Special people require special gifts when there is a celebratory occasion. Such is the case of one of my favorite professors who is retiring. I want to give him something appropriate, not too fancy or expensive, but shows that I care about this major life change. Certain milestones are rather significant and this one, while about a professional relationship, is nevertheless very personal to me. I want to send him off in style with a small party to which everyone brings a little token gift.
I thought of a book on holistic medicine. There is a new one on the market that he probably doesn’t own. I think this would be appropriate and I can write an inscription inside the cover. Something like this:
Retirement is a time of reflection and new beginnings. May you enjoy your moments of freedom with gusto and ease. I will miss your constant presence, but will always remember you fondly with esteem.
Then I will sign my name.
The last day of class, I brought the book wrapped in festive paper. There was going to be a party nearby to send him off in style. He took the book and said he would treasure the gift from a favorite student. I was so flattered, but not as much as I was when he bestowed upon me a surprise present. I was humbled that he had thought of me with a very nice high-end rechargeable pen light. This was so useful, perfect, and a gift to cherish. This kind of consideration doesn’t always happen in an academic environment. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have a penlight, but it was more than that. The gift was symbolic of a long-standing, solid relationship. You welcome these moments in life as they are few and far between. It was a fond farewell and a bit sad.
I love the penlight. When I am out late at night and am trying to find my way or get the key in the car door, I can get it out in a second. For a small item, it has surprising range. I also like to use it to read menus in dimly-lit restaurants or a newspaper or book while on the bus. Some small practical devices become a staple of utility in your life. I will never regift it, but would consider buying a few for future presents. I know my colleagues and friends, even family, will enjoy it as much as I have. It comes in handy when you least expect it. Plus, who wants to carry around a giant flashlight. Where do you put it? I suppose in your backpack, but frankly mine is already full what with my wallet, keys, cell phone, bottled water, and appointment book. I have dark glasses, sometimes a snack, and a dictionary.
Thank you, professor, you were a good mentor and friend. It is hard to say goodbye. You made me enjoy your teaching subject and I will retain the information no doubt for life.