The other day I answered the telephone by saying, “Moore residence, this is the gardener speaking, how can I help you?”
Needless to say, the caller was startled into a moment of silence. Finally laughter came over the line and a familiar voice said, “Hi, Connie, are you trying to pull my leg?”
I referred to the fact that I had been outside with my hands in the dirt pulling weeds when the phone rang and I answered it. Therefore, I was the gardener.
At other times I could just as well have answered, “This is the cook” or “This is the housekeeper.” All of which would have been correct, taken either as single jobs or as accumulated work.
The reason I bring this up is that sometimes the older we get, the more we tend to minimize what we’ve done with our lives. Regrets seep into thoughts like rainwater seeping slowly into a room. Sooner or later it builds up to a destructive force that threatens to tear apart walls and possessions.
Well, in old age it is best to look, not at the whole picture, but at jobs held. By breaking down a life’s work into specific jobs one can tally up a grand total that is more than years lived.
I give as an example Frank A. Hardy. In 1912, he was a 94-year old worker living in Washington Township, Miami County, Ohio. By that year he had held public office for 109 years.
Yes, that is correct – 109 years. He decided to give up the office of justice of the peace to reduce his work load. His key to success was to hold more than one office at a time. Here is his job breakdown.
*Justice of the peace, 25 years
*Township clerk, 5 years
*Waterworks clerk, 7 years
*City clerk of Piqua, 10 years
*Board of Education clerk, 20 years
*Ward assessor, 14 years
*Board of Equalization, 24 years
*Member of tax equalization board, 2 years
*Appraiser of real estate, 2 years
*Total, 109 years.
He is further credited with serving 56 years as a volunteer fireman.
Now that is what I consider a good perspective of a life full of usefulness. So, in order to gain a better perspective of my own 64 years, I reminisced my own list of jobs, or offices, that I have held and/or am still holding.
*Cook, 42 years
*Mother, 34 years
*Housekeeper, 42 years
*Daycare teacher, 7 years
*Chauffeur, 16 years
*Janitor, 42 years
*Certified Mental Health Technician, 3 years
*Family psychologist, 42 years
*Laundress, 42 years
*Gardener, 37 years
*Seamstress, 32 years
*Freelance writer, 20 years
*Total, 325 years
A further credit of serving 15 years as a volunteer member of the Clark County Fair workers.
Well, that’s what I’ve been doing, packing a lot of jobs into a relative few years. Sometime when you’re feeling down and not worth much, take a minute, count up your “office years” and I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better about taking some time off to relax.
Now, I just have to decide which office I’ll resign for a while so I have time to bake me a retirement cake.
Easy Oatmeal Walnut ‘Retirement’ Cake
Recipe source is family cookbook, also printed in Old Cakes New Friends, A Baking Memoir by Connie Moore, 2012
1 cup oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup boiling water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped English walnuts
In large mixing bowl, place oats, brown sugar and butter pieces. Pour boiling water over all. Let set until cool.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 8 or 9-inch cake pan or 9-inch deep-dish Pyrex pie plate. If using glass, reduce oven to 325 F.
Beat eggs and blend into oat/water mixture. Sift dry ingredients together. Mix into oat mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan or pie plate.