Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Farewell to Steelhead

"Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down." ~Ray Bradbury

This photo is from my Farewell Party at Steelhead on March 8th. About 70 people came to wish me well. We had lots of toasts, including several to my boss of 16.5 years. He generously paid the bill for the party, even though he couldn't attend. It was all quite surreal with people congratulating me on quitting.

I've had an amazing career at Steelhead. I gave loyal dedication and all my creative juices to ensuring its success for more than 1/3 of my life. I sometimes felt like the five Steelhead breweries I built were my children. It was very hard to see two of my children die when those locations were closed down due to lack of business. It was hard letting my brewers go. My boss reminded me it was harder to take out a loan that he is still paying the payments on, in order to relinquish the businesses debts. My personal connection to Steelhead was emotional, not financial (other than my paycheck).

At 5:15 pm on my last day my husband, Jon Graber, picked me up from work. I stood in the parking lot with my little cardboard box containing my rubber boots and gloves. The rain was cold and drizzly wet, the sky an overcast shade of medium gray. I saw Jon pull up and my lip quivered. As I got into the car I couldn't hold it anymore. I cried my eyes out. It was the end of an era, the end of one major chapter in my life. I can't deny that.

The next day dawned bright and sunny. We departed for the Washington Cask Ale Festival at 7:00 am. The next chapter was beginning... with a road trip!

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