Who knew retiring was hard work

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2014

By Will Sullivan

Guest Columnist 

When I was young, I never knew anyone who was retired.

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Technically, my grandmother was a retired teacher, but she also owned rental property, which kept her – and me – busy. Her renting the property and collecting rent and all of those sorts of things, me doing upkeep that didn’t require technical electrical, plumbing and plastering skills, though I learned many of those skills and they stood me in good stead later in life.

Putting off chores occupied my first Monday and Wednesday of retirement. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were spent doing volunteer work. I can see several weeks to come following the same pattern. From what I have seen during this first week, my retirement pattern seems to be the same pattern for other retired folks. Yes, there are many people who work full time and still manage to be able to do volunteer work. I envy them, but at the same time I’m enjoying what I’m doing as a volunteer at the library and at Crosby Arboretum in my retirement.

I spent Thursday morning as the “pond ornament” at Crosby Arboretum for Wildlife Day. The day was cold and cloudy and, after I climbed out of the pond, wet – or perhaps that should be rainy since by standing in the pond and flailing it with a fly rod, wet was already part of the day. And yes, I said flailing. The fish weren’t cooperating.

Normally I enjoy overcast days for fishing because, for some inexplicable reason, fish bite better when it’s cloudy. Not this time, I caught just one, not counting the two “stick fish” I pulled out of the water.

Tuesday at the library was absolutely fascinating. I was going through the library’s collection of historical photographs. The collection was started by retired librarian Josephine Megehee. She was ahead of her time in her desire to collect and preserve photographic images on a local level. In recent years, adding to the collection hasn’t had as high a priority as it did in Megehee’s time as head librarian in the county. Budget and staffing, among the many other items the library found on its plate, pushed it back on the to-do list.

Now, the University of Southern Mississippi has begun a collection and wants local libraries around the state to add to the university’s collection. There are some issues that have to be worked out for that to happen, but hopefully they will be resolved.

I have long considered preserving photographs to be important and head librarian Carol Phares has noted my interest and hopes I can help preserve what the library has. I certainly hope so. The photographs need rescanning onto DVDs and cataloguing in a way that can be more easily used by library patrons. For the cataloguing, fortunately librarians are experts in that sort of thing. I just hope I am able to help them in some meaningful way.

I miss the newspaper, but maybe by doing these other things my retirement will be hard work. I certainly hope so.