His co-workers had a little barbecue and party in his honor last night.
How about that cake?
We only decided a few months ago that he should retire, and now the big day is here. I have said it before and I'll say it again: If anybody deserves to retire, it's Cliff. He was fourteen when he got his first job throwing newspapers out of a station wagon. When I met him in 1965, he was working at a metal plating shop in Kansas City. In 1968 he started working part-time for the Country Butcher Shop, and that soon became his full-time job. He loved being a butcher, although that occupation is the chief cause of the arthritis that now plagues him.
Work at the butcher shop began dwindling; fewer people were raising their own meat, and Cliff saw the writing on the wall. I think he went from there to R.B. Rice for three years, until they closed it down. Then he drove all the way to Marshall, Missouri, to work at a hog butchering facility. It's the only job he's ever had that he absolutely hated, and he quit just one week shy of a year there. Then he worked at concrete construction for a couple of guys who were the sons of the owner of the butcher shop where he used to work. The concrete construction job was hard work, and dangerous, but Cliff loved being outside where he could enjoy the seasons.
Eventually the brothers disbanded their company, but one of them stayed in the business and Cliff worked for him for awhile, until the time came when there wasn't enough to keep him working steadily.
I don't remember the exact order in which all these jobs came into Cliff's life, but I do recall each and every one. He found some sort of pleasure in every job he's ever had except for the one at Marshall.
At some point, jobs dried up everywhere and Cliff drew unemployment. During this time, I was milking cows and raising baby calves with their milk. Cliff started helping a local dairy farmer who paid him for his work with Holstein and Brown Swiss bull calves, which I raised. When the calves were six months old or so, we'd take them to the sale barn. This really helped out as a supplement to Cliff's unemployment checks. Cliff, meantime, who had always wanted to be a farmer, got to do some real farming for once in his life.
A neighbor next door worked at Continental Disc in Liberty; He tried to get Cliff a job there, but the place required a high school diploma: Cliff had quit school in his junior year.
Our neighbor who worked at Continental Disc had a friend, Velma, who was instrumental in getting Cliff hired. We owe her a lifelong debt of gratitude for helping someone she didn't even know at the time. So Cliff was working at his dream job, getting frequent raises, enjoying the first health insurance coverage we'd had in years, and actually getting paid vacations. We were living high on the hog.
Cliff has always called that place his "retirement villa" because the work is not physically demanding; he figured he could hold down a job there until he died.
And then this year I convinced him that he needs to experience retirement.
So here we go, on a new adventure. Wish us luck!