Self Portrait of a Retired Man:
Last Friday was a big day at the Bender house. My dad retired from this job with the U.S. Forest Service. He had worked there since moving to the Pacific Northwest as a young man in the mid-70's. After working as a seasonal worker for a year or so, he go a full-time position in Newport WA. He worked there for several years before transferring to Cour d'Alene ID. In the last 5 years he has moved once more to Priest Lake ID. During this time my dad did lots of interesting jobs, such as tree climbing, horticulture, harvesting pine cones, tree planting. The most exciting was fighting fires in the summer. Every summer he would go wherever he was needed to work with the helicopters which dumped fire retardant and water on the burning forests. I remember him coming home smelling like smoke and looking very thin and tan. Sometimes he would bring us T-shirts that had the date and location of the fire (like a concert tour shirt). I always admired his attitude toward work.
Now that he's retired, I hope he will have time to pursue his other passions such as performing/singing, drumming, gardening, tree climbing, and taking care of his own 50 acre forest.
Here's to free time and no deadlines!! I love you Dad.