My son Dan invited me to the Xmas party of the company he's worked at for the past 3 years. Dan, his lovely wife Nicole, whose hair looked like Nefertiti's, and I set out for the new offices of AWeber.com in Huntingdon Valley, PA, I being the only one of the three who'd never been inside.
I was so excited. My son, the businessman.
It's always fun to go to a place when it's closed down. The empty receptionist's desk had a granite countertop. A plaque on the wall pronounced AWeber one of the best places to work in 2009.
The catering company took our coats. I left my backpack in the car so I wouldn't be tempted to smuggle out any booze or tiny creamers.
We ate in the Cafeteria. During the week, they have catered free meals. A cooler is stocked with favorite beverages.
Every morsel of food was delicious. I remarked to one of the adorable guys who worked there - they look like rock musicians - that I hadn't eaten in two days in anticipation on this big event. (I'd actually forgotten about it till I read it on my calendar that morning. Things come around so fast, don't they? Where are you Mr Death?)
The salmon was melt in your mouth. The dips! Artichoke, fennel and spicy something or other. Don't double-dip, Ruthie, I reminded myself as I carefully double-dipped.
I sipped on Dan's beer since I don't drink. My, it was good. I do love my beer sips.
Dan gave us a tour of the office. Huge! They have a Game Room where you play video games on an enormous screen. In the Education Room videos were playing of when Tom started the company in his Bucks County backyard. When I met Tom for the very first time I thanked him for employing my son. Tom is a tall goodlooking man with a friendly grin. His pregnant wife and inlaws were at the party.
The employees are young. The oldest of their children are about 5. I admired Kylie's beautiful maroon Christmas dress, she couldn't talk yet but she was a fast walker, and when I spoke to Ben, his 6-yr-old daughter Mattie was looking at me the whole time, amazing for a child. She's a good big sister to Abbie.
Later on all the kids found each other and were playing some sort of made up game.
Dan has a huge office with a b'ful cherry-colored desk and one of those $800 ergonomic chairs. His computer monitor is huge. In the office is a large white eraserboard on the wall with all sorts of cryptic (to me) writing on it. A framed poster of the Beatles' Abby Road hangs on the wall along with some caricatures made by one of the talented people at his office.
The freedom to think and create and work in a friendly environment is wonderful - dress is casual and bedroom slippers are optional - and helps promote business which has not been affected one iota by the recession. Salaries and bonuses are high and so is the praise and feedback among employees.
Interestingly, my own businessman father created a wonderful place to work back in Cleveland when he managed a women's clothing warehouse. Recently the wife of his second in command died and I wrote a long and lingering love letter to the family saying, the person who should be reading this has gone away for good. This happens frequently. We never saw my father again either though my eighty-seven year old mother resides in the house Harold built with much of his Majestic memorabilia intact.
Look how our memories play such an important role in our lives? As the poet Rilke wrote in his Letters to a Young Poet, all you need is your childhood and you could be locked up in prison and still have enough material for a lifetime of poetry.
I couldn't help dancing to the DJ's music at the Xmas party which was booming from the education room. It was good to hear Roxanne by the Police again. I'd seen them long ago in concert. Remind me to tell you about that awesome day, which I then called the best day of my life.
I was sorry we couldn't stay to play karry-oh-kee but we were all very tired. I find I've been singing a lot lately. Try it! When I was a teenager and in college I used to whistle all the time. Music still plays an enormous role in my life. And - look! - my daughter married a musician. Ethan of The Bad Plus.I'm hoping to see them play at the Village Vanguard round bout New Year's Day.