Published: June 21st 2017
Englewood, Florida, United States
Thursday, July 12, 2012
This is not a story of our travels but rather one that belongs to our children and grandchildren. When I married Bob almost 34 years ago, I promised him we would move to the beach when the children were grown. We left Springfield, MO, and settled in Englewood, FL in 1992. Our oldest, Kirsten Marie, remained behind, our middle child, Jeanine Carol, moved to Pine Island, FL, just 70 miles south, and our youngest, Evan Lyle, went to Boulder, CO, in 1995.
It had been eight years since we had all been together at the same time, not since Kirsten’s marriage in 2004! That is much too long and, thankfully, we were able to meet at our home last month.
Evan arrived first on June 8 in a Tampa rainstorm. Bob and I became beekeepers last year; we keep five hives at home and another dozen on a small farm a few miles away in Venice. Evan expressed an interest in the whole operation, so the next day we enlisted his help to check hives and harvest honey. He fit nicely into my bee suit and I shot a few pics while
the guys sweated away in the June heat. On Sunday we drove to Pine Island where we watched our 7-yr.-old granddaughter Ava take a swim class, ate a nice meal, helped Jeanine check two pools she services (a free swim is included), and came home to hook up the boat. Evan had requested time on our catamaran when he last visited in January, but the weather was not cooperative. The next morning we packed a picnic lunch and left the boat ramp by 9 AM. It was a gorgeous day complete with dolphin sightings, conch fighting, and sun bathing. Of course, we weren’t satisfied with only one day, so when Kirsten and Lauren, our 14-yr-old granddaughter, arrived that night with Jeanine and Ava, our 7-yr.-old granddaughter, we all went out to the Gulf again on Tuesday.
Sadly, Evan had to leave on Wednesday, June 13, to prepare for his annual sales meeting. He had originally planned to stay another week and his girlfriend, Stephanie, was going to fly here, too. But, just before he left Colorado, Stephanie had a bad fall from her bike and broke her leg in three places. She’ll be immobile for a bit, but, knowing her
strong spirit, it won’t be long before we see her for an overdue visit.
Friday arrived with a big Happy Birthday and Father’s Day cake for Bob. Lauren and Ava spent many contented hours poolside, Kirsten refined her shark tooth hunting skills, and Jeanine checked out the local thrift stores.
Kirsten is an accomplished yoga teacher and she had noticed a tall oak tree stump in our back yard on which Bob had placed a huge glass table top. While Jeanine, the granddaughters and I were out shopping, she climbed up to the top and assumed several yoga poses!
By Sunday, Jeanine and Ava returned to Pine Island for Ava’s swim class and to tend to Jeanine’s E-bay business. On Monday, Bob, Kirsten, Lauren and I sailed out into the Gulf for some serious scuba fossil hunting. Bob brought up a mammoth tooth that is a real find; I would love to have an expert opinion on it—is it 10,000 years old or millions of years old?
By Wednesday, June 20, Lauren and I jumped in my Vette and drove to Sarasota to see Ringling. We spent five blissful hours perusing this Florida treasure which John Ringling had the foresight
to will to the state upon his death in 1936. There are 66 acres encompassing the official art museum of the state of Florida, Ca’d’Zan (house of John, the Ringlings’ waterfront mansion), the circus museum, a miniature circus (fabulous!), historic Asolo Theater and other buildings. If you go, be sure to spot an extra $5 and take the upstairs tour of the mansion. You’ll learn many inside tidbits about the extravagant lives of John and Mable Ringling. I have visited this site numerous times since moving to the area 20 years ago, but never knew how close we came to losing the whole property in 1936 when John was scheduled to appear in bankruptcy court in Tampa but conveniently died six days prior to that day. Mable’s rose garden is lush and colorful and it was a joy to experience it with my grown-up Lauren. And the best part was I could sense she loved it, too.
When Jeanine and Ava returned, the granddaughters and I traveled to Sarasota again to explore Mote Marine Laboratory, an educational, affordable destination where you can see sharks, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and over 100 different forms of sea life. Ava is a squid
fanatic (Grandpa bought her a stuffed one on our last visit—we’re season ticketholders!) and she and Lauren loved the touch tanks. We three also participated in an interactive presentation using touch screens; the mission was to find Claire, a dolphin with a new baby. When we arrived home, poor Grandpa Bob was in the finishing stages of mopping up gallons of water from our kitchen and lanai! Evidently a small plastic fitting developed a hairline crack under the kitchen sink, slowly releasing a lot of water! Luckily he caught it in time and, except for a few paper goods, several hours of sopping and mopping, no harm was done.
However, the real flood was soon to arrive in the form of Hurricane Debby. From Sunday to Tuesday, we received about ten inches of much needed rain and a bit of wind, resulting in the collapse of five fence sections in our back yard. I enlisted Lauren’s help to clean up some of the mess; pool time was the reward!
Sadly, Lauren and Kirsten flew back to Missouri on Wednesday, June 27, but Grandpa and Grandmama will head north in July for another visit!
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