Two old men were sitting on a park bench.  The first one turns to the second one and says, “I told my wife that I was going to do nothing today.”  She said, “That’s what you did yesterday.”  I told her, “I wasn’t done yet.”

I overheard this joke at work on Friday.  It was being told by one of the bosses.  Everyone laughed, even though it is a funny joke.  He had just announced his retirement, so I suspect that this joke was told to deflect the inevitable question, “So what are you going to do in your retirement?”

This is a question facing a surprisingly large number of people who I work with.  When I rehired, I went through new employee orientation again.  There I was introduced to what I found to be a rather startling fact.  I was the same age as the company workforce’s median age.  In the intervening years, time has pushed my age and the rest of the workforce into even older years.  This fact was reinforced this week, while a group of us were discussing the recent rash of retirement announcements.  One guy disclosed how much of the workforce is now eligible for retirement.  That was an even more surprising number.

So what are all of these other people going to do in their retirements?  Some won’t retire, at least not yet, and will continue working for some time to come.  For the rest, there is the usual mantra of travel, spend more time with the family and relax.  All this discussion begs the question, “What am I going to do in retirement?”  At this point it is only a hypothetical question.  I will be working for years yet to come.  So I’ll have plenty of time to think about this question.  In the intervening years I’ll continue to move from my position in the middle of the pack to that of an outlier.

Bob and Nink stopped by on Friday night.  This is the couple of old friends whose house we stayed in when we went to Rochester to attend David’s graduation.  They were not in Rochester last Friday night, when we arrived at their place; they were here in Saint Louis, staying at our house for the night.  They have a vacation place in Branson and as the fates would have it, we passed each other, going opposite direction, somewhere in Ohio.

We went out to the Greek place for gyros and then to Ted Drewes for desert.  Our visit to Drewes reminded me of our late night visits there many years ago.  At the time, neither of our apartments were air-conditioned.  So at the height of the Saint Louis summer, we fell into the habit of making late night trips to Ted’s.  We always went to the one on Chippewa and after buying our custards, we would walk across Chippewa and sit on the still warm curb in front of the bank.  Friday night’s Drewes run was much cooler than that.  Afterwards we kvetched late into the night.

I’ve called this post Chrysanthemum, primarily because I had the above photo of one to use.  It is one of the chrysanthemums that were used to decorate the stage at Dave’s commencement.  In some cultures chrysanthemums are used as a symbol of death.  In America, we simply take them as they are, a pretty flower.

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