LEODORA: Retiring the thought of retiring

RETIREMENT isn’t something that takes up a big space in my life plan.

I plan to continue working and playing golf at a very vigorous pace until I am about 85 years old (a very long way off). Then, approximately one day after I realize I cannot get the golf ball airborne any more, I will die peacefully in my sleep.

After the briefest moment of silence in history, my friends will begin a thunderous stampede to claim all of my golf equipment.

I haven’t had an idle moment in so long, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. So, might as well keep busy with work … and spend the rest of the time carping about how little time I have for playing golf.

Add a few hours of sleep and I have all 24 hours of the day accounted for. I’m sure that’s not the desired cup of tea for a lot of people, but it works for me.

MANY OTHERS look forward with great anticipation to the day they walk out of the office for the last time and tell the boss to give them a kiss where the sun doesn’t shine. They have worked hard most of their adult lives and now they look forward to doing the other things – traveling, fishing, volunteering, spending all day/every day with their spouse.

Ok, three out of four choices aren’t bad.

Maybe they will buy a huge RV and drive around the country. Maybe they will buy a boat. Maybe they will sell everything, take a vow of poverty and climb the mountains of Nepal in search of the true meaning of life.

Sounds pretty idyllic, doesn’t it?

NOT FOR THREE PEOPLE who took up a fair amount of my thought process over the last week. They apparently have the same aversion to retirement as me.

The first is Bernard Hopkins. His nickname is The Executioner. But don’t look for him to be sending any heinous criminals to their just reward. All of his executions are performed within the confines of the boxing ring.

Hopkins is the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. He also was the Middleweight Champion of the World from 1994 to 2005.

If you are doing your math fast enough, by now you are realizing that Hopkins must be very old for a boxer. In fact, he is the oldest boxer. And on March 9, 2013 he broke an amazing record for the second time – becoming the oldest boxer to hold a recognized world championship – at an astonishing age of 48.

He was honored at the annual Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet last Monday and announced, “I’m not done yet. There’s still a lot of steam left in this engine.”

Hopkins doesn’t understand the concept of retiring. He thought about it a couple of times, but keeps climbing back into the ring.

SPEAKING of climbing back into the ring … that brings me to the next two people who have occupied my thoughts lately.

The first is former Norristown police chief Russell Bono. Last year he retired after a stellar 42-year-career on the Norristown police force. For many, that would have been enough.

And, for a while, it seemed that was the case with Bono.

He took up the game of golf and spent a huge chunk of his week trying to conquer the most difficult game in the world.

Then Eileen Behr resigned as Montgomery County sheriff and Bono’s phone started ringing off the hook. Friends encouraged him to throw his hat in the ring for the vacant position. It was a decision he considered for only a short time before answering the call.

His nomination received the endorsement of the Montgomery County Commissioners and Governor Tom Corbett. His approval by the Pennsylvania Senate seems certain.

The only thing uncertain is the question of what made Bono leave the golf course for the rigors of running the sheriff’s department in a major county.

As it turns out, Bono is a much better cop than he is a golfer. And he missed the life within the law enforcement community.

“It’s in your blood,” Bono explained. “I realized how much I loved police work and jumped at the opportunity to get back in.”

THE STORY of Bono’s return is a complete parallel to that of one of his old friends.

Carmen Pettine was police chief in Plymouth Township for many years. He also retired to a life on the golf course and seemed quite happy.

Until he received a call from Haverford Township. That was about three years ago and the sudden departure of the Haverford chief left the township in a bind. It was going to host a U.S. Open in June of 2013 and they desperately needed an experienced person to handle the impending major security challenge.

Pettine took the job and immediately found himself involved in a scene that required the organizational expertise of the D-Day Invasion.

He was dispatched to the U.S. Open Championship at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland in 2011. His assignment was to observe and learn from the security operation there. He could be spotted easily. He was the one with his eyes popping out of his head and his jaw drooping near his chest.

To say the least, the operation was an overwhelming one.

And that was nothing like what would face him at Merion. Pettine was in charge of the most daunting traffic, crowd control and security issue in U.S. Open history. And he handled it in grand fashion.

BOTTOM LINE – don’t look for the foursome of Bernard Hopkins, Russell Bono, Carmen Pettine and Yours Truly to be spending our retirement years with a regular tee time at one of the local golf courses. If we play any golf, we will have to find a way to squeeze it in between job assignments.

Some people just don’t know how to retire.