Diplomatic Retirement

February 1, 2018|
Diplomatic Retirement
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Even in retirement former foreign service officer John Pauley is called to consult on South American .nuclear affairs affecting Colonia, his former country of assignment. He is also writing a book on his other specialty, international science cooperation, and has just finished Volume One, covering the years since 1945. He breaks away to take a canoe trip with his two sons and old foreign service friend Henry Nielsen. Despite Henrys awkwardness, the trip is a success.
John returns from the North Woods to find his wife Barbara has suffered a mild stroke. A more serious attack follows. Barbara is hospitalized while John seeks a retirement home with hospital and therapeutic services. The least undesirable choice: Grandview, characterized by an imperious director, overworked staff and cowed residents, where the daily enrichment activities include Bingo, crossword puzzles, balloon badminton and old movies.
After a time John and his family find the long drive to Grandview wearing, so John decides to take an apartment there where he can live too. With all the talk about health he decides he is not completely well. He finds the atmosphere at Grandview oppressive. Residents main occupations are eating and talking about other residents. Many spend much of the day when not in the dining room seated in the lobby watching intently the comings and goings of the mailman, visitors, repairmen and the occasional departure of a fellow-resident with the 911 squad.
John is bewildered by the lack of interest in the world. With Barbara ill, he has no one to talk to. He resumes his correspondence with Henry, who volunteers to help him with Volume Two of his book, on cooperation before 1945, but Johns heart is no longer in the work. Henry promises to visit early in the new year.
Life at Grandview looks up for John when resident Septimus Simmons returns from a trip. Septimus has been the spark plug of life at the retirement home, promoting dinner music in the dining room, leading excursions to the nearby Indian casino, jamming worthy issues through the moribund residents council, criticizing the ineffectual administration, arranging excursions to plays and concerts, setting up a residents newsletter and running the residence library.
Septimuss field is philosophy and his first love is Lucretius, whose work he introduces to John. He and John spend much time together, finding they share many opinions of Grandview and life in general. John learns Septimus is working on some unknown project.
Johns visits to Grandview to see Barbara and Septimus take time from his writing so he decides to move to Grandview, fearful now that he, too, is ill. When her doctor is prepared to release Barbara to go home, John decides to stay on at the residence with his questionable new illness. Septimus disapproves.
John doesnt go home even for Christmas. Septimus leads the festivities at Grandview. Johns family surprise him with presents and food on Christmas night. Septimus presents him a copy of Lucretiuss On the Nature of Things, which he discusses with John as it pertains to retirement, the end of life and preparations for death. Septimus considers Johns philosophical thinking fuzzy; John finds Septimuss thoughts too abstract, too ethereal.
Septimus completely takes over Henrys visit and arranges an indoor picnic where he prepares the barbecue. John tells Henry he is unable to write Volume Two. Johns family attend. Septimus tells them they must help get John away from Grandview. Henry makes his own contribution to the discussion of retirement and death, quoting a recent speech on the subject.
At the end of the picnic Septimus bids John farewell, surprising him and the others. But John says, Im not leaving.
Johns Volume One receives a prize and his publisher presses him to finish Volume Two. John shrugs off Sept

Title:Diplomatic RetirementFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:February 1, 2018Publisher:Xlibris USLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1477129464

ISBN - 13:9781477129463

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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