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Letters to the Editor

Grateful for work after retirement

From Jim Stalker


They say you never appreciate a man’s work until you walk a mile in his shoes.

Something like that happened to me. After 40-odd years as a bookseller, until the bottom dropped out of that industry, I found retirement staring me in the face. Two years without a paying job led me to search for anything. Just a few hours a week was all I was looking for. It was a little harder than I thought it might be. The Wal-Mart greeter line was backed up to the highway. Everyone wanted that one. I had no skills anyone was looking for, and so it went.

One day while dumping some leaves at the compost site on the east side of Creston, I started a conversation with Richard Cunningham and inquired about a job.

Richard is a very congenial and competent man. He told me to stop up at city hall and ask for the job, and I got it.

Twelve hours every other week ... In the warm months, It was 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, and then a week off. In the winter, January through March, it was 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday. Winter was a tough one. Did I mention it was unbearably cold and I had to work out of a 12-foot worn-out trailer?

Here’s the good part! Mike Taylor made a deal with class instructor Phil Wardenburg, Precision Technologies instructor at the Creston Community High School, to build a new compost building. In my day, it was just called shop class, and we made waste baskets and wooden ashtrays. Today, they’re building full-size storage units. Mike Bruce and T.J. Parsons electrified, insulated, painted the inside and finished up this building, along with extra help from John Hays and Kevin Kruse.

People, I am forever grateful for the work they’ve done and now I have a state-of-the-art warm building to work from. I see these city employees out working in the cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer. It’s not easy work, and I’ve grown to respect what they do.

Living the job at the bottom of the heap does not bother me, and I look forward to every day.

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