Reflections on a Full Year: Weddings, Births, Retirement, Passing Torches…

Sometimes, when words and tears cannot suffice—the only thing left to pour out my heart is write.

Yesterday was such a day. I had gone to the newly completed barn at Smuggler’s Notch and took dozens of pictures—many of which are culled into this post. I met with our amazing and perseverant client, Steve DePalma, who graciously thanked me for what I would now likely call the most beautiful project we have ever built—if I were to have to decide that. A few minutes later while we were saying goodbye—he also specifically thanked me for Ryan running this job—without whom it would not have succeeded and who was indispensable for realizing Steve’s dream. Along with David designing this exquisitely lovely building—I was keenly aware that I was receiving gratitude for what is primarily the hard work and gifts of others on our team—and I got to bask a bit in their glory.

While I pretty much ran Pippin Hill—those 18/7 days are now ephemeral and even if I foolishly wish at times I could revert back—that simply is not going to happen. This was one of those moments—in a year full of major transitions—that I realized life is moving on and that as hard as it has been to let go of doing everything (increasingly unsuccessfully)—it is also necessary, wonderful, gratitude filled, and going to inexorably happen no matter what—whether I kick and scream or go with the flow. This building is Ryan’s and David’s testimony—for which I humbly thank them and get to take pictures and post with gratitude to them and our wonderful client who never gave up even though it took him and David a year to get through Act 250 just to have the privilege to build in Vermont and increase their tax base….

Other events and transitions? The first wedding just took place here—and gave me pause to reflect on a myriad of this year’s transitions….

—My dad—after a 30+ year meteoric career with GE and another equally long and distinguished as a professor at RPI—just retired last month at 95 years old—probably so he can stay even busier doing what he loves…which is doting on his grandchildren and later this year to be sixteen great grandchildren…here pictured with the youngest Abetti at four months old…

—Two daughters expecting children later this year—bringing grandchildren #’s 15 & 16 into the world.

—Turned sixty five but and begun to at least slow down in some ways after a very close call falling asleep at the wheel pushing myself way too hard.

—Building a barn garage office on a property we bought so that Geobarns does not dominate our home more than it already does.
Built a Geobarn vacation home and barn on the same farm development as Pippin Hill where we have a ton of business and I have been sleeping on friend’s couches for years….with the idea of having a beautiful place to show clients and get away now and then from Vermont winters…

—Bought and restored a small property in Italy—partly with the idea of developing a presence in Europe if the right pieces fall into place….which they may be after recently attending the International Wood Forum in Lyon France.

There is of course so much more—but the real takeaway on all this is that life and and Geobarns are moving on and the company is now also fully in the capable hands of David Hamilton, Ryan Hereth, Jay Foster (our CFO), my wife Susanne (office and marketing) and a myriad of subs who enable us to both become what and thrive as we are…and I am learning to enjoy riding on the same runaway train with them, a little bit more each day.

— George