A 21st Century Saturday


21st century grandparents – we are about 21 hours, 1,568 miles apart from our son and his family. I take a picture via our zoom connection as our son is helping his daughter read the book I just sent. She wears the T-shirt her brother has outgrown; from before she was born when they visited my brother in Louisiana.

One brother had a morning basketball game. The oldest brother has an afternoon basketball game. Granddaughter has a birthday party to attend later in the day. We were busy like that raising our son and daughter in the 80’s and 90’s. It does take all of one’s time and energy…some of the best Saturdays were the slower ones – going to the library and getting a pile of books to read all day, swimming all afternoon in our backyard, walking to the ice cream shop, playing – simply playing, getting a video movie to watch while eating takeout pizza or walking to the neighborhood park and having a picnic.


Husband and I have always stayed connected, enjoyed each other’s company and played together. We went on dates and made trips, with and without kids all through our childrearing years. Since emptying our nest, we still have dates, picnics, play and while we do travel to visit our kids, we have travel adventures for the two of us.

After 45 years of marriage, we are entering another new phase – retirement. We have a good handle on this change in our lives. It was well planned for, we have plenty to do, we still play and enjoy each other’s company. We have a routine that is similar to when husband would have days off. We generally get up and go to bed at the same time. We have breakfast separately and generally go on a walk together in the morning; even like this Saturday morning when it is very cold at -5.


Dogs, before kids, raising kids and after the kids left home – have always been part of our lives. Having the dogs make us sure to walk when it might be too easy not to because of weather conditions or getting out of the habit. The dogs make us laugh, help make our house a home and are another connection. Husband came up with the sweet names for these: Joy is our sheltie and Hope is our border collie. We generally go on our second walk before lunch.



Staying active and eating healthy has got to be keeping us strong. We have stayed free from Covid and the flu. We follow Covid prevention protocol and though we travel we wear mask in airports and on the planes and inside public places – though we have dined in restaurants after getting our vaccines.

Since our walk and zoom visit with son and grandkids, husband is now running errands in town this Saturday morning. I go sometimes but not today. He’s going to the dump. There is a pick-up trash service we just don’t use it. He’s clearing the snow at St. James – the little church we attend. We’ve had about 17 inches at our home in the past few days, so the church is sure to need snow removal.



There’s no mail delivery so he’ll pick up the mail. We go get it every few days or so. We can easily not feel like getting in the car and going into town. We stay happy and busy at home. The electric company has contacted my husband in the few weeks since he’s retired. They’ve reached an agreement until they get a new electrical engineer I guess – as long as Bruce wants to.

He’s home with the mail; a new AARP magazine – how appropriate. The picture on the cover is great: Sally Field 76, Lily Tomlin 83, Jane Fonda 85, and Rita Moreno 91!

We go on our second nature trail walk of the day. So far, I’ve 5,918 steps. With the sunshine and no wind, dressed in layers we are toasty. It’s such a lovely walk; snow glistens like glitter. It is so peaceful. No one else is around. It’s also way above 0 now at 30 degrees. We started the curbside grocery pickup that’s been offered since onset of Covid – so we will place our order today. No more hours devoted to grocery store shopping! I love it!

Husband and I both work on our computers on and off each day, all week. I write a column for our newspaper.


I write this blog, essays and books:  https://julie-stephens.com/


Husband: just updated our computers to 2019, does our taxes, electronic work for my / our books, gathers the weekly church readings and prints them, etc.

We each get our own lunch and eat together. There’s fresh bread for sandwiches. Husband makes a fresh loaf in the bread machine weekly. We’ve been watching a master’s class at lunch, on Bruce’s iPad since he retired. The master classes are one of a number of generous gifts the company gave him. This one is about cooking Mexican food.



After lunch Bruce brings up more firewood. He carried two loads two to three times a day. We then go for our third walk on the nature trail. Playing, using our imaginations, we point out clouds to each other that look like something specific: 



this cloud went from an elephant, to a pig, to a mouse now and then turned into a still different animal that has another critter on its tail:



Play is an important connection…

With retirement we started playing Wii on Sunday evenings – especially good for winter weekends evenings.




Mornings are for coffee. Nighttime is for sleeping. Then there’s afternoon delight – an important connection for us. We all do what’s important to us. We all take care of what’s important to us.


The two of us have listened to their podcast. I got this for us on Valentine’s Day – we also wrote each other love letters for Valentine’s Day. We are way ahead of the curve. Husband and I are growing human beings; we aim to life a full life. Bruce and I have been together since I was 17 and he was 20 – what a treasure! We treat our marriage like a treasure – taking care of it. We’ve been reading this book together each evening, a bit at a time, since February 14th. Interesting to me is the first thing mentioned is the importance of playing together. Yes.


Assuming finances aren’t an issue, I’ve heard that the people who don’t do well in retirement are the ones who don’t have enough to keep them engaged and interested in life – a reason to be excited about getting up in the morning. It’s so good to have more time together and get more of the things we’ve wanted to accomplishments done.  Our time is limited.


If you work full-time and are raising a child or children – what do you do to regularly stay connected with your partner? If you work full-time, what do you do for fun?  If you are retired, what are you doing with your life? Do you play regularly?


“The most precious gift we can give one another is letting them know they matter.”  Julie A R Stephens

Living in the Mountains

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