Friday, March 03, 2006

My Friend Joe

Tonight was Joe's retirement party. Joe is a very good friend of mine. I started working with Joe almost 18 years ago. Through the years he has been a mentor, a coworker, my barber and a very good friend. For the last 10 years Joe's office has been the place I go to think. If I get stuck on a problem I could always go visit Joe and talk to him while my subconcious looks for a solution to my problem of the moment. While talking with Joe or listening to the details of his latest task or sharing stories about our children I have solved countless problems over the years.

Joe was my mentor when I first tried my hand as a program manager. He taught me everything he could. But it took several years for me to realize that while Joe relished the challenges of program management, I hated it. But during those years Joe became my friend. Of course that was easy. Joe is naturally a likable guy. It helped that we had so many things in common. We were both draftsmen in our early careers. We both like home improvement projects. Once he badgered me into trying golf and got me hooked we were able to share that also.

Today was Joe's last day at work. He didn't want to anyone to make a fuss over his retiring. He told his wife and coworkers that he didn't want a party. He didn't want plaques or presentations. He didn't want anyone making a lot of speeches. Joe just wanted to ride quietly off into the sunset.

So of course being the wonderful wife she is, his wife ignored his wishes and planned a surprise party. So Joe thought that his children and grandchildren were coming into town to celebrate his retirement by going to dinner with him. So when Joe got to his retirement dinner, there were 30 of his closest friends and coworkers waiting there to celebrate with him.

We had a delightful evening. Joe got a load of gifts, plaques, and stories told about him. We all had a wonderful dinner up at the Indian Wells Valley Lodge.

I'm glad that Joe has retired while he is still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it. But I will miss him at work. But then it's not like he is leaving the area. He will still be living only 1 mile away. So it will only take a little more effort to see him regularly.

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