Well, let me say that part of being retired means that you can take the opportunity to “under schedule” without even feeling guilty about it. It’s actually been quite a while since I have had to run off late afternoon to get to a church a couple of hours away to have a meeting, so I can hear the challenges/complaints/concerns/worries/dire situation that they are going through. This is Columbus Day, and as I recall, almost every Columbus Day for the past 20 years, I have had to sit in a basement meeting room at our conference office, and have a day long, or two day long session. So much for it being a holiday! Or even, as I recall from elementary school days, a special day in school where we learned about the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, sailing off to the end of the world and beyond, in order to find a shortcut to the riches of the “Far East,” only to discover a place that held far more importance in the future of our world. By the way, I ‘ve mentioned before that the “Nina’s” real name was the “Santa Clara.” I remember in 3rd grade, of being given the assignment with two of my friends to act out Columbus’ request to Queen Isabella to get three ships and sail off. Of course, I got to be Christopher. It was perhaps one of the more moving reenactments of that special moment in history. I even gave me best 3rd grade shot at speaking with a Spanish accent, not knowing until later years that Columbus was actually Italian, from Genoa.
Anyway -- I don’t have to do those kinds of meetings anymore, but that’s not to say I have nothing on my schedule. After many years, I still a writing curriculum for the United Methodist Church, and this week was crunch week to make sure I got it all finished and emailed to my editor. By the way, what a change from years ago, when I would hand write the lessons, and then retype them onto typing paper, and mail the copy to the publishing house, where an assistant would then re-type the entire 13 lessons onto the unwieldly computer. Lots easier today.
So, my assignment this time was to write daily Bible devotionals that go along with the actual weekly Bible lessons used by hundreds of adult classes throughout the country. I know at one time, my editor told me that almost one million readers used the material – that has shrunk through the years, but there still is a large contingent who use the publication for devotions and for study.
My assignment doesn’t sound too tough. I had a daily devotion, based on a scripture picked out by a committee somewhere. I wrote a month’s worth, so that was 28 different devotions, with each one about 75 lines long. I think for the entire work, I wrote just shy of 16,000 words. It’s a bit of a challenge to come up with 28 different themes, and riveting daily readings. I would be kidding myself if all of them indeed were riveting, since frankly, some of the scriptures were pretty tough to find something interesting to write about. Still, my was not to wonder why – mine was but to do or ….
So now it’s done. All wrapped up and emailed off, and now I have the rest of the week to catch up on some other things that have been hanging, that I kept putting off until I got the assignment done. Do you do that? You have a load of different things that really need to get accomplished, although none of them are critical, so to speak. But for some reason, it works to put off doing many of them, because you have one larger thing that needs to be done, that you have also put off for weeks because it wasn’t due until, say, the end of the middle week of October. Kind of like when you were in school, and a writing assignment was due on day X, and so you waited until the evening of day W, mere hours before it was due, to do most of it. Human nature, I guess, it always works, unless of course you have an equipment breakdown or the internet goes on the fritz. Those are not very good days.
However, now it’s done, and actually, the next big thing on my list is to make my annual batches of peanut brittle. With various deaths and member of our families gone on to glory, this year will be a smaller run, with perhaps only about 12-14 pounds of peanut brittle. I know a few years’ past, I ended up making over 22 pounds. I was kind of tired of making the stuff by the time it was over!
So perhaps I’ll straighten up the garage before it freezes, or fix the wheel on the gas grill that for some reason decided to come halfway off. I also need to replace the light bulb over the stove, which I know is going to take a special size, so that means a trip to ol’ Batteries and Bulbs, and see if they have one, or two. Like I said, the work changes a bit after retirement! And I still need to fit in a nice afternoon nap, if possible, although it seems every afternoon lately, the fellow across the street, who hates leaves on his lawn, and who drives a riding mower that sounds like a jet engine that dropped a muffler, decides to get that very last leaf up, but not with a rake, as he pulls out the Mower 5000 with extra noise maker. Kind of messes up siesta time, if you know what I mean.
But it’s autumn, and even though the sun still helps to recharge the batteries of the lazy cats, the nighttime is falling earlier and earlier. I guess the dark days are on their way, at least for the next five months or so. In the meantime, I might even find a book to read, or some other fun item to use my time.
Don’t worry, however, I’ll try to get a column written every day, if I can. You all are important to me! Peace today.
Word for the day: lateritious. Pronounced lat-ur-ISH-uss. Strangely enough, the word comes from the Latin lateritius, which is translated, “of a brick, or made of a brick.” The word itself has nothing to do with shape, or weight, or even use. Oddly, the word actually is defined as “red as a brick.” It’s a color, although I guess you would have to go back to the 17th century, when supposedly all brick would be “brick red.” Our house actually has a tan/grey brick, and the home across the street looks more yellow, or even white than “brick red.” Kind of reminds me when Henry Ford told folks they could have any color car they wanted, so long as it was black. If you have a “brick red” house, then please call it lateritious, just for fun…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.