Walking the dogs down at the square earlier in the day, we saw a red Viper, a very hot sports car. When I was about 20, I briefly dated a girl whose father was a doctor. I went to her door to pick her up one evening, and she smiled and said, “My parents are out of town…” I will leave it to your imagination to guess my first thought. She surprised me when she asked, “Would you like to… drive my father’s Ferrari?” All thoughts of lascivious debauchery vanished (well, briefly) and off we went for a spin in her dad’s Italian racing red Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta, probably the hottest production sports car in the world in 1968. The New Orleans Expressway (this was before Interstate 10) was only about 10 miles long, and at over 100 mph the Berlinetta ate up the road in a flash. We were back home far too quickly, but most important, the car was unscathed. This Viper isn’t as sexy as the Ferrari, but I did glance over to see if the keys were in the ignition… darn it…
We got out for an hour bike ride today to Brownwood, the new third town center in The Villages which only opened today for business. The crowds were just starting to arrive when we biked through; the entry to Paddock Square is certainly reminiscent of a cowboy town. Did you know that Florida is the number 10 state for cattle production in the US? (And you probably thought that oranges and alligators were all they grew here!)
On our bike ride today we met fellow Villager Lance Curtis, from Park Ridge, Illinois, who was riding very strongly into the wind. We took turns drafting in a mini-pace line, and I asked him to pull over for a photo op. Lance stated that three weeks ago he had a heart attack; Suzanne asked if he was concerned about riding hard so soon after that event, and he said, “No, but my wife is.” I liked his attitude; don’t give up your passion just because it might over-stress your body.
While Suzanne was giving a reading, I went down to Sumter Landing, our local town square, for a cup of coffee. I then wandered around the square admiring the flowers. Having spent most of my adult life at sea and overseas, I could not identify these beautiful yellow and orange flowers; floral experts are invited to comment on their name…
At first I stood back at a distance, but then got right up “in their faces”, so to speak. It’s always amazed me how much is going on in every very small piece of the world when you take the opportunity to peek in at it. A bee flitting from flower to flower gathering pollen; a gecko looking for whatever it is geckos eat; an ant crawling around the inside of a flower, presumably looking for food (I tried to interview him, but he was as busy as, well, an ant, and couldn’t be bothered!). These hibiscus were quietly getting older, and had probably already been sampled by the honeybees.
When we lived in DC, I was the consummate news junkie, partly because it’s always interested me but also because we were in the epicenter of national and international politics and world affairs. Every day’s news was frenetic, and on a macro scale. Since we don’t watch TV, I find I have more time to spend on the micro fabric of life: our dogs, a Sequoia tree (okay, maybe not so micro), people we meet on the street, a canyon in Utah, or some flowers at the town square. Stopping to smell, and admire, the flowers, is like holding a puppy in your lap; it has to be good for your blood pressure and controlling those nasty piranhas. Just looking closely at these leaves gave me a sense of the perfection of God’s work in nature. How could you possibly improve on the simple design of this leaf?
We were at Unity of The Villages tonight for the latest showing of the Messages of Hope documentary, and it was sold out, with almost 150 people attending. It was one of the best audiences yet.
Suzanne answered many questions afterwards and signed a lot of books. The filmmaker, Chris Lavelle, and cameraman extraordinaire Tim Epner flew in from Rochester for the viewing and to shoot two episodes of the Messages of Hope TV show. (More on that in a future blog.)