When I was a little girl, my dad and my grandpa owned their own grocery store in the heart of south St. Louis. Dad left the house every morning around 4 a.m. to start his day and he'd return home between 5 and 6 p.m. to a hot meal on the table, prepared by my stay-at-home mom. He started his career when he was just 11 years old, working in the family business. Then six years ago, he retired, after 56 years as a butcher.
When he retired, my mom had to get used to having him around the house. They had lived together for 34 years but had spent most of their married life separated by his job. They were only accustomed to spending about 4 or 5 hours a day together. And my dad had to get used to how things worked in his own house. It was quite the adjustment for the two of them so my dad spent a lot of time fishing. But eventually he developed a love for the simple pleasures in his life.
My dad is a porch-sitter now. He sits on the front porch of our residential street and watches the cars go by and the dog-walkers pass. In fact, he now knows most of the dog walkers by name and their personal stories too.
My dad is the mail-getter. Everyday at 10:30 a.m., our mailman arrives and dad greets him at the door. Then, like a giddy school boy, he races to the kitchen table where he sorts it and rips open his envelopes.
My dad is a puzzler. He sits in the basement for hours on end putting together puzzles. And now, they line the walls. His last puzzle took a couple of months to complete. But when he gets down to 40 or 50 pieces, he can barely tear himself away because he can't wait to see the finished product.
My dad is the remote control keeper. I know this is a common role for men but the television doesn't even have to be on for my dad to hold the remote control in his hand. It's like his security blanket when he sits in the family room.
My dad is a rose-grower. He has created a beautiful rose garden in the back yard. He is most proud of his blue roses.
And that's his life. I am sure my mom would love it if he would pick up after himself or close the cabinets all the way. But I think she gets the fact that the man worked 56 years of his life and now it's his turn to be a kid for a while. And Dad has found joy in his simple pleasures.