Monday, December 18, 2006

And the festivities begin!

Last Thursday was all Christmas, all day. My current work lunch was during the day, and my former boss's final send off was that evening. After ten years in local elected office he has termed out, and he wanted to celebrate with all his staff, past and present, in true South County style. So we went to the Ritz.

After all the discussions about whether I should bring a date or not I secured my dear friend Eric's hand for the night. We haven't spent much time together recently and I knew he would love the party (good food, good wine, open bar) and be willing to chat it up and mingle with a bunch of people he doesn't know from Adam. He did not disappoint!

We drove up around 6:30 to holiday splendor. Getting in line behind the benzs, the jags, the "I don't know what that is but it's clearly European and likely cost more than any house I've ever lived in," we made our way to the valet and into the lobby. Trees, lights, cocktail attire abounded.

Down a winding stair case we found our little room with a veranda that overlooked the pacific. We were greeted with wine at the door, and I started to introduce Eric to the people who ushered me in to my career path (or at least the first one of which I will soon depart from). A glass of wine in hand I saw my boss, looking quite dapper, and in the awkward "hello" managed to go left just as he did the same and poured my wine down the front of my dress. An accident? Sure - but it actually shows my political prowess: always be willing to take a bullet, or a spill, for your boss. Thank God for white wine.

We wandered onto the veranda, tasting coconut shrimp and chicken satay and catching up with various people who have spread themselves throughout the County and local community. It was a treat to see how various people who had worked as a team and reported to one guy have spread out into such diverse sectors - most in leadership positions of some sort. The wine flowed, the martinis were poured - we took our seats.

Each seat of a former staffer had a lovely little wrapped CD of that night's musical entertainment - a local piano man and friend of the Supervisor's. The first course was served - smoked salmon and greens, followed by a chestnut bisque and a palate cleanser of the most refreshing champagne glace. A salad came next and then the main course - a tender beef filet with a side of mashed potatoes infused with truffle oil. It was lovely.

Drink count at this point: 1 glass white, 2 glasses champagne, 1 glass red. With all that food, you would think I'd be doing fine...


I gave a toast - because I am my father's daughter and if ever a toast is to be made I would like to be the one to make it. The Supervisor teared up with his first talk, but by his second and third he could make it through - acknowledging each of us and the contributions we made and sharing how proud and thankful he was for our service over the past ten years. In my toast (which thankfully was offered about 36 seconds before things started to get foggy) I acknowledged that I started my career with him - and recognized him for two things. On a personal note - he was my first real boss, and I learned from him to expect a level of integrity that I will always look for in those I report to. On a more broad basis - I recognized how respected he, his office and staff are across the county for the respect they offer employees county wide. It was nice to be able to offer such statements with total sincerity, and dwell a bit on my blessings for starting off in such an arena.

Dessert came and went - in all honesty I don't remember what it was, though I think it had raspberries in it. At that point my priority was on figuring out some way to serenade the group, because by God there was a piano man present, and If I don't go by Mood Indigo, then who am I? With the prodding of a former sassy co-worker we ventured to the piano and I asked him if he knew my song. Unfortunately for me (but likely for the benefit of the group), the answer was no. Instead, my co-worker, another former staffer and myself attempted to lead the group in a round of Christmas carols. I couldn't tell you which ones, I'm pretty sure I forgot a few verses and spent our stage time alternating between giggles and false-confidence induced bellowing. No curtsy needed, we returned to our drinks and I was thankful for the one remaining speech given that was clearly as much in response to the flowing drinks as our carols were.

It was a lovely send off to a lovely career.

Post Script: Apparently the Supervisor was very pleased to have extended an invite to my date as there were questions as to my ability to drive myself home. Of course if I were driving myself, I would not have allowed for the tipsy - but I too was thankful for Eric and his total worthiness in the date department.


Anonymous zura said...

Hahah, bravo! Sounds like quite the festive night.

12/19/2006 6:47 AM  

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