Ray Monson

Ray Monson was a unique individual: having been in the Marines for years, he was not easily intimidated by people who were trying to coerce him into doing things their way. At the same time, he was not overbearing or obnoxious. Ray came to HP from a position at Xerox, and he had a few characteristic mannerisms: in a high-tech company like Hewlett-Packard, he still chose to use pen and paper instead of text editor to write things (imagine!), and his desk was always immaculately clean. He always doodled during meetings, and some of his multicolored works of art were quite elaborate.

One of Ray's main responsibilities was to write installation documents, and a current project at the time this poem was written was the "Snakes" project: a series of hot new computers. Ray initiated a project that goes on to this day: a documentation matrix that informed people in HP divisons around the world what manuals we were writing, their page counts, part numbers, binding styles, etc. Ray's fondest dream was that our department would get at least one document converted from a paper form to an on-line form before he retired. We made it. Barely.

This poem was in honor of Ray when he retired.

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The Village Wordsmithy
Copyright 1993 David Arns

Under a spreading chestnut tree,
The village wordsmith stands,
Ray's his name; he smiths his words
With large and sinewy hands,
And the list of books he's worked upon
Continually expands.

His hair's no longer like it was--
It's gotten somewhat gray
Since he came to work for us
That bright and cheerful day
When he came from Xerox to HP
To get a raise in pay.

Though it seems a little odd at times,
When Ray would need to write,
He'd rarely use text editors,
As you would think he might,
But pencil, colored pens, and ink
And pads of paper white.

When the first of every month rolls 'round,
Ray gets his pad of paper
And sharpens up his pencil
To a sharp, exquisite taper--
His matrix helps inform the Lab
Of LP's current capers.

And when Ray represented us,
Out in the Golden State,
At Corporate LP conferences,
He really pulled his weight.
The bearing of an ex-Marine
Is hard to subjugate.

And when attending meetings here,
Watching Ray was quite a hoot:
His doodling took the meeting's
Total time to execute;
The lines and shapes became
The meeting's welcome substitute.

One thing we will not miss, I think,
About Ray's working habits:
He'd never let a speck of dust
Be on his desk; he'd nab it!
While everybody else's desks
Made papers breed like rabbits.

But now, right in the prime of life,
Retirement he takes!
He'd rather go a-hunting elk
Or fish some quiet lakes
Than write the Installation Guides
For new, high-powered Snakes.

We'll miss you, Ray, and when you leave,
Your freedom we'll admire;
The fact that you won't have to work
Will lift your spirits higher--
(At least we got a couple books
On-line ere you retired!)

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