Sunday, March 20, was a day of celebration as I was released from my job at the church. But rather than retire, I am on my way to refire.
In fact, retirement was so far from my mind, I almost missed the send-off cake that day. I was setting up my loom for new dishtowels when the secretary texted me, then called and said, “Did anyone remind you about having a cake for you between services.” I ran into the bathroom and said, “Are you almost done in the shower? I have to get to church, it’s my retirement cake today and I forgot.”
Wow. Well, here we go. It's taken me a year to trust that I can maintain my lifestyle without committing to a "job." I have more than 50 years on my work record and still recall the first five-dollar bill I earned. I babysat for three children for.25 an hour; one was an infant. If you can do the math, that's 20 hours of sitting, and because I could, I washed dishes and picked up the house.
From there, I moved on to the Gackle Café with LaVonne Deutscher. She became a second mother and mentor "foodie" for a mere .75 an hour. (If memory serves me, and I think it does.) but at that time, you could order a hamburger steak, potato, salad (Your choice of lettuce with dressing or cottage cheese and canned fruit.), dessert, bun and coffee for $1.75.
I went to school and worked in Moorhead, then Garrison, then Mandan. When I hit $6 an hour, I thought, "I'm rich." I'm laughing out loud right now.
Over this past year, I have been evaluating what I want to be doing. I'm thinking I want out of everything so I can focus on my weaving and growing a great garden for the market. So, slowly I have been learning to say no. I'm not quite there yet.
I have so many ideas, including a book that's half done, some sewing, and, more importantly, becoming a better grandmother. My husband and I also want to do some traveling during the winter. As the summer progresses and the garden requires more attention, it should be easier. I hope.
I'm going to be honest here. I heard the Independent and all the last of the BHG enterprises have been sold. Mike and Jill have always been good to me, so I thought, "Well, this is my opportunity to let go of one more Monday morning commitment." But then – while I was out of town last week staying with my daughter in Huron, S.D., I received an envelope from the Hazen Star. I thought to myself, okay, they are either asking me to stop writing or maybe sending me a check for my fine work.
Instead, it was a note from Bernice Weigum. She asked Sharon to send me a recipe for Sun Pickles and a small hand-written note of appreciation for my articles. There are three area folks, Bernice, Judy and Sharon, and North Dakota's Secretary of State Al Jaeger, that appreciate me. I love it.
I got many more words, and now as I reFIRE my intentions in life, I will have a bit more time to write and hopefully publish another book. I'm just saying a little encouragement goes a long way in this business, and I LOVE to hear from you all. So please keep it coming.
Thank you, loyal readers, whoever you are. I'm here for another day.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.