Today was special. Diane drove me to Portland so I could have lunch with the best looking group of people who ever worked at PGE. Actually, some of them still work there but I’m not going to tell who. OK – Cliff and I don’t work there any more. I don’t think Paula does, either.
We ate at Mandarin Cove which is just up 1st Street a few blocks from the building where I used to work. Thinking we were a bit late, Diane forced me to exit the vehicle in front of the restaurant then went to look for a place to park. I didn’t think she would be back for a while so prepared myself to test fate and order lunch for her.
When I got inside, I was directed to a table waaaay in the back, away from everyone else, as if they’d been warned I’d be there. Cliff was the only one there when I arrived so we had a moment to talk a bit before the real crowd arrived. This is the guy who invented TAL Team about 20 years ago in order to ensure all the technology, hardware and software, met levels of expectation before being used on the company’s network. I was blessed to have worked with that team for many years before I was forced to retire because of my advanced age, lack of knowledge, and inability to learn new ‘stuff’.
In short order, the remainder of the crew arrived. They are Terri, Becky, Paula, Jim, Debbi, and Nancy – all members of the Team at it’s most busy, but currently functioning at higher levels as members of other IT groups in the company. The fact that this group still gathers is significant because PGE typically scatters talent all over the company in an effort to keep them from talking to each other about what’s going on. In Jim’s case, however, they retained his talent as the sole remaining member of the TAL Team until he decided to retire. That’s why we were all at the Cove – to celebrate that momentous event in his life. He’s seen the light!
This group of people are the hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever had the priviledge of working with. Despite my advanced age, I was the ‘baby’ of the group having only 21 years at PGE. Jim would be next, I believe, but all the ladies present have between 30 and 40 years on the job. Amazing! Nancy will be the next to go, in May. Hopefully I was nice enough at today’s lunch that I’ll be invited back for her departure lunch.
The lunch was great, and I loved seeing everyone again. It’s only been two years for me, but it seems longer when I was so used to seeing all of them every day for so long. It’s nothing like being in the Navy where the co-workers change completely every two or three years. We are all friends, which I find particularly astounding, because their knowledge level was far above mine. I believe they all tolerated me because it gave them a measuring stick of what not to be, and allowed them to practice their teaching skills long after thinking they were beyond that in their careers. They taught me more than I can remember and I appreciate all of them a great deal.
Before I forget, Diane showed up right after the large group, having found a parking place right out front. I was happy to see her, as I always am, and her stunning appearance whisked any thought of introducing her to everyone right out of my brain. She did know some of them, but not all. So, now for the introductions – around the round table it went like this, in a clockwise manner – Diane was to my left, then Jim, Terri, Paula, Becky, Cliff, Debbi, Nancy, then me. Sadly, I failed to take a picture. Maybe next time.
After leaving lunch, we drove to the Habitat For Humanity Restore store over by Mall 205 to see if we could find some interesting baseboard material. They had some that we purchased, I got some hinges and knobs, then we left because we had to get Cedric to his golf lessons.
Then, just when I thought I’d had the best day ever, Diane pulled in to the Sears store and let me buy a new saw. An electric one that plugs into the wall, and everything.