All employees of Thomson Construction Supply Company gathered Wednesday, Feb. 22, for a party honoring George T. Jones for his retirement as a job superintendent after 46 years with the company.
The day was chosen because the rainy weather meant the workers would not be able to pour concrete that day. A cook-out was held under the roof of the business' back porch. The meal of hamburgers and hotdogs with all the traditional side trimmings, complete with a chocolate cake, was catered by Mike Neal of Neal's Bar-B-Que.
G. T. Jones (left) and David C. Hughes share a laugh during a party marking Mr. Jones' retirement last week.
"I didn't know I was worth all this," Mr. Jones said jokingly. "If I had, I would've asked for a raise."
Before the cook-out, David C. Hughes, the owner of the company which supplies concrete, presented Mr. Jones with a retirement check and expressed his appreciation, saying Mr. Jones had been a valuable employee.
"Anything with concrete, he can do - anything, period," Mr. Hughes said. "... It's been a pleasure to work with him. It'll be hard to improve on. There's been many times I've wished there was a dozen G.T.'s, and I had 10 of them."
According to Betty, Mr. Jones' wife of 49 years, Mr. Jones was a crane operator when they were first married. That job required travel, keeping Mr. Jones away from home during the week. When the couple's first child was born, Mrs. Jones said her husband came home from work one day and told her he quit his job as a crane operator, and was going to work for the Thomson Construction Co. so he could be home more.
"I was so proud of him," Mrs. Jones said. "A lot of men don't think about their children like that. He wanted his son to know who he was. At first I was nervous because I knew how much money he made driving the crane. But it's worked out good. He's had a good relationship with Mr. Hughes."
Mr. Jones said working for Mr. Hughes "has been a picnic. I've never dreaded coming to work."
Since his retirement in early January, Mr. Jones said he is working harder than ever. His wife said she enjoys having her husband home every day, and he is getting his "honey-do list done."
"I used to get up at six o'clock in the morning, go to work, then go to bed about 10 o'clock at night. Now, I usually get up at four in the morning and go to bed later," Mr. Jones said while shaking his head. "I've just got my finger stuck in so many different things."
The "so many different things" includes gardening and travel. Mr. Jones said he and his wife like to travel anywhere they can get by driving. His personal favorite destination is the North Georgia mountains. Mr. Jones said there is one place where the scenic view on the side of the road is spectacular, and he hopes to go there again soon. He said a trip outside the country possibly could be on the horizon.
Office manager Karyn Strickler said Mr. Jones loved to talk about his gardening every day at work.
"I've known G.T. for 25 years. He has taught us a lot, not just about concrete, but about gardening, too," Mrs. Strickler said.
Co-workers Gary Norman and Willie Brittain, who have worked with Mr. Jones for 11 years and 34 years respectively, both agreed with Mrs. Strickler.
"If you are motivated to learn, you could learn a lot from him," Mr. Norman said.
"I don't think there's anything he don't know," Mr. Brittain said.