G-Man prepares for his twilight years

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By John Heidtke, Guest Columnist

My dear spouse, Penny, recently suggested I write my obituary. It followed a detailed discussion about burial versus reducing our remains to ashes. Her 94-year-old father’s wishes are clear, so she thinks we ought to follow suit. Time is growing short, seeing how she is turning a trim 70 and I a geezerly 76.

Nationally, the average life span is 78.6 years. In Brunswick County, residents 65 and older account for 24.3 percent of the population. My spouse and I are not alone in the need to lay some important groundwork regarding the quality of our futures.

Because we are mortals, the end is inevitable. I believe it is important to let the people I care about know my heartfelt beliefs and guiding principles. Here is what we have done:


Affirmative action

I gave away all of my tools. They filled up two trailer loads. Strangely, I felt a big weight lift off me as the last trailer left. I cleaned out the attic. Bye-bye boxes of photographs and mementos. (Penny cheered!)

We gave away a lot of furniture. How many chairs does anyone actually need?

We sold the house here and bought a compact one in Palm Beach County, Fla. Moving day is early this April. Residents 65 and older account for 22.1 percent of the population. Senior friendly, there are no stairs in our new place. It is a single-family dwelling in a gated community with ground maintenance provided.

I vow to become more like Mahatma Gandhi. My favorite photo shows his last personal possessions: a bowl, spoon, pocket watch and his glasses. One of the most powerful people in modern history led a simple life and made a huge difference anyway.

My personal plans include writing, mentoring and teaching. Penny is thinking about volunteer work at a hospital. It will be fun watching and helping our five grandchildren grow into strong adults. I would be delighted to see great-grandchildren! Leading a clean lifestyle is likely to pay off.


The bright future

For more than 40 years I was active in municipal, county, state, federal and international law enforcement. It is time to shift gears. Our Lord always provides.

Life is a wonderful journey to the other side. G-Men never die; we just gracefully fade away into our twilight years.


John and Penny Heidtke have resided in Shallotte since 2002. This guest column is No. 115for him since April 2007.