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Starting Over at 55 (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 15


DW is 55 Plus & married for 30 years. He once nearly lost his wife in a horseback riding accident. He wondered if he could start over if...


Jack Doesn't Often Need This Alarm Clock

Jack's internal alarm clock, trained by years in the Army, more years of getting up early for college classes, and even more years of getting up before the sun to teach high school, got Jack up before six in the morning his first Monday morning living at Buzby Beach. Jack grumbled and rolled over to look at his clock-radio. Flopping onto his back, Jack stared at the ceiling. His hand never once reached over to the empty space beside him on the bed. It had learned not to bother.

With an exaggerated sigh, Jack heaved his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. A short time later, he walked out the front door wearing running shorts, a bright orange wicking t-shirt, his New Balance walking shoes, and his Garmin Forerunner wrist GPS. Jack looked east toward the ocean and squinted into the rising sun. He thought about going back inside to grab his car keys so he could get his sunglasses out of the Mustang but decided not to.

“I’ll pick up a hat and another set of sunglasses sometime today,” he promised himself.

Walkabout on Buzby Island


Jack stepped out onto the grass and spent a few minutes stretching. When he felt stretched out enough, he did twenty-five push-ups that would have made his drill sergeant proud, followed by twenty-five crunches. He’d do another twenty-five of each when he got back from his walk.

The route Jack chose for his first official workout walk on Buzby Beach took him down Fourth Street to Ocean Street where he took a left and headed north toward the county park. He followed the road around the park and came out on Bridge Street.

Jack turned left on Bridge Street and then right onto Center Street past the Buzby Sports Shop and the Island Food Market and Deli. The food market was already open and Ms. Skytte, the owner, was sweeping the walkway by the front door. She looked up when Jack walked by and waved.

Jack waved back and called out, “Good morning.”

“Looks like it’s gonna be,” Ms. Skytte called back.

Two blocks later Jack was back at his house. After doing the rest of his push-ups and crunches, Jack did his cool down stretches before heading into the house. He’d worked up quite a sweat in the warm, humid morning air and felt a swim would be a great way to cool down before hitting the shower.

Taking A Swim After His Walk

Aunt Caroline had her pool custom built. It resembled two sixteen by thirty-two-foot oval pools that intersect in the shape of an L.

In the end of the L closest to the house was a set of steps with a handrail that lead into the shallow part of the pool, three-feet gradually sloping to five-feet. The cross-section of the L was five-feet deep from end to end. Aunt Caroline had been tall enough that this just reached her shoulders when she would stand or walk in the pool. It took ten lengths of the pool to make one hundred yards.

Jack walked straight through the house, out the back door to the screen room, and finally out the screen room to the pool. Aunt Caroline had treasured her privacy, and her back yard was surrounded by a six-foot-high wooden fence backed by a thick evergreen hedge that towered at least a foot above the top of the fence. Knowing no one could see into the back yard, Jack decided not to bother changing into a bathing suit and left his sweaty walking attire on the pool deck beside the outdoor shower swimmers were supposed to use to wash off before walking down the steps into the pool.

After letting the refreshing water of the shower wash the sweatiness from him, Jack walked down the steps into the pool and waded to the deep end. In the deep end, Jack dipped himself entirely under the water and then floated slowly to the top, letting his body adjust to the coolness before beginning to swim laps slowly.

It had been some time since Jack had done any serious swimming. The only pool they’d had at the house in Goldsboro had been an eighteen-foot diameter; four-foot deep vinyl pool held up by an inflatable ring. Meagan and Brayden had given him the pool for Father’s Day when Meagan was eleven. The pool had lasted three summers before one of the seams gave way and it flooded the back yard. He and Cheryl had talked about getting an in-ground pool but as the kids got older and spent more of their summers away at one camp or another the idea never gained traction.

Instead of putting in a pool, they’d bought a small sailboat and a pop-up camper, both of which they sold when Brayden left for VMI. Cheryl had never enjoyed the sailboat, and without the kids along, camping lost most of its allure. If Jack and Cheryl were going to go away for a weekend, they’d preferred a nice hotel.

Aunt Caroline’s pool was the size it was because that’s what fit in her backyard. Jack found himself turning a lot. He made about ten lengths of the pool and decided that was enough for the first day. Climbing from the pool, Jack realized he hadn’t grabbed a towel on his way through the house. Picking up his clothes by the outdoor shower, he padded into the house, being careful not to slip in the kitchen floor, and hurried to the master bathroom for a proper shower.

There's Nothing Like A Cool Dip In The Water

Starting Over at 55 continues in Chapter 16.

  • Starting Over at 55 Chapter 16
    Jack met Georgia for an innocent cup of coffee, more to make his mother happy than for any other reason. A date for a picnic dinner was not what he expected to leave the Parisian Bean with that morning.

© 2015 DW Davis

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