…I firmly believe in practicing. When the girls were little we’d practice trick or treating the day before Halloween. So they’d know what to expect, how to behave and could do it on their own. When we ate, we practiced our manners. We’d practice reading aloud. I get practice from my Dad.

In the early 1970’s, my parents started talking about retirement. People were retiring, not to the alternate lives many are living today, but retiring to be with the grandchildren, or because of illness, or to a home away from the growing up places to the settling down quiet place. But there really weren’t that many ‘role models’ of retirement out there. Although the actuarial life expectancy had gotten so much better by the 70’s there wasn’t that feeling that 65 was the new 55. 65 was just that, 65. Not necessarily old…

When we asked Dad what he wanted to do in retirement, he said he wanted to fish. We laughed. He didn’t. He was serious. And, like all things Dad was serious about he targeted. He tackled it. He went after it with determination. Not that it was a problem. It was a project that needed to be addressed. Courted. Developed. And he needed education. Not about retirement. About fishing. Why fishing, we asked? Well, when he was a little kid, he lived with his grandparents. His younger brother was sickly, then came another and another and another, etc. and Dad lived until age ten or so with his grandparents. He was the first grandson. The first to carry the Hannick name into the next generation. Irish immigrants. Big Deal!

Joseph Hannick, married to Mary Judge, well-known as ‘the witch’, retired, well, stopped working at around age 45 or 50. We’re not quite sure. Being Irish we have some great stories. Truth? Well, maybe, not so much. Anyway, Great Grandfather like to fish. And he taught little Jimmy. Then came the great grandfather’s death, Dad moved to live with Ed and Mary Scott, uncle and aunt, and grew up as a singleton with seven brothers and sisters. And, he never forgot the fishing.

Then along came retirement. The possibility of fishing. Again. Dad took a class on how to tie his own flies, roll his own rods, cast in streams and in lakes. He read Rand-McNally’s best 100 places to retire. And he practiced. For several summers prior to their retirement, Dad quit his job, Mom was a teacher, so she had the summers off and they would ‘try out a lifestyle.’ One year they went to northern California, Irish Beach, rented a house and lived there. Dad fished. Mom cooked, read, met people. The next year they bought a camper and traveled. Dad fished. Mom cooked, read, met people. One year they went to the desert. Dad fished. Mom cooked, read and met people. Ah, so easy to see a pattern. 🙂

They practiced. Tom and I practiced retirement this past Thanksgiving weekend.  A little practice is a good thing.

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