It’s been a hectic week… On Monday, My Lovely Bride went into Drill Instructor mode and got The Coach organized. I stopped counting at 157 loads (armfuls, laundry baskets and plastic bagfuls). I would have tried to (a) take a nap or (b) schedule a tee time, but since it’s been two years since I played golf, Ms. D. I. was having none of that… “Get off yer duff, Sailor!” “Yes, Ma’am!”
Monday evening saw us at the Miona Rec Center for Suzanne’s Flute Choir’s Spring Concert, “Flutes and Vegetables”… Director Christine Smith put together a fantastic program, based on a menu of music introduced by Maitre d’ Ward Green, whose day job is Director of The Villages New Horizons Concert Band.
In addition to eight or nine beautiful group pieces, My Lovely Bride performed a duet on her bass flute with Christine on the piccolo. It was a terrific evening, enjoyed and appreciated by the many Villagers who attended.
On the day before we depart, we try to have a meal out to save time and relax for a few during an otherwise very hectic schedule. A breakfast at our new favorite diner saw Elizabeth Magee and Bev Garlipp joining us for First Watch’s unusual menu. Bev will be coordinating all of our events again this year, and Elizabeth will be giving Suzanne moral support remotely during her European Grand Tour. (“Hey, Elizabeth, how about you come visit The Coach for a week and I’ll fill in for you on your Rhine River cruise?”)
Then lunch at home, several hours of packing, cleaning the house, and some final yard work, and a fabulous, finger-lickin’ rib dinner at Oakwood with Suzanne’s mom Ruthie and our neighbors Bob and Jan. (Regrettably, the photographer fell down on his duties and missed the historic evidence for our meal (yep, five full racks), other than when Jan tried to use a straw with the paper cover still attached…)
At 1600 (4:00 PM) today, we arrived at the Air Force’s Grassy Pond Recreation Area in Valdosta, Georgia, the first night’s campground on our 2014 Summer Tour. We completed all our preparations for departure this morning, checked The Coach’s tires and oil, said goodbye to friends and neighbors, and settled Rudy and Gretchen in for the trip north. They were looking forward to seeing old friends (prey?) again at this oak-studded campground that serves nearby Moody Air Force Base. This must be one of most heavily populated places for squirrels that we’ve ever seen, and this is our third visit here.
After dinner, we went on a hunt… Rudy and Gretchen must have treed at least 6 or 8 furry rodents, and by the end of our w-a-l-k, they were both panting and tired. So was I! Here’s a shot of Your Faithful Correspondent running with the puppies in search of targets of opportunity. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but I am being pulled headlong by 17 and 10 pound puppies… when they are on the hunt, they are unstoppable!
An historical note: Valdosta, Georgia, was named after Val d’Osta, the estate of Governor George Troup in 1860. The estate was named after the Valle d’Aosta in Italy, the name interpreted as meaning the Valley of Augustus City, referring to the Emperor Augustus. One of Valdosta’s historic events occured in 1902, when the Harris Nickel-Plate Circus’ prize elephant, Gypsy, went on a rampage, killing her trainer and terrorizing the town for several hours. In 1910, Fortune Magazine named Valdosta the richest city in America by per capita income. More recently, Valdosta was named as one of 2003’s “Top 100 US Small Towns”.
The trip to Valdosta was uneventful, with only a few dozen love bugs disturbing our view out the front windshield. Interstate highways, in this case I-75, aren’t our favorite routes, but when you have to roll up miles, they are useful. We are looking forward to rolling down backroads whenever possible. We’re headed to Marietta, GA, tomorrow, where Unity of North Atlanta will be showing the Messages of Hope documentary on Friday evening, and Suzanne will be giving two presentations on Saturday, Making the Connection in the morning and Heart Gifts in the afternoon. Please see Suzanne’s web site, www.LoveAtTheCenter.com, for more details about this and upcoming presentations in Marietta (Atlanta); Greenville, SC; Wilmington, NC; Mills River (Asheville), NC; Farmington Hills (Detroit), MI; Evanston, IL; Golden Valley (Minneapolis), MN; Fort Collins, CO; Albuquerque, NM; Vancouver, BC; and Calgary, AB; additional events are being added weekly, so please check her web site periodically for updates. Suzanne will also be giving readings in person whenever possible, as well as by Skype and telephone.
Today’s final blog entry is a bit of an embarrassment. The night before our departure, I was really beat. That’s the reason for my lack of situational awareness, or “S.A.”, as it’s called in the Navy. Here’s the story… I was doing dishes after dinner, and My Lovely Bride had brought in the coffee carafe from the coach. It took its place in the queue, and as I was washing it, I asked, without looking up, “Hey Sweetheart, did you think to bring in the whole coffee maker, since we now have the Keurig and don’t need it in The Coach?” I heard a less-than-subdued “Snort!” and then a “Ty, look up!” I knew I was in trouble when I saw this large, black plastic object in front of me on the counter… Duhhhh….