Old Days and New Ways: Michael Emery
For those people who have retired because of their age or they just want to spend time doing something new and exciting you will definitely identify with this story. What happens when you are forced to retire because of your age, phased out, budget cuts or just plain laid off and you are not ready to call it in? What happens when after 27 years you have no idea where your life is going or what you want to do? As the days inch by and get closer to your final day of work just how do you feel and what emotions does it evoke?
John Ross is about to walk out of the newsroom of the Post Chronicle for the last time. Having mixed feelings, cleaning out desk and removing pictures from the wall, he not only leaves blank spaces but ones within his heart too. Knowing that or feeling that after he leaves no one will really remember him or his work, lets readers know that at times he is quite cynical. But, one close friend Clay stays near and for some reason finds his way to the local Mc Donald’s and other hangouts just to shoot the breeze, catch up with John Ross and remain friends. But, within this quiet town lurks a killer who not only vandalizes and breaks into homes but also will do something so heinous that John and many others will not stop until they find him.
Coming home from his last day he is surprised by a visit from his son and daughter and a whole slew of friends celebrating his retirement and hoping that he will enjoy life. But, John has mixed feelings and has no idea what is next for him but sometimes life brings you different choices and the events that follow will help conduct what he does but will it be permanent or just for a short time. Living life, going to the gym, out to eat, walks and talking with neighbors seems fine at the start but will John ever feel fulfilled? One walk in the park brings him a special addition to his family a precious dog that he finds. Naming the dog Whiskers and really keeping him close brings him not only a close tie with the dog but hope that the real owner will come forward or at least allow him to keep this precious animal. Doing what he can to find the person yet hoping he can keep Whiskers. What does happen is quite extraordinary. How do you take you old ways ands turn them into new days is the primary question?
When John and his wife Sally return home from an outing little did they expect the carnage done to their home. Someone broke in and destroyed so much and took things that meant something to both of them. Other break-ins followed as we now meet the neighbors, Hank, Bert, Preston and Wilma hoping that someone has a clue as to what might have happened. Suggesting that they create a neighborhood watch is one way to try and stop what is going on but will they ever get it started? Added in we learn more about John’s two children and realize that Brody his son has money problems and he and Sally have to decide whether to continue helping him. Something about what his son says and asks does not ring true and enabling someone his age, almost 40 is not the answer.
There are many issues that are brought to light by author Michael Embry. The first is friendship and loyalties, which are tested throughout the book. Next, is family trust. Alzheimer’s and early on-set dementia is one important issue when we meet Bernard Shipley and elderly man who loves the park and tries to protect it from the teens that are taking it over. Many people do not realize that people with dementia often forget where they are, say things that they do not realize might offend others and their behavior is unsettling at times. My mom had Alzheimer’s and you need to keep your sense of humor in tact and not ever get angry. She said things that you won’t believe and like with Bernard you need to not get angry. Added in the author brings in what happens when Bert is asked to set up the first meeting with the Neighborhood Watch and fails to send out the message. John is angry and often overreacts to the faults of others not thinking that there might be an underlying reason for Bert’s lack of initiative.
Never discount the power of the elderly when things go wrong. With their cell phones in their hands when Bert Reliford and John Ross come across the men responsible for the murder of Bernard and the vandalism what these two do you just won’t believe as author Michael Embry lets readers know that age means nothing when you need to get something done and just because they are over 60 does not mean they are down and out. I love the fact that he makes seniors smart, viable and able to handle it all!
When things settle down and John Ross understands what happened with Bert another meeting is called and the Neighborhood Watch just might go into affect. As one member of the community is laid to rest due to the murder and another because of illness, what John Ross does will bring tears to your eyes and remind readers just what a kindhearted and community based man he is. Sally is wife is great, supportive and can handle his moods and his ways. Wilma is Bert’s wife and the four of them are really great characters that you want to see more of. Added in Bert and John are not bad at helping the police solve crimes. Maybe they can be adjunct detectives in some way if the author brings them back again. I would love to see what John’s son is really into and why he always needs money. Get to know his daughter better and then hopefully John will find his next niche in life.
A story that is about real life and can really happen and a community riddled with crime and yet finding time for each other. Old Ways and New Days there are many more new days to come but when John is asked to sign papers at the newspaper he realizes the old saying might apply: Out of sight out of mind! In many cases that is so true when you retire you are forgotten. But John Ross: I don’t think that really applies to you! The last line in the book is priceless as Georgina is planting Tulip Bulbs and says as to why and I quote: It is something I can do today to make my future beautify as well.” Well said! Everyone needs to do something each day to make his or her future brighter and better. Positive thinking goes a long way!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine