While I am delighted to get many comments and emails from people who agree with the majority of what I write for newspapers and this blog, I am hardly naïve enough to think that no one disagrees with me.  In fact, there are some who take great issue with some of my stances on education and to a large degree I know who they are and what their agenda is.

And they have every right to whatever opinion they have.  Which is the wonder and beauty of democracy.

However, it is always amusing when I hear that I am only the mouthpiece or puppet for first one group or another.  Or even better that I am on someone’s payroll.

So let me assure one and all that I do not take directions from any group or organization, nor am I on anyone’s payroll.  (And my bank account certainly reflects this.)  As I have often said, “I don’t have a wife, a dog or a job, so I’m not with anyone.”  This allows me the freedom to set my own hours, go where I want to go when I want to go there, write what I want to write when I want to write it and to take a nap anytime I choose.  And on occasion I almost feel guilty for being so unfettered–but the guilt doesn’t last long.

I am one of those senior citizens on a fixed income.  On the fourth Wednesday of each month Uncle Sam deposits a Social Security check in my BB & T bank account.  I am very thankful because these days it is my only income.

Since I have an appointment with my tax man next week, I’ve been rounding up info to give him.  Last year I drove 18,787 miles in pursuit of my efforts to learn more about education and I spent another $1,619.77 on supplies, postage, paper, etc. and $498.03 on lodging.  Some retirees travel to places they’ve never been, I travel to schools and meetings about education.  They do what they want to do.  I do what I want to do.

Occasionally a group I speak to will give me some gas money.  I got $100 last week.  I am grateful for this of course, but not expectant.

Some probably think I’m a bit on the weird side for spending my retirement this way.  Well, I was an avid golfer for decades and spent Lord knows how much on golf clubs, green fees, lessons, books, video tapes and travel to courses far and wide.  Suddenly one day it dawned on me that what was really weird was worrying about whether it took me four or five or six stokes to get from the tee to a small hole in the ground 375 yards away.

And the golf clubs, stacked neatly in my orange and blue golf bag went into the closet and I simply decided that I would be weird in another kind of way.