Too Many Dave Days……..

I always enjoyed the occasional day with no work and no responsibility; I’m not talking about the routine day-off with a preset agenda of things to do.  I’m talking about the very rare kind when I had no plan, no to do list, I could just do what I wanted to do as it occurred to me. Some of those days were very productive; trees got trimmed, or the garage straightened; others maybe I went car shopping with no intention of buying a car, just felt like kicking a tire and visiting with a salesman; still others I did absolutely nothing and sometimes didn’t start that until about noon.  I could go on but I think you get the idea.

I thought of them as Dave Days, I didn’t speak of them as Dave Days because someone, probably someone named Sharyl, would have suggested, “on your next Dave Day why don’t you…..”. With a to do list it wouldn’t have been a Dave Day. For most of my professional life that kind of day was extremely rare.

I retired in ’97 and started a second career with a defense contractor in’98, by about ’02 or ’03 I was trying to figure a way to convince my company and the government, it would be to their advantage if I only worked a 4-day week.  Sometimes a plan comes together; they approached me.  Due to some funding issues would I consider a 4-day week?  I should have at least acted a little upset, but I couldn’t keep the smile off my face; my response: “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch”.

I never heard Sharyl say, “When I retire”, that meant I would be home alone, without adult supervision every Friday.  Some of those Fridays I certainly had a list of things to do, but I suddenly had many more Dave Days.  That quickly became my new routine, work 4, take a Dave Day then spend a weekend with Sharyl; it just couldn’t get any better.

For a few years Sharyl and the girls had suggested that we move to Norman, I resisted but one guy against three girls, I wasn’t going to win that one. Sharyl’s commute was a 30-mile roundtrip, after the move it would be a 90-mile roundtrip.  She still didn’t say retirement as it applied to her, but she did agree to a 4-day workweek. We moved in ’05.

Instead of a Dave Day, I was now greeted on Friday morning with a very pleasant and familiar voice asking; “what is your plan for the day”?  If I didn’t have one, she did.  I thought of suggesting, in a very diplomatic way of course, that maybe she would enjoy being off on Monday instead of Friday.  I adjusted and we enjoyed some very special three-day weekends together. I also managed to rearrange my schedule and still have a Dave Day once in a while.

I never heard her use the term Sharyl Day, but I hope she enjoyed squeezing one in from time to time.  If you don’t, I highly recommend you try it.

Beginning in early November ’08 Dave Days were no longer a consideration. I know that many of you were very capable and willing to care for Sharyl, but a true Dave Day had to be without guilt or responsibility.

I now have too many Dave Days and they aren’t nearly as fun as they once were. To make them fun again I need to start most days with an agenda or to do list and yes there are plenty things I could use to populate that list.   I think I can learn to appreciate and enjoy an occasional Dave Day.

I know I would trade the very best of those days past and future for just one Friday morning conversation that began with that pleasant and familiar voice asking; “what is your plan for the day”?

I love you babe; I miss you every day.

Please consider a donation to the Cancer Research organization of your choice.

Good Night, God Bless and keep me in your prayers.


5 thoughts on “Too Many Dave Days……..

  1. Thanks for sharing so much with us, Dave. I really enjoy your heartfelt and honest writing. I was particularly moved by “I know I would trade the very best of those days past and future for just one Friday morning conversation that began with that pleasant and familiar voice asking; ‘what is your plan for the day’?” Wish I’d had the pleasure of knowing Sharyl.

  2. I want “Cindy Days” and yet when I have them seem to exploit them and not use them as I should. I think it is something we hold just out of our own reach as a promise when we are tired or fed up. Still, one day …

  3. after Charles retired, I used to yearn for days he would go fishing or anything so I could have an empty house.. and then he was gone and all the time I had an empty house…. not so much fun….. sometimes, we forget in the midst of ordinary pleasure, just how nice it is to share and then it’s gone and we yearn for it…..

  4. Wow, Dave, I’ve never heard a man who admits enjoying a day alone. My dad hated being home alone. When we were kids and the weather caused daddy to leave the job, he usually went to the school to pick us up. We thought that was awesome. He said he couldn’t stand to think of us in that school building if a tornado blew through. Mom, Phyllis, and I loved days at home completely alone. It became a joke that Phyllis would look so forward to her Federal holidays when the kids and Fred had school. She would make all kinds of plans for the day, but often, incredibly often, school would be canceled because of snow and ice on MLK Day or President’s Day. She took it like a trooper. Not really.

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