Monday, May 18, 2009


The life of a retiree is highly diverse, and I find myself enjoying one terrific experience after the other. After spending the month of March in a “gated community for active seniors,” I doubly appreciate the variety of ages I’m exposed to when I just live in my un-gated, diverse, redneck neighborhood in Alexandria.

On Friday, I stopped by ATC graduation and hung around with my former 20ish crowd. Even though I am not officially an instructor at ATC any more, some of my students graciously agreed to pose for a picture with me. Being retired is great, but I do miss being around those young people.

Some of My Former Students on Graduation Night

Then on Saturday, I helped serve a funeral for an 87-year-old parishioner from our church who passed away. Like I wrote in an earlier blog (see 11/2/08—“Funeral Bars”), those homemade funeral bars truly do seem to give comfort in the eighth stage of grief: Healing Through Bars.

On Sunday, we visited the vineyard of our friends who, four years ago, decided they wanted to grow grapes in their retirement years. We were invited to share a special occasion at the vineyard: bud break. I had never heard of bud break before (it’s the first emergence of the shoots that produce grapes). We had a wonderful evening, wandering in the vineyard—listening to our friends describe how they prune the vines, select the buds they want to keep, and train the vines to grow along the wires. (We decided Jesus must have spent a bit of time in the vineyards at bud break, too, since he talked about it so much in his parables.)

Bud Break at the Cedar Rose Wild Vineyard

Then today, I drove down to the Cities to help my daughter (who is a school social worker at two elementary schools in the Mound Westonka School District) chaperone an environmental field trip for third graders. We had a perfect day of team building, examining snails and aquatic dragonfly nymphs (who knew that dragonflies started out as water bugs), and putting up pink tents in teams. I didn’t know I liked third graders so well, having spent my whole teaching career in college classrooms. Third graders are really terrific people.

3rd Grade Environmental Field Trip

Maybe that will be one of the best parts of being retired—spending days in the company of a variety of people, from 90-year-olds to recent retirees to college students to third graders. I’ve enjoyed the past four days a whole lot!

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