Rollout those lazy, crazy days of summer…You’ll wish that summers could always be here (Nat King Cole, 1963)
2016 was my first summer of retirement. What a glorious time, I have had! Pete and I opened summer with a grand circle tour of the Wyoming and Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Driving from Boise to Jackson Hole, the Teton’s highlight was biking at twilight along the Snake River. Then on to Buffalo, Wyoming to visit family and enjoy Wyoming’s wonderful summer weather where cool breezes keep the air moving and the need for air conditioning down. In Cheyenne, Wyoming where I grew up, I am still blessed with many long-term friendships. These friendships have remained strong over 20 years of living in different cities with annual visits home. All but one friend and my husband beat me to retirement. Some of my friends have had health struggles. One friend is recovering from a stroke, another a heart condition, another just getting over a knee replacement surgery. All have new grand children to report on. When I sit down with my Wyoming friends, it feels like yesterday when we left. Over the years and across the miles, our shared adventures and linking life lines have kept us together.
We finished our roadtrip with our annual visit to a Colorado Rockies game, a must for us and plans to meet Wyoming friends in Arizona next year to watch spring baseball. Our final stop before heading home was Golden, Colorado where Pete has family and the hops from Coors Brewery fills the air. Clear Creek runs through town, like the Boise River but much smaller. These rivers provide the focal point for both communities though their original historical roots are quite different. Golden was a mining town and Boise was the Lewis and Clark route, the Oregon Trail and home to Fort Boise. Our drive home took us across Utah, setting of glorious rock formations. Traveling in Utah always leaves me thinking about Mormon families pushing their hand carts across the vast landscape, a hardy group for sure.
The friendship/family tour was our only trip this summer. Boise (consistently ranked as one of the top outdoor cities) is a fabulous place to spend the summer and we also own a cabin in McCall, Idaho welcoming us over the long holidays including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, a late July family vacation and most recently Labor Day. Labor Day trills the siren call of summer’s end. The air is starting to turn and Boise hosts the fabulous Boise Balloon Festival.
Our cabin in McCall is tiny (about 1200 square feet) but it has big arms, welcoming 5 co-ed college students (guests of my son) and Pete and I two weeks ago. Labor Day we hosted Kayla’s 17th birthday extravaganza with 4 of her friends. Kayla’s birthday is September 6th. We celebrate her birthday every Labor Day in McCall. In recent years, neighbors from Boise have bought a place too. We share or more accurately mooch dinners and boat rides from them. Our kids are together in college and they have a daughter from China who is a freshman in high school. The weather never cooperates with our beach and water plans. But somehow we manage to get out on the water. One Labor Day, we were wrapped in blankets on a boat. This year I actually got a brain freeze as I shot across Payette Lake on a jet ski.
So what I have I learned from my first summer of retirement?
- Family and friends matter more as one ages, make the time to cultivate and grow existing relationships.
- Good health is a blessing and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Exercise regularly, eat right and make time for preventive health visits.
- Be thankful for every day God has given me. Jump out bed and enjoy the day!