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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: Rude Awakening
By Cynthia Carter


Turning fifty was not a bad thing for me. So far the oldest I had ever felt was third grade. As I climbed the steps to my class, I felt as wise as my grandmother. I felt like the world needed me and one day I might just decide to be the President of the United States.

Life had different plans for me. I became a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service. Oh well,I do have federal benefits under the same plans as the President and congress, or so I’ve been told. I was fifty years old and over half of my life had been spent delivering mail. I loved my job and had not given much thought to retirement other than putting money in my Thrift Savings Plan.

One day my friend Johnsie asked if I had heard about the early out that was being offered. I was not much interested until I found out that I qualified. I would get $20,000 plus 2 years added to my total service years. That gave me 30 years and a college fund for my youngest.

I couldn’t stop thinking about retirement. I saw myself seated beside Charles Stanley on an Alaskan cruise. He leaned over and asked how I liked the message. Chills ran up my spin as Babbie Mason belted out “Amazing Grace “and I held my side as Dennis Swanberg cracked up the audience. I couldn’t wait to see the Specks. They used to sing at our little country church. I watched eagles soar as I stood on the deck of the ship, wind whipping through my hair. I breathed in the salty air and praised the Lord who had created such beauty.

I sat in front of the microphone as Diane Rehm interviewed me for my latest best seller. I had written my first best seller within a year of retiring. The movie was being released that Friday.

I strolled along the streets of Paris with the exchange student I had in 1997. She had named her oldest daughter after me. It was autumn and amber leaves swirled around our heads, the Eiffel tower in the background. We had dinner on the Seine River after a full day at the Louvre, the scent of freshly baked bread wafting through the air. She knew where to eat and where to go. I was in for the sightseeing tour of my life, after all Paris was her home town.

I returned home from the Holy Land with scenes straight from the Bible energizing my Sunday School lessons and my writing. The ladies in my Bible study could not get enough. The Bible came to life every time I opened it. I had lain down in Jesus tomb, almost smelling the spices, tears streaming down my face. I had been to Bethlehem. I had tasted the giant bananas from the Promised Land. The wind from the shores of Galilee had breezed through my hair. I had stuck my foot in the Dead Sea. I had walked where Jesus walked. I had been to Calvary.

I toured Holland with my Master Gardener friends. I always travel with shovel (even in my mail truck) and had dug bulbs from a medieval castle and smuggled them back to the USA. A wise saint of a lady had once shared her secret with me.”They do better if you steal them.” I then cross pollinated and bred a true blue tulip. My house was part of the “Old Town Garden Tour” and my blue tulip was to be the main attraction.

Well the blue tulip might me a little farfetched but my house could be whipped into shape for the garden tour if I were retired.

I couldn’t wait for my day off so I could get the actual numbers for my retirement plans. I needed to make an informed decision. I held my breath and asked the question. How much will health insurance cost for me, my husband, a 20 year old in college and a 6 year old?

Talk about a rude awakening.

There went Charles Stanley, the book tour, Paris, The Holy Land, the Holland tour and my garden tour, not to mention the blue tulip. I saw it all swirl down the drain. All that just for the price of health care.

Oh well, I guess there is always plan B.

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This article has been read 332 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/03/12
Hahahahaha. I loved this true to life entry. I especially identified with the Charles Stanley cruise! Great story...Great job!

No matter what your plans are- may you cruise on tranquil seas with Jesus as your light- always.

God Bless ~
Verna Mull 02/03/12
I loved this article. God blessed us with the opportunity to go to the Holy Land, and your day dreams were very much to the point. We didn't get to Bethlehem, it wasn't safe at the time, but we were in Jesus tomb and the thoughts and presense of God overwhelmed my being. Walking where Jesus walked was a great experience, but I am glad that I do not live there as I believe one could make an idol of the place, instead of the One who walked there. But, the Bible did open up in a different way and became even more precious.
Helen Curtis02/04/12
I really like this story. I'm not sure if you intended to, but I felt that the first part was quite low-key (reflective of the mundane ins and outs of life), and the second, day-dreaming part burst to life! Your descriptions were lovely and really drew me in. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/07/12
This was a fun read. I smiled at the daydreaming. The plan B line made me chuckle. You did a nice job staying on topic while giving me a smile.
Dimple Suit02/08/12
I so enjoyed travelling your day dreams with you reminding us we can dream while still embracing reality. Good job and thank you for sharing the journey!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/12
Congratulations for ranking 6th place in level 2!