By Ike Adams
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — By the time you read this, my wife will be fully retired from the professional job that has occupied most of her time for the last 30 years. I don’t know whether to look forward to or dread this turn of events. Loretta is one of those people who are never very far from their jobs.
But if most days can be like last Saturday, I’ll be better than just fine with her retirement.
Last Saturday had us up well before 7 a.m. so that we’d have time to grab coffee and McMuffins before grandson Tyler Kane Ochs’ (TKO’s) tee-ball game at 9:30 in Richmond. Then it was off to The Bucher Family’s Relay for Life plant sale at Madison County Fairgrounds, then to yard sales and then to several retail outlets to continue shopping for more flowers to plant outside.
I am still in disbelief over the two relatively huge 2.5 gallon, 15 pounds each, pots of blooming columbines we found at Kroger for $6.99 each. I still believe someone blew the pricing because I would have paid three times as much and still felt like I was getting a bargain. And if you go there and find them priced at $30, I still ain’t taking mine back.
We also wound up with two very nice mandevella vines and enough small short stuff in flats to keep her digging for awhile and we haven’t even broken into the piggy banks where we’ve been stashing cash for nearly a year to spend at Shell’s Greenhouses just five miles out 52 from our house.
If I pulled into Shell’s and saw Hawaii license plates I would not be one bit surprised because all the other states show up. It would be interesting to know how many states have flowers blooming all summer that the Shell family started right here in Garrard County. Believe me, it’s worth the drive, even if you know you aren’t going to spend a nickel, just to walk through the greenhouses that feel like football fields under roof and smell the thousands upon thousands of blossoms at any given time.
If you’re visiting from parts unknown, they are located halfway between Paint Lick and Lancaster on Highway 52 and if you can see well enough to drive, you can’t possibly miss the greenhouses. I mention them mostly because I figure my wife will be spending a lot of time out there emptying her piggy bank early in her retirement, so if you see her tell her I said please come home.
But back to last Saturday. Late in the afternoon we were almost home when Loretta said “Now days like this are exactly what I’m looking forward to in retirement and I want to do them in the middle of the week.”
I told her that I did as well, but I hoped that some of those carefree days involved fishing poles and night crawlers.
Her cohorts at Garrard County Extension Service threw Loretta a nice reception last Tuesday evening that both of us managed to get through without showing much emotion. They had a power point presentation recycling nonstop that had some old shots of my wife I barely recognized. I’d almost forgotten that she used to be a skinny little thing with long curly hair that hung way down her back.
In the spirit of “every party needs at least one smart ass,” I interrupted one of the speakers from the Extension Service who was in the process of presenting her retirement gift to ask if she going to get to bring her bed home.
While I doubt that Loretta ever once spent the entire night at the office, the kids and I used to joke that we needed to call there and see if we could make an appointment to see her.
I’d like to have a dollar for every time over the last dozen years or so that daughters Carol or Jennifer have called home after dark and asked if Mom was there, and then had them huff at me like it was my fault she was working late.
Those dollars would pay for a lot of those “days like this” that both of us are so anticipating.