April 1st 2003 is my official retirement date “April Fools Day” I suppose is as fitting a day as any to call the start of your Early Retirement, I was called into my office about a half hour before quitting time on October 3rd 2002 which was my fifteenth year anniversary of going to work with the Water Company, thinking I may get a handshake or “Atta Boy” for fifteen years of service, needless to say the word was “Jimmy you are now officially on medical leave until you find out what your problem is” My Problem? My Problem is actually a medical condition that I could do nothing about, am I bitter about this? Not really My Problem is the way it was handled, so better than Happy 15th Jimmy I will be more appreciative of the seven years since I officially retired because I am still alive.
A lot of the start is still kind of fuzzy, trips back and forth to the doctors started to run together and my memory just went away for a bit, now my memories of a long time ago are a whole lot clearer than the memory of where my coffee cup just may be right now.
Can the computer be a friend? Well to answer this one I go back to a period of frustrating time after what was called a T1A Stroke, I lost one side of my body, can’t remember which but it was scary looking in the mirror because one side of my face just didn’t work, I am so glad it all came back after a couple weeks, still have the short term memory loss but Cindy tells me that it is just selective memory loss and that I am just fine, she has been a big help in getting me back on track, she actually sat me in front of the computer and challenged me to play Free Cell, man that was hard but after a period of time it all started working and I actually won a game. I started a website and began tracing my family tree, I joined a few forums and actually got myself spread pretty thin on the computer, I have now consolidated it down to where I am doing a bit of genealogy and really enjoying this blog, with my wife’s support and all of the friends I am making here I guess you can say a computer although not a friend is a gateway to many.
Back at the beginning Cindy got tired of waiting on the insurance company to decide if I was eligible for a set of forearm crutches so she bought me a bright red pair that I finally learned to use without getting myself into trouble, people thought she was really mean when out in public she would yell at me “Run Jimmy Run” or “Do You Want To Race” I finally started answering “I Am Racing” or “I Am Running” and the race was on, it still isn’t a fast race but she is still there with me keeping me going.
I always liked Snoopy although I am not sure if he still likes me or not, I told my buddy Ron this story that really happened not long after my first stroke, I was full time either in a wheelchair or on the bright red forearm crutches Cindy got for me, we were visiting her folks here in California (back before we lived here), and she decides to take me down to Knott's Berry Farm, I am in an uncoordinated manner attempting to use these bright red crutches when I see Snoopy dancing next to a stage while there is a performance going on for the kids, I tell Cindy I am going to see Snoopy so she can take my picture with him, I really wanted a picture with Snoopy so off I go, I yell at the top of my voice “Snoopy” he continues to dance, I am sure he just didn’t hear me so I again yell “Snoopy!!!!” I am a lot closer by now and the crutches are clanking and clattering, picture this a 43 year old man with long hair and a beard yelling at the top of his lungs fighting a pair of crutches while attempting to catch Snoopy, he spins looks at me and vanishes into the crowd leaving only a puddle of pee where he was dancing. I’m not really sure if there was pee involved but I think it just may have happened, Cindy had a good laugh and I didn't get my picture with Snoopy but just wait until next time when I rent an electric scooter.
Since I retired a lot of negative things have come down on us and we have been through a lot of changes to our lifestyle in an attempt at keeping things normal, so as far as negatives go they are outweighed by the positives, the positive part is that I have come to realize that life is better spent with someone who loves you, life is better when you are racing at a slow speed and not really worrying about going any faster, life is going to pass whether you accept it or not, I have many fears but that is just what they are--just a fear, I will not allow a fear to stop me from living because if you do life will pass you by while you are fearing that it will be gone.
Live your life enjoying your friends and family, a lot of people are not in your life for various reasons and you can’t make them be there so don’t worry about things you can’t change, enjoy what you have because the Good Lord gave you these people and things for a reason, we just have to be smart enough to look into the eyes of the ones who are there for us and Thank God for the gift of their Love.