Retirement in 3/4 Time

Many people ask what the best part of being retired is.  That’s easy.  Never having to rush to do anything.  If a task even hints that I might have to rush today, I’ll put it off until tomorrow. 

This is a lesson I learned in 1979 while living on the Caribbean island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.  I was helping run a small hotel, and on the side, I was employed as an undocumented construction worker helping to build a house with two-story concrete block walls.  One morning, with the walls up, I was preparing to paint the plywood roof with a special white plastic paint which ensures that every rain drop finds its way to the gutter and into the drinking water cistern.  I had two long handled rollers and pans and Samuel Bob was going to pitch in.  Just before I poured paint into the pans one of Samuel’s friends drove up and honked. 

“Samuel, I borrowed a boat, let’s go fishing!” 

Samuel looked at me quizzically. “Well?” he said with a big smile. 

I shook my head.  “It’s a good day for painting the roof, Samuel.”

“Oh, Mister Bob, in the Caribbean, every day is a good day for painting the roof.  But not every day do we have a boat for fishing!”

We fished.

We got fired.

The next morning, we showed up for work and the boss ordered us off his property. As we walked down the driveway, I told Samuel I was sorry he lost his job.

Which reminds me of this:


One hot Friday early in that house construction process we had a brutal day with a chain of us perched on a homemade ladder, bucket-brigading five-gallon plastic buckets of wet cement up to the top of a second story concrete block wall.  Standing one above the other all the way up the ladder, we would lean down to grab the handle on the heavy, dripping bucket of cement and then stand up, lift it high and push the bottom of the bucket up over your head to the next person, then lean down for the next of a seemingly inexhaustible supply. We toiled in a constant shower of cement drops.  With the sun setting we washed off with a hose before leaving and Samuel Bob mentioned that over the weekend, he and a friend were taking a boat to visit his home island, Nevis.

When he showed up Monday morning one of the other workers called out to him.

“Samuel, how does be Nevis?”

“Oh mon, you know how Nevis does be!”

Oh, how I miss the music of my fellow laborers just chatting and laughing as they worked.

And finally, this:

Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Jimmy Buffett is right, when you change your latitude, you change your attitude and time becomes less relevant.  While living on the Iowa Waltz, our 24-foot Columbia Challenger, down in Mexico the following conversations came over the radio one evening:

Unknown Boat 1: “Anyone know what day of the week it is?”

Unknown Boat 2: “The Moon is a waning crescent, so according to my chart, it must be Sunday, July 22nd.”

Unknown Boat 3: “Nice Try, Copernicus, but that is a waxing crescent.”

Unknown Boat 4: “The Moon is, in fact, a waxing crescent, which makes it Friday, August 3rd.  And the Rip Van Winkle award goes to the contestant who guessed July 22nd.

Published by Robert Lang

Social Justice lawyer and mentor, nurturing calmness, kindness, and adventure. Just trying to leave something good behind.

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