My little Pomeranian Ichiro––I named him that because he’s always stretching––has been worried about me lately. I retired from the University of Washington last summer, and he’s concerned that I’m now going to sit around in my recliner all day, eating bon-bons and watching Ellen and Oprah on tv. I don’t even like bon-bons.
“You’ve gotta keep movin,’ man,” he keeps on telling me, “unless you want to stop movin’ altogether. Stay in that recliner or hammock my friend, and the hearse that’s right around the corner will be rolling right on over here to pick you up.”
I’m sure that Ichiro, the world’s wisest dog, is absolutely right of course. Everyone agrees you’ve got to use it or lose it. So I’ve been working on this plan to keep busy in retirement. Somehow I’ve lived 68 years now, and have high hopes I’ll see many more years. It may sound crazy after all these years, but I believe you get to choose how long you last, especially if you accentuate the positive and don’t take things too seriously. My plan is to pursue my passion for dogs, politics, the arts, the law (and order), food, baseball and travel as much as possible.
Volunteering at PAWS, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society here in the Puget Sound area, has become an important part of my week. What I do at PAWS is get acquainted with dogs that come into the shelter, then write descriptions of them for the Petfinders.com website. Folks who‘d like to adopt a dog check that website and come to PAWS to meet their potential new furry friend. Ichiro fully supports me in this endeavor as long as I don’t bring home another dog. He prefers his status as a somewhat spoiled only child.
Some less kind souls might say I’ve also supported dogs by going to Safeco Field to see my beloved Seattle Mariners play ball. Other than Ichiro, the man not the dog, I won’t deny that a good Lab could run down some balls better than a few of our guys. We could also use a Greyhound or Whippet to stretch some singles into doubles, another Bulldog in the bullpen, plus a Mastiff mauler at the plate to give us a chance against those damn Yankees.
I’m thinking about starting to visit the courthouse on a regular basis to sit in on interesting trials. Writing letters to editors about political issues is another thing I already do. Terrorism is a terrible thing, but Ichiro the dog and I are sure war is never going to stuff it out. There are always going to be those nut cases who are going to do very bad things. If we would only bring the troops home, we could redirect the lives and bizillions we’re wasting to strengthen our economy.
As for my passion for food and travel, they go together quite nicely. I’ve already been fortunate to eat my way through Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Nearer to home, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the Southwest buffet at La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Oh, that Christmas (red and green) chili. If you really are what you eat, I’m certainly a multi-cultural mutt.
“So, I don’t mean to dog you, but what’s your point in all your rambling on here?” Ichiro just asked me. Surprisingly, I do have a point to make. I’d like to form a small group or salon made up of mostly creative people––writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers, chefs and other kindred spirits––who’d like to get together on a regular basis to share their work, ideas and opinions in a positive, informal setting. The general focus of this group would be decided by whoever chooses to join.