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By Tom Blake
Before I retired on January 30, retired people often told me, “You will wonder where the time goes and be busier than ever.”
I suspected they were right. I had been building a bucket list over the years and it had several items on it. The top item: travel with my partner Greta as much as we can while our health permits. In April and May, we took a nice trip to Europe.
Second item on the list: exercise. Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor fulfills that goal three to four times per week.
Other items on the list include continuing to write this column, and then preparing for the fantasy football season, which kicks off (pun intended) this week.
One item had been on the original bucket list since 2005, the year the movie Walk the Line—the portrayal of Johnny Cash’s life—was released. I had a problem with the movie; I felt the portrayal of Johnny was way too negative.
Why did that concern me? I knew Johnny Cash and worked with him for two years in the mid-1970s when I was the marketing director for the Victoria Station restaurant chain. I had hired Johnny to do our radio commercials and got to know him well. He was one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
That 10-year bucket list item: write a book that will reveal the kind and caring side of Johnny Cash that I had witnessed first-hand. I simply wanted to set the record straight. Before retiring, I didn’t have time to finish it.
Finally, 10 years later, over this summer, I wrote the book. Last week, I put the full-court press on finishing it. If you don’t do it that way with a book, you’ll never get it done. On Friday, I uploaded the finished book to one of the largest online ebook bookstores in the world, smashwords.com.
I titled this latest work, The Johnny Cash I Knew. A Kind and Caring Man.
Most of the 17 pictures included in its pages were taken 40 years ago with my old Kodak camera. I also included many examples of Johnny’s kindness in the book. The most unique experience with Johnny: going into San Quentin Prison with him for a concert.
Many older people tell me they want to write a book, to leave a legacy for their families. Ebooks are a great way to accomplish that goal without much cost and, after they are published, they can be updated and changed. I invite readers to contact me if they have questions about ebook publishing.
So, with the book published, it’s time to turn to other bucket list items, but which ones? Therein lies the challenge of retirement: which activity to tackle next? Those retirees who said, “You’ll be busier than ever,” were right.
Maybe I’ll open a restaurant. Nope, already done that one. It’s probably time for another trip with Greta.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. His latest book can be found online at, www.smashwords.com/books/view/574810. See his website at www.findingloveafter60.com (Yes, after 60. Time rolls on.) To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next age 50-plus singles Meet and Greet will be held Thursday, September 24, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point. For information, call 949.248.9008.