It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The man, in the image below, is saying a thousand words.
I am not that man. That man was in a relaxing and enjoyable moment in time. I am entering what Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I both hope is a more relaxing and enjoyable season in my life. I will not write a thousand words about it – yet.
4/16/2012 to 5/13/2022
On 4/16/2012, Monday, I started my State of Tennessee employment job. It was my sixth job, since my wife and I had returned from Moscow, Russia (10/1/1994 - 9/30/1999). One of the “Five Scars” that are in my yet unpublished book, “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” is “Occupational Scar.” (I started writing that section on 9/1/2016.)
Others and I endured eighteen weeks of training. I drove to Johnson City, Tennessee, on Sundays. I drove home on Fridays. I resided at the Carnegie Hotel, Sunday through Thursday nights. I was mowing our yard back then. Since Fridays were half days, allowing for paid drive time, I mowed our yard Friday afternoons. I usually mowed the yard for my in-laws on Saturday. On Sundays, after church, I drove back to Johnson City. It was a “ground hog day” weekly repetition.
On September 27, 2012, Thursday morning, I left the Carnegie Hotel for the final time! The grueling eighteen weeks of training were done. I cranked my old '95 Nissan hard-body pickup. I turned on the radio. I heard Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Free Bird!” I was free! (One YouTube version of the song is here.)
I will not regale you with the details of the next over ten years – yet. (I have an idea for a future article, with subtitle “Opening the Soup Pot,” but I won't write it, until I'm ready to do so.)
I endured the “good, bad, and ugly.” It was mostly not good. There were a few good moments. I did the work. I was paid. That's all.
On Tuesday, 3/29/2016, I almost died, when an uninsured, age 18, driver failed to yield to my right of way – while I was driving home. My old truck died. I have written about the details. (See my Friday, August 26, 2016, article, “I’M STILL ALIVE – WHY? (Published 8/26/2016),” and later articles on my 'bionic' life.) After my “sabbatical,” of recovery and getting my new, old truck ('06 Nissan Frontier), I returned to work, on Monday, 12/19/2016.
I continued to endure the “good, bad, and ugly” – about which I plan to write in the future. I'll get to it. Give me time!
On Friday, 5/13/2022, I worked my final day for my Tennessee State employer! (Yes, Friday the 13th was an ironic date!) As my new, old truck and I were ready to leave, my “MWF Classic Rock iPad” radio station played Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Free Bird!” I didn't plan it. It was serendipitous! It was fitting! I enjoyed the moment in time! I was free once more!
My Future, Undiscovered Country
I will begin receiving my Tennessee State pension. I have taken the initial steps toward Social Security Retirement. I hope, by God's provident grace, that I will continue to work (remotely), in a position that I will enjoy. The plan is educated wisdom, God's providence, and “flying by the seat of my pants.” My wife and I have done the number crunching. One way or the other, we will be fine, financially.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? - Matthew 6:26, KJV.
My wife and I trust in God's benevolent providence. My yet unpublished book, “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” will have an appendix, “Punctuated Providence,” that I started writing, on 11/3/2016 and concluded on 11/30/2016.
What does my future hold? It is an undiscovered country. God knows. I don't know. I trust God.