First Person: World traveler returns to roots

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Retirement for David Griffin means taking care of his honey-do list.

Liliana Castillo

David Griffin traveled across the world while serving in the Air Force. He enjoyed England, where he met his wife, the beaches in Spain and California. But when he retired out of Cannon Air Force Base, he said he found home. And now living in Clovis, Griffin, 72, spends his time taking care of his honey-do list and taking donuts to the seniors at the Melrose Senior Citizens Center.

Friends and donuts: I pick up a dozen and take them for the old-timers for coffee in the morning. They’ve been good to me. They let me have a good meal and we’re all friends. It’s like the neighborhood I grew up in. I know where they are coming from and they know where I’m coming from.

Not-so-retired: When you retire, you only think you retire. You have a honey-do list you have to take care of. My wife and I will have been married 50 years on March 31. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. But I can’t complain. Ninety percent of the game is a positive attitude, no matter what you do.

Apples and peaches: I grew up on a ranch in Arkansas with three brothers and four sisters. We had 300 apple trees and 200 peach trees. We’d go around selling them during the Depression. If my dad came across someone without a job, he’d give them whatever he could. He’d let people hunt on his land. They’d get a rabbit or chipmunk and go home happy to make stew. When I was 18, I wanted to see the world so I took off.

Family life: I have an excellent wife who has stood behind me everywhere I went. We had two daughters. One died at 32 from a kidney transplant. It hurt, of course. You have to get on your knees and ask God for help to move you forward. You can’t live on the bottom of the barrel.

World traveler: I served in the Air Force for 28 years. I spent a year in Vietnam. That was a year spent on my knees. I’ve seen some things that’s make you cry. That kind of thing will make you thankful for each day God gives you.

Traffic control: I love Melrose and Clovis. I love small quiet places. I’ve driven in New York City, London, Paris, Los Angeles to name a few. I was stuck on the highway in LA for two hours thinking “If I ever get out of here, I’m never coming back.” That’s one reason I love Melrose; there’s four stop signs and one red light. When you’re old, you like to try to go down to a slower gear. I’ve gone 100 miles an hour all my life. It’s hard to slow down.