It is my father's 65th birthday on Oct. 13, so I decided to give him the week off from his usual weekly column, "Over 60". I am not worried about giving him this short vacation from his new career as a deadline dad, since he has proven to his friends and family that he can, indeed, keep himself busy as a retiree. As I will now explain, we were not always sure there would be life after dentistry...
Like most families, the Greenberg clan was skeptical when its co-founder, Stanley, announced that he was retiring from his dental practice of 30 years. We were not worried about his future financial security, since his fiscal responsibility over the course of a lifetime would provide for a comfortable retirement. Furthermore, our mother was staying on at her day job, which would provide liquidity for the family, since we had all matured enough to realize that you are never too old to borrow money from your parents. No, we weren't worried about the money. We were worried about the postman and the green couch in the living room.
With no hobbies to speak of, and no clear game plan for his impending retirement, we feared that our father would base his schedule around the arrival of the daily mail. We imagined our father pacing behind the front door like an angry terrier ready to pounce on the mailman in order to get his mutual fund statements and dividend checks. And after the postman delivered the morning's entertainment, we foresaw our retired father retiring to the green couch to watch the financial network and ESPN for the rest of the afternoon.
Luckily for our mailman and green couch, our fears were never realized. Immediately after he handed the keys to his dental practice to their new owner, he went in search of a new career as a newspaper columnist. He contacted an old friend of mine, Neil McKenna, at this newspaper and sat down for his first interview in over three decades. Over lunch, he sold Neil on his vision of a weekly column targeted to the over-60 crowd in the community, and had a deadline to meet for the following week. Ironically, my father had coached Neil over 20 years ago when we played pee-wee soccer together in Hicksville, which just goes to show you that there is no statute of limitations for rewarding a good deed.
In the five or so years since he started writing his weekly column, my father has come into contact with other old friends from a lifetime of community service, and he has even accrued new friends as a result of his journalistic forays into the community. To the people who have been nice enough to read his column and engage him in a successful second career, the Greenbergs thank you. And more importantly, our mailman and green couch thank you! Happy birthday. We love you!