Saturday, March 29, 2008

As I was leaving my job yesterday, I noticed that the security guard who normally watches my building had balloons and cards all around his work station. Initially, I just assumed it was his birthday, and as I walked closer to him, I started to prepare my mini-happy birthday speech. But once I got closer to both he and his balloons, the word retirement jumped out at me, and I had to rework my speech. I looked over at the security guard, and he had a broad smile on his face.

Tracey(that's his name) is an older black man, and if I had to guess, I would say he's about 65 or so. I have a special place in my heart for older black men, because I am quite sure they went through some hardship that I couldn't possibly fathom. In fact, some mornings I would over hear him telling stories to people, and I would smile to myself as I headed toward the elevator. He just seemed like the kind of man, who I could sit around and drink Colt 45 with, while he told me how it used to be. I have two grandfathers living(although my father's dad died when I was just 3), but neither one of them were the let-me-sit-around-and-tell-you-a-story type men. Luckily for me, I have had a many men around me who more than filled that void.

Anyway, as I walked up to Tracey, there were at least 6 or 7 people around him wishing him luck during his retirement. I instantly wished that I had known earlier that he was leaving, because i would have bought him a card or something. Instead, I just waded through the crowd of people, extended my hand, and i said, "Good luck Tracey." He stopped what he was doing, looked me square in the eye, and said, "Thank you youngster". And that was it, I left out the building and looked back, and the mini crowd around him at re-formed.

During my commute home, I felt a certain degree of sadness about it all. I started wondering, has he been a security guard all his life? Was he able to enjoy himself, or did work consume totally? Does he have kids, can they take care of him, etc,etc. And then I snapped out of it and told myself, that he was a man who presumably retired on his own terms, and he was ready to tackle the next phase of his life whatever that was going to be, and I left it at that.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding


Bashful said...

My Granfather was a security guard for a government facility all of his life, he worked the night shift.

I remember he used to come home in the middle of the day with that funny looking lunch box he carried. My granmother would clean it out and repack it for him.

You are bringing back some serious memories.

I hope he enjoys his retirement to the fullest.

lex said...

why is this entry making me tear up??

...much respect to Tracey.