From time to time Ye OLD Columnist (YOC) hears unusual conversations coming from my home’s back yard.

Most of the time, the talk is among Sam and Susan Squirrel and my six-year-old Papillon dog, Lacy. The trio often talk about topics that seem to be popular in today’s world.

The most recent conversation centered on retirement for Sam and Susan. Here’s what YOC overheard as Sam was leading  the conversation -- “Well, Lacy, I guess if we live long enough, all of us will face retirement. Susan and I have been thinking about it in recent months. I’m 66, and Susan is 65.  We’ve  set aside some savings, and we’ve made some good investments. Plus both of us have Social Security.”

Before Sam could continue, Lacy interrupted, “Gosh, Sam, I didn’t realize Susan and you were that near retirement. I had both of you pegged as being in your late 50s.”

Susan then spoke, “ Lacy, thanks for the compliment.  We were born in the late 1940s.”

Sam chimed in, “Lacy the thing that has been eating on our minds is moving into Assisted  Living Quarters at the Fort Worth Zoo.”

A  bewildered look spread over Lacy’s face as she asked, “You mean to tell me the Zoo in Fort Worth has a place for squirrels to live? I hope it’s not in the reptile section.”

“Oh, no, it’s not with the snakes. It’s where the birds live,” Susan explained with a laugh.  “We don’t want to be a dessert for a rattlesnake.”

“Would you have to pay rent on your apartment high in a tree,” Lacy inquired with a concerned look?

Sam responded, “We could work, picking up peanuts and pecans for part of our rent. That’s what we hope to work out with the Zoo’s people-like-persons.”

“Sounds to me you’ve thought this thing through,” Lacy said with a relief spreading across her worried face.

Lacy  continued, “I’ll talk with Dr. C. He’s been retired for a number of years, and he might have some ideas for you. I might add he doesn’t know too much about picking up peanuts and pecans and living in an area of a Zoo.”

Sam and Susan laughed as they began the climb up a tall pecan tree to their home of many years. Lacy slowly entered her home, headed  towards her water bowl in the kitchen. She was  mumbling, “Gosh, I certainly would hate to lose Sam and Susan as my neighbors. They are the best friends I’ve got.”

Ranger College

It’s good to have Ranger College as a neighbor.  As you probably know, one of the college’s campuses is now located in the old Piggly Wiggly Building  at the intersection of  River North Blvd. and the Lingleville Rd.

Ye OLD Columnist  (YOC)  had a  brief  tour of the facility a few days ago. I plan to return in the next day or two for a more extensive tour. 

Dr. Bill Campion, president of  Ranger College, and I have been friends for about 45 years. We first met  in the late 1960s or early 1970s,  when he was a doctoral student at East Texas State in Commerce (now Texas A&M University-Commerce). At that time, I was a professor of  Educational Administration at the Commerce university.

Changing hands

The Pizza Place on South Harbin is under new ownership. The owners for the past 31 years,  Sherry and  David Dickerson, have sold the popular eating place to a Stephenville family – Jim and Janet Evans Tucker and their son, Mike.

The restaurant has been in its present location for 11 years. It was previously located on West Washington St. YOC can attest to the quality of the pizza – it has been super good.

My first pizza was eaten at the Washington St.  location when it first opened in 1965 under another owner.    

’TIL NEXT TIME – “We always have time for the things we put first.” – Anonymous.

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville.