When Uncle Bob decided to leave Florida


          My recollection is that Uncle Bob loved the Chesapeake Bay with a passion exceeded only by his love for his family. One of the consequences of his love for the Bay was that he was extremely reluctant to move to Florida to continue his career with Martin Marietta, even to the point of resigning from Martin Marietta rather than move. It didn’t take Martin Marietta long to realize how much they needed Uncle Bob after he resigned. So they came back, hat in hand, with a financial offer that they believed was lucrative enough to lure him to Florida. Well, I was surprised that Uncle Bob left Maryland, but I knew that it wasn’t about the money, because Uncle Bob just wasn’t the kind of person to be swayed by financial enticements. Uncle Bob must have realized how much Martin Marietta needed him and he would move to Florida, if that was what it took to help his old employer out of a jam.


          Many times during the years he was in Florida working for Martin Marietta, I heard Uncle Bob explain that when he retired, the first thing he was going to do was leave Florida and buy a house with a rocking chair on the front porch. He commented further by saying that after a good long while he just might rock a little bit. The time finally came for Uncle Bob to retire, but he didn’t leave Florida! When asked about this, he explained that Aunt Jerry had just a little bit of time left before she would qualify for the Florida State Teachers’ Pension Plan, so they were staying just long enough to do that. Well, I was surprised that Uncle Bob stayed in Florida, but I knew that it wasn’t about the money, because Uncle Bob just wasn’t the kind of person to be swayed by financial enticements. Uncle Bob must have realized how important it was for Aunt Jerry to have her own pension and how much self-esteem women gain from having an independent source of income.


          Again, it didn’t take Martin Marietta long to realize how much they needed Uncle Bob after he retired. When they found out he was still in Florida, they made some discreet inquiries about whether he would be willing to come back as an independent consultant. Well, I was surprised that Uncle Bob went back to work for Martin Marietta, but I knew it wasn’t about the money, because Uncle Bob just wasn’t the kind of person to be swayed by financial enticements. Uncle Bob must have realized that as long as he was in Florida, he might as well keep himself busy and what better way than part-time consulting for Martin Marietta.


          After Aunt Jerry had qualified the Teachers’ Pension, I found out that Uncle Bob was staying in Florida and was continuing to work for Martin Marietta as a private consultant! I found out that between his pension and what Martin Marietta was paying him to be a consultant, Uncle Bob was making more money than he had ever made in his entire life. Well, I was surprised that Uncle Bob stayed in Florida, but I knew it wasn’t about the money, because Uncle Bob just wasn’t the kind of person to be swayed by financial enticements.


          Then came the crushing realization. The man with whom I had spent so many hours trading barbs and jabs about Florida and Floridians was staying in Florida. Not because Martin Marietta needed him. Not because he needed to kill time until Aunt Jerry qualified for her pension. Not because he needed the money.


          I think Uncle Bob likes Florida.

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