This week my brothers-in-law Brent and Allan were playing the championship course at Amelia, whose #2 fairway is behind our house. Allan, who is visiting from West Chester, PA, had texted me that they would be in our vicinity about 1340 (1:40 PM) for a beer break. Brent, who lives here in The Villages, hit his tee shot at our house on purpose, because he had been driving his shots to the right, and aiming left should have brought the ball into the center of the fairway. Alas, his tee shot went as straight as an arrow into some tall grass behind our next-door neighbor’s house. For some reason he didn’t want to reach under the thick grass looking for his ball… something about snakes… As they drove up, I proffered two frosty Coronas, which were happily accepted.
Allan’s tee shot went into the bunker right behind our house, so he was safe from nasty, biting wiggly creatures. After a brief but fruitless search for Brent’s errant Titleist, Allan proceeded to set up with his sand wedge. In this photo, his form looks pretty good, but did he make the shot or just spray sand all over the place?
Suzanne’s lovely sister Janice is a marketing director at an assisted living facility in Wilmington, Delaware, but she has another passion: singing. And she is really, really good! She performed at Mission Hills on her last trip here, and she was invited back, so on Monday afternoon we drove over to hear her sing a set of Broadway musical songs from big hits like Cats and Chorus Line and other shows.
I recently met an interesting FedEx driver who was dropping off a package at our house. “BJ” is a father of three who used to be a welder and travelled a lot, but changed careers to spend more time with his family. We talked about our motor coach, which was out front when he came by. One of his relatives is about to retire from the military and travel around in his RV. “BJ” is thinking that he needs one like it to attend his kids’ football games when they get to college. He is a hard working, personable guy, and I am sure that all his plans will work out just fine. See you on the road, “BJ”!
We spent the past three days making a trip down to Sarasota for Suzanne to give two presentations. But first we had to find a place to stay. We selected Myakka River State Park, a lush, semi-tropical paradise with large camping sites, beautiful palm and oak forests, a slow-moving river, and lots of wildlife. Alligators and many species of birds were everywhere, but especially impressive was a group of roseate spoonbills (Platalela ajaja). This lovely bird’s color results from its diet – crustaceans, frogs, newts and small fish.
My favorite critter was this little frog, only a couple of inches long, that I met sitting on the rail of the restroom facility. (The frog was sitting on the rail, not I…)
Following a delightful dinner hosted by four gracious members of the Sarasota Vista Spiritual Group, Bob, Ginny, Lisa and Forrest, we proceeded to the Bayfront Community Center. Suzanne’s presentation, Making the Connection, was very well received. (I hope I don’t get any grief from My Lovely Bride for putting her photo just after that lovely frog…)
The next morning, we went for a run down the park’s main road. With almost no traffic, this was a delightful place to exercise and lose oneself in Nature’s beauty. The road itself is only a foot or so above the marsh and swamp on either side of the road…
Myakka River State Park is also very prone to flooding. This swampy section is probably crawling (literally) with frogs, bugs and snakes, but there were hardly any mosquitoes.
There were some flying pests, however, in the form of dozens of turkey vultures, possibly the most revolting looking birds on the planet. This sign indicates that they may have been hired by a local automobile repair shop to bring in business…
On Wednesday afternoon, Suzanne gave a reading in The Coach, and then we prepared for our next event. Torrential rains arrived before we left, and we drove to Sarasota past several serious accidents along I-75. Fortunately, we arrived safely at the Sarasota Center of Light where we met Reverend Drew, Reverend Lisa and their delightful spiritual community, many of whom we had met last year on a previous visit. Suzanne presented “Heart Gifts“, the story of a very special young man named Wolf. The audience was spellbound by this story, and if you haven’t heard it yet, it’s a “must attend”. Our visit back to Sarasota ended on a high note, and we look forward to returning again and spending more time getting to know the area better. Thanks to both the Vista and Center of Light communities for your hospitality!