We spent a little time at Garey Larrabee's retirement party at the store this morning. Garey said he had every intention of "sleeping in" this morning - something uncharacteristic of Garey, but no doubt while recuperating it's very good for him - but he was roused and told he had to get a move on to be dressed and "decent" to greet his well-wishers.
Was he surprised when he realized there was a party for him? I think so! I have to say, he looked quite dashing in his "morning jacket," or, as he called it, his "Hugh Hefner" robe. He's a little pale, but that's expected - none of us have seen much sunshine for at least three months, and he's been cooped up in hospitals a lot of the time. He will have another operation, I believe he said next week, to connect nerves that will allow his fingers to function. He's really dong very well considering the extent of his injury.
There were dozens of people at the store when we got there around 10:45, and more coming and going all the time. Lots of folks we would normally not see, especially this time of year - Bryce and Esther Montgomery, Dot "Pete" Blackadar (she never changes, still feisty and spry!), Bert Frye, Ned and Marsha Moran (I didn't see them to talk with, but Fred did), the Milton Gadapees and lots of familiar faces I couldn't put a name to. There were a lot of people snacking on fresh-baked cookies and other goodies at the far end of the store where the deli is, and people in every aisle chatting and enjoying being inside with friends on another frigid day (mostly in single numbers, but ABOVE zero) with wind - especially in West Danville where it was whipping, as usual.
Here Garey was explaining to me about the upcoming operation - a very serious moment - but he said he expects to be making donuts again real soon - "right now it's a little hard to stir anything." We wish him the very best - it was really good to see him behind the counter at the store. So many people have missed him, I'm sure everyone felt the same way. I overheard one man exclaiming to Garey, "I'm just glad you made it!" I think we all share that - he really had a close call.
Jane told me today was the day he was supposed to be officially retired, but typically, the post office has asked that his date of retirement be extended until next month. Maybe we'll have another party!
I'm sure he will have reading material for days to come - there was a large basket containing cards and messages, many of them from Joe's Ponders. Our JPA mailbox was overflowing this morning, but they have all made it into the basket with the others, so, many thanks for your responses. I hadn't dared post anything here because I thought Garey might see it, but I did send all JPA members notice and as always, our members rose to the occasion.
It's a good day when a friend is on the good side of a catastrophe, and we all wish Garey the best from now on.