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Barry Coe

Barry Coe is singing a brand new ‘Summer Song’

Dreams, swaying in the summer breeze — “Summer Song”, Chad & Jeremy, 1964

As part of the British music invasion of 1964, “Summer Song” captured the #7 spot on the Billboard music charts in North America. A soft, almost wistful reflection of summer, the song resonated with millions of young teenagers like me. Summer is special when you’re young: no school, weekends at the cottage and exciting thoughts about the social scene in high school in the fall.

Summer certainly is a brief pause in Mother Nature’s scheme of things. As “Summer Song” infers, the season is a time for dreaming, almost a longing for those happy experiences of the past.

This summer is my first as a retiree and I must confess it’s been a unique one. I’ve been amazed at how quickly time passes. One day folds into another and then a week has gone by. There seems to be a new urgency to do things and enjoy them because you now realize that time is not infinite. As a well meaning colleague observed: “Gee Barry you only have a few more summers to enjoy, you better make the most of them!”

I’ve noticed that the work world which was so predominant for so many years in my life is fading. I didn’t forecast the immediacy or depth of that separation.  However, it reinforces the retirement expert’s view that “it is imperative to reinvent oneself and continually engage the next generation.”

As author James Herriot once commented: “The past is a wonderful place to visit and take comfort, but you cannot live there.” Great advice to anyone looking to the future. Sure it’s acceptable to continue your comfortable traditions. I still love attending church at St. John’s on Sunday mornings, the Book of Common Prayer and wearing a tie.  But now I wear a bow-tie … a new fashion statement for me.

I still love my morning dose of newspapers; however, I now go online for my Hamilton Community News to see what’s happening in my town — an adaptation to evolving technology. I’ve decided that reinventing yourself is a blend of whom you were and who you want to become.

The greatest joy that I have experienced the past three months has been as a public relations consultant and volunteer board member with the Canadian Club of Hamilton and the CHML Children’s Fund. Both organizations provide an opportunity to engage and I find them intellectually stimulating.

Walking through the doors at CHML is like going home again. Working with talented young people who have a common value of public service and compassion.

Savour this summer as it will pass like a summer breeze and become another cherished memory as the winds of autumn arrive much earlier than anticipated.

Barry Coe is recently retired after careers in the media and charity sectors.

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