Well Miss Ruby, the big day is here
An event you've cherished all through the year
But when you start setting your lamp on fire,
We all think it's time for you to retire.
You've brightened our mornings with a cheery Hello,
Except when the weather threatens to snow.
And without the least hesitation
You told us all of your operation.
Through the years you have given your all
Driven some of your bosses right up the wall.
But we'll all miss your thoughtful ways,
and wish you were back in the coming days.
Ah yes, when the debits and credits don't settle
It will surely test our mettle.
And when all those reports are overdue
We will simply blame it on you.
Oh Miss Ruby if you'd only been here,
We could have dumped it on your desk to clear.
And you'd have grinned and straightened your back
And gotten it done before your mid-morning snack.
We'll miss all the flowers you'd always bring
The lovely bouquets at the first sign of Spring.
But we know that this is a SPECIAL DAY
And then there'll be no tars as we sincerely say —
Now you can travel and garden and cook
And once in a while read a good book.
All of your friends send you love and best wishes
But please help Kermit sometime with the dishes!
Now let us be clear: I do not know Miss Ruby.
I know nothing about her but now, I guess I know a bit about her.
She was hard-working, well-respected.
Her job had to do with numbers. She loved flowers.
Her colleagues relied on her. She stood her ground.
She had health issues. She deserved her retirement.
Apparently, she didn't care for doing dishes.
I was searching for a particular sized frame when I found this one, with its faded testament. I wasn't crazy about the walnut but that could be changed. The size was almost exactly right. The green dot price tag said $2.00. I took it home.
But when I started to dismantle the frame, I had to stop. I felt bad. I felt bad for Miss Ruby. Here I was, ready to discard the culminating document of her professional life. I read through the lovingly hand-drawn now-faint calligraphy, tenderly composed, and delicately embellished. How sad this honor to her ended up on my living room floor.
Who was Ruby? Where did she work? When did she retire? What did she do after her party? Why was this affectionate tribute left in a thrift store? Was she still alive? Would I ever know the answers to any of my questions?
It took a couple of days for me to grieve Miss Ruby's loss. The loss that comes when one leaves one's home for a place with greater care. The loss that comes when one leaves this world for the next. Whatever the transition, Miss Ruby no longer needed this written celebration from her colleagues.
I spray-painted the frame in a black matte finish and had my wonderful framers insert this silk-screened individual page — one-twelfth from a talented artist's rendition of the calendar. I only bought this one page (for a dollar or two) because — for some reason — it spoke to me. I love the way John (tiny signature-with-no-last-name upper-right of the "R" in November) made his letters with a comb-effect and the way he fashioned the zeroes. Of all the other single pages of his calendar, only this one spoke to me — even though I have no associations with combs or November.
I love the way it came out.
I hope Miss Ruby would approve.
As the last recipient of the thanks honoring Miss Ruby, let me share my thanks for each of you...wishing all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah!