Thursday, February 26, 2009

And they all showed up!

We had a great lunch yesterday. The entire winter group resumed the monthly get-together yesterday as each of us arrived at the lunch place with the same question: How many will show up after such a long layoff? The answer was: All of us!

We are a group of retirees who all left the same workplace about a dozen or so years ago, some a little earlier, some a little later, and decided it would be great to join together once each month, we chose the last Wednesday of the month for ease in remembering the time, just to get caught up on our lives, local sports, national sports, world events, etc.

We’ve met in several places over the years but have settled in on one place for the past few years. We know what the food will be like there and the prices fit into a retiree’s budget. Our winter group meets year round, but we’ll be joined for the summer months by at least one, sometimes two, snowbirds…Mainers who go to Florida for the winter months.

Actually, both snowbirds have become residents of Florida and are there for more of the year than the few, summer months here. We also have a member of the State Legislature as a member of the group. He can’t come during months the legislature is in session, like right now.

We don’t meet in December because of all the holiday activity and the difficulty of finding parking places in the same county as the restaurant. We changed our November meeting to the third Wednesday as the fourth was the day before Thanksgiving. Then in January one of those numerous January storms ventured into our plans. We didn’t officially call off the meeting as each person decides if conditions allow travel.

This year, all but one of us decided conditions didn’t warrant heading out just for a lunch meeting. That one had to be in the neighborhood of the eatery anyway so he went there only to find himself all alone. He went in and ate anyway so he maintained the integrity of the group.

So it had been several weeks, since way back in the middle of November since we held our get-together. I guess the whole group missed our sessions as much as I. We had a lot to catch up on. It was a good meal, a good discussion, and at least for me a good time.

We’ll be down one at the end of March. My Fearless Friend, one of the charter members, becomes a snowbird, or perhaps a ‘spring bird,’ Saturday.

Naturally, one of the topics of conversation was the economy. I think it would be safe to say we were in agreement that it isn’t the best we’ve ever seen it. It was pointed out, and not by me, that since he took office, President Obama’s several spending plans (the group was kind and called them stimulus or bailout plans), as sent stocks/bonds plummeting like rocks. That topic is important to all of us as we each of some at least of our retirement income coming from IRAs or 401k plans. Like everyone, we are taking huge hits.

Today the President presents his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. It is expected to contain lots of social programs, universal health comes to mind as just one of them, along with tax increases on businesses and the so-called rich. He is also expected to pledge cutting the federal deficit by at least half in the remainder of his term. Reports say he is earmarking more than $650 Billion in reserve to help pay for his health care proposals.

But my comments are based solely on speculation offered by the news media of what the budget address will contain. I’ll hold off my unsubstantiated ranting and raving until we see definitively what his plans contain.

I don’t think they’ll paint a rosy picture for the future. Of course he is a great orator, so they very well could. But I’m always reminded of a lesson my Dad once taught me, words are easy but only the results of the actions are what count. And it’s those potential results that scare the devil out of me.

The weather people say we’re in for some weather tomorrow. All rain in my neck of the woods, and probably throughout the state. I don’t like the hedging that’s included in the discussion of a Sunday storm.


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