November 18, 2004

Three years ago in July I was laid off from Giant after 12 years.  That July day was the last time I had been back there except for one recent holiday where I ran into just a couple of people.   So yesterday I decided to go have lunch with Carol and stopped by Giant.  I was a little nervous when I first drove up the drive.  I didn't know what to expect.  What kind of reception would I get from everyone there.  It was strange.  When I got out of the car, I checked myself over like I was going on a job interview.  Found that I looked about as good as it was going to get and I headed inside.  

Once inside the lobby I didn't recognize anyone so I approached the front desk and let the receptionest know that I was here to see Carol.  As she was calling Carol to let her know I was here, George walked up.  The first blast from the past.  I hadn't seen George in all those years.   I'm sure he remembered me, but I'm not sure he remembered my name.   He looked the same, still taking pictures.  As I was talking with George, Carol walked up behind me.  She startled me a little but that was OK.  I said goodbye to George and we headed back toward Chris H's office.  I had to say hi to a few people this time around.  It had been so long and I just wanted to see a few of the people that were left.  As I was standing in Chris H's doorway, Chris C came out of the printer room.  I was saying hi to her when Chris recognized me and I could hear the excitement in her voice.  I wish I could have seen her expression.   It really made me feel welcome and comfortable.  I relaxed a little bit then.  I was seeing old friends and I was welcome.  Chris and I sat and chatted for 20 minutes or so and it was great to catch up with her again.  

After I left Chris's office, I headed toward Tammie's and Loann stopped me over the cubes so I headed in to her and Alice's cubes and we talked for a little bit.  Gene finally came over and said that he thought he recognized that laugh and couldn't believe he had heard it.  The four of us talked for a little bit and then I asked Gene if he would walk me down the IT hall to Chris C's office.   I felt welcome there, yet I saw so many new faces and eyes watching me trying to figure out who I was and how did I know so many people.  With that I didn't feel comfortable walking around the place unescorted.   It was a strange feeling.  To feel so welcome, yet intruding all at the same time.  

Chris was headed out of her office and Gene and I stopped outside the computer room to take a look at it.   It had changed quite a bit since I was there.  While we were talking out side the computer room, one of the IT guys there came out and asked if we had bought tickets to view the computer room.  Gene said no and introduced us, "Dan, Gavin.  Gavin, Dan."  At that point Dan said, "Gavin? I think you have an account here."  Gene said, "Yea and it's probably one of those labeled 'Do Not Delete'."  I thought that was funny.  I am still remembered in Giant IT, even by the ones that don't know me.  Woo Hoo!!!

Well at that point I headed back out and stopped to talk with Tammie and Julie who was in Tammie's office.   Kevin came by and we all chatted for a little while.  I was having such a good time.   I didn't realize how much I had missed the people from Giant.  I was still kept informed by Carol about the ongoings and inner workings, but it was great to talk to everyone again.   I had a blast.  I finally decided to do what I had originally come there for and that was take Carol out to lunch.  We ran into Judy and Sally on the way out the door and Judy suggested going down to the Elephant Bar and so we did.  Excellent food, thanks Judy.  I had a great lunch with Carol and it was fun to be able to take her out to lunch from work.  She never takes a lunch because of her shortened work schedule and usually I am working so far away that we never seem to get to do this.  So I enjoyed it emensly.

I took Carol back to work and I wanted to see a couple more people before I left so she took me up to see Mark.  He hasn't changed a bit and he's still hanging out doing the same ol', same ol'.   He mentioned that he had traded voice mails with Nancy last week because of her birthday and suggested that we all get together sometime.  Maybe Greasewood Flatts after the holidays.  That would be great too.  We haven't been up to Greasewood since long before I left Giant.  That would be so much fun.  We wrapped up our conversation and he suggested that I talk with Kelly before I leave to say hi and see if she might have a couple of contacts for work.  I said that I would and then we headed off to Jeannine's office.  

Carol dropped me at Jeannine's and headed back down to work.  It was so much fun talking with Jeannine and Jacklyn on the phone.  That was a great surprise.  She called to speak with her mom and I happened to be in the room so Jeannine put her on speaker.   Jeff and Russ stopped by while I was there.  It was so much fun.  Seeing everyone again.  Talking with everyone.  While I was in Jeannine's office, Hilda called and said I had better go over to see her while I was there.  Jeannine and I wrapped things up and she pointed me in the right direction to go down the back stairs to hook up with Kelly.  But as I walked by Kelly's office, she had a few people in there so I just kept going.  I headed over to Hilda's and saw Bev as well.   It was great seeing everyone.  I eventually made it back to Kelly's and we talked for a while as well.  I even had a good conversation with Matt when I was there.   As I was wrapping things up, I ran into Carolyn and then Frank peered over the cubes and stopped by before heading on.  There was so many people who were glad to see me and it was a great feeling.

When I left Giant, the terms weren't the best and I was hurt and angered by this.  I wasn't sure what people had said or thought because of how things were handled and I didn't want to see the people that had done this.  So I stayd away.  And look at what I had missed by staying away for so long.  As I had mentioned to a few people, it's amazing how many people are still there and how many people aren't.  It's like there are pockets of people that have hung around for the long haul and others, for one reason or another have moved on.  I learned yesterday that whatever your reason is for leaving, don't lose site of your friends and extended family.   I worked with these people for 12 years and a lot of them became my family.  My local family anyway.  I felt like I had gone to a family reunion.  Catching up with so many friends and family that I hadn't seen for over three years.  I promise not to make it so long next time.  And I plan on getting in touch with people from VistaCare and to not lose track of those friends that I made while I was there.  I had so much fun yesterday.  Thank you all for making me feel welcome.