In exactly four days I will pass through a life-changing threshold which most people enthusiastically look forward to - RETIREMENT! To say that this event does not come without a tad bit of anxiety would be an understatement, even though its time has definitely come for a variety of reasons, not the least of which has been attending way too many funerals for friends over the past couple of years. At this juncture in my life it would be very easy to become reflective and recall many incidents from the past that have shaped who I am, but that could become very tedious and boring. Also, it would be easy to fall prey to the temptation of discussing that well known "bucket list" of things to do, but Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman seemed to have covered that subject in their classic 2007 movie by the same name. Just let me say there is a whole host of things on mine.
Instead, I would rather focus on the last 34 years of my long working life which began at age ten working for my father, and which was celebrated just this past Friday night with a lovely retirement dinner hosted by my two long time business partners. This latest and longest segment of my working life actually had its genesis over sixty years ago with my old and dear friend, Charlie, with whom I grew up two streets over in the same neighborhood. In addition we went all through grades one through twelve, except for two junior high years when a new school split us, and then we both graduated from college together. It was also Charlie and his wife who introduced me to my wife, Nancy, forty-five years ago. So, there was a deep personal history with one of those partners long before we went into business together where Charlie's vast experience in the financial world became critical. Then there is Jim who I first met through Charlie in 1976 when they both were looking for someone to help them manage their real estate holdings on a part-time basis. Our association began on a small scale early that year but exploded in December with some major acquisitions that required full-time help. Jim was the older of the three and, as such, brought his keen knowledge of construction and mature judgment to the many critical decisions we made. I just had the time.
In discussing the history of our joining together last Friday, we all agreed that it has been a truly unique and wonderful partnership that has certainly passed the tests of time and trust. Charlie and Jim had their respective business interests and pretty much left the day to day operations up to me with little or no interference. Over these past three and a half decades our comfort level with one another, as well as mutual appreciation and respect for what each of us brought to the table, only grew and grew. During this time there has never been any major disagreement or unpleasantness, even though there have been some real challenges including the 1980's savings and loan crisis when interest rates exceeded 17%.
So, it is with some degree of sadness and nostalgia that I think that this business relationship will end next Thursday, July 1st, because I will sincerely miss being associated with my partners of these past 34 years which has passed in the blink of an eye. In short, I want this to be a tribute to Charlie and Jim who have not only been wonderful business partners but great personal friends over these many years. Thanks, guys, for all you have done for and meant to me, for hosting our farewell dinner and for making our experience together truly "one of a kind".
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Matt McLeod at http://email@example.com
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Barry Thomas exclusively at Ellen Golden French Antiques in the Heights
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com