So far this has been the week from.... Well, actually, I'm not sure where it was from. It hasn't been a bad week, nor has it been a good week. It's been an odd week. Very, very odd.
I'm trying very hard to get things accomplished before I leave tomorrow for Pennsic, but the energetic enthusiasm I usually have is a bit lacking. Even the mood around work has been very subdued. That's probably because of the news that we received Monday that our CEO (well, ex-CEO as he retired in December, but he was still very involved here) passed away very suddenly. His name was Ray. He was only 60 years old. He hadn't been ill, was in good health, and excersiced constantly. He just went to bed and never woke up. Everyone is still waiting to hear the results of the autopsy because it was totally unexpected.
Yesterday we had a special staff meeting which was a memorial service for Ray. Some employees also went to the funeral home afterwards to pay their respects to his family during calling hours. They said it was half an hour just to get into the building. That tells you what kind of man Ray was -- very active with his family, with the community, with many organizations, etc. People said they had never seen so many flowers in one place. He was well loved and respected.
And we all miss him.
My Ray story: Everyday when Ray would see me, he would ask me, "How are you today?" I usually gave him my patented answer, "Okay." Each day he would try to get me to say a different answer, and each day I responded with, "Okay."
"One of these days I'm going to get you to say 'I'm doing great'," he'd say. Or he would just take it upon himself to give the question and response when we would pass each other in the hall. "How are you doing today?" he'd ask and immediately respond with, "I'm doing great, Ray!" before I could even answer.
One day I was passing by his Administrative Assistant's desk, and there was Ray standing next to her. Both of them were watching me. It was weird. Finally Ray said to me, "How are you doing?"
Do you ever get the feeling that something's up, you just don't know what it is. That's how I felt at that moment. So I responded, "I'm doing well."
His Assistant burst out laughing. Ray just shook his head. "You just cost me lunch," he said to me. I was a little puzzled. "We saw you coming," he explained, "and I bet her lunch that I could get you to say 'Okay'. You let me down, man. You let me down." He began to chuckle along with her.
For the rest of his time as our CEO, I returned to my "Okay" response each time he asked his question. He still vowed he would get me to say something else. It took a few months, but he finally won.
"How are you doing today?"
"I'm sad, Ray. Today I am sad."