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Bubba’s not shy, but he could be a retiring guy - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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Bubba’s not shy, but he could be a retiring guy

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Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2010 12:00 am

My buddy Bubba Gravelhauler drove up to the Crawl On Inn just after I had parked. It was noteworthy because I’d never beaten him to his favorite watering hole. And this was well after business hours.

So when we settled in and had our longnecks on the way, I asked why he was running late.

“Important meeting,” he explained. “I done started thinkin’ about retirin’, so I was gettin’ the skinny down at the Social Security office, and it ran right up to 5 o’clock.”

“Wow, that is a big move for you. Are you really ready to check it in?”

He grinned, “Well, I been ready for that for years. But now I could really do it.”

It was my turn to grin. “Ah, I see you said the magic word — ‘could.’ Does that mean you have doubts?”

Bubba sighed. “Well, it’s a big step. Gotta lot of things to consider. First of all, am I gonna have enough to live on? With my pension from work and the Social Security, it’d probably be enough. But it’s all the other stuff to think about. Like what would I do with nothin’ to do? And I’d really miss callin’ on my customers and solvin’ all the world’s problems. I dunno.”

I laughed. “I suppose you could go from part-time to full-time bar fly. Maybe the Crawl On Inn would make you the social director and give you a discount on your bar tab. Or you could find you a part-time job for extra cash. You know, the Walmart greeter gig, or maybe even hook on as a marshal at a golf course. You know, a bit of a salary and maybe free golf when you’re not working. There are lots of possibilities.”

He waved at the bartender and bought the next round. Then he put on a serious expression and launched into his best sales pitch. “Actually, I been thinkin’ along the same lines about findin’ somethin’ to keep me busy, so I was wonderin’ if you might need some help at the newspaper. You know I done some writin’ along the way, and you been gettin’ column material out of me for years. So I thought I might be one of them consultants and earn some extra bucks helpin’ you come up with ideas for articles. I could be your word caddy.”

I shook my head. “Now don’t take this wrong, but I don’t believe we’ve got any such position in the budget. And I appreciate the mileage I’ve gotten out of you for all these years. But that could be too much of a good thing.”

He shrugged. “Reckon it was worth a try. Just thought I’d run it by you. Besides, the more I think about it, maybe it’s not quite time to call it quits. Oilfield’s been runnin’ fairly good lately, and my commissions have been solid. I might hang on for a couple more years and put some of that cash back for old age.”

And so we put the retirement issue aside for now and practiced for yet another golden age possibility we’re both qualified for — longneck quality control specialists.

Odessa, TX

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