Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Retirement, Daddy

24 years ago my family moved to Radford and my father started a new job as a Reference Librarian at Radford University. At the end of June he is retiring. Friday evening the library hosted a retirement party at my mom's church. My brothers and I were all able to come along with my sister-in-law Jessica and my three kids.  Ken had to work (Surprise, surprise!) so we had to leave him at home.
It was a nice place to have a party, and I for one enjoyed the venue, as it is where Ken and I had our wedding reception 10 years ago!  But back to my father...
I suppose parties have to have a theme.  It makes planning and decorating a bit simpler.  Radford University's mascot is a Highlander, so typically there is a Scottish piece to things.  However, my father's party had another theme as well...

Sponge Bob Square Pants!
One of my father's legacies at the library might well be the Halloween costuming that goes on every year. For as long as I can remember, he and several of his friends and colleagues have dressed up for Halloween. One year he and a friend dressed up as Hanz and Franz from the Saturday Night Live skit. He has also been Joe the Plumber, Tinky Winky, Jack Sparrow, a clown, the Indian from the Village People, a wizard, and apparently everybody's favorite: Sponge Bob!
Somehow Sponge Bob became my dad's personal mascot. His office at home and at work have all kinds of Sponge Bob knick knacks, so the party would not have been complete with a few Sponge Bob touches.

The other thing required at a party for my dad would be a belly dancer!  My mom hired one for his 50th birthday and then decided to do it again for his retirement party.  I think it might have something to do with all the time they spent in the Middle East early in their relationship, but maybe they just like belly dancers!

After the entertainment, my dad had presents to open (most of which were apparently re-gifted things that my dad had given out at the library's ice cream socials) and several toasts were given.  The speeches were very touching because it was obvious that my dad's co-workers knew him very well and truly love and care for him.   There were lots of inside jokes and stories, a few of which I had forgotten about.  
When everyone had their turn, my dad stood up to give his toast, which consisted of him passing a piece of toast around the room. I mentioned that it was a pretty crummy joke and sadly realized that my dad's sense of humor is genetic and I inherited it.
It was a wonderful night of family and friends that have become family.  I know that my dad will enjoy retirement, but he is going to miss those people and they are going to miss him!

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