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April 18, 1986

Rites of Passage

Author Affiliations

White Bear Lake, Minn

JAMA. 1986;255(15):2073. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370150115041

The rituals of retirement had come to an end. The hospital tea had come first. It was much like all the many, many retirement teas I had attended over the decades. People from all walks of life and all areas of the hospital had stood in line to wish the honored-one well, to share a new joke, to ask about plans, and then had gathered in little talking knots about the long tea table. The table, as usual, was resplendent in white linen, the best tea service, tiny sandwiches, salted nuts, the regulation garlicflavored cheese ball, and, at each end, an attractively dressed pourer (tea or coffee?) from the department. The administrator had made a gracious speech to light and polite clapping from the assembled group. Yes, it had been a mirror image of a thousand other farewell teas, only this time I was at the wrong end of the