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Over 60...and Getting Younger: August 21, 2009

The Goodbye Party

Rumor has come to me that the goodbye party is a thing of the past. Is it the falling of the economy that caused this ugly phenomenon? Was it that people in offices all over the USA were getting tired of picking out a gift and a restaurant every other week?

Were people in effect saying, “I’ve got my own ‘tsouris’ (troubles)? Goodbye and a firm handshake are quite sufficient for the departing person.”

It was a lovely tradition while it lasted. After a toast everyone grew friendly and even sworn office enemies established warm ties. It was a custom that everyone chipped in and paid for the honoree’s lunch or supper. Speeches praising the former employee ran from ultra kind to quite acerbic and biting. All in good humor!

Last week we held a goodbye tennis luncheon for Bob Gertler. He has lived at the Hamlet for over 10 years and is now moving from our Hamlet. Bob is an excellent tennis player and he will be sorely missed on our tennis courts. The group of 60- and 70-year-olds will find it difficult to replace a tennis player. We don’t want any whiz-bang 20-year-old to join and show us that we are over the hill. We need a retired, elderly gentleman who can return the ball over the net with some degree of consistency.

The luncheon for Bob took place at Genji’s Japanese-Korean Restaurant on Jericho Turnpike and the corner of Brush Hollow Road. We had 10 of our regulars at the luncheon and the meal was wonderful. Miso soup and a salad started the festivities. We dined on shrimp tempura, box lunch, chicken and beef teriyaki.

The beverage was oversized and speeches were short because everybody interrupted frequently. Bob was very humble and he said he would miss the friendliness and cordiality of the group.

Soon the event was over and only memories remained. Goodbye celebrations are definitely better than funerals. We certainly have had too many of those recently.

Good customs, such as goodbye parties, are missed when they peter out!