I was cleaning up my dresser this morning and discovered a long forgotten piece of paper which had a small toast written on it that I gave at a dinner I arranged to celebrate my Dad’s retirement. Dad retired in August 2002 and little over 12 months later, December 22nd 2003 actually he found out he had MND (I remember the date all too well… I was in hospital at the time myself with a post operative golden staph infection in my abdomen after a laparoscopy which you know… nearly kinda killed me).
Anyway I found this toast that I had jotted down and then promptly left behind on the night and had to wing it in the end anyway. I have obviously kept it for nostalgia’s sake and thought if I copied it into here… then I could chuck the bit of paper 🙂
“I remember in primary school being asked once ‘What does your Dad do?’ and I remember answering confidently that my Dad was a draftsman for Telecom. Unfortunately… the next question went something like ‘What’s that?’ to which I was forced to awkwardly reply ‘I have no idea.’ 😐 I recall growing up with this vague awareness that my Dad worked in an office somewhere and spent all day drawing “stuff'”…. ??? As I got older, Telecom became Telstra Fleet Smart and the ‘stuff’ became ‘designing/engineering mechanical vehicular modifications’.
So yesterday when I went to a farewell morning tea for My Dad at his Postle Street workplace where he had worked for the last 30 odd years, I thought this would be my last chance to find out a bit about what Dad had actually been doing all these years. And while I didn’t get to see 36 years of his ‘drawings and stuff’ … I did learn a few things.
Amongst his colleagues, it was obvious that Dad was respected as an integral and valuable part of their team for his many different skills. I heard Dad praised for the quality of his work, the dilligent, reliable, methodical and tenacious way in which he approaced it and for his stability and resilience when dealing with his co-workers. What I didn’t expect from a gaggle of mechanical engineers and draftsmen was this constant ribbing about Dad’s meticulous, precise and exacting nature. At home we always thought his anal retentive exactitude was an occupational requirement, but it seems they’ve had on going jokes about Dad’s thousandths of a millimetre for as long as we have.*
I also discovered that, for years we had been labouring under the misapprehension that all draftsmen (and public servant types) wore shorts and long socks to work. We had long thought this to be some sort of regulated dress code for people working in the Telstra drafting profession, but not so! It turns out that our Dad has been the only long sock advocate these many years and fortunately with Dad’s retirement, The Long Sock Brigade will haunt Postle Street no longer (by the way the official sock burnings will take place next week for any interested parties 🙂
Well, Dad, we thought you might be at loose ends for a while, and to help you ease into retirement, we have compiled a few necessities for budding retirees. So congratulations on your retirement .”
And then we gave him a box of ‘stuff’… funny things we thought he might appreciate.
A roll of toilet paper with a new little ‘dunny shovel’ to take camping.
A giggle hat… all old fogies gotta have a giggle hat.
A copy of War and Peace… cos now you’ll have the time.
A bobble headed Elvis for the dashboard in the Nissan.
A dreadful country and western CD.
A book of 4WD treks across Australia.
A packet of boiled lollies for dirty old men.
A brochure for a retirement village.
And there was other stuff that I’ve long since forgotten
* the OCD thing
runs in the family.