Saturday, June 21, 2008
Retired? What’s Retired?
By Richard E. Noble
So there we were in our lack luster, “no star” campground paradise by the sea, inhabited by all the flotsam and jetsam of the oyster capital of Florida, when this nine million dollar, two mile long wealthy transporter from the planet of the rich and famous comes stumbling down our dirt road, two-track. What the heck was this?
Now and again one of these fancy cargo ships lumbered mistakenly down our way in uptown/downtown Eastpoint but usually they took one look around our little oysterman’s paradise and slammed it into reverse and were out of sight in a flash. But this dude pulled right on in, just like he knew what he was doing.
My wife and I sat there giggling to ourselves.
We watched rather astonished, as did everyone else, as H.G. Oil Wells wheeled his Land Yacht up beside one of the many bent over and half broken electric hook-ups that were scattered here and there about the campground.
After about five or ten minutes out pops “Dale Evans and Roy Rogers”. These two looked like a couple of billion dollars cowboys right out of the fanciest drugstore in America. They were covered with turquoise and what appeared to be random scattered diamonds and rubies. The gentleman had a giant rodeo type belt buckle and his lady was sporting what appeared to be rattlesnake leather cowboy boots. We didn’t know what to think.
“Howdy,” old Tex said as he and his bride from Bonanza, or Big Ranch on the Prairie sauntered past.
The lady was carrying something in her arms that looked to me to be a large rat. But this large rat barked like a dog - weird man.
They went walking down by the old oyster shack and then headed off to the right for a walk along the beach.
When they returned there was a crowd of mud daubed, white booted, oyster cullers, shuckers, and catchers meandering around their replica of the QE-2 whispering and sputtering.
The man and his wife stood back and offered the crowd a big smile. “You boys like my little home away from home?”
“Sure enough do,” was the majority chant.
“What the heck do you do for a living to be able to afford a dang rig like that?” sputtered one of the Eastpointers.
“Well, I don’t do nothing any more.”
“Oh you just be one of them rich people?”
“No, not hardly, I worked for the last forty-five years, sweatin’ my butt off at a car manufacturing plant up north.”
“You worked at the plant or you owned the darn place?”
“No I didn’t own it. I just worked there. Henry Ford II. owned the place.”
“Man! That old Henry Ford must have been a mighty generous boss man.”
“Oh no, he wasn’t all that generous. We had to fight for every nickel that we got. Henry wasn’t giving anything away, let me tell you. We worked!”
“Well, it certainly looks like you got more than nickels. You say you don’t work there no more?” asked one old oysterman.
“No, I’m retired now.”
“Man that Social Security must be a lot better than I thought it was!”
“Social Security doesn’t have all that much to do with it. I get a pension and I always saved my money.”
“I tried saving money, but every week when I get done buying what I have to have, and paying on what I can get away with there just ain’t nothing left. What the heck is a pension anyway?”
“Well, every month Old Henry sends me a check in the mail.”
“Because of all the hard work that I did for him for the last forty-five years.”
“You’re kidding me? I’ve been working out on that Factory (the oysterman pointed out towards the Bay) for the last forty-five years and they ain’t nobody going to send me no check. And ifn I don’t head out tomorrow morning, I won’t get nothing to eat tomorrow night.”
“Guess you’ve been working at the wrong factory,” the man said with a laugh.
“I guess that I have!"
Richard E. Noble is a freelance writer who has lived in Eastpoint for thirty years. Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble. They are now both available on Amazon.com. If you would like to stock these books in your store or business call 1-850-670-8076 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.