I spent the day yesterday with my friend Dottie, her son Brandon and her granddaughter Alissa ambling through Animal Kindom at Disney World here in Orlando, Florida. We had a wonderful time. I love to see all of the animals that are in the park as well as going on the rides. The new ride in Pandora is unbelievable. That’s all I will say on the matter because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not ridden on it yet. I am always so impressed with the technology and ingenuity that Disney puts into their attractions.
Did I mention that my friend Dottie is retiring from Disney, Animal Kingdom to be specific, on Wednesday? So over the years, every trip to the park with her is always filled with many introductions to other cast members on the job. Whoever she takes to the park is privy to an extraordinary wealth of knowledge about the animals and the trivia related to Animal Kindom. Her shimmering love for both the animals and her career is evident by her desire to enhance your visit with these nuances.
Dottie has never been one to take her responsibilities at work casually. Even in her first career with Western Electric. She has always had a very strong work ethic. Dottie has always been a teacher of sorts in the form of training in both of her careers.
We have been friends since our junior year in high school. Almost fifty years! I can remember thinking that I would be ancient when I was fifty. Now, I just feel blessed to have had a wonderful friend for that long. We were in each other’s weddings. She is godmother to my daughter and Aunt Dottie to all of my children. We were partners in crime (as Mom would say) in our teens. She called my mom and dad, Mom and Dad and I called her mom Mom. Our friendship has weathered enormous joy, great loss, sadness, happiness and separation of time and distance. And now I will share with her a new chapter in her life. Retirement. Anyone who has retired after working since their teens knows that although we work toward retirement, and for retirement and want retirement, it is a difficult transition. So I will have the honor of celebrating this special day with Dottie, her husband Frank and her Disney family on Wednesday by attending her retirement party.
As we left the park last night, to the symphony of screams and laughter I looked at Dottie smiling, tired from the day, but happy she had shared her home of the last 19 years with us. It was the last time she would be hosting family and friends as a cast member at Disney. Who ever takes her place in the park will have so very much to live up to.
I love you, Dottie. Happy Retirement.