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Kentucky by Heart: Two retirees coming up; my routine to be ‘rewired,’ but adventures are in store

By Steve Flairty
Special to NKyTribune

My wife plans to retire (she refers to it as “rewiring”) from her position with the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at the end of this year. While I retired from full-time teaching back in 2003, I’ve kept a busy schedule writing books, articles, and book reviews, along with doing part-time substitute teaching. You might say I’m semi-retired.

Since the pandemic, Suzanne has worked from home much of the time, usually upstairs while I work downstairs in my beloved Kentucky Room, reading, writing, and researching. We get back together at night and talk about our day’s activities and enjoy each other’s company.

But in early 2022, there will likely be some configuring in our schedules, mainly as we’ll have more shared time, much of it together on weekdays. That will especially take some adjusting on my part, an avowed introvert, to unselfishly give up some of my time alone, something I relish. But the world doesn’t revolve around me, and my wife helps make me a better person. It will be a good thing . . . hopefully for both of us.

We’re already talking about how to take our mutual love of flower gardening to the next level. As I’ve mentioned in this column previously, I do a large part of the growing and tending of about a dozen beds around our one acre, and Suzanne, the artistic one, likes to create, I think, beautiful arrangements throughout our house. We dabbled in exhibiting at the Woodford County Fair this summer and surprisingly won a few ribbons. We hope to enter many more flowers in the future and may take a stab at some entries in the state fair. We also are considering acquiring a spot to sell flowers at our local farmers’ market, though more for engaging in the community than making serious money.

We also hope to take more day trips, especially around Kentucky and not particularly only for purposes of writing articles or books.

We’d like to take advantage of the easy accessibility of traveling the western part of the state, where the land is relatively flat or rolling. We’ve not gone together to the Patti’s Settlement Restaurant in the Land Between the Lakes area, for example, and there are plenty other places to visit. Owensboro has wonderful barbeque eateries, music and art events; we’d like to spend some time there. Suzanne would like to visit the Kentucky Veteran & Patriot Museum, in Ballard County, established by Sandy Hart (profiled in my Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes book series). For Suzanne, much of western Kentucky will be new ground for her to explore.

We’ve not visited the Breaks Interstate Park, located both in southeastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia, but have heard it is of true primitive beauty. We’re not campers, so it would likely be a “drive and stop to look” trip, with some possible hiking.

In my native Northern Kentucky, we’d like to take in some of the local festivals around the Covington area to get back touch with the Cincinnati area. These are just ideas for starters, and I expect many other ideas will come along. Some may even be outside Kentucky.

The Breaks

I’d also like to contact some of the heroes I’ve profiled around the state, even if they are simply “meet for coffee” visits. I want to get a friendly update on how they’re doing. I’m sure that would be a rich experience.

We both enjoy being around mature-aged people, and we hope to make more visits of encouragement and invite individuals to our home to dine and converse.

To foster the continuance of these activities, it’s important to keep our minds and bodies healthy, so we plan to walk more and participate in group exercise classes at one of our local exercise sites. And oh, yes, the flowers should keep us moving, too.

The fact that we have a wonderful state as a setting for our future is helpful.

Plus, a little luck helps, too.

Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of seven books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and six in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #5,” was released in 2019. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly NKyTribune columnist and a former member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

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