I have been a classroom teacher for 39 years now and had hoped to be able to make a career of it. Sadly, teaching just hasn't worked out, so I am afraid I will have to step aside at the end of the current term. If I knew how to put a sad face into a newspaper column I would insert one here.
Even though my time in the classroom will come to an end, my bills will not. I am still in a death match with cancer. I think I am winning at the moment -- praise the Lord -- but I do have Stage 4 metastatic prostate disease and I require daily medication, physical therapy and frequent trips to MD Anderson for treatment and evaluation.
Plus, I am still married to my lovely wife, Lisa, have one child still in college and my daughter's wedding is coming up in August. I can't just quit work and sit around the house, so for the past few months I have been praying that I would find a new part-time job. Since one has not materialized out of thin air, I decided to create my own. I knew that, to keep my interest, the job would have to be one that I enjoyed so I began to think about my passions in life.
I love the Lord and have vowed to preach the Word at every opportunity. I am not sure my health will ever give me enough time to become fully ordained, but I will continue to pursue those opportunities. Of course, I will still write my columns as long as someone will publish them, and I will continue my speaking schedule. But I still need something else.
So what do I enjoy? I love travel. It is my favorite activity -- and I love planning trips. I love people. I love history. I love telling stories. So what, I asked myself, could I do to earn a little walking around money that would incorporate all those things? After much deliberation I have come up with the perfect second career for Darrell Huckaby. Or is it the third or fourth career?
I am going to be a trip organizer. Formed an LLC and registered with the Secretary of State and everything. Even got a brand-new Federal Tax ID number. I didn't even have to ask permission. It's a great country isn't it? I am free to take a risk and fall flat on my face and lose everything I have in an attempt to make an honest buck like so many before me have done.
Now you might be wondering what a trip organizer does. It's quite simple. I organize trips. I am not a travel agent, so don't call me to book a cruise or get on a cheap flight to London. I am not a tour guide, either. I will basically be putting together trips and inviting folks I know and friends I haven't met yet to go on vacation with me. Cool, huh?
Shoot fire. If you have a group of folks that you want to take somewhere let me know. I'll put your trip together and even go with you. When the Huckabys travel, we travel well and we know how to save big bucks.
I already have my first trip planned and almost filled. A bunch of us are going to Boston at the end of May to relive those heady days of the American Revolution and even see a witch or two up in Salem. I 'spect we'll eat lobster once or twice and may even drop in on the Kennedys.
In June, I am going to finish up my baseball bucket list with a trip that will include Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Take me out to the ballgame, y'all.
In fall, I am going on a War Between the States excursion and will hit just about every major battlefield between Fort Sumter and Gettysburg. I guess I'll have to stop off at Appomattox on my way home, but I won't want to. Naturally, that excursion will take place during Georgia's bye week.
Now tell me that ain't cool? In 2014, I already have trips planned to the Holy Land, Europe, the Natchez Trace and a World War II-focused expedition to London, Normandy, Paris and Berlin.
Imagine that. This time last year, doctors in three states were setting odds at 98 percent that I would pass from this earth within six months, and here I am planning to start a business and see the world -- and show it to other folks.
Now I can't tell you how to sign for any of these trips -- or how to have me plan yours -- because this is a column in which I share my life with my readers and not an advertisement. But you can find an advertisement in the pages of today's paper that will give you all the information you need.
I tell you, I feel like Minnie Pearl at the Grand Ole Opry. "I'm just so proud to be here!" God is good. Indeed.
And by the way: Do y'all have any idea how much weddings cost these days?
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.