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Under my hat: An apple for an anniversary

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    A busy worker at Ashland Applefest takes an order while simultaneously handcrafting tasty apple dumplings during the late October event. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published November 17. 2018 07:47AM


At Thanksgiving it’ll be two years since I retired.

Time flies.

To celebrate, I treated myself to a few apple dumplings, always a favorite treat. I bought new wheels, too.

I decided to jump into a 2019 Ford Mustang convertible in bright apple red. I owned one like that years ago, a 1965 model. I still enjoy my old Thunderbird but yearned for a Mustang to turn back the clock.

Retirement, so far, has been fulfilling.

I can’t seem to find enough hours in the day to do all of the things I want. This is in contrast to many warnings I’d received telling me to be careful about too much leisure time. Apparently, retirement can bring, for some folks, a sense of uselessness and inactivity. There are those who choose to relax and spend their days in a rocking chair.

Not me. I’m busier than ever. I don’t foresee boredom setting in.

Maybe that sort of thing happens during the third year of retirement.

It certainly didn’t happen in the first two.

And that says a lot because I don’t have the typical enhancement of children, grandkids or spouse.

Maybe that’s the reason people warned me. Maybe there’s some kind of unwritten rule that says retirement needs to be spent with the kids, or grands or a partner.

If so, I’m here to tell you it’s not true. Retirement can be uniquely enriching to a person who stands alone, a solitary soul.

Just maybe, a single person who’s unencumbered is able to relish the unbridled freedom in its purest form.

With retirement, it’s fun to take time to explore the wonder. Sometimes the wonder is something as simple as chatting with workers at Bissinger’s Concessions to find out why their apple dumplings are so good.

I always revel in their food at the Bloomsburg Fair, where they make their dumplings right in front of you as you wait.

So when I heard they’d be setting up a stand in October at the Ashland Applefest, I made sure to pay a visit to learn the secret of making an irresistible dumpling. For the sake of full enjoyment, I don’t count the calories.

I try to convince myself I’m doing the right thing. Apples are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber. Research suggests apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Apples, alone, are good for us. The dumpling part is questionable. But what the heck. Go for it, I said to myself. I don’t drink or smoke. I might as well be addicted to something tasty. So I bought their special offer — six dumplings for $20.

If they come up with a Dumplings Anonymous support group, I promise to enroll.

Anyway, that’s a typical day in retirement.

Of course, maybe I didn’t totally retire. I didn’t leave the profession completely. I’m still associated with the Times News, taking photos and writing occasional stories. I’m not alone in that regard. Other veteran writers and fellow newspaper retirees contribute to the newspaper every day. Their voices and talent shine.

There’s an expression, “once a journalist, always a journalist.”

I believe it’s true. It runs through the veins. We can’t be helped.

Journalism is a relentless, challenging mission. A noble, lifelong pursuit. In a way, too hard to leave.

For some of us, it’s as addictive as a dumpling and often just as sweet.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Email Donald R. Serfass at the Times News at


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