Saturday, October 30, 2010

On Saturday, it was time for Don and Linda to head for home. The four of us, along with Stan and Sally and Jack and Diane headed to Pauls' Kitchen for breakfast. Yes - we actually skipped pickleball this morning. Actually - only six of us had planned on meeting, and Stan and Sally had arrived first and put our name in for a table for six. The breakfast crowds were out in full force this morning - and people were waiting on the porch. It was but a few minutes after we sat down that we saw Jack and Diane come through the door, so we waved them down and had them join our table. Breakfast was excellent, as usual and our waitress was a real sweetheart! She took a picture of our rowdy group, but unfortunately - when I went to download my pictures it was not there!!
Posted by Picasa

But I did snap this one of Linda and Don at their cabin as they were getting ready to head for home. I think Don had fun playing picklebll with all of us, and that both of them enjoyed meeting our RV Friends. It was really a great weekend.
In the afternoon Rich had an appointment to meet up with Austin for some "singles" pickleball and I was meeting the group at the Adult Lounge for some POKENO. The park was celebrating Haloween a day early so a few trick or treaters were out early evening. There definately is not as many people in the park this year as last at this time, but certainly more than enough to enjoy singing and dancing in the parking lot to the music of Bobby Mack. When we arrived around 7:00 Buddy and Brenda and Ray and Linda were already there. A short time later we were surprised to see Stan and Sally drop in from Torrey Oaks. Yes - for those of you wondering - Sally was indeed herself on the dancefloor tonight - and I can't believe I did not take my camera!!!! Jack and Diane and then Rich and Dee were the next to arrive and then Austin and Arik (Didn't see Mom and Dad). It was a fun evening with a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll!! The macarana, the chicken dance, the electric slide and YMCA..........Definately Sally's favorite!!!
It was after 9:00 when we called it a night and headed for home.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pickleball, Pot Luck, and Halloween Treats!

What a great couple of days. On Thursday morning pickleball started out pretty slow.....with only four of us out to play. Rich and I and Jack and Bill. Hard to believe that Rich and Dee were not there - they seldom miss a day. And Buddy was still a little under the weather.

About 11:00 our very best friends Don and Linda arrived at the park. They were renting a cabin for a couple of days and getting to experience a little bit of the life of a pickleballing RV'er. They settled in to their cabin and then headed down to our site. We cooked some hot dogs on the grill for lunch and made plans to meet for dinner and pickleball later in the day. I tossed together some parsley red potatoes, green beans and biscuits (that almost were forgotten in the oven!!) to go along with the ham steaks and Sangria that Don and Linda brought. Then we headed for the pickleball courts for some pickleball under the lights. All the regulars were there except Jack and Diane - who had not yet returned from a family trip to Ft. Lauderdale. A new couple arrived - Ray and Linda, returning from their summer in Michigan and on their way back home to Naples.
click pictures to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page

Above left to right - Nate, Krystal, Ray and Don, Rich, Dee and in the back is Stan and Ken from Torrey Oaks, Center is Rich, Dee, Don and Stan with an after the game discussion. Bottom left is Nate and Krystal, and the last is Rich and Don, Sally and Buddy. ( This camera just does not take good pictures in the dark)

Watching or waiting to play is (top left) Stan, Ken and Krystal. Dee had seen enough flashes for the night so grabbed my camera to make sure my face got posted this time! Next is Linda (the new couple) and Linda (of our friends Don and Linda). Sally always gives a great smile for the camera. Arik and Rich are back at the table. We had fourteen out playing under the lights tonight!!

Not quite as many out to play on Friday morning - but enough for two courts to stay busy. Late Friday afternoon we planned a happy hour back at our site. These days with the courts being lighted, happy hour starts at 4:00 or 4:30. This way we have time to eat, drink and be merry before we head to the courts at 6:30 to exercise off what we've eaten. Today was no exception.

Everyone has arrived and the lines have started at the food tables!

Above from left to right: Rich and Dee, Ray and Linda, Nick and Tanya, Shelties Cheyanne and Dakota and their mom and dad Don and Linda.

This is Brenda and Bill, Diane, Jack and Buddy, Stan and Sally,and the bottom is the Showalters: Austin, Krystal, Arik and Nate
Tonight was a little bit more festive as we near that "Hallowed Eve". Krystal filled this pumkin above with a pumpkin dip that had everyone raving!. And Stan and Sally treated everyone to their homemade" Sally Pearl Wine! Sally also came bearing treats for the crowd.

As long as you followed the tradition of saying "Trick or Treat" you were allowed to take a "treat" from her bag of goodies. Thanks Sally!!

And by 6:30, everyone had left, changed into their pickleball attire and were out on the courts, once again playing under the lights.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Old Friends Return to Peace River

It's starting to look a little bit like last year........more and more of the pickleball group is arriving and most are staying for the winter. This morning there was only about five of us out playing - Jack and Diane had to make another trip to Ft. Lauderdale, but Rich and Dee were back from the weekend shows. Tonight we knew that Rich and Dee and Buddy would be out playing - but we were very happy to see a few more familiar faces. I'm sure you'll recognize some of them. It's a little hard to capture good pictures with my camera at night and under bright lights - but I'm putting them out here anyway. We met at the courts about 6:30 and it was 9:00 when we returned home.

Rich and Nate!

Stan and Buddy - finally get to play and practice together. They will be playing tournaments together this winter.

Dee and Austin. Austin is 15 and the son of Nate and Krystal.
Sally and Ken. I think this was the first time that Ken played a game of pickleball. He and his wife are staying at Torrey Oaks and came over tonight with Stan and Sally.
Stan and Krystal cathing up on -"How was your summer?"
You probably don't recognize Arik - Last year he had very long hair and a beard......Arik is Austin's older brother - playing with Rich
Rich and Buddy. What great form Buddy! Eyes on the ball, knees bent - Surely that was a winner!
See you in the morning!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Little Bit of History - A Few Great Memories

Elmira, New York is a very small town just over the Pennsylvania border. That was home to us for many many years, where we were born and raised. It was a great place to grow up, a real family town, with a lot of history. Back in our highshool days when Rich was a Southside Hornet, and I a Notre Dame Crusader.........we didn't know each other at all, even though we lived just a few blocks from each other. Back when Denny was born in 1969, downtown Elmira was like a street out of a fairy tale, and the population was somewhere around 46 to 48,000. In the summer of 1972, there was Hurricane Agnes, which was the first named storm of the season. It was barely a tropical storm when it hit Florida, but it worked its way up the east coast, meeting up with a tropical low and produced some of the worst floods of the century. The worst urban damage of the storm was in Elmira. Water rose to about 2 feet from the second floor at Rich's mom's house. After that, many of the manufacturing companies and factories began to close and today the population has dropped to just over 29,000. Denny was in New York at Fort Drumm for work, and when work was completed he headed to Elmira, NY. These are all pictures he took while he was there for the day and they sure did bring back a lot of memories. Love the Welcome sign - that's new! Did you know that while a small town with not much notice it was the home to some pretty cool people?

Geoff Bodine, Nascar stardom in the modified division, Eileen Collins who in 2005 was the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and command a space flight. And there was Ernie Davis, the star running back for Syracuse University and the first Black man to receive the Heisman Trophy. You all know Brian Williams of NBC news. He and I both grew up on the same street!!!! Then there was the Underground Railroad - and John W Jones, whose home in Elmira was the major stop between Philadelphia and Ontario and where he aided the escape of 860 runaways. Mark Twain also lived for a while in Elmira back in the later part of the 19th century and there is an octagonal shaped study that was given to him as a gift when he lived at Quarry Farms, that is located on the grounds of Elmira College.

The house on the left - Miller Street was Denny's first home. This is where mom and dad brought him home from St. Joseph's Hospital. The house on the left was his Grandma's house and the one that housed the flooding waters of the Chemung River in 1972. We had soooooo much fun here; great holidays, Grandma Stawn's kitchen filled with homemade baked goods, and we'll never forget that winter we built a huge snow slide in the backyard or the picture of my brother Dave, shoveling mud in the front yard after the flood. Can't believe these two houses are still standing - they were "OLD" back then, at that was almost 40 years ago.

And where did you go when you were a kid in Elmira? Well there was the Brand Park Public Swimming Pool that was crowded every day in the summer, and everyone went to the little concession stand outside after a swim for and icecream bar. Loved those creamsickles! Dun Field - Home of the Elmira Pioneers. We spent many an afternoon watching the baseball games, and always loved those days with double headers. This ballfield was built and opened back in 1939 and named after builder Joseph Dunn who donated the land to the city of Elmira. Baseball is still played there today. For many years it was part of the Eastern League and the NY-Penn League and today is part of the NYCBL one of the nations leading summer college baseball leagues. Who played or managed here? Earl Weaver, Cal Ripkin Sr., Lou Piniella, Wade Boggs, Curt Schilling
to name a few. Rich and Denny caught many a foul ball in this park.

And Eldridge Park!!! Denny mentioned that it really looked better than he expected after so many years. But what a place this used to be. Back in the 1850's it was beautifully sculptured plant gardens and then the city of Elmira purchased it in 1889. This was the home of "The Stage" where I performed in so many talent shows when I was very young, and where I even took 2nd place in the Miss Chemung County Pageant. It's where we held many a family reunion, played a little minature golf and watched the fireworks over the man made lake from the hoods of our cars. We rode the whip, the roller coaster, and bumper cars. Denny loved Kiddie land - and the Spook House, but couldn't wait to ride the roller coaster with Dad or scare me to death in those things that flew high and out over the water! The best Merry-Go- Round ever! And on each turn you'd stretch and reach to catch the rings. The gold ring and you got a free ride! We always went to the Penny Arcade and finished the day with ice cream, a candy apple or pink cotten candy. WOW - What great times.

But we're all grown up now. Much of the family still lives in the Elmira or surrounding areas. Denny stopped to visit briefly with a couple of his cousins, Tammy, and Danny - brother and sister and children of my late brother Don. These three spent a lot of time together growing up. Brings back memories of those Friday night auctions, family get togethers and UNO around the kitchen table. Rich and I had a cottage on Lamoka Lake, and my brother Don one on Waneta Lake. They are located in the Finger Lakes region, not far from the southern tip of Seneca Lake. The two lakes were connected by a canal and we would often make the trip back and forth by boat. The two families spent a lot of time together here in the summer........Fishing in morning, water skiing in the afternoon, cooking on the grill, fishing in the evening and then started all over again the next day! Denny - I know you still tell everyone about the roast of beef that turned to a rock cooking on the grill while we played badminton in the yard...... laughing with Dad in the boat when you'd turn quick and make me fall from my water skiis into the seaweed, how we never let Dad get a chance to fish, because he was always baiting the hook or taking the fish off for the two of us, the two "girlfriends" that you and Danny brought home to the cottage, and how we laughed when Danny's oatmeal was loaded with salt and not sugar...............And there was so much more.
Thanks for the pictures Denny - thanks for the memories.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Hour with some new friends.

While out on our bike ride the other day, we stopped to chat with a couple that a year ago had been parked across the road from us - but we never got to meet. Nick and Tanya - invited us to join them for happy hour tonight. A few familiar faces - but we met a lot of new people. And you will find this very hard to believe - but not one of them were pickleball players!!! Imagine!!

This is Nick - Preparing some "finger food" to munch on before dinner. Absolutely delicious smoked and spicy sausage. And the evening was only going to get better. From left to right and top to bottom: Diane, Lee and Pete. Diane had made some delicious dip for nachos - mild and hot and did up a real big batch of Sangria. We have seen Lee, waved and said hello before, but tonight was the first time we met officially. Husband Pete works in the park. Steve and Cindy . Just returned today from a trip to North Carolina, exhausted but made a mean batch of peanut butter/cranberry brownies. Jenny and Bill - Great Onion Casserole! Diane's husband Chuck joins her and Lee at the table. That's Nick's wife Tanya, with Jane, Marie and Bill. Marie and Bill have joined our happy hours in the past so we had met them before. And many of you know Joy and Ranger Rich.

After dinner everyone just gathered around the campfire and faught off the mosquitos. A little bug spray, and bring the bug zapper closer and all was well.

It was really a very nice evening and we enjoyed meeting so many new RV friends.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dinner at Pauls Kitchen

Tonight the pickleball players headed to Pauls Kitchen for dinner. Fortunately we had a young lady waiting on us that was just wonderful. She put up with a lot of grief from this group, but just kept on smiling. Those of you who have been to dinner with Rich and Dee know exactly what I'm talking about!!!! Enough said!

Around the dinner table tonight: (the men) Jack, Matt, Rich and Rich! and (the woman): Diane, Connie, Donna and Dee. As usual everyone's dinner was excellent ( once I got rid of the mushrooms from the Chicken Stirfry and Rich (of Rich and Dee) stopped gasping after his dinner plate included a slice of RED tomato!!!!! ......... and most of us had enough to take home for another meal. Tonight was Matt and Connie's last night here at Peace River . They're off to TT Orlando..........and to see Mickey!! A lot of laughter around the table tonight . To Be continued at the pickleball courts at 6:30.

Arriving at home at turning on the PC we got this picture and e-mail from our son. Dennis left Iowa on October 17 for a week at at Fort Drum, NY. Looks like he found a Friendly's Restaurant - one of our favorite places to visit when we lived in NY.

From Dennis to his Dad! Does this Jim Dandy bring back memories? Hehe

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Hour Number 1

The "Happy Hour" Queen has arrived at Peace River and as you would expect the winter season is now officially underway. Tonight we held our first Happy Hour of the 2010/2011 season.

At 4:30, with our chairs and beverages and a dish to pass we all arrived at the site of Jack and Diane Koons. Seated around the "conversation circle" is.................
Matt and Connie.........our newest happy hour couple! Welcome to your first pickleball happy hour...........

John and Carla - taking a break from working on that new home down in Venice/Northport(?) and here for a few good days of pickleball.

Brenda and Buddy - Full Time Peace River Family .....and love those sausage meatballs!!!

Dee and Rich.. 24 hour pickleball players. If there are players on the court these two will be there. While Dee is here, the phrase of the season will be....NEVER, EVER miss your serve.
King and Queen 'Happy Hour" Jack and Diane.

And Buddy grabeed the camera to make sure that Rich and I were included in the "happy hour circle" of friends tonight. Posted by Picasa

Friday was Diane's birthday so Dee baked a delicious chocolate cake and Buddy brought a cherry cheescake for the celebration.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wesley Chapel and the Meadow Pointe Crew

Monday morning, Rich had a follow-up appointment with the doctor in Tampa, so after the morning appointment we made plans to spend the day with friends and meet up with the Meadow Point crew for some pickleball in the evening.

This is our home in Wesley Chapel, and our very good friends Don and Linda............and the two boys, Cheyanne and Dakota. We arrived at the house early afternnon. Unfortunately, Linda had to work 11 -7 today so we chatted with Don and played with the boys and then did an early dinner with Don at Beef O'Bradys. We dressed for picklball and then met the crew at the MP two courts. Linda doesn't play pickleball, but she stopped by to see us at the courts after she got out of work. It was so nice to see her.

The rest of the crew was out on the courts playing, so I snapped this pictures of the rest of us sitting and waiting our turn. Ken, Suzi, Steve, John, Pat and sitting in front is Chris and Liz. Pat and Suzi just returned to Florida, having spent the summer in Washington with their family. Tonight was their first night back to MP. John (Gardner) was our guest tonight. John playes pickleball with a group of players in Rochester, NY and worked with the planners to secure a venue for the National Senior Games Pickleball Competition that just concluded at the Main Stree Armory in Rochester . He's visiting in the Odessa area and came over to play with our group. We really enjoyed meeting him - and want him to know he's welcome back anytime!

Here is Richard, Don, Rich and John. Richard is the newest of our group, having only played a couple of times before tonight - but hooked on the game he's already considered one of the "regulars".

Bonnie, Marilyn, Penny and Rena after their game. Posted by Picasa

Our friends Mark and Renee Glassman. Rene was the very first person that Rich and I introduced to pickleball in Meadow Pointe, and she continues to be the primary contact and sets up the rotation for weekly play for the group. Mark has played pickleball with us too, but recently had the "knees" done.
It was a fun day - and great to see everyone out on the courts. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pickleball Fun at Kings Point, Sun City Center

To all of you RV'ers who read this Blog and will be staying in Peace River in November.............there is a fun pickleball round robin event at Kings Point in Sun City Center. It's only about a 40-45 minute ride...... . Get a partner and come on over........Here's the info

Seating is limited, so bring along your lawn chairs.
Doubles and Mixed Doubles Round Robin Competition.
Register By November 10thPosted by Picasa

Friday, October 15, 2010

Main Street Wauchula - Friday Night Live

Friday Morning we headed down for pickleball, as usual around 9:00. We've been playing morning and night now for several days. But,if Rich and Dee had their way, we'd be playing 24/7!!! Everyone was out playing this morning, because tonight was FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE, at the Main Street Heritage Park , Main Street, WAUCHULA!! Yes folks, we are giving up pickleball Friday night to check out Main Stree Wauchula.
Once a month, Main Street is closed, the vendors come out and the residents and visitors to the area come out from 5:00 to 9:00 for fun, dancing and entertainment. This month the theme for the night was "Pumpkins in the Park", appropriate, given the time of year and the nearing of Halloween.
It was trick or treat night for kids (and adults). Many came in costume and the local merchants dolled out Halloween goodies from 5:00- 7:00. They even had a couple of those huge tent things where the kids can go inside and jump to their heart's content. There were a few scarecrows on display - tonight they would reveal the winners of the scarecrow dressing contest. There was a big pumpkin patch where people were taking photos, decorating pumpkins or buying pumkins to take home. And tonight they would also reaveal the winners of the pumkin decorating contest. Very festive evening and by 5:30 - 6:00 there was really a great crowd of people.
There were several vendors with their tents up. You could buy Hot Dogs, Nachos, Snow Cones, Popcorn, Funnel Cakes, Ice Cream. Above is the Popcorn tent. The vat that they were popping the corn is was HUGE....we watch as he stirred the kernals constantly - then the popping would begin and you could see the steam rising -------and when done - a flip of the vat and the popcorn was bagged and ready for enjoying. I guess this is genuine Kettle Corn!

If there are any animals around - that's generally where you will find Rich and I. And this is where we ran into Rich and Dee!!!! The Hardee Animal Rescue Team (HART) sent up a booth and brought several of their dogs and cats that were up for adoption. This is fairly new in Wauchula - but they are working hard to establish a no-kill shelter for animals. They have a small shelter now, and have families who will take in some of the pets until they are adopted. Adoption is just $75 and that includes all shots and spay/neutering. They welcome any and all donations of food, old blankets or towels ets. Rich and I would very much like to do a pickleball tournamet this winter as a Benefit to help them out.

The Pumpkin Patch.......
And where is Rich?.............At the Hot Fudge Shop for a Root Beer Float!!!
Meanwhile - on stage was the T C Alan Band, with a special guest appearance by Kaylah Coker, a very talented young lady - from the local High School, I believe. They were both very entertaining.

And there were more of the crew from PeaceRiver at Friday Night Live tonight. - That is Don, Connie, Gloria, Brenda, Buddy, Rich and Matt. We just met Matt and Connie for the first time - Matt learned to play pickleball out in Texas - and so he's been on the courts playing. We're hoping to get the other three out for some beginner lessons this weekend.

And then there were more............Many of you will recognize Dawn - from the office at Peace River and her husband Ranger Tim! That's Dawn's son, Cory with them. Dawn and I did get to do the electric slide before the night was over!!

And where is Rich? Yes that's him again - this time with a HUGE funnel cake. Posted by Picasa

THREE FOR THIRTY THREE!!!! Ok - There was this other vendor selling Simple Salsa Seasoning. We stopped by tasted a sample, which was very good - and decided that we may stop back and buy a can before we left. You add the seasoning to one can of petite diced tomatoes and VOILA - you have Salsa! Each can sells for $15 or TWO for TWENTY FIVE. We told Matt and Connie about it - and then went and bought a can for $15. Gloria thought she'd like a can. Dee and Rich went over to sample it and they thought they'd like a can. So Rich and Dee, with support from Matt, went back to the tent and started to bargain. Would they sell THREE for THIRTY THREE? After a little laughter and a little more discussion - they agreed!!! So we all went home with Salsa! If we have a Happy Hour one day soon - I'm afraid we'll be eating a lot of chips and Salsa!!

Friday Night Live - Main Street Wauchula in November is Wauchula Idol! They say to bring your lawn chair - and get a seat early!!

Posted by Picasa