A Handy Lesson and Jena C. Henry

Sorry I’ve been away for a few months, but I’m back now. Back from shoulder surgery. In fact, I have just begun typing with both hands. My right hand has been out of commission due to the cradle sling the surgeon made me wear for six weeks.

One seems to appreciate all the things your dominant hand did for you before its use was taken away. Like, for instance, brushing your teeth, eating with a fork, swiping your phone screen, etc. etc. But, that’s nothing compared to someone who has no use of their hands or doesn’t even have hands.flower-flowers-small-flowers-white-161561

Believe me, I’ve done the appropriate amount of complaining during my recuperation. You can ask my husband. 🙂 But when I attended my first “big” outing the other night to hear him and his trio play, I quickly became humbled.

She sat at the bar, enjoying the jazz, blonde and attractive, laughing loudly with her friend. Her back was to me, but I couldn’t help but notice the fortyish woman. Not because she looked odd, but because she didn’t. The fact was–she had no hands. The kicker was she still managed to drink her cocktail, wipe her mouth with a napkin, even reach into her purse and retrieve her wallet so she could pay the bartender.

When I had the sling on my right arm, at least I had one decent workable hand and would soon have the use of both. Needless to say, from what I saw, that strong woman did not consider herself as disabled. My assumption was that she might have been a Veteran, because when she arose, she also walked as if on artificial limbs. I’ll never know her story, but for a brief moment, I was blessed with a glimpse of her strength.

Just one of life’s little lessons on how to put one’s predicament into the proper perspective.

Now. . . I’d like to introduce my guest author, Jena C. Henry.

JenaJena C. Henry is an active, high energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and darling dog. In addition to her writing, she presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it. She reviews books for readersreviewroom.com and hosts book tours and promotions on her website.

A little about her book series – The Golden Age of Charli

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding. In Book 1 of this humorous series, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt. Book 2 continues the delightful tale of the energetic, positive and friendly McAntics as they cruise through their retirement years and discover the consequences of too much of a good thing. By Book 3, empty nester Charli is left to recalculate her path to happiness after she and her husband both discover that their golden years are full of more surprises and calamities.


A sunny day, saddle shoes, a group of bubbly kids on a school playground. Do you remember jumping rope during recess? Two kids twirled the long clothesline rope as the girl who was poised to jump in held her arms chest high and bobbed to the beat of the swishing rope.

As she bounced into place and her pigtails swayed, we chanted:

Billy and Susie sittin’ in a tree,
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes Susie pushing the baby carriage.

Thanks to the playground, I acquired my roadmap for life in the third grade. Like the directions on a GPS, I followed the jingle from kissing to marriage to pushing the baby carriage. The road was straight, wide open, no chance I could get lost.

And that’s how life unfolded for me. What about you? I enjoyed it all (except the road trip is going by too fast.)

But what’s next? The grade school jumping jingle stopped at the Baby Carriage stage. I don’t recall any jump rope jingles about R-E-T-I-R-E-M-E-N-T. What is Retirement all about?

I have been called Hon, Mom, Co-worker. But now in this new phase of life, I don’t want to be called old. I want my leap into retirement to be thrilling. I want to thrive! I’m sure you do, too.


Let’s recalculate our journey and take a step back in time. My family spends the summers on Lake Erie. Near our vacation place is a piece of history–The Keeper’s House.

I visited the small, sturdy stone house on a muggy, summer afternoon. I was greeted by a retired couple who told me stories of life by the lake in the early 1800’s. After my visit, I did more research and learned that some of the information I was told was not historically verifiable, but it’s still a good story.

The story begins with Benajah Wolcott. He was hired to survey the land in western Ohio, now known as Marblehead, Ohio, and make plans for a lighthouse. This area was part of The Firelands, which was land set aside by the Connecticut legislature for the Sufferers, Connecticut families whose homes were burned by Loyalists and British troops during the last days of the Revolutionary War.

Interesting, right? So, good old Benajah surveyed the land, built a road, set up his log cabin and sent for his wife and family. The family traveled by sleigh from Connecticut to Cleveland and then by wagon to The Firelands. Of course, they did.

The Wolcott family settled in to their life in the wilderness. Then in 1812, Ft. Detroit was surrendered to the British so the family retreated to the Cleveland area. While they were gone, a native tribe destroyed everything.

And I think applying for Social Security is tough! But Benajah decided to return to his land in western Ohio and start over. His first wife died and when he proposed to another settler woman, she said she wouldn’t marry him unless he built her a proper Connecticut home. She wanted living rooms, bedrooms with doors, stone walls and windows. No flip or flop fixer upper!

So, he did, and this is the house I visited. But the ups and downs of life continued for the Wolcott family. Benajah became the lighthouse keeper until he died from cholera. Then his wife became the lighthouse keeper!

So here I am almost 200 years later. I am not beset by war or cholera. I will try to be like Benajah’s wife. As long as I have a snug home, with windows and bedroom doors, I will continue to be happy through it all!

What do you think? Is retirement, or really any life change, a time for freedom or fear? Will you embrace new experiences and play again with joy on a sunny day, or will you sit on your front porch and watch others drive down the road of life? It’s time to write the next verse to the skipping song and jump into retirement and life.

Many thanks to Jody Herpin for inviting me to her lovely website to enjoy her southern hospitality.

Jena's books etc

Thank you, Jena.

See everyone next month,


Published by jodywritessouthern

Jody Herpin writes with a southern accent. Re-discovering her love of writing in the last ten years, she has completed her second novel, "Relative Consequences," and is currently researching her third. In 2015, Jody received First Place for Novel Submission at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop for "Weather Permitting." In 2014, she received Third Place for the Microcosm Award at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop for her piece, "View of a Lifetime." She's constantly reading, researching and soaking up knowledge about her craft. Born in Savannah, Georgia, she has lived most of her life in the South, attending Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia and living in Alabama, Georgia and North and South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. If she's not writing, she is decorating her home, attempting to paint with watercolors, reading, rediscovering the guitar, walking her Mini-Australian Shepherd, Bella, or cheering for her beloved Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Jody married the love of her life in 2014, and she and her husband, Mike Boggioni, a professional musician, live north of Atlanta, Georgia. She has two grown children and six amazing grandchildren all of whom live close enough "to holler at."

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