Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Are The Odds?

You're sitting in your cubicle, bustin' your butt, working working working.  You're thinking that you can't wait until you can retire and go cruising.  You can retire at 62, but 65 would be better.  Your social security check will be a few hundred dollars a month more.

Two scenes.  Bear with me.

Scene One.

A few weeks ago, a group of us rode horses around the Griffin Ranch in Fort McCoy, Florida.  We went out through a gate at the back of the ranch and down a dirt road.  Most town roads are dirt here.  Along the way, we passed a woman working in her yard.  We stopped and chatted a bit about how nice her place was looking, and how cute her little dog was.

Scene Two.

Like everyone, I have two sets of grandparents.  My Irish grandparents were very family oriented.  Since Ireland has a matriarchal society, we all met every week at the home of the eldest Gibson.  I knew all of my Gibson relatives because showing up at my great-grandma's house wasn't an option, it was a requirement.  I can even remember young relatives showing up with dates to pay their respects to great-grandma, not even take their coats off, and then leave.  I remember my dad driving through a foot of snow with chains on his tires on the required Saturday night, even though my mom was in the maternity ward in labor with my sister.  But I digress.

My Chase grandparents were the opposite.  My grandfather immigrated to the United States from Krakow Poland.  They were tight lipped about everything.   My wife then was doing our family tree,  and every question asked was answered with "What do you want to know that for?".  Nothing family was discussed.  Ever.

When their kids, my uncles, grew up, they scattered all over.  My mom and Uncle Ed still lived nearby in upstate New York, but my Uncle Joe moved to Arizona never to be seen again.  Lee moved to Lynn Massachusetts and John to Cleveland, and it was very rare that we ever saw them.  Maybe twice in 20 years.  Frank lived in New York for a time and I saw him a few times, but then moved to Massachusetts, and then to someplace in Florida.

Enter Al Gore's internets and Facebook.

Becky, my daughter, was doing our family tree on and bumped into Sharon, one of my cousins, Uncle Ed's daughter.  Becky and Sharon live only a few miles apart, since both grew up in Saratoga.  One thing led to another, and all of a sudden I have all these Chase cousins I'm now "friends" with thanks to Facebook.  We have a lot of catching up to do!

Now to tie it all together.

One of my cousins is named Justeen.  She said my Uncle Frank had moved to Ocala, where she grew up.  Ocala?   Seriously?  Ocala is only fifteen or so miles from here!  What are the chances!

Where does Justeen live?  Fort McCoy.  Fort McCoy is right next to Eureka and where Griffin Ranch is.  Its only three miles from here!   You have to be kidding.

Where in Fort McCoy?  On the dirt road behind Griffin Ranch.

No way.  Which house?

The one with the lady working in the yard.  I've already met my cousin, without realizing it.  You can't make this stuff up.

So we're getting together at the Fort McCoy/Eureka Community Service Center on Friday evening.  My Uncle Frank, Justeen's dad, passed away a couple of years ago.  He was only five years older than me, so we hung around together quite a bit.  I have a number of Uncle Frank stories to tell Justeen.

Oh, and for all you who feel you need to work until 65 so you can get the maximum social security benefit, Frank had just retired when he had a massive heart attack and died.  He hadn't even received his first retirement check.  You might want to consider that time is more valuable than money.


  1. Social Security maxes out at 70, not 65. I'm hoping to retire in a year or two, but live off savings and not draw social security until 70. Waiting until 70 to draw from social security is a riskless way of getting 8% a year increase.

  2. Took SS at 62 and never regretted a moment; having too much fun, which an extra few dollars couldn't buy!!!

  3. Teriffic coincidence... love it.