My mom’s final day of employment is May 31st, but her retirement party was this afternoon, because who wants to party the day after Memorial Day? Granted, several coworkers took today off to lengthen their three-day weekend and technically voted against partying in a sense — or at least partying with us — but we could only push the date back so far. Preceding the party was a prodigious lunch pitch-in with a spread that included spaghetti, chicken fingers, BBQ meatballs, two pasta salads, one actual salad, macaroni ‘n’ cheese, scalloped potatoes, one hundred bags of potato chips, an assortment of grocery bakery department desserts, and my own acclaimed, freshly baked brownies. The interdepartmental team effort treated Mom like a queen.
Unfortunately that noontime feast left most of the retirement party guests with no appetite later. We expected a certain catering surplus, but still overestimated our needs. Our simple refreshments comprised one bowl of mandatory weird fruit soda hybrid punch and four dozen mini-cupcakes. By the end of the shindig the punch was gone, but we had three dozen mini-cupcakes to spare.
We party-planning committee members had made plans in advance for dispensing with the unused portions. As I explained to the crowd in my closing remarks, “We’ll understand if some of you may not have an appetite after that pitch-in. Any cupcakes remaining from this event will be donated to a special charity, a 501(c)3 organization that specializes in donating leftovers to starving college students who happen to be grandchildren of our guest of honor. He’s a college senior, won’t you please give, thank you.”
My son couldn’t attend the retirement party because he’s far away and not really into social gatherings. My wife and I will be visiting him Monday, taking him to a movie and bringing him three dozen treats in which Anne and I have zero vested interest. In a sense, it’s an informal ceremony in which our generation will pass on bounties from the generation before us to the generation after us. While Mom’s rat-race participation nears its end, he stands to benefit in this, the final year before he’s meant to enter that wacky race himself. At this point he can use the fuel more than she can.