The remaining days of Mona’s first week of retirement passed quietly until Friday, the official day of her friend Millie’s retirement luncheon. Mona felt good when she awoke that day and found she enjoyed the idea of dressing up a bit, like she used to when she herself was a working gal. A nice cotton skirt and a coordinating blouse with some nautical inspired earrings and a chunky bracelet complimented by some kicky strapped sandals gave her just the look she was going for.
FOLLOW THE SUN – Part 3
“Nice,” she told her mirrored reflection, “not too dressy, casual, like I’m enjoying my life and don’t have a care in the world.”
About eleven-thirty that morning she pulled her Camaro into a parking space outside the seafood restaurant that she and Millie had gone to at least once a week for lunch. A few folks from the office were already there and called out to her as she was guided out to the patio where the luncheon would be held.
“Mona, how are you? How’s retired life?” These questions were asked by a least four different people who seemed envious of her new status.
“Retirement is just great! What a grand thing to be able to do what I want, when I want.” That was Mona’s response as she smiled at her former co-workers. “If only they knew how boring it really is,” thought Mona to herself.
Politely she listened to the office gossip that swirled around her, trying to remember how much better off she was without all of the corporate politics. A few minutes later Millie arrived in the company of her boss Jeremiah Black the company CEO and Heidi Case, the recent secretarial graduate who officially would be taking Millie’s job on Monday.
As usual there was the frenzied ordering of lunch, the quick consumption of said lunch, the presentation of a certificate honoring Millie’s years of service, a round of good wishes, and a photo or two for the company newsletter.
“It won’t seem the same without Millie answering Jerry’s phone,” commented Grace Nesbitt, head of Purchasing.
“She really was the ‘go-to’ gal for all of us in management,” added Deb Jersey, assistant supervisor of the secretarial pool. “She was a great supervisor in her own right.”
“I’m sure Heidi will do just fine though. She graduated at the top of her class.” This was spoken by Tiffany Belle, Heidi’s closest ally and a junior marketing account manager.
“Oh, by no means did I mean that Heidi isn’t highly qualified,” responded Grace, “but the things that Millie knows took her an entire career to learn.”
“Nothing like on the job experience,” commented Herb Sagemont. “After I took over Accounting from Mona here, I really learned that lesson. There are some things that can only be learned by working under pressure.”
“Really, Herb? I though you said it would be a ‘piece of cake’,” said Mona.
“I stand corrected,” laughed Herb, who had the grace to look chagrined.
Slowly the attendees began to leave the restaurant and Millie found a moment to perch on a recently vacated chair next to Mona.
“Boy, am I glad that over with!”
“Some things never change,” agreed Mona.
“Can you believe Special Ops came to the luncheon?”
“You mean Karyll?”
“Or Karl?” The two laughed at an inside joke. “I still can’t figure out what gender our Head of Security is. That many need a top secret clearance to uncover the truth.
“Not sure I really want to know. But yes, I guess you should feel honored at Karyll’s presence. She doesn’t go to many of these functions.”
“Probably want to make sure I don’t walk off with any company pens or pencils,” laughed Millie, her light blue eyes sparkling with humor. “Thank you for coming today, dear friend. Just knowing you were here made this all more palatable.” Millie gently patted Mona’s arm to underscore her gratitude.
“Why not stop over to my place after you leave work? We could order a pizza or something.”
“That sound like fun! And I’ll need a dose of reality after this BS kind of a day.”
Later that evening Millie drove over from her own condo complex and parked in Mona’s driveway. Right behind her was the pizza delivery person who followed her up to Mona’s door.
“That smells delightful,” remarked Millie. “I’ll sign for that, young man.”
The delivery man, who couldn’t have been a day over eighteen, drove off as Millie waved to him. She sighed, thinking that had she and her late husband had children that young man could have been her grandson. Oh well, no use thinking about what ifs.
“I was just coming to watch for the pizza guy and here you are, bearing pizza.” Mona opened the door to her friend.
“Well, I wasn’t hungry bu now that I’m smelling this,” Millie pointed to the box that Mona had taken from her, “I’m beginning to think I could put a slice or two under my belt.”
“Hmmmph, maybe three or four slices. I’m certainly not eating this all by myself.”
“Pretty bird, pretty bird,” squawked Pete as Millie stopped at his cage.
“Hi Petey. What’s the good word?” inquired Millie.
“Pretty bird, pretty bird.” He flapped his wings in greeting at Millie.
“Wow, you’ve even set the table! Is this a special occasion?” Millie noted two places set at Mona’s kitchen table.
“Sure thing. I’ve even used my best paper plates.”
“They’re darling! And you’ve even gotten matching napkins.”
“Nothing but the best for my fellow retiree.”
Each of them pulled a couple of pizza slices onto their respective plates and enjoyed a few bites before Mona resumed the conversation.
“How do you like retired life so far?” She washed down her pizza with a large swallow of iced tea.
“So far its great,” laughed Millie, her eyes sparkling in fun.
“Tell me what happened after the luncheon. Anything newsworthy?”
“Didn’t really do much at all this afternoon. Turned over the desk to Heidi and she didn’t waste a moment getting comfortable.” Mona nodded her head in knowing agreement. “Moved her photos and her small supplies right in and placed her name plate prominently at the front of the desk.”
“Do you think Jeremiah hired her for her looks?” Mona reached over for another slice of pizza.
“She certainly is a looker. Kind of like I was when I was her age.”
“You were nothing of the sort. You were as quiet as a mouse at that age. I distinctly remember.”
“That may be but I learned when to make my presence known pretty fast.”
“Sure did. But you also knew when to keep your mouth shut. That’s what elevated you to that position.”
“Heidi does have good credentials, you know. She graduated among the top ten in her business college class.”
“What was her major? Short skirts and low cut blouses?” Mona chuckled.
“I’m not going to think about that any more. And neither should you. We’re done with Skyhawk Corporation. It’s time to move forward.” Millie thoughtfully dabbed at her mouth with a gaily flowered paper napkin and sipped at her tea. “What’s on your agenda for next week?”
“The thing is, Millie, I’ve been retired for only one week and I’m already bored. Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?”
“Certainly not, my friend. There are all sorts of things that we can do.”
Just at that moment Millie noticed the beautiful wreath of seashells that Mona’s son had hung for her in the dining area.
“That wreath is simply stunning, Mona. Where did you buy it?”
“I made it,” Mona responded between bites of pizza.
“Really? That is absolutely gorgeous. Why something that size and that heavily shell-encrusted would sell for well over a hundred dollars!”
“It wasn’t that expensive to make. In fact I’ve got lots of shells left over and my glue gun warms up in a jiffy. Why don’t you come over tomorrow and we’ll whip one up for you?”