On Monday, we took a little road trip down to Iowa for an important day. After 36 years at John Deere, my Dad is finally retiring. He could have retired a couple of times in the last few years, but with 3 daughters in private school, 3 college tuitions, and 3 weddings to pay for, this was the year he was finally able to hang up his hat. And we are so happy for him!! Monday afternoon his company hosted a lunchtime retirement party and we were thrilled to be able to attend.
For 36 years my Dad has been employed at John Deere, much of that time in the marketing department.
Of course we had to see his desk, that has been already cleaned out, and my goofy Mom had to pretend to answer his phone :) Although we got a good laugh out of it, this actually makes me a little sad. For my 29 years, I have been calling my Dad at work and dialing the exact same number all this time. From the first time I learned to dial the phone until today, I always knew I could reach him at one number during the day. And believe me, with 3 girls, my poor Dad got a million phone calls from all of us! Sometimes we'd call to tell on each other, other times to complain when Mom said "no" about something, but most of the time to just chat and ask him questions. He always answered and made time for us. Sometimes he'd have to stop us in our tracks and make us go apologize to our Mom or threaten us to stop fighting and calling him about it :) But he also picked up that phone to hear how our first day of school was, that we passed a test we were worried about, that we got our first job, that we accidentally got in a car accident or were stuck in the snow, that we were coming home to visit or that he was going to become the Grandpa of a little baby girl. We've all called to cry, to laugh, and to get the wisdom we were looking for. And no matter how busy his day was, my Dad was always there to listen. It just hit me this morning that today is the last time I can call him at 292-7740, just to say hi. Tomorrow he turns in his computer, his badge and the rest of his company things. From that point on, someone else will get assigned that number, but for 5 women today it will always belong to us. To Ava's Grandpa, to our Dad and to My Mom's husband.
One of our funniest memories over the years is learning that our Dad actually worked in an area called "complete goods." When he answered the phone, he would always say, "Complete goods, Steve." We never listened very well I guess because Stacie and Jennie swore he answered "leekid Steve" and I swore he answered "flea goods Steve!" Imagine the laughs we've had all these years when we actually discovered he was saying "complete goods" :)
A banner they hung for people to sign.
Because it was such a special day, we pulled out the special outfit for Ava to surprise her Grandpa with. She wore her john deere green skirt and hair bow with the little pink shirt my Dad bought her on the morning he found out we were having a girl! I called him at work from the OB's office and broke the good news. He said he immediately went downstairs to the gift shop and bought the littlest pink shirt he could find. It fit Ava perfectly and she looked so darling in it!
She was excited to party with Aunt Jennie and Uncle Dave!
Proud Grandpa and his girl :)
Some of his friends put on a little program for my Dad and we got a kick out of it :)
They teased him about being "old school" and began dressing him up......to look like our favorite old school Iowa Hawkeye coach, Hayden Fry! Not too bad! The best part of this picture is the t-shirt they found for him. It's no secret that we do NOT like the Iowa State Cyclones (along with millions of our fellow Hawkeyes) and my Dad loves to call them the Cyclowns or just the clowns. This shirt was perfect, especially considering we just beat the clowns this weekend 35-3. What a great gift!!
Jennie and Dave came...
...and so did Travis, Ava and I. We missed Stacie and Jesse, but they were busy finding an apartment in their new city! We weren't totally complete without them :)
My parents best friends Joan and Kirk were also there. Kirk and my Dad have worked together at John Deere for many, many years. Joan even worked there for a little while! It was so fun to have them there. Tomorrow, after my Dad turns his stuff in, he and Kirk are packing up to drive to Canada for a fishing trip :)
Little Miss Ava was a star in her john deere shirt, but she was also very good. She stayed quiet during the program and smiled at everyone who talked to her!
So happy for them as they start a new chapter. After 36 years of going to the same place everyday, I'm so glad my Dad is finally getting to relax and do more of what he loves to do.
We had to take an obligatory picture of one of the tractors on display outside the building.
Just so you can see the scale of this thing, those tires are as tall as Travis is! Pretty unbelievable.
When we got home, the party continued...
Happy retirement, right???
Oh how I wish I could tell you that my Dad bought himself a sports car, but actually there is a better story behind this car.
One of my Dad's friends entered a contest, shortly after the Transformers movie came out and he won an exact replica of the bumblebee car from the movie! He's one of only 3 people in the country who won! Isn't that crazy??
I thought Travis might pass out because he LOVES Transformers and of course, he LOVES this car!
He looks pretty good in it, doesn't he??
Now trust me, an engine shot is a picture I never thought I'd find myself taking, but it was amazing to see a brand new, sparkling clean engine! I almost wanted to touch it :)
Of course the best part was the Hawkeye dice inside! How fitting that my Dad's friend is also a die-hard Hawkeye fan and now he has a black and gold car to prove it!
Yes, we all took turns driving it :) I think I might have prayed an emergency prayer when I turned the key, something like "please, please, please don't let me hit something!!"
What do you think, should we trade in the SUV for a sports car?? How do you think a car seat would look in the back seat?? Just kidding :)
Happy Retirement Dad! We love you and we're proud of you.
You'll always be our favorite John Deere Employee, even if we never knew what your department was called!!