I was disappointed when I realized I couldn’t attend my father’s retirement party but the timing just wasn’t right for so many reasons. First, we’d just gone to Pensacola for a talk about two weeks before (we visit them in Florida once a month and that alone stretches our resources to the breaking point). Second, we had to go down to Florida again the week after the party. And with me headed to England less two weeks later, there’s lots of work I need to get done here before going…
…but when my brother suggested that he’d fly me down to Florida for the party because it wouldn’t be right that all three kids weren’t there, well…
…I went. Even though I hate flying (tally: cried on two of three take-offs, one landing).
And better yet – dad didn’t know that Becka was flying in from NYC, I was coming from NC, or that my aunt and uncle were coming from OH! A breakfast was planned for Friday morning to surprise him – and give him his retirement gift from the family.
Here’s dad holding his new painting by Dan Durda – a student my father knew during Dan’s PhD days at the University of Florida.
After breakfast dad headed to campus for a retirement lunch hosted by his department, while Becka and I did some emergency mother’s day shopping (there wasn’t a thing that fit the bill at the airport even though I tried to find something while waiting for Becka’s plane to come in).
Friday evening was the official “send John off to retire” party. It was held on UFs campus, in Dauer Hall (where I remember working at the linguistics department as a student before the demands of motherhood meant I had to leave). In the photo above, Tracy is presenting my father with two bricks from the Space Science Research Building – one inscribed to him on his retirement, the other bearing the quote “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
The next morning Becka, Dad and I went walking at a new urban trail. It was a lovely, short walk with creek views. We passed lots of people there for the birds (but as our knowledge of birds sort of ends with “Cardinals are the red ones, right?” we didn’t spot much while there).
We also went to the Butterfly Rainforest – Milo and Els had been before but I’d never quite made it! Its amazing! If we lived in town, we’d definitely have season passes. Here’s a butterfly we saw – there were hundreds of them everywhere but I only managed to get a few photos that were in focus.
That evening we went to dinner at Liquid Ginger, a restaurant my mother’s wanted to take everyone to for months now. It was lovely, as you can see by my main dish. I’ll try to take my own family there one day when we go if its possible. Yum!
Returned home yesterday but had only time to converse with the kids a bit, decompress and head to bed.
It was a wonderful weekend – and I’m so glad I got to go!