We’re staying with friends on Marco Island for a few days. They came to visit us with initial plans of staying at our house, but without furniture this was not possible. As a result, we ended up at their temporary place, a Marriott Vacation Club. This morning I fought the humidity in a miserable attempt to run and ended up walking after two miles. It was one of my worst efforts in some time, with the feeling that my body was totally used up. I’ll know tomorrow if it was just a temporary set-back, or if I’m truly getting too old for this streak that now extends to 4,509 consecutive days.
This getaway to Marco Island was a last minute miracle, considering that only a few days ago we had no options for someone to take care of our schnauzer Tally. My wife met a woman at our neighborhood dog park, looking for advice on a groomer. She directed us to a couple that owns eight schnauzers. As it turned out, they were excited to board Tally for a few days so we could get away. To make matters even better, Tally seemed equally excited to spend time with their dogs, even after the grooming. She ran right into their house when we dropped her off, in sharp contrast to her last few visits to the dog spa in Portland where she shook in fear. My wife was relieved to find a great option for Tally when we travel.
We arrived on the island yesterday afternoon and took a walk on the beach. I spotted a tent with the IU Hoosiers logo and met some folks from the Evansville area who owned condos in the adjoining property. It reminded me to monitor the NCAA soccer tournament match against Brooklyn St. Francis later in the afternoon. The Cream & Crimson advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth straight year on penalty kicks. Hopefully, they can continue on to win their ninth National Championship – next up Marquette.
My wife finally got a good night’s sleep last night, as we both enjoyed the soft beds. It was also refreshing to stay some place with comfortable furniture to sit on. We have one more nights to relax with friends rather than squabble about what needs to be done in our new home. Hopefully, we’ll hear from the moving company this week about a potential delivery date for our stuff. Life is good on Marco Island!
Limoges Box giving this year has been limited to Valentine’s Day, with all of them now packed up in a Portland warehouse. In the twenty-two years since my wife and I have been together they have always had a place in our home, It only seemed appropriate that I splurge on another, a fitting tribute to our Venice home. Travel has also been restricted this past year, with three years having passed since our memorable visit to Venice, Italy and the famous Rialto Bridge. We then went on to tour the Greek Islands and the city of Greece, our last Viking Cruise. Plans for Bali, Egypt, Barcelona, Kauai, and Russia have all been since cancelled due to the pandemic.
Most of these lost travel adventures have been invested in our new home in Venice, Florida, where we have daily reminders of the Venice, Italy adventure. We actually often talked of moving to Italy for a year in retirement, so this housing addition of Venice-like bridges near the Gulf of Mexico is likely the closest we’ll probably ever get. The turn-around point of my daily runs is at the crest of one of these neighborhood bridges. They reflect in the numerous canals that give most of the homes in our new neighborhood a water view.
It occurred to me that the curve of these structures form the shape of a frown, but the reflection on the water’s surface is a happy smile. Perhaps the architects knew this when they designed the famous Italian city, six-thousand miles on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s Florida namesake is now our home town, and a porcelain replica of the Rialto Bridge now sits on our mantle, signifying happy times ahead. I wrote this poetic tribute to the newest addition of our Limoges collection:
After thousands of miles,
We’re finally here.
Of lovin’ you dear.
Our forever home,
Is now complete.
We’re without a seat.
From Venice to Venice,
Six thousand miles.
Crossing that bridge,
Brings memorable smiles.
I bought for you,
And a brand new home,
With an extra fridge.
Though empty now,
Yet filled with love.
And blessings from,
The heavens above.
Though North American,
Has let us down.
And bridges can form,
A gloomy frown.
But the water reflects,
A sunny smile.
And gives our addition,
The waterway canal,
Takes that frown.
And turns the curve,
The magic of Venice,
In our neighborhood.
Where love is strong,
And life is good.
copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com
We go back to school today – Pool School – where we learn all about taking care of our new swimming pool. Hopefully, they can set up the fountain to run when we want and properly hook-up the underwater light. The pool also gets converted from chlorine to salt this afternoon. We’ll probably start with a maintenance program until we get the feel for its care. At some point, we’ll probably end up installing a heater, but I’m content with the temperature for my morning laps. I’ve gotten in it every day since we’ve moved in, slowly putting a dent in its cost-per-use.
There’s a lot to learn about our new house, as we’re gradually trained on the use of associated appliances, electronics, and mechanics. We know all about smoke alarms and got our new central vacuum accessories yesterday. We’re ordering rugs and furniture to reduce the hollow echo, as we continue to wait for our lonely furniture that sits in the Portland warehouse. No word from North American Van Lines despite several calls this week. They supposedly continue to refund us $100/day penalty that now amounts to over $1000. Plantation shutters and lanai blinds have been ordered for much needed privacy from the close-by neighbors. I’ve met the people on both sides now, but those across the street seem much friendlier.
New home celebrations continue, as we get settled. Two pictures have been hung on the wall and we own a new ladder. Today is my wife’s eldest daughter turns 40. My son and his wife presented us with a wall hanging of “Happy Together” in honor of our 20th anniversary last week. Two of their three kids have birthdays in May, as we soon flip to our second Florida month. Last night we went to the neighborhood ballpark for dinner, where the sunset was much more entertaining than the game. The Braves, now our home team, drubbed the struggling Cubs 10-0. They took them to school – not Pool School.
It was nearly 17 years ago when my wife and I found Bay Palms Trailer & RV Park, upgraded from just a Trailer Park where my grandparents once kept one of their home-away-from-homes. Their permanent home was in Elwood, Indiana, with trailers at Corey Lake, Michigan and Bay Palms – Englewood, Florida. Depending on the time of year, our family would spend weekends in Michigan and vacations in Florida. My sister and I shared these cherished memories of growing up when she visited yesterday. We went to the beach together for lunch where we once hunted for shark’s teeth and drove down the Gulf Coast in search of the park that was once the home of Pelican Pete.
My wife and I had recently driven that route only to discover no signs of my grandparent’s park. I remembered only a marina next door but couldn’t pinpoint the spot. Yesterday, my sister and I persisted, asking strangers about the location and driving through a few trailer settlements along Englewood’s Lemon Bay. After 50 years, nothing seemed familiar but we pulled into a newly developed park that I believed was the former site. It was called Lemon Bay Sunset Rotary Park and I pointed out what I recalled to be the site of our once beloved vacation spot. Mr. Coffman was Pelican Pete’s caretaker, once removing a fishing hook from his beak, and his mobile home was the best in the park, occupying the scenic waterfront corner across from the Marina. My sister was not fully convinced, so we searched several other areas before returning unsatisfied to our house.
I Googled the park, still believing my theory was correct. Sure enough I found an article from the Englewood Sun newspaper with the headline: “Property transforms from Trailer Park to Community Park:”
“For many years, it was a small community of people living in mobile home by the bay. For eight years, it was abandoned. Now it’s an attractive, well-used park in the heart of Englewood.
“It’s gone from being a trailer park to a beautiful community park,” Charlotte County Commissioner Bill Truex said Wednesday at the dedication ceremony for the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Park and its new clock.
The park, which has a boat ramp, a floating dock and canoe and kayak launches, clean new picnic areas, restrooms and a brand-new playground, is finally finished. Giant live oak trees shade much of the park.”
The Rotary donated clock now marks the spot where my sister and I first experienced Florida. Ironically, she has bought her own second home in the Leesburg area while our new home is just north of Englewood. There are still several palms in the park by the bay but no longer a Bay Palms.