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Award Lunch; Suzanne’s Channeling and Readings; Movie Call and Dinner; Speed Scrabble; A Flute Plug; “Pimping” Bob; Stilettos and Teslas

You may remember a couple of weeks ago that we gave an award to Dr. Elsa Lopez for her highly imaginative and scientifically logical, but ultimately incorrect, answer to one of our photo quizzes. Elsa lives in the Miami area, so we weren’t sure when we could take her to lunch – fortunately, she set up a date when she could visit America’s Friendliest Home Town, and this week we got to meet her. My Lovely Bride put together a lunch of crab cakes, spiced shrimp and cranberry cole slaw; the meal was perfectly accompanied by a bottle of exquisitely delicious Vougeot Clos du Prieure Monopole that Elsa most graciously provided.

Elsa drove her motor home up from Miami (not many people come north to The Villages). Five hours is a relatively short trip for her; Elsa has made the epic trek to Alaska in her previous camper, from Miami to above the Arctic Circle, to see moose, grizzlies and polar bears up close and personal. Her camper is totally self contained, and perfectly sized for national parks and tight, switchbacked roads like the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier NP. Thanks for the visit, Elsa!

Recently Suzanne had a remarkable channeling session at Unity of The Villages. It was her last session before we depart on our 2014 Summer Tour on Wednesday April 23, and the church was filled with love. She has been giving daily readings to try to whittle down her waiting list as much as possible. She will also be giving phone and Skype readings again this summer while we travel across the US and Canada, in addition to in-person readings whenever possible. We now have 16 events confirmed, with Bev Garlipp hard at work making additional arrangements along our route. You can find the up-to-date list of events on Suzanne’s web site,

Along with good friends Michelle and John Uss, we were happy to be able to join our great Navy friends Bill and Gayle Hancock at their lovely home with the best view in The Villages for hot-tubbing, dinner and movie call (that’s a Navy term, for sure…). Gayle is your Classic Classy Navy Wife; fabulous cook and gracious hostess… when she told us that we were having 40 Clove Garlic Chicken, and I responded that I was allergic to garlic, without a blink she said, “Sounds like a personal problem.” (Good thing I wasn’t serious…). I think Gayle’s sense of humor has been honed by decades of living with her three-star admiral husband Bill, who before going to the US Naval Academy had a short career as a stand-up comic at Iowa State. John and Michelle are also funny characters about to celebrate their 39th anniversary. Guess Suzanne and I are the newlyweds with only 17 years of joint service.

After dinner My Lovely Bride gave a tutorial in Speed Scrabble, a version of that famous game that you play without a board. Games go quickly, like in 4-5 minutes, and you are rewarded more for quick thinking and short words, rather than slow, careful composition…Speed Scrabble is perfect for airline or train travel when you have a small tray table or when you don’t have a long time to play the regular version of the game.

From our Shameless Advertising Division comes this announcement: “Music lovers will not want to miss the Spring Concert of The Villages Flute Choir at the Miona Recreation Center on Monday evening at 7:00 PM.”  Suzanne has been practicing more than usual because she is playing a special song featuring the ensemble’s director, Christine Smith, on the piccolo, and Suzanne on the bass flute, backed up by the rest of the talented ladies in the flute choir.  The selection of music is cleverly based around food and the programs are menus.  Should be quite a tasteful concert.  (Groan)

We are now in the final stages of preparing for our trip, and the house is a disaster, with piles of clothes, camping gear, puppy paraphernalia, tools, bike stuff and kayak gear littering every corner and cubicle. Maps are spread all over the floor, and Rudy is checking our route to make sure it passes through prime squirrel and gopher territory.

We can’t bring The Coach to the house too early for loading because we’d be blocking the view of My Good Friend Bob. Normally we’re on wonderful terms, but I got in a little bit of trouble recently when I saw Bob and Jan on the street in front of our houses and I mentioned that I had to make sure I told Suzanne how nice her hair looked when she got home from an appointment with Judy, her stylist.  The background is that the week before, Suzanne commented on how much she liked Jan’s haircut, causing Bob to react with surprise. This was followed by chagrin, because Poor Bob had had forgotten Rule Number 48 from Good Husband School: “Always comment how nice your wife’s hair looks when she comes home from the hair salon.” So I decided to “pimp him”, as we say in the Navy; whenever I saw Jan and Bob for the next week, I would say, “Jan, I really like your new hairdo.” I think MGF Bob laughed the first time, smiled the second, but after 14 such comments, my attempts at levity may have been wearing a bit thin.

I am continually surprised that not everyone shares my ebullient sense of humor. At last week’s Unity event, I was speaking to our good friend Donna, whose husband Shelby had dropped her off at the door and drove off to park their car (a hot Tesla Roadster) because all of the closest spots were taken. After a half hour Shelby hadn’t returned, and Donna was getting a bit worried. “Donna, don’t worry; I saw Shelby showing the Tesla to a nice young lady in stilettos and fishnet stockings. I’m sure he’ll be back in an hour or so.” Donna was not nearly as amused as I was by my joke…  Smack…

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