On Tuesday, I drove up this drive and spent the afternoon in the company of some warm and friendly people who share a special place in their hearts for my father.
This is what greeted me when I approached the building.
And all over, this familiar sign.
And these familiar valves and valve stamps.
There was a cake with a photo of my father fishing superimposed atop it, and all associates joined in a room and shared memories of my father. His large hands and generous heart were in many of the stories, his belief in people was in many of the stories and there was one story of his inevitable arm wrestling challenge. They spoke of his kindness, of his sense of humor, of his always asking of each person How are you and listening to the answers because he cared. They spoke of him being a man of the people, an intimidating man by size and title, and yet a man that insisted on being called Ed and not Mr. Groth.
A slide show of photos played on a screen hanging on the front wall. There were photos of fishing trips and photos of his retirement party. There were photos of Christmas parties from the late 80s and early 90s. And there were a couple videos of speeches he had given, speeches that encapsulated so perfectly who he was and his belief in people, that I was frozen in time once again hearing his voice and listening to his wise words and witnessing again his enthusiasm and sense of humor.
Later, several of us went out for dinner and since Edward Groth Jr. Drive is in Louisiana, that dinner included grilled oysters, fried artichokes, fish, gumbo, shrimp and oh the yummy sauces and toppings that accompanied the food. The dinner also included fond stories of both my parents, some I hadn't heard before and some I thoroughly enjoyed hearing again. More than once we raised our glasses to Ed and Betty and more than once I realized that their legacy lives on. And that, friends, had me feeling so very proud of my parents and so very happy for them. Their influence, beliefs and hard work live on. They made a positive mark on many, many lives. That is success.