Yesterday was Clif’s last day at work. His wonderful co-workers, who had fêted him royally last week, treated him one last time. They took him out for brunch at Doc Hollandaise, which makes homemade donuts to order. (Was I jealous? You bet I was! Now that Clif has retired, we will soon be going to Doc Hollandaise for donuts.)
Retirement is one of those milestone events that makes a person think. For over forty years, Clif has worked at one job or another, all of which have revolved around social services. He worked for the state as an honest-to-God social worker. He worked as a computer programmer for various nonprofits. Finally, he worked as a database administrator for Homeless Initiatives at Maine State Housing. He’s been laid off twice, once right before Christmas when the children were young.
None of these jobs were what you would call high-paying jobs. Clif, like so many people who work for the state or for nonprofits, wanted to work at a job that qualified as right livelihood, as the Buddhists might say. Clif wanted to do good work, to make a difference, to help people. And he did. (Those who like to inveigh against state and federal workers should take the time to look at countries that don’t provide social services.)
Yesterday was also a wild tempest of a day, with a rain that was, well, lashing. A friend told me that she measured over five inches of rain. Readers, that is a lot of rain to fall in one day. In Portland, streets were flooded. Farther north, my cousin Carol posted pictures of flooded streets in Skowhegan, which is snug against the Kennebec River. People lost their power—thank goodness we didn’t—and branches large and small came down.
One large branch, in fact, came down at the little house in the big woods. When you live in the woods, such things happen from time to time. We were just grateful the branch came down on our fence rather than on our roof.
So on his first day of retirement, Clif is going to play chainsaw man. He’ll take care of the wood and inspect the fence to see where it needs mending.
And after that? There are projects galore around the house to keep Clif busy. He also plans to work part time as a computer consultant for nonprofits, where he will continue with the good work that he has done for all of his adult life.
But most important, there will be trips to Doc Hollandaise for donuts.