slowly walking along, one with a cane and the other man carefully gauging his speed to stay beside his friend.    We chatted a few minutes about the weather and one of them told me we could bottle this perfect weather.   We just needed some quart jars and then we should boil it for 30 minutes.  If only it was that easy to preserve a day like this.  I really would love to have a jar to open on a gray winter day. 

I continued on until I was a bit beyond the temporary detour that takes us around an environmental clean-up site.  Then I knew that if I didn’t head back, I might be beyond the parking limit, and a parking ticket would destroy the joy of my walk. 

As I neared Francis Street Park, I noted a work of art in the park.  I decided to walk the stairs to street level and check it out.  It wasn’t visible when I walked east, but from the west it is hard to miss.

 The sun was out when I returned to the City Pier and I was grateful that I had decided to walk this morning.

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Disc Golf or What I Discovered on My Walk Today

I’ve decided that retirement can be either a time of mind numbing inactivity or a time of observation and exploration.  I’ve tried both.  The latter makes life much more pleasant.  I resumed walking today.  I decided to reverse my course.  This time I went past the park on my westbound trek, intending to walk around the fairground coming from the east.  I got side tracked along the way. 

As I passed the park I noticed a disc golf basket.  I knew there was a disc golf course at Lincoln Park.  It was put in about a year ago, however I had not noticed that one of the baskets is visible from the road.  Then I saw the sign pointing to the Disc Golf Course.  Since I normally walk this stretch of the road heading west I had never noticed the sign.  It is visible only from the east.

 I continued my walk, but instead of circling the fairgrounds I walked out Airport Road and then retraced my steps back by the park.    This time I decided to walk into the park and see where the baskets were placed.  Upon entering the course I came across two guys playing.   They stopped to let me through and explained to me that the course is played with a weighted disc similar to a Frisbee.  I asked them exactly what the baskets were called and one of them told me they were referred to as a tee or basket.   (He followed that explanation with the comment that when his girl friend calls him a “basket case” he knows it is time to go play disc golf.)    The goal is to get your disc to the basket in the least amount of tosses.  Apparently disc golf is very similar to golf, which of course I really no nothing about either.  They handed a disc to me so that I could see what it looked like.  Apparently there is a well-marked course of 9 baskets in the park, plus several more that these guys did not know how to find.  Since they were so pleasant I decided not to interrupt their game any longer and left the area so they could continue.  Next time I am by the park I intend to walk the course.

On the rest of my journey I thought about the first time we had ever seen a disc golf basket.   We were in Crescent City, California.  We had stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites on the waterfront, just a short walk from the Battery Point Lighthouse.   As we walked around the park we noticed these baskets.  My traveling partner, quite a history buff, suggested that maybe they were something left from a Spanish ship wreck, or perhaps they were intended to be a replica from a Spanish ship.  When we returned to the Inn, we asked the young man at the desk about the baskets.  Much to our surprise, he didn’t have a clue. 

The next morning we asked the woman on the desk and she told us they were for disc golf.  She offered no more information than that.  So until today, I knew that disc golf existed, but was pretty much ignorant as to how it was played.

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