Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 14, 2002


Honey, you have got to stop what you are doing

and help me get organized!


            My wife is my chief encourager. Since my retirement she has had her hands full trying to keep me pumped up about our new way of life. She probably figures she is working overtime.

            Evidently she is doing a good job. I have not been depressed a single day. I have not had the blues for one minute. Actually I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. She fills my days and my nights with too many golden opportunities.

            She knows a thousand ways to make me feel important. And I fall for it every time. About the time I start pondering how lonely retirement feels, I hear her calling about those opportunities.

            Just an hour ago she called from the bedroom, “Honey, you have got to stop what you are doing and help me get organized!”

            Brave soul that I am, I ask what her problem is. She is distressed because she can’t find a copy of a letter she wrote just last week.

            I hand her a dozen file folders, suggesting that she needs to use them to file her letters more carefully.

            Hands on her hips, she says, “I have more than enough folders; right now I need that letter so help me find it before I go crazy.”

            I start looking, or at least pretending to look. I know I cannot find her letter. My job is to keep her company, and offer her sympathy, until she finds it herself. After all, she lost it, and I don’t have a clue where to look in the cluttered boxes of stuff she dares to call her files.

            I would complain, but mine are worse. Looking at hers, I realize that I am the last person on earth who could help her get organized. And she knows that too.

            I realize what she is doing. She is flattering me. She knows I am not Mr. Organizer, so this is just one more of her clever ways of keeping my mind off retirement.

            She knows I have too much pride to admit that I have no organizational skill. So here I am, caught in her web of loving encouragement, wondering where the devil that letter is.

            We look everywhere to no avail. Finally she shouts for joy, having found the letter in her closet. Now that closet is another story.

            It is a walk-in closet, though I am afraid to walk in it. It is the chief danger zone in our home. Stuff is piled high and everywhere. Shoes, dresses, coats, hats, you name it.

            Women, you know, have a lot of clothes. Years ago I was foolish enough to suggest to my wife that she get rid of some of her clothes. She let me know right away that if we threw anything away, it would be some of my stuff, not hers. So the pile keeps getting bigger, and the closet fuller.

            She keeps threatening to straighten it up one day, but she is afraid of what she will find. Every day or two she tells me she hears something in the closet. A rat? A squirrel? A bird? I have no idea, but I keep telling her that her closet if off limits to me. There are just some places I am not willing to go.

            But back to the letter. How did it get in the closet? Simple. When the man came to put in another telephone line, she moved some of her stuff into the closet. (I am sure she did not want him to see her neat filing system.)

            Another line? That’s right. We now have two phone lines – so she won’t have to wait for me to get off the phone so she can get on it.

            We did not have this problem before I retired. But now we are both busy all the time calling our friends so they can tell us how much fun it is to be retired. 

            Two phone lines cost a lot of money, so the way I figure it, I have got to find me a job and go back to work.

            But I will admit this: helping mama get organized sure keeps your mind off your problems. I am beginning to understand why every retired man soon says, “I am busier now than before I retired!”

            Whatever else I can say about retirement, I must say this: it sure helps to be married to an encouraging woman.