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Down the Road

Trying to retire
By Milt Gross
Jan 24, 2016 - 1:07:46 AM

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I'm trying to retire, but I'm finding it kind of difficult.

There are things I have to do first, such as getting the hip replaced in my other leg. The first one went so well, the surgeon decided to try the second.

Then I'll retire, that is, after the second leg heals from that hip replacement.

What will I do in my retirement? The same thing I wanted to do when I first came to Maine a couple of hundred years ago -- enjoy Maine's outdoors.

Of course, in those long-past days, exploring Maine mostly meant climbing her mountains, which I did. And which I enjoyed. Even though I got hurt a couple of times doing so.

Now we're planning to go for a walk, on fairly level ground, down at Fernald Neck. A lot different than climbing Baldpate, but I'll be so happy with both legs working right -- after that second surgery -- that just walking will seem like a real adventure.

I know a guy who can't seem to retire. He has stayed with his third career for many years and can't decide to stay home and retire. I believe his father worked until he dropped dead.

I don't want that. I want to enjoy being retired.

Right now, I'm almost retired. We're living in Searsport, near where I lived when I taught school and started to write some news articles. There's lots to do in this area, lots of trails, that is. But there's also some of the other adventures Dolores and I are planning, such as going to Fort Western in Augusta. Haven't been there since I was a teenager....awhile ago. You don't have to hike there, you can go slow and relax...I think. I remember what it was like at Fort Western those many years ago.

(That's where I grabbed my first good Maine read, Arundel, by Kenneth Roberts.)

Fort Western is where what's his name -- the guy who became a spy -- stopped on his way to where-in-the-heck was it. I think he was fighting a war with France, hopefully winning in Canada...where he lost.

Benedict Arnold. See I'm not totally senile. I remembered the name just before I left that part of the tale.

But I also want to introduce Dolores to Wolf Neck State Park down in Freeport. You may know Freeport for L.L.Bean. I know it for Wolf Neck State Park, where there are quiet trails through the woods to the ocean...or there were when I was last there.

There's also a state museum in Augusta, where I can't recall when I was there last...a few (hundred) years ago. Dolores hasn't been there, so that's one of our retirement places to go.

As soon as that second hip is replaced and I can walk on two legs again.

Since I "retired" from my retirement job, I've been in Belfast hospital more times than I care to remember. Seen more doctors. Had more therapy. And observed more old timers limping around -- kind of like I do.

When Dolores visits Hannaford's in Belfast, I wait in the car...too hard to limp fast enough to keep up with her. I've seen these middle age and older guys walking from and to their cars and pickups. I wonder if I had any of these geezers as students when I taught, too many years ago.

The women? I don't look at them so much. Too many of them are too big. I believe "fat" is the old fashioned word. I do peek at the younger ones though, and wonder where they were -- or even if they were -- when I was teaching. I refer to teaching, because we lived in Swanville then. About ten miles from Hannaford's.

But enough of the past. I'm trying to retire. Not retire the keyboard, but retire working for a living.

I was a preacher, a teacher, a reporter, and a retirement-job bus driver. I knew several writers -- probably they're post-retirement now. Several farmers, who are probably at least retired now. The man who sold us our Swanville house lot and arranged for our house to be built. He's post-retirement -- actually post-life -- now. Too bad, part of my retirement plans were to tell him what a nice guy he was.

Now I just want to retire.

If I live long enough to get that other leg repaired and finish this column.

Happy retirement. If you're not there yet, cheer up, you will be.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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