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Retirement time

On New Year’s Eve I was in the Metro grocery store and the pace was hectic. Everyone was getting ready for the evening’s festivities.

On New Year’s Eve I was in the Metro grocery store and the pace was hectic. Everyone was getting ready for the evening’s festivities. An announcement came over the intercom system advising that bakery manager Carol Cella was retiring after an incredible 49 years of work.

As I was right at the bakery I wanted to congratulate Carol on her retirement. I had assumed she would be relaxing on her last day but she was not available: she was in the freezer unloading pallets.

Carol began working for Loblaws in 1961, has been married for 45 years and is the mother of three. Carol was working at the Intercity Loblaws when the stores were purchased by A&P. Carol became bakery manager eight years ago.

Even though New Year’s Eve was officially her last day as manager, Carol is going to continue working part-time, when she is not assisting with her six grandchildren. To be in any career for that length of time is truly amazing, but Carol’s achievement made me think of a few others with long careers and about their contributions to our community.

Rod Clark was a judge of the provincial court system for more than 30 years. This soft-spoken man was well respected from those around him and was well thought of by those who appeared in his court. The simplest description of Rod is this: a kind soft-spoken man who is liked and admired. I was fortunate that my career allowed me the opportunity to meet Rod and two other talented individuals.

Judge Bob Zelinski was appointed to the Superior Court for about 22 years. His tenure on the bench initially took him to Owen Sound before he returned to the Camelot Street Courthouse.

You really have not lived until you have been chewed out by Bob over a matter: right Your Honour, an incident we were again able to laugh about a few weeks ago. Bob and his family were also neighbours when I was growing up, as his daughter Jane and I were in high school together.

Besides being a judge, Bob and Rod had something else in common: they both had to retire because they had reached the mandatory retirement age. They believe it was the best job they ever had and both still wish they were working.

Those two minds have much to offer and I hope they are passing on their wisdom to others in the legal system in addition to visits to Kevin Cleghorn’s law class at Lakehead University.
This next man competed with Carol for length of service, as Rick Smith was a fixture in Thunder Bay for decades.

One Man’s Opinion was a community mainstay and his open line show was part of both television and radio. I think many miss the opportunity that show provided to discuss the topics of the day. Not every show concentrated on the wars around the globe or the destruction of the environment, but it did provide people with an outlet to discuss topics that were important to them.

Rick also misses his work a great deal having dedicated so much of his life to his profession. I always love running into Rick and his wife Ruth. I find them a very kind and caring couple who have obviously found the secret to a long and successful union.

But it was speaking to Rick and then meeting Carol the next day that made me pause and wonder what is in store, if in less than five years I take the big plunge into retirement. One option could be to take baking lessons from Carol, and have Rod, Bob and Rick over to gain weight and have them all tell stories about their careers. That would be great fun indeed.

It is easy to respect the work ethic of these four individuals who dedicated their entire working lives to one vocation. But in so doing, it must have been extremely difficult for them to finally say goodbye. You have to wonder if our children will have the opportunity and even the willingness to be as committed to one career as these four were.

Rick received sound advice when he retired: you can either retire from something or to something. That is something we should all consider as each year passes more quickly than the preceding one. Retirement can be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether or not it is viewed as an ending or a beginning. I am going to choose the latter when my time comes and God willing I will make it to that new starting line. How about it Rick: once more for old time’s sake? That is one man’s opinion.

Just a thought.

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