It was an old mining town, once boasting of a bustling main street, filled with commotion, commerce and conversation, where expectations of future success and advancement were brimming with hope and activity. People said that it would always be the bellwether of the country; as McKenna’s Pass went, so goes the nation.
The origin of its name was somewhat in dispute. Old Timers who harkened of past days of glory tried to inject their hoarse voices over the din of youth to get their two cents in, that the origination of the town’s name came from when the days of ore traders would pass through to cities of greater significance, and McKenna just happened to pause for a few days longer than most, and thus the designation.
Others of a more youthful persuasion attributed the misnomer and thought it concealed the darker side of the town’s council, where “Past” was grammatically mispronounced in their minds despite the prominent sign at the north entryway of the town; but then, who among those who live in a place ever notice the signs coming in? Growth, future prospects and the promise of unceasing expectations would outpace even the greatest of cities. “They’ll see,” was always the reply when doubts surfaced; always, there was a glint of mischief pervading, as if the “insiders” knew something beyond what the rest of the nation didn’t.
Somewhere along the line, something happened. No one knows what, or how, or even when. The first sign was the grocery store that closed; the owner’s wife suddenly died, and it was like the oxygen was sucked out of a vibrant life, and without warning an implosion left a devastation beyond repair. Then, graffiti appeared; people never suspected the kids from their own neighborhoods, as the pride of McKenna’s Pass was beyond such acts of hooliganism. Other towns and cities may have been ashamed of their residents and nefarious neighbors who engaged in untold acts in the dead of night; this town never had to look away, or so the thought was. Then a gas explosion ripped through the Southwestern end of Main Street; rumors began to surface; the Town Council’s senior member resigned with charges of kickbacks.
Change was in the air; inevitably, future expectations once anticipated by youthful folly was butting heads with the reality of present circumstances. People could smell the aroma of death or, if not such a dramatic and sudden cessation, certainly decay around the edges.
Medical conditions and changes in one’s future plans have a tendency to do just that. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that one’s invincible plans of latter years of youthful enthusiasm are now requiring the tinkering of repair and replacement, the view towards change can be merely a picture window needing an alteration of interior design. Medical conditions can prompt the necessity for change; and while change is often difficult to accept and undertake, one cannot fight against those forces beyond one’s control.
When the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker begins to experience an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
For, as the townspeople in McKenna’s Pass may have thought that the future would always be one of growth, advancement and greater achievement, the reality is that contraction often follows expansion, and the certitude that life never remains static is a truth where youth’s folly ignores the wisdom of ages, as the empty buildings and hollow passageways echoing of silent plans left unfulfilled reverberate through the once-promising days of a town we knew as “McKenna’s Pass”.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire