Beat back the winter blues

February 2, 2014

Go winter. Steal my wool socks from my frigid feet. Let my toes pretend to touch the warm sand at Rehoboth Beach. Let’s try a David Letterman exercise: Top 10 reasons to reside in coastal Delaware in February. No. 10. 70 percent off underwear and/or Coach handbags at the outlets. No. 9. Exercising by performing chair pose with your backside toward the fireplace. No. 8. The money you saved by not traveling can be spent on trying new restaurants using your Cape Gazette Diners Card. No. 7. No lines at Midway plus free films for Rehoboth Beach Film Society members. No. 6: No traffic on Route 1. No. 5. You can get your closets organized and take stuff to the thrift stores. No. 4. You can visit the thrift stores and buy more stuff. No. 3: You can read the entire book before the book club. No. 2. No problems parking anywhere and no annoying meters to pay. No. 1: Striking up conversations with everyone you meet about how cold it is and will be tomorrow! Misery loves company, as my mama would say.

The cold weather is a mere nuisance for most of us, but for the homeless in our area, these temperatures are life-threatening. Immanuel Winter Shelter opened in January at Epworth United Methodist Church and will remain open seven days a week until April. This shelter serves both men and women for up to 30 individuals per night. It currently needs volunteers from 5 p.m. to midnight for three-and-a-half-hour shifts. Contact Nan Ruhl at 302-604-2619 or email to get answers to any questions. Food staples, toiletries, air mattresses and towels are needed.

I received an email in mid-December from Ann Gorrin with Read Aloud Delaware, who would like retirees to know about another volunteer opportunity dear to many hearts. “Reading with children is a pure, unadulterated joy. If you’ve a need for a little oomph to your day, join us at a Read Aloud and read to a child,” writes a Bethany Beach volunteer. A Rehoboth Beach volunteer shares her view: “When I started watching the children play ‘reading lady’ with each other, and reading each other books, I knew what I was doing was making an impact on their lives.” If you would like more information, contact

The best part about being a teacher was sitting in a rocking chair reading to a captive audience of 5-, 6- or 7-year-olds. Radiator humming.

The window panes filled with red and white paper hearts. I recall their little bodies up on their knees, leaning against mine, eyes straining to see the pictures, excited to find out how the story ends. I planned to sign up to be a Read Aloud volunteer, but then I remembered what I really want is to publish my own children’s book. I am writing more, but I have a stockpile of years of manuscripts waiting for a deluge of publishers to beat down my door. Do you have something you promised to do when you retired? Build a rock garden, lower your handicap or write a memoir?

Write to me and share your retirement dreams, please, at

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