Goodbye to the Goldmine: Longtime St. Charles jeweler to retire
If not for Jay Montgomery, there's no telling what kind of engagement or wedding rings I would have come up with for my wife 32 years ago.
Montgomery was a new guy on the block in opening the Goldmine in downtown St. Charles at that time. He was new to the St. Charles merchant game and I was new to this ritual called getting engaged with the intent to marry.
One might say we helped each other. And I certainly had no clue about jewelry, so he essentially became a lifesaver.
He's been plugging away at the Goldmine for 33 years now, but he sees a finish line in the distance by declaring he will retire at the end of the year.
And what's his retirement plan?
"This sounds awful, but between being a business owner and a halfway decent parent, I never had time to develop any hobbies or other interests," the 56-year-old Montgomery said.
Because he doesn't care much for just sitting around, it doesn't sound like TV binge watching or fishing is in the future.
"I'll find something," Montgomery said. "I never had time for golf, but maybe I would try that because I do like being outside."
Don't think that Montgomery is not giving his post-jewelry life some thought.
"When I was at a Cubs game recently, I even asked the usher what kind of hours he worked," Montgomery said. "It sounded like a four-hour work day, with some other activities that make it an 8-hour day, but it's not a bad job."
So, he's leaning toward going back to work?
"I've been reading about it a lot in trying to prepare, and many retirees say they are happiest when they just go back to work," Montgomery said. "If I could get a real job with no responsibilities, it would be nice. But that's hard to imagine."
For now, Montgomery wants to quit operating a jewelry shop while his health is intact.
"For many years, there were several jewelry shops in the area, but now, not so many," he said. "I told my wife, maybe that's a signal it is time to stop."
Weather fosters music
Can we possibly bottle the weather from the past few nice weekends and use it whenever we'd like?
The nice weather has been an incredible blessing for outdoor music venues or even when checking out featured bands at restaurants or taverns. The past two weekends, the area has been bustling with live entertainment, from the St. Charles Jazz Weekend, to an array of different types of music throughout Geneva and Batavia.
On a recent round through Geneva, we saw EvenFlow shaking with a rock band, Aurelio's Pizza offering the pleasant classics from singer and keyboard player Pat Schiller, and Fiora's showcasing excellent blues from harmonica player Rob Stone and Sam Lay, who was fighting a sore throat, but still delivered the goods that have earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And to top if off, a small band playing jazz music was parked in front of Geneva Wine Seller.
Batavia was keeping the banks of the Fox River hopping with live music at Pal Joey's and The Range Grill and Tap, while Kiss the Sky record shop was vibrating with live rhythm and blues.
We love our music in these parts, and when the weather says yes, we all benefit.
Rooting for Jeffery
Even though "The Voice" music competition show producers probably told Jeffery Austin to say he was from Chicago, those at St. Charles North High School know better.
Austin, known as Jeffery Austin McClelland when he graduated from North in 2009, auditioned last week with the song "Lay Me Down" and got coach Gwen Stefani to turn her chair and keep him on the show for now.
Most amazing of all, when Stefani asked about his background, Austin said the audition was his first performance since some of his high school plays.
He stopped by his old high school a couple of weeks ago to visit with students and sing a song during some homecoming festivities.
A real warrior
Joel Fishman, a 2005 graduate of Geneva High School, has impressed his Naval officers aboard the USS Harry S. Truman.
Petty officer Fishman earned Warrior of the Day honors recently, getting that recognition from among a crew of more than 3,000 sailors.
One would think it would be difficult to stand out, considering all of the tasks and coordination it must take for an aircraft carrier like the Harry S. Truman to operate smoothly.
Congratulations to Joel and thanks for keeping us safe. The ship's carrier strike group has been preparing for a future deployment.
A football alternative
If you are weary of watching the Bears get their fannies whipped, you may actually be a perfect candidate for some classic music.
The St. Charles Public Library is delivering that at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, with the trio of Maureen Christine, Michael Bazan and Don Stille performing tunes from America's greatest songwriters.
You know who they are: Rogers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and others.