"I tried to get him to stay one more year," he added, "make it an even 50 years."
But Gomez has plans. His wife is going to give him lessons, he said, in "domestic engineering." He'll have to learn what colors go with other colors into the washing machine and how to do a good job with a vacuum cleaner. When he gets a choice of chores, however, he'll do some gardening, a bit of landscaping. And yes, he said, when he gets thirsty, he'll still drink Dr Pepper. Not the diet kind, either — real Dr Pepper. He doesn't overindulge. He had a bottle of Deja Blue water at his desk Wednesday. Over the years, he's tried dozens of flavors, but Dr Pepper is still his favorite.
Oh, and by the way, advised Gomez: If you ever find a twist-off bottle cap giving you a hard time, get a good grip on the cap. Gomez demonstrated holding the cap in place, then placing the bottom of the bottle in his palm, gripping the bottom and then actually twisting the bottle. That gives you something a little more substantial to hold on to if you ever find yourself in a jam, he said.
What happens if Ottumwa's Dr Pepper Snapple Group gets into a jam? Not to worry, Gomez said.
"They have my cell phone number."
— To follow reporter Mark Newman on Twitter, see @CourierMark
Correction: This article has been corrected. An earlier version misidentified the brand of water on Gomez's desk.