Last Saturday while awaiting the birth of Johnny, we were reminiscing about how we spent the same weekend in 2016.
January 16, 2016 was the date we checked off the first of our 16 in 16 adventures. We drove to Gainesville where we went to dinner and then on to the Phillips Center for a night of music performed by Jackson Browne.
During his two hours on stage, Jackson Browne sang and played music spanning his career of more than forty years to an enthusiastic, if not young, crowd. We happened to be surrounded by people we knew…parent’s of former students, former colleagues, friends from church, even though we went to the concert as a couple; and we all joked that we weren’t as old as those other concert goers. A great way to start off 2016.
Next week, as part of our 17 in 17, we’ll be attending a performance at the Phillips Center; but this year we’ll be at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Orlando. Instead of a concert, we’ll enjoy a performance of Wicked. Looks like 2017 is also off to a good start.
Last year the Disabled American Veterans sponsored the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in Lady Lake for three days. The purpose of the traveling exhibit is to allow people to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War in locations near their home. With over 20,000 veterans living nearby in The Villages, Lady Lake is a popular location for this exhibit.
The Traveling Wall is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., standing six feet tall at the midpoint and stretching almost 300 feet from end to end. We were among the thousands of people who took time to visit during its stay in Lady Lake last November. Just as in D.C., volunteers assisted visitors in locating the names of family and friends listed on the panels of the wall so they could pay their respects.
Flags, flowers, pictures, letters, and other mementos lined the base of the wall by the third day when we visited, many providing stories of those lost so many years ago.
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is making another stop in north central Florida this weekend, this time in Dunnellon. It will be located at Ernie Mills Park, 11899 Bostick Street, arriving today and on display until October 2nd. Don’t miss it!
This week Sarah’s been in California, surfer’s paradise, and has even sent pictures to give the impression of surfing. This reminded me of the summer she saved her money to purchase a skim board so she could slide along the shallow water along the shore.
Unfortunately, she found staying on the board more difficult than it looked and ended her skim boarding adventures less than an hour after it began.
TBT Lesson #89: Make sure you buy a supply of band-aides and antibiotic ointment when you purchase a skim board. You’ll need it.
Yesterday we were invited to a friend’s house where got an up close look at the Winnebago Travato motor home she and another friend have been using as their headquarters for camping adventures. The vehicle provides all the comforts of home in a compact space, perfect for two people.
After touring Amy’s home on wheels, the four of us talked about favorite camping places, especially ones in Florida. So what better picture for today than one from 1990, taken in a motor home we purchased on the day after our youngest daughter’s birth. This motor home made it possible for us to continue traveling and make lots of memories on the road, even with three children under six.
TBT Lesson #87: Children make good traveling companions.
Today is the 30th birthday of my nephew, Matt. This special only child status didn’t last as Matt became the big brother to seven siblings, five brothers and two sisters…most of whom will be able to share this milestone birthday.
Happy birthday, Matt!
TBT Lesson #86: Remember, your Mom always has your back.
Snow has dominated this morning’s news. Stories about a blizzard moving toward Washington, DC and historic snowfall expected in the northeast part of the country are not only part of weather reports, but they’re making news. Then I saw online that Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed to visitors today due to snowfall.
These reports reminded me of a quick trip we took to Smokemont Campground in the Smoky Mountains in 1989. With a five year old, two year old and a three month old, we drove our camper to North Carolina so the girls could see snow for the first time. Well, at least so the older two could play in the snow.
Snowballs, snow angels, a small snowman and a chance to enjoy all the fun associated with snow…guess we’ve always been a little crazy when it comes to travel.
TBT Lesson #85: Even kids who grow up in Florida need to play in the snow.
This week we purchased airline tickets for a spring trip which will include camping in Iceland for a few days. We’re excited about an adventure in a foreign country without the assistance of tour guides or buses packed with sightseers, but to be honest I’m a little nervous about sleeping in a van in a country with the word ice in its name. Are we going to be able to handle being outside exploring the natural wonders of this country 24 hours a day?
Just when I convinced myself the answer to this question is, yes we can; I find this picture of John wearing a down jacket taken on a winter day in Florida back in the ’80s. Good thing we got new down jackets for Christmas!
TBT Lesson #84: Don’t let the weather prevent you from enjoying time outdoors.
It really wouldn’t be Christmas without pictures of the family around the Christmas tree. This one taken on Christmas Eve 1965 of John, his brother Mark and their Mom shows boys exercising great restraint as they’re posing with gifts instead ripping the wrapping off.
TBT Lesson #82: Why do parents taunt their children with picture taking on Christmas Eve?
As we decorated our Christmas tree last week, we hung the University of Miami mascot ornament of Sebastian front and center. Our tree does not have traditional glass balls or glittery stars. Instead it’s decorated with ornaments collected during vacations or in recognition of special events. A sea turtle, an orca, a bat, the Jackson County Courthouse, bear bells and the First Presbyterian Church are a few examples of ornaments that commemorate events from the past 36 years.
Our Sebastian ornament is a throwback to the days when he donned a pipe and sailor hat. This old school Sebastian was especially appropriate since it was added the Christmas after the Hurricanes first national championship under Howard Schnelleberger, a coach also known for his pipe. Sebastian’s pipe was phased out in the 1990’s so as not to encourage the use of tobacco by young fans, but we enjoy seeing him reappear every December.
TBT Lesson #81: With or without a pipe, he’s still a symbol of loyalty. The ibis is always the last to leave and the first to return during a hurricane.
My meteorologist husband has issued a hurricane warning: a Category 5 is on the horizon.
In the ’90s, we started a tradition of the whole family, my brother’s family, my sister’s family, our parents and John’s mom and husband all loading up and driving from Florida to north Georgia to celebrate Thanksgiving. We’d rent two or three houses in Helen, Georgia and spend the weekend cooking, eating, hiking, playing and bonding. While we no longer celebrate out of state, Thanksgiving is still cousin catch up time.
TBT Lesson #78: Be thankful for the time you spend with cousins.