Calhoun Magazine

January - February 2017

Dalton Daily CItizen, Calhoun Magazine

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10 | Calhoun Magazine | January/February 2017 Calhoun. He also moved his mother, Gladys Hays, to Calhoun, where she was a long-time member of the Calhoun First United Methodist Church. He says he spent a month twiddling his thumbs after retirement. "I was horribly bored," Hays says. He began giving hours to a local food bank, Ray of Hope. "There was more that I really wanted to do," he says. One day, he was reading the Calhoun Times and saw a help wanted ad for Meals on Wheels—a meal delivery service for homebound seniors, and he's been delivering meals for them ever since. "I like to learn things," Hays says. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin ZLWKDQ,QGXVWULDO(QJLQHHULQJGHJUHH1RZKH takes classes at Berry College in Rome. He really enjoyed his recent history and literature classes, and is planning to take an art class in the future. The classes are free to retirees. He was recently inspired E\DVKRUWQRYHOZULWWHQE\(UQHVW+HPLQJZD\ in 1951. It was Hemingway's last major work of ¿FWLRQWREHSXEOLVKHGGXULQJWKHDXWKRU¶VOLIHWLPH ,WWHOOVWKHVWRU\RIDQDJLQJ¿VKHUPDQZKRVWUXJJOHV with a giant marlin. In The Old Man and The Sea, Hemingway wrote: No one should be alone in their old age. That line resonates with Jim Hays. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and credited by the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Hemingway became an international celebrity due to the book. Without giving the story away, Hays says, "You will get hooked when you read it." The next book on his reading list is Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was recommended by a friend. His favorite author is Kenneth Roberts, who wrote the historical novels, Northwest Passage and Oliver Wiswell. Since retiring, Hays has discovered a love of reading like he had never enjoyed before in his life. And he has found IXO¿OOPHQWVHUYLQJRWKHUV "Jim is a real asset to the Senior Center," say Ann Bradford, Director of the Senior Center. "He always goes beyond what is expected of him, and he is always willing to lend a hand wherever he is needed. Many times he puts the seniors before himself. The clients and staff enjoy his sense of humor and laughing with him. He is such a compassionate, caring person, this is more of a calling for him than a job." He participates with the other seniors at the Center when they go shopping and other activities by volunteering to drive. Jim says his girlfriend, Joyce Silvers of Calhoun, is a true Southern Belle, and he enjoys spending time with her. They both attend Calhoun First Apostolic Church on Newtown Road. He says that retirement is about being happy and doing things that bring him joy, and for Jim, that includes helping others and making others feel valued. They both attend the First Apostolic Ministries of Calhoun Church. "Retirement is about being happy and making all the calls," he says. "I've had some success in my life. I believe it has come from living an ethical, honest, and moral life," Hays explains. "And working very, very hard. I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. and go home only after second shift was already running. It was a very hard way of life, but in manufacturing you make something of value. You have to go out and do it. Set your alarm clock. I don't know how else to say it. No one else can do it for you." He hops out of the van again and tromps through dried leaves to another front door. Knock, knock, knock. There is a chill in the morning air, so he puts his hand in his jacket pocket after knocking and waits patiently for the door to open. "Good morning! How are you doing?" It is a simple act—the delivery of a hot meal and a brief exchange of words—but this is an important exchange for both parties. Back in the van, I ask him what he says to the clients.

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