We had a lovely retirement party for my uncle this evening… 35 years working for the same company, doing, essentially, the same work, day after day… completed.
Of course, we are not exactly permitted to be together for a party, so we did a Zoom video conference party – which, actually, allowed even more people to come than would have been able to make it even if we had been allowed to have the party in person, and saved All of us loads of time in driving, and even allowed for last-minute (literally) guests to join the party – and made it a total surprise for my uncle.
I ended up organizing the call, since I was the most apt to figure such computer-y things out, as well to manage a group of people and make things happen the way we want them to happen, and so I arranged with everyone (via a liaison I enlisted – aka my cousin who was originally put in charge of organizing things, but who quickly handed them to me, when we discovered his lack of and my having experience in such a thing) when to meet and how, explained the goal of the quick conference and how it would run, offered up and accepted my mother’s ridiculous idea of our all singing, “For he’s a jolly good fellow”, after the initial surprise – yes, we had discussed how we would be all out of synch, but that that merely would add to the enjoyment of my aunt and uncle, who would be the recipients of our group singing – and informed my aunt that we were all ready.
The surprise was lovely, the singing hilarious; the photo I was asked to share was a hit; the ‘quick five, max ten minutes’ for the call turned into 45 minutes; as arranged, my aunt went through and had each of us say something individually, and lots of tears happened, even from those who avoid tears, especially for such occasions as this public one; and we all had a lovely time from all across the country, and even down to El Salvador.
Also, fun fact: the grandparents (my grand, that is) couldn’t quite get the technology to work for video conferencing, due to their having older phones, and so they each were Skyped or telephoned in and held up to the computer screens of others, so that they, too could be part of the celebration, despite their lack of technology or technological skills. 😛
It was adorable.
In short, it was a spectacular 21st century retirement party, in more ways than one.
Our family is no stranger to long-distance and cross-country calling and video calling (and jut working with what we’ve got and making it work wonderfully) – we have had our fair share of people living here or there around the country and world – but this was the first entirely digital event we have had…
And it was actually really quite cool.
Technology is quite spectacular, when we allow it to do its best and we use it well.
I express tonight extreme gratitude to all those who have played a role in the development in technology connected to what our family used today – thank you, all.