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Flute Choir; A Gift Pie; Chocolate Blob; Books Afoot; Green Eggs; Does Lotus Make You Sexy? Unity of Citrus Rocks; BEAT ARMY! Ice Fishing?

It has been a very busy week… Suzanne’s flute choir performed at the New Life Christian Church last week, and by all accounts, it was their best performance ever! The ladies were decked out in classy red and black outfits, and their music was heavenly. Several medleys of Christmas favorites were interspersed with some less well known pieces, and one of the favorites was a piece arranged by the flute choir’s director, Christine Smith. Her husband Randy also got to perform in a duet with Christine, with him on the dulcimer. It was an evening of wonderful holiday music that was enjoyed by all of the 200+ attendees. We are already looking forward to their next performance in the Spring.

As the flute choir performance ended, we met our good friends Michelle and John, who had a surprise for me – Michelle had baked me a birthday apple pie – my very favorite, and her first apple pie. Let me tell you, if Michelle ever wants to get out of the real estate business into something far more creative and tasty, she should open up a bakery here in The Villages.

Here is a close-up of Michele’s fabulous apple pie, which looked like a work of art. I almost regretted having to cut it. Almost. Okay, to be honest, I didn’t regret it at all. It was The Perfect Apple Pie. Thank you again, Michelle!

Speaking of sweets, My Lovely Bride made An Egregious Error the other day. We had gone for a hike, and she thoughtfully stuck a couple of Silver Bells (AKA Hershey Kisses) in her pocket for Her Wonderful Husband to enjoy when he got hungry. Regrettably (Error #1), she forgot to tell me about them or to hand one to me when I was indeed famished. Regrettably again (Error #2), she forgot to remove them from her pocket until she was doing the laundry. Fortunately, they didn’t go into the wash. For those unfamiliar with the transformation of a perfectly shaped piece of chocolate into an amorphous blob, the attached photo is provided. The original bell-shaped object on the right is the “Before”; the lump on the left is the “After”. I can personally attest, however, that the blob actually tasted pretty good, even after several days Having Gone Missing. I hope she has learned her lesson.  This cool “macro” photo was taken with my recent birthday present from My Lovely Bride, a Nikon D7000.  I am a very happy photographer.

The other day My Lovely Bride decided that she had to deliver a book to her new friend Jan, “just around the corner”. She alerted me with, “Put on your walking shoes, sailor!” I of course replied, “Yes, ma’am.” She donned a backpack, no doubt to show me that she, too, could carry a heavy load. (I didn’t want to snicker that after all, it was just one book… I’m not that dumb.) After 10 minutes of fast power-walking, I asked, “I thought you said this was just around the corner.” Her retort, “Well, a four mile round-trip isn’t much, since you need to get into shape for your week-long backpacking trip in the desert with Liz next week.” I couldn’t argue that point… We finally arrived at Jan and Peter’s house, where Suzanne autographed Jan’s new book, and we received an unexpected invitation to dinner. Hey, this “Books Afoot” program has promise! Don’t be fooled by the wire sticking out of Peter’s ear; he’s not a Secret Service agent, but rather a patent attorney, so that’s probably his Bluetooth connection.

We arrived back for dinner to find Peter warming up his Green Egg. I had only seen this elegant barbeque device once before, and it is an impressive piece of kit. Weighing about 175 lbs., you need to arrange a crane and a second mortgage before you get can get one, but it is awesome! Peter was cooking planked salmon and red skin potatoes on it, and I took him and Jan aback when I stated that I couldn’t possibly eat red skin potatoes… Jan asked, are you allergic to them? “No, it’s the fact that the four indigenous native tribal leaders trying to shake down the NFL say that they are offended by that name.” (I think Jan thought I was serious for about 10 seconds…)

After a delicious dinner and scrumptious chocolate dessert, Peter showed us his pride and joy; a 2004 Lotus Elise. You may recall me mentioning this model sports car last summer, when one passed The Coach somewhere out west.

Here is My Sexy Bride molded into the driver’s seat and cockpit of the Elise. (You have to be a gymnast to get into this car gracefully.) It will do something like 150-175 mph, but fortunately the garage was blocked by another car and she wasn’t able to show the Sumter County Sheriff her tail lights that night. 

Here’s the Lotus’ rear engine compartment. Either Peter is an OCD engine cleaner-fanatic or he has little elves polish his engine at night… have you ever seen an engine this spotless?


On Sunday, Suzanne and Bev Garlipp drove to Lecanto, Florida, where Suzanne gave the message at Unity of Citrus County in the morning (to the largest turn-out the church has ever enjoyed), and then her Heart Gifts presentation in the afternoon. I stayed at home to try to clean up the living room, which was covered with a tent, sleeping bag, and assorted bits of hiking and camping gear. I had actually made some progress by the time the ladies returned from a very successful trip out west. Here is Suzanne with the high-spirited Rev. Marciah McCartney, who is making Unity of Citrus County “rock”! Both Suzanne and Bev commented on the wonderful community there, many of whom we had met on previous trips to Homosassa and Lecanto.

Saturday found us watching the Army-Navy Game. Suzanne had received an email from Charles Cunis, a retired Army Colonel in Colorado betting on the game, two of her books (if Army won) or lunch (if Navy won) when we visited there again. She felt really bad accepting the bet, since Navy had won the past 11 games. It would be sort of like taking candy from a baby. But heck, if a Colonel wants to lose, she was happy to help. At halftime, with Army down 17-0, she emailed him and said, “Charles, I’m really getting hungry for lunch.” (That’s it, Sweetheart, rub it in!) The final score was 34-7. Sorry, Army, maybe next year.

Lastly, winter is setting in here in The Villages. We understand and have great empathy for the poor souls who are enduring slightly cooler weather, such as the -20 in Ely, MN, and -50 in Montana the other evening. It’s actually down in the 40s here at night, but daytime temps recover pretty well. Here is My Lovely Bride in her winter garb, at our favorite ice fishing venue. (You’re welcome, Terri.)

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