What a Shipwreck Taught Me about Retirement: Part V


I couldn’t help being impressed by the esprit de corps of the Grafton crew. Early on, they decided to abandon the tradition of top-down rank aboard ship for a more democratic partnership on land.

They still elected a leader, and, interestingly enough, unanimously chose Captain Musgrave. The only caveat was that they could change their minds in the future and take a new vote.

Part of the beauty of Druett’s narrative is seeing how the Grafton crew worked together, played together, prayed and worshipped together. And, when the size of their new boat prevented all of them from escaping at the same time, they chose a plan that would best insure an eventual reunion (I’m not going to spoil the ending for you).

Again, the crew of the Invercauld was a study in contrast. Two of the first to die were the cabin boys, dead because the captain and first mate used them to provide for their needs first. And, instead of working together, the Invercauld crew split into small bands who pursued their own agendas, including one unit referred to as the “cannibalistic group” (yep, you read that right).

Reinforced by Druett’s narrative, Charlotte and my most important lesson in retirement became our most important observation in the pandemic. We can’t isolate indefinitely.

Friends and family are necessary not only for enjoying life but for sustaining it. We succeed together or we don’t succeed at all.

The Bible teaches that. And, through their actions, so did the men of the Grafton.


During the summer and fall of 2020, I published or revised four books. I’ve listed them below:

The Best Is Yet To Be Journal: Write Your Way to a Creative, Happy Retirement

Bicycling through the Midlife Crisis

I Saw Jesus This Morning

I Believe in You, Santa: Reflections on Life and Writing

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