Sunday, December 14, 2014

Not the Days of Old

For a time, it was doubtful that the annual holiday party at work would even be held this year. I was  prepared to title my annual entry "This Space for Rent".  Things will be changing in my workplace of over five years very soon.  Big things. Without being specific, I can say that some longtime employees decided that they will not stick around to see these changes take effect in the New Year.  They will work together in a new location, in fact. But most are staying. Unfortunately, a palpable awkwardness has contaminated the office for the past month, as the soon to depart have found themselves at odds with the others.  The usual year end hugs and congratulations would not have occurred at a company party. In fact, it would've had the potential to be the most uncomfortably grotesque shindig of my career.

So one of the employees who is leaving decided to throw an alternate celebration.  About fifteen gathered at a beautiful old home to share holiday turkey and ham and play Christmas bingo. The ten foot high tree had a train circling the presents underneath.  There was even an appearance by Santa. My gift: candy balls whose second ingredient (after sugar) is Wild Turkey. The party was a perfect size, and a warm affair. Many in attendance were "stayers" (including myself) but the junior high school level drama at the workplace of late was absent this brisk South Florida evening.  And a pleasant surprise: one of the front office staff ladies who recently gave birth to twins was there with her husband. The two girls were left at home with their abuela. Mom looked better than she had in months. Those last days before the delivery had her appearing haggard and beaten. But this night, despite the expected lack of sleep, she looked cheerful and relaxed.

You'll note that I've excluded significant details about the situation at work and I remain tight lipped for now. It was a bit sad that the large parties at local restaurants were now a thing of the past, at least for this year. 2015 - who knows?  But the house party had an intimacy and warmth that had always been missing.  This was easily the most enjoyable work Christmas party I've attended. I wish those who are moving on great success in the coming year. And to those of us remaining, we wait hopefully for own sustained good fortune and ever forward improvement in our caregiving skills.  I pray for an environment that will continue to encourage such goals.

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