Ah, the retirement to-do. As of last Thursday, it was looking iffy, at best. We received a call informing us someone had irrigated on the wrong day, flooding the take-off field and swarming the park with mosquitos. We wouldn’t be having the party at Eagle Island after all. There were frantic calls and updated communications. Then it was all back on.
Still, it looked as though the weather would take a turn for the worse. Then there were the grumblings upstairs—people in a snit because of the party. It’s ridiculous to spend the hours planning and preparing; there’s no way a party like that can be replicated; it’s setting managers up for failure. Please. Excuses and bad attitudes, every one. They were part of the reason you didn’t hear from me at the end of last week. I can only take so much negativity before I need a nap.
But come Friday, something of a miracle took place.
On Friday, June 13, around 5:00 o’clock in the morning, we began to make our way to the park; a big, bright ‘honey moon’ lighting our way . . .
You know, the next time we catch sight of a full moon on a Friday the 13th it will be 2049.
A special day, indeed.
You’d never know it from these snapshots, but there was a whole army of us, rising with the sun to unpack cars and boxes . . .
We sipped bad coffee and juice; we nibbled donut holes and pastries—a little fuel to get the party started . . .
Then we got to work. Fanning out, this direction and that, we placed signage (easier than it looks) . . .
We hung balloons and bows, placed ribbons and pinwheels, set out flowers and pictures, and otherwise created our own little Land of Oz . . .
No, Jan didn’t make it up in the hot air balloon this time around (those blasted winds). But everything else settled in, just as it should.
We shared a full breakfast with new friends and old; we performed a rousing rendition of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ – even if we were a bit off key and could scarcely recall the choreography.
When all was said and done, former co-workers got a chance to revisit the good old days and otherwise catch up; current co-workers got a chance to chat, and laugh, and be completely ridiculous—to remember there’s more to it than meetings and deadlines and a very uncertain future . . .
So yes, it’s true, we could have simply shared a sheet cake to celebrate another retirement. But If there’s one thing Jan taught us in her twenty years, there’s something magical in the details. For you see, if you take the time to make it a bit more special than you have to—well, that’s where you’ll find the heart, the courage, and the brains to see the happiness of others as the greatest gift of all.
And that should always make it worth the effort . . .