David Woronoff says I should “learn to play golf” in my retirement, among other things.

But Mary Novitsky, unaware of the above, urges me to “say no if people suggest you take up golf.”

Hmm. Dilemma. The publisher of The Pilot, whom I was lucky enough to have as my longtime boss until a month or so ago, vs. the newsroom proofreader for whose judgment I have always felt such profound respect.

Trust me, readers. I had no intention to saddle you with another retirement-related column so quickly on the heels of the one that ran May 30. But I just had to (belatedly) share some of the advice — some sage, some engagingly silly — that esteemed co-workers offered me at a June 1 farewell to-do.

These words of wisdom were handwritten on 38 “Your Retirement is Going to Rock” tags attached to a nice rocking chair, which I haven’t had a chance to use yet either.

Besides offering the golf suggestion — and a promise that “you’re always part of The Pilot family” — David recommended that I “eat dessert first, tour the Woodford Distillery, and “write a book about newspapering.” (I’m working on it, actually.)

Compounding the situation is the fact that David was nice enough to buy me a set of golf clubs when I first came on board as editor more than 20 years ago — and I was ungrateful enough to use them no more than two or three times over the first few months, mostly leaving them gathering dust in the garage. I think I eventually gave them back.

OK. I promise to play golf at least once before the summer is over — and not the miniature kind, either. But so far — trust me — there just hasn’t been time, what with that beach trip, Father’s Day, much overdue yard work, and learning how to teach that online UNC journalism course starting Monday.

Anyway, to the point. Because any kind of retirement advice is so relevant for others in this wonderful cluster of communities that Brenda and I will continue to call home, allow me to pass on a few other excerpts from those rocking chair tags.

Abbi Overfelt, page designer par excellence, offered these bucket list suggestions: “Sample every fried food at the State Fair. Organize a Segway race. Grow a ponytail.” (I’m thinking about it.)

Michele Bungarz, who so nicely holds down the front desk: “Enjoy a warm breeze. Chase a butterfly. Eat dinner in a gazebo.”

John Nagy, my able successor as editor: “Always trust instinct. Enjoy the moment. … Try Merritt’s BLTs!”

Faithful Features Editor Faye Dasen: “Keep writing. Adopt another black dog. Remember the 1999 U.S. Open.” (Who could ever forget it?)

Personable young Frank Daniels IV: “Relax. Stop and look around. Enjoy the people around you.”

Charming Business North Carolina art director Kathryn Galloway: “Go everywhere. Do everything. Keep singing in the choir.” (She’s talking about the one at Emmanuel Episcopal, in which she used to sing alto — we still miss her — and in which I intend to keep singing bass as long as Homer Ferguson will have me.)

David Sinclair, The Pilot’s multitalented managing editor: “Think of the fun times here. Enjoy a good game of disc golf. Try to make it through ‘Caddy Shack.’”

My buddy and former officemate Perry Loflin: “Fish more. Drink more. Flirt more.” (OK. If you insist.)

Brilliant columnist and friend Deb Salomon: “Read dirty books. Drink nonlocal beer. Go barefoot. Eat brownies.” (As long as you keep making such exquisite ones, I’ll always find excuses to drop by on Fridays, when you bring them in.)

Doug Turner, who keeps things on track in the accounting department: “Enjoy life. Go to London. Go to Australia. Go to Hong Kong.” (Sounds like the voice of experience. Given a choice, I’d start with Australia.)

Versatile newsroom whiz Jaymie Baxley: “Solve JonBenet’s case. Find Cleopatra’s tomb. Capture the Jersey Devil.” (Is that all?)

Reporter extraordinaire Laura Douglass: “Eat more ice cream. Drink more sweet tea. Be merry.” (I’m trying, I’m trying.)

Photographer extraordinaire Ted Fitzgerald: “Always be ready with your camera.” (I try.) “Be an extra in a movie.” (Done that.) “See a play on Broadway.” (Done that.) “Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston.” (I’ll put it on my bucket list.)

Then there was this from good old Sports Editor Hunter Chase: “Keep a cold beer handy. Go Fishing. Run with the bulls.”

Can’t beat that. I could run on — with the bull, if not the bulls — if I could just decipher more of the signatures on these things. But enough. Thanks to all. And I promise: No more retirement columns for a long time.


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