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Newbies at Unity; A New Restaurant; Dutch Treat; Thanksgiving; Black Thursday? Frog-man; A Tight Fit

Suzanne had the opportunity to address a large group at Unity of The Villages recently, and about 90% of the attendees had never heard her speak. She gave a two hour talk on her background and how she had transitioned from a career naval officer to her new life as an intuitive, medium and spiritual teacher.  She then shared quite a few examples of the kind of hard-core evidence from the other side that has turned her and many others into believers in a greatly expanded reality. 

One of the surprises that day came when Suzanne noticed a lady holding a copy of her latest book, In the Silence, which we had only just received the day before. How did she get that book so fast? Evidently Amazon had them a few days before we received our shipment; what a shock!

There are lots of restaurants in The Villages, but when a new one opens up, we have to check it out. We were very happy on a recent visit to Mezza Luna, an upscale Italian eatery in Colony Plaza only 3 miles from our house. Our good friend Lynn Spence went with us; her husband Bailey had flown back to Virginia to be with their son Chad for surgery, but Lynn couldn’t travel because she was recovering from a knee operation. While we had a bit of a wait because of Mezza Luna’s popularity, a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay made the wait quite tolerable. Our server, Mel (Melissa) took good care of us and we had a fabulous meal. Lynn had eggplant paremsan, Suzanne had Veal and Shrimp on angel hair pasta, and I had my favorite pizza (Italian sausage, pepperoni and spinach). The only trouble was that our bottle of Chardonnay evaporated far too quickly. It must have been the low humidity…

As we were finishing up our delicious dinner, we chatted with Mel, a Dutch-Italian beauty with runway model looks who plans on moving to California to continue her education. Meanwhile she is working hard at Mezza Luna, and if you’re heading there for some great Italian food, please ask for Mel. She is a delightful young woman and will take good care of you.
On Thanksgiving, we were invited (along with Suzanne’s Lovely Mom Ruthie) to Jan and Bob’s for a feast, along with Jan’s mom and dad, Rita and Frank. They provided the turkey, stuffing, wine, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, asparagus, and three pies (pecan [MLB’s favorite] apple and pumpkin). Ruthie brought her Famous Baked Pineapple, and I made oyster dressing.
We tried to maintain some semblance of moderation at the feast, and apparently succeeded… no wheelbarrows were required to transport us home! (Although I have to disclose that MLB was mumbling in her sleep that night… something about “Can I please have another piece of pecan pie? Please, please, please?”)

We had about 4 hours to let our food settle when My Lovely Bride said, “Mount up, Sailor, we’re going shopping!” I asked, “What are you talking about? It’s Thanksgiving!” “It’s a new tradition, Black Thursday! Move it!” So off we drove to Belk to get a new comforter set for The Coach. We arrived promptly at 2000 (8:00 PM) to find about 1,000 of our new best friends waiting for the doors to open. I have never been shopping on Black Friday, but I had heard of the mass hysteria, shouting, pushing and karate chops that American women thought was normal for the event. So I went prepared with my Darth Vader helmet, complete with loud wheezing. People seemed to avoid us for some reason… we were in and out in 15 minutes, and MLB got her new comforter at a great price. It was an experience…

Friday saw us preparing The Coach for a trip to MacDill Air Force Base on Tampa Bay. Suzanne was scheduled to do a book signing on Saturday and speak at First Unity of St. Petersburg on Sunday. We picked up The Coach from the storage area and took her home for loading. While packing books and audio-visual equipment in the belly, I noticed two stowaways – small frogs clinging to the door frames. They had apparently been transported the seven miles from Oxford to our house, and were looking pretty surprised by their new environs. I lifted one carefully and transported it to the yard, then picked up the second and called for Suzanne to grab the camera. Here he/she is on my wrist, just prior to making the leap to freedom in a new county.

Suzanne was giving a reading in the afternoon, so we didn’t get underway until 1600 (4:00 PM), arriving in Tampa just after dark. As we approached the MacDill AFB gate, only one of the four lanes was open (Lane One), and it was a narrow car lane. Normally, big RVs and trucks enter through much wider Lane Four. Suzanne said, “Don’t you want to go over to the far lane?” I replied, “Naahhh, that will cost us too much time, since they’ll have to lower the barrier and send a guard over there. We can make it… remember, I taught shiphandling and relative motion at the Naval Academy. This will be a piece of cake.” (This may not have been the brightest decision of my life…) As we approached, one airman jumped out of the guard shack saying loudly, “Oh my God!” The other gate guards (all armed) stood in silence as we rolled up with a line of cars behind us, with our side mirrors on both sides a scant two inches from mounted security lights on the guard shack and opposing wall. After checking our IDs, one airman said, “Sir, could you use the truck lane next time?” I replied cheerfully, “Why, certainly, that would be great!” Suzanne muttered, “That was a bit close, wasn’t it?” I replied, “Hey, we had six inches on each side… well, maybe four inches… okay, would you believe two inches?” I wanted to fist-pump and shout, “The Navy has arrived!” but decided that I’d better not press my luck with the junior birdmen.

We arrived at the FamCamp in the dark, and while I disconnected the car and secured the towbar and electrical wires, My Lovely Bride recon’ed the Ville. Almost all of the full hookup sites were occupied, but she found one empty spot with all the amenities. The Snowbirds have definitely arrived. One neighbor, Bill from Michigan, is down for the whole winter. (Let’s see, in the U.P. that runs from Labor Day through Memorial Day, right?) He watched as MLB directed me on a walkie-talkie, and we backed smoothly into our space. Five minutes later electric and water were hooked up and I was pouring Cabernet into our new Indestructo stemless wine glasses, gifts from fellow Villagers Gayle and Bill Hancock. (I think Bill, a retired Navy three star admiral, would have approved of our arrival at the MacDill front gate. He was a hot shipdriver too.)

1 Comment

  • S/V Magnolia
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I am sure you have put ships in tighter spots than that gate. We are planning a special trip to Mezza Luna for dinner and bet your life we will ask for Mel!


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