My official retirement happened 13 years ago. Honestly, I didn’t do it very well.
Within a short time, I was working as the county emergency medical services coordinator. That required driving to the nine various life squads in Clinton County, working on treatment protocols and procedures. Every run report had to be reviewed, critiqued and returned to the life squad. Monthly reports on all the county EMS activity were prepared for all the local squads. Education and training were a big part of my responsibility.
It was great fun. Besides keeping me busy, I loved it. While working with all the county squads, I was also working part-time as the safety director for Wilmington.
Then, several friends talked to me about running for county commissioner. I thought about it and prayed about it for several months. Finally, I made up my mind to get into the race. I won. Suddenly, I was a politician.
Being a county commissioner is a part-time job, but it seemed like every day there were things to do. It was exciting and rewarding. It kept me quite busy.
Then, seven years later, several friends talked to me about running for mayor of Wilmington. Again, I thought about it and prayed about it and eventually threw my hat into the ring to become mayor.
The past four years were extremely busy and vastly rewarding. It was a real honor to work with the employees of this city. It was a great honor to serve the citizens of this outstanding community.
Now, as the president of city council, I find that I really do have some free time on my hands.
I may not be completely retired … yet. But this is the closest I’ve been to retirement, to not working every day, since I got my first job over 50 years ago.
I like it. I am finally able to sleep in until I just happen to wake up. When I finally do get up, I can slip into an old robe and walk out onto the driveway and get the Wilmington News Journal and go page-by-page, finishing with the funnies and Sudoku puzzle. Ah, relaxing mornings.
Debbie and I get to spend much more time with our grandchildren. We are blessed with eight of the most special grandkids that there have ever been. We also get to spend much more time with each other. For me, that’s a blessing. For Debbie … I hope it’s a blessing.
This coming Sunday, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s a special day for the two of us. We met on Valentine’s Day in 1987. Since then, we try to do something very special each Valentine’s Day.
Debbie retired in August 2013. She’s much smarter than me. She did it right. Her primary job, since then, has been to be the best Memaw ever. Just ask any of the grandkids. They’ll tell you. It’s true. She is.
Now that we both have the free time to enjoy some quality time together, we are planning on some great road trips. Debbie found a list entitled, “19 places to eat in Ohio before you die.” That can’t be ignored. We have been to three of them and are plotting our travels to the rest. We’ll be traveling from Ashtabula to Portsmouth and Gallipolis to Toledo eating steak, burgers, deli food and some ribs as we complete the list.
I’m not sure what full retirement will feel like, but this semi-sort-of retirement is pretty nice. Last week, I had cold beer in the middle of the afternoon. Next week, we’re going to pack our “go bags” — overnight bags that we’ll keep packed and ready for a quick excursion to anywhere we want visit.
Imagine the possibilities. I have my favorite Valentine, my wife, my best friend who loves to travel by car. Then, there’s me, who loves to drive. That sounds like a near-perfect retirement match.
I hope you get to spend this Valentine’s Day with your best friend, with the love of your life.
Take some time this Valentine’s Day to love life and spend time with someone you love.
Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.