When I started this blog I never thought I’d do 100 posts. This is number 100. A good round number to quit on. So for my last post I’ll relate my last day of work. I say ‘work’, although I did absolutely no work on that day.
My last day was December 22, 2016. This was the last working day of the year, the beginning or our Christmas and New Years holiday. On this last day before the holidays first and second shifts only worked 8 hours. First shift began at 5 am and quit at 1 pm, while second shift began at noon and quit at 8 pm. That way the two shifts overlapped for an hour so we could have our Christmas dinner together. First shift quit work after 7 hours at noon, and second shift didn’t start to work until 1 pm, so they, too, only worked 7 hours. Which meant I got to sleep in until 4 am. People told me I should come in late whenever I felt like it, that I would get paid for a complete shift no matter how many hours I worked, but I wanted to be there on time. This would be my only last day of work ever, and I didn’t want to miss any of it.
I did absolutely nothing. I walked around talking to everybody, telling everybody goodbye. The hardest work I did was cleaning out my locker and throwing away all the stuff I wouldn’t be using anymore, and turning in tools I also didn’t need anymore. And me and Gary B. loaded my fire pit into the trunk of my car. I have flanged dozens of these things. They are really sharp looking. A plate of stainless is dished on a press, then the edge is turned up horizontally on a flanger. Then it is polished, and legs are welded onto the bottom of it. This was part of my retirement gift from the company. It will look good in my back yard.
At 11:00 I went out to the weld building to help them set up for the Christmas dinner. About 11:30 second shift began arriving. Shortly before noon first shift began coming in. Randy V., who had been retired for years, showed up to play Christmas carols on his guitar. Several other retirees showed up, too. Mike W. and Heginio C. and Ron H. Barbecue dinners were catered, and there was plenty of sweets, both purchased and home-made by some of the women on the sales force and in the office. I had a retirement cake, too.
After everyone finished eating I got all the good stuff. Mark made a nice speech (no mention of rubber boots or grease sticks), and gave me more presents – around $500 in gift cards. The men in the shop had taken up a collection, nearly $300 in cash, to give to me. And the Boilermaker Union gave me a very nice watch, with the Boilermaker Seal on it. It is the only watch I wear now. Then I picked up my Christmas ham the company passes out to everyone, and drove home.
I am thoroughly enjoying my retirement. I am writing this final post to the blog in Silver City, New Mexico, in the Gila Wilderness Area. I’ve driven my 23 foot motor home to see many new things and gone places I’ve never had the opportunity to go before on this trip through Texas and the southwest. I even saw Trinity’s shop. I and my wife were visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards, and their plant is right next to that. I didn’t stop in. I’ll continue this trip on into Arizona, Utah and Colorado before heading back home. Retirement is fantastic. Everybody should try it.