A Winters Express opinion column
By Charles R. Wallace
It is a good time to be semi-retired. This January it will have been five years since I left the Express and became just a printer. I’ve always been the printer in the family while my father was the journalist. I think that was one reason we got alone so well. I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure, that he didn’t like the production part of putting out the paper, while I was comfortable making sure the paper came out each week.
I’ve watched people that retire struggle to adjust to a new life. I took the easy way and kept my printing company and got the Historical Society of Winters to open their museum in my space. It keeps me busy, but not so busy that I can’t squeeze in a couple of rounds of golf, a game of pool or two and a few motorcycle trips a month.
When my permanent tenant and I decided to go to Iceland for a couple of weeks, my first reaction was to worry about my printing customers. When you are retired you aren’t supposed to worry about anything, so I just reminded myself that in the old days, when the newspaper was my number one priority, I never delivered a print job within two week, anyway.
There were enough Yesteryears stashed away for the next few months and I told a few of my customers that I was off and that I would be back sometime after the 8th October. Everyone just nodded and luckily there were a few printing orders waiting on my desk when I got back. When I deliver the printing, or copy jobs, most of my customers will think I’m right on schedule. It pays to be known for being a little slow with deliveries.
Some people like to travel, but I know some of you don’t like leaving town. One of the best parts of visiting other countries is meeting other travelers. At our age no one says they are on vacation because that implies that you are skipping work. We are just traveling, and the other people on our tour are doing the same thing.
It is nice to compare trips with other people. This is our sixth trip with Overseas Adventure Travel, an agency that takes care of almost all of your needs. Some people have 20 or 30 trips under their belts and it is nice to hear about their travels. When they ask if we have been to Antarctica, or some other place we haven’t been, the answer is, not yet.
Iceland was an interesting place. I was expecting trees, there aren’t many. The scenery looks like high desert. Think Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California with miles of lava flows, short grass, some irrigated pastures, and lots of horses and sheep. There is a lot of water from melting glaciers and enough waterfalls so that I don’t need another hike to a viewing area. There are also mud pots and geysers, just like you would expect.
One nice thing about tours is they take you to places that you wouldn’t see on your own. We visited a yarn/wool manufacturer, a sheep ranch, and then a goat ranch, which lead us to a horse ranch. I tasted the lamb and goat but skipped when they put out a plate with horse meat. Sherri said it tasted like beef, and I’ll take her word for it. I don’t know why I balked at eating horse, when I’ve tasted Guinea pig in Peru. It didn’t taste like chicken.
There were geothermal fields almost everywhere we traveled on the West Coast of Iceland. Most homes and hotels get their hot water from the earth and their electricity if cheap because of steam generators. An interesting fact was that they don’t produce as much electricity from their geothermal fields as California. Maybe that is because they only have 380,000 people in the whole country.
If Winters were in Iceland, we would be the seventh largest city in the country, right behind Mosfellsbaer and Hafnarfjoerdur. This is the first trip where I didn’t pick up a single word of Icelandic.
It is always nice to be home.
Have a good week.