REED CITY — There was a lot of laughter, many hugs, and even a few tears recently when the courthouse crew and many other friends celebrated Sharon Minier.

Actually, the celebration was to honor her retirement, but it was obvious that it was much more than an “employee” the others would be missing, but her personality, quick smile, dedication, and obvious love of others.

It also was obvious they loved her right back.

It’s no wonder. Sharon was called “our little girl fresh out of high school” when she first came to work at the courthouse, so dubbed as such by Mabel Bates.

Mabel was the treasurer back then. “Then” was 1964.

Sharon was hired as a part time employee then, but in May, 1965, her job grew to be full time.

Then in 1986, she transferred to the register of deeds office, working for Elva Edstrom in that department.

Edstrom retired in 1990, and Minier stepped in to fill those shoes.

Nancy Crawford, Osceola County’s register of deeds, had nothing but praise for Minier. “When Elva retired, she became my chief deputy the instant she took office. What a conscientious, efficient employee she has been all these years. I couldn’t have asked for a better employee.”

Crawford said she knew Minier was “a bit — a lot — hesitant about having a party, but we just couldn’t not have one. She’s very special to all of us.”

As people gathered in the hallway, and a room across the hall, and around the corner to offer hugs, gifts, and many memories, there were many moments when laughter burst from this corner or that. It seems that an album or albums have been kept throughout the years at this retirement party or that, and pictures brought back many memories.

Some were shared. Others were not. There were times when a few people stood amazed at what memories had been captured, and how long ago they said some seemed, and like yesterday for many others. Sometimes tears were wiped away. Other times uproarious laughter.

Some of those celebrations dated back into the 60s, “and just seeing us then,” one woman said, “kind of puts life in perspective. I’m not sure exactly how, but it’s a process, isn’t it? It’s good. It’s good.”

Each department adds another page to the memory books whenever an employee retires.

There were many gifts given to this new retiree, and each appeared to fill another corner of her memory bank as she not only received the gift, but shared thoughts of the giver, and added to the day’s “gift.”

At one point, there were ooh’s and aaah’s as a gift bag yielded a quilt, one that had been quilted by someone who knew her well, and tied in the special affect. The pattern? Rose of Sharon.

After sharing cake and other snacks, it was time for some to leave and return to work, and a little later, it was time for the newest courthouse retiree to leave work one last time and begin a new stage of life.

Asked what she planned to do with her time, she smiled, then thought, and quietly answered, “Well, whatever I want and the hours are good.”