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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: Second Thoughts
By Betty Castleberry


Dear CEO of Whispering Winds Retirement Village,

Thank you for the free weekend stay. We appreciated the chance to visit your facility. Since Leonard’s retirement, we have been looking for a place to relocate.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the concierge. I’ve never been exactly sure what the duties of a concierge are. Frankly, I still don’t know, but yours made sure your activity department had something to do. He insisted upon scheduling us for couple’s yoga.

I haven’t seen so many positions I couldn’t get into since I was a young lady looking for my first job. Leonard made a valiant effort to join in, although his knees sounded like breakfast cereal with all that snapping, crackling and popping.

It was interesting that a pet concierge was also available. We declined his services. Since the passing of our dear Fluffy, we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to replace her. What does a pet concierge do, anyway? Schedule pets for mice catching or bone fetching, perhaps?

The brain fitness center was fun. We enjoyed the computer games. Leonard and I now feel fully vindicated when we play Veggie Tales: the Whipcrack Islands.

I liked the nutrition workshop, but must apologize for interrupting the speaker. I couldn’t hold back the “Whoop!“ when I learned that chocolate improves memory. Sorry about the chocolate stains on the chair, too. That Hershey bar practically leaped out of my purse and into my mouth of its own accord.

We did enjoy the dance lessons. Leonard out-danced me by two waltzes and one cha-cha. I think the perky young instructor held his interest, but I didn’t mind. I was glad to see him enjoying himself. Besides, my instructor looked a lot like Matt Damon. We won’t ever be on “Dancing with the Stars”, but we both came home with some pretty cool moves.

After the first day, I had hoped we would have some time to relax, but Len had other ideas. He woke me at 6:00 AM for a jog on the nature trail. I had just about convinced myself it might be fun because we might see deer or other wildlife. What we saw was wild, but I doubt it counted as “wildlife”. Elderly men and women wearing jogging shorts packed the trail. I have never seen so many hairy legs or so much cellulite. There was barely room to walk, let alone jog. Ignoring the “Keep off the grass” sign, we left the trail and ventured onto the lawn. We got what we deserved when the sprinklers came on. It did prompt us to break into a full run, so it turned out to be a great cardiac workout.

After showers and breakfast, we stumbled onto a Zumba class. I tried to steer Len in the other direction, but he claimed the pulsating drum rhythm sucked him. We stood by the door until the instructor spotted us and pulled us into the back row. I attempted a few of the gyrations, but Len really got into it. He looked like Sputnik shot out of orbit, but I have to give him credit for trying.

We had lunch in the bistro, and I was ready for a nap. My adventurous husband, however, convinced me to take a paddle boat out on the lake. He got in the boat, holding it steady for me. When I sat down, the boat tipped to my side. I may have gained a few extra pounds, but I don’t need such an insult from an inanimate object. Between Len yelling, “Pedal faster, we’re sinking!” and the boat listing like an inebriated Tower of Pisa, it was too much. We shortened our paddle boat excursion and opted to play a game of table tennis instead. Normally, this would be something I would enjoy, but I was exhausted. After a few half-hearted whacks at the ball, I convinced Len it was time to call it a day. We retired to our room.

Upon reflection, I don’t think your facility is right for us. Leonard finally admitted that our idea of an enjoyable retirement involves leisurely walks and an occasional game of miniature golf. Because of this, we are hesitant to pay $3,000 a month for activities we would not participate in.

Today I caught Leonard, liniment in hand, calling the chiropractor. He suggests you notify the next lucky couple on your list of their free weekend. Maybe your facility would be more to their liking.


Millicent Greene

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This article has been read 751 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 09/17/09
A funny piece. I laughed throughout. Good work.
Charla Diehl 09/19/09
This was fun, light-hearted and enjoyable to read. Loved the patient way your MC described this facility and am glad they chose not to stay.
Joy Faire Stewart09/20/09
This was fun. Loved the descriptions of activities. And the MC's voice was perfect.
Beth LaBuff 09/20/09
I loved how your story unfolded. This made me laugh, "although his knees sounded like breakfast cereal with all that snapping, crackling and popping." I would love to meet your Millicient and extend my sympathies personally to her on her loss of Fluffy. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/22/09
I giggled all the way through this delightful piece--that's when I wasn't holding my sides laughing. This is "rich"!
Mariane Holbrook 09/22/09
This is so cute! My mother was in a retirement center for many years and now my two oldest sisters are in one. I've visited them enough to know the activities director spends all day thinking of new things to keep the residents busy and some of them are so off the wall! You nailed this one and it was such a delightful read, showing off again your wonderful writing skills! Kudos!
Jan Ackerson 09/23/09
Oh, so funny! Your humorous pieces are top-notch, and this is one of your best.
Diana Dart 09/23/09
Totally giggle-worthy! Man, I hope I can have that kind of fun with my hubby when we're retired (but I probably wouldn't even have lasted that long - yawn) Your sense of humour is bang-on and oh so entertaining.
Pamela Kliewer09/23/09
Delightfully funny!
Shilo Goodson09/23/09
This was a funny and enjoyable piece.
LaNaye Perkins09/23/09
I absolutely love and enjoy your stories so much my friend. This was a hoot to read and made me chuckle all the way through it. Well done my friend!
Chely Roach09/23/09
What a riot! I could see the whole thing unfolding...