Today is the day of the annual work holiday celebration. To the rest of the world it will simply appear as though we are having a company party. As we are rather spread out, it isn’t often that we all come together from the various areas of the park (lodge, administration, visitor center, marina, maintenance, golf course, etc.). In fact, this is the only time during the year where this occurs. Thank goodness for small blessings.
I should be excited that there will be a lot of food and door prizes and I won’t have to sit at my desk for a few hours, but this will be my second year in attending this shindig and if I wasn’t here today … I wouldn’t be missing anything.
This is Arkansas and the majority of employees are local. There are a few, like me, who have actually seen more of the world than the woods surrounding this area but a large majority have lived here their entire lives. This, my friends, is redneck hell. This fact must be kept in one’s memory at all times.
Here are a few details about said holiday get-together.
The event takes place in our convention center where there will be buffets full of food, tables full of drinks (non-alcoholic as this takes place during the middle of a work day) and several tables stacked with wrapped gifts as door prizes. We come in. We fill our plates. We find a place to sit. We pray. We eat. We get door prizes (well, some do). We leave. That’s it. Although, I am amused that we have this chance to all come together once a year and yet, like teenagers, everyone sits in their own little clique (i.e. the people they work with in whatever area of the park where they work). There is no mingling.
"Birds of a feather, flock together!" ~Proverb
About the prayer: This is a state facility and as such we are not supposed to openly discuss topics such as religion or politics … but we pray before our Christmas meal! Don’t get me wrong. I am a Christian and I have no problem with praying, but the same person always conducts the prayer every single year and he drones on and on and on and on … not to mention, he doesn’t particularly strike me as an openly spiritual or religious individual. In fact, first impressions were quite the opposite. I’ve worked here two years now and that impression has not changed. Why does he do the prayer every year? I think he forces his way into the job so he can have the exposure.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” ~Matthew 6:5-8, Bible
About the food: Anyone with a discerning palette would be as wary as I am regarding the food choices. In typical pot-luck fashion each department was assigned certain items for which they were responsible: vegetables, dessert, drinks, rolls, etc. You get the picture. There is only one key in getting through the food choices. You have to know the person that cooked a particular item before you select it or scoop it up or (around here) grab it with your hands. Trust me; around here you don’t want to eat certain individuals cooking. I don’t recall eating much last year.
“If people take the trouble to cook, you should take the trouble to eat.” ~Robert Morley
About the door prizes: This is one part of the day that will breed some excitement and make the rest of the wasted time worth while. There are three tables with various gifts. Table one is described as gifts better suited to the women in the room just as table two is supposed to be guy-gift specific. The third table is a hodge-podge with gifts appropriate for just about anyone. As we enter the convention center for the holiday party everyone is given a ticket. One at a time the numbers are called and if you have a lucky ticket you can select a gift from any table. Of course, then you have to open it with everyone watching and there are several gag gifts (i.e. a pair of fuzzy pink monster slippers) that, I am told, make their way onto the tables every single year which explains some of the raucous laughter associated with said gifts as they were opened last year. As 2006 was my first year in attendance, I wondered why certain gifts were getting such a reaction. Apparently – there is history. Go figure.
“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” ~W. C. Jones
Well, this holiday hullabaloo is scheduled to begin momentarily. I shall now take a break from this written venting session to attend. I will be back shortly.
A couple of hours later and I have returned to my desk with a too full tummy, a renewed irritation for the aforementioned dude that says the prayer, and a new set of chef’s knives. I’m not complaining about my door prize because I will never walk away from anything that enhances my kitchen. Hey – at least I didn’t end up with the stupid fuzzy slippers (because they were in the same size box as last year – duh) … some old man I do not know walked away with those.
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” - Oren Arnold