I have many hobbies but as most adults discover they take a back seat to earning a living or raising a family. As a parent of four kids, (1 boy, 3 girls) I have found time to support and encourage them in their many endeavors, as a T-ball coach, 4-H leader, Cub and Boy Scout leader, and Girl Scout cookie sales father. And of course, I have always been active in my church. For years, I would occasionally squeeze out a small amount of time to pursue my hobbies, always wishing I could spend more time enjoying them.
As I said, I have many hobbies. Over the years, some of my many hobbies have been camping, outdoor cooking, bass fishing, rock collecting, model railroading, building model sailing ships, reading mystery novels centered on lawyers or game wardens, and my favorite reading material, historical fiction.
Of course, my main hobby is family history. I first became interested in my family tree after reading “Roots” back in the 80’s. I come by it naturally, as my mother had been researching our family history since 1946, and as many Swishers know, she spent her entire life corresponding with relatives and building our family tree. After “Roots,” I would visit my folks and always the question I would ask my mother was “have you got any more family records I could look at.” Her response was always, “you have seen them all.” I knew better and would say “Mom, just bring me another box to look at” and invariably in those boxes I would find new gems I had not seen before.
Fast forward through the years and my family research, would continue as I had time in my busy schedule, but I was not able to commit to steady research until I retired. My mother passed away in 2004 and I inherited all those many boxes, and I’m still finding gems in them.
In 2009 I retired and discovered that I am busier now than I ever was when I was working. There is just something about being retired, that causes one to say, “now that I am retired, I can do—.” How true that is. In August 2013, after attending the Kansas Swisher Reunion, I started work on the Swisher Reunion DVD set. By the time I finished it in time for the Oklahoma Swisher Reunion in August 2014 I have estimated that I spent approximately 3,000 hours on the project. That’s more than full time (which would only be about 2,000 hours) so, so much for taking it easy in retirement.
Then there is my volunteer work for my church. For the last twenty years I have been a church coordinator for Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, that provides gifts to the children of incarcerated parents, since it is impossible for them to do so themselves. That process keeps me busy every fall, and three years ago, I was asked to become the Area Coordinator for Angel Tree. That means I not only coordinate that work in my local church, but also now am responsible for finding churches to sponsor Angel Tree in an eight county area. That volunteer work is really a “full time” job from the beginning of October to Christmas. So much for retirement, but I would not have it any other way.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that I have been working on a Christian board game that I am developing and that I hope to be able to publish. The idea for it came back in the late 70’s and had to be put on hold since I did not have the time to devote to it. After retirement, I determined to bring it to completion last year, but just did not have the time to do so. Too many other retirement projects, so it was put on hold again. My goal now is to publish it by next August. I wonder if in my leisure years of retirement, I can meet that goal.
And then there is my continued Swisher Family History research, which I would love to put into print just like I did with my mother’s life story, and the Swisher Reunion DVD set. Anybody know where I can find a few extra hours in my leisurely retirement?