Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Giving Thanks and Growing Older in Florida OLA

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks and Growing Older in Florida OLA

the little cake for blowing...after the big cake was gone
Last Sunday the parish priest at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Wildwood, Florida echoed the sentiment of the week when he said that we have a lot to be thankful for but that sadly…turkeys don’t!   Everybody had quite a laugh. According to the National Turkey Foundation, the U.S. raised a whopping 244 million turkeys last year. Approximately 46 million, a high 20%, found themselves roasting in ovens over Thanksgiving across the country!

my birthday cake and the dessert spread!
This is indeed a big American holiday, dating from the Plymouth celebration in 1621. And at the Three Flags Resort (for Canada, US, and Mexico), the campground was guilty of providing the roast turkeys. Most of us campers contributed dressings, sides, and dessert! Since it was also my 63rd birthday, Bill surprised me with a huge birthday cake plus a little one (for the singing ceremony) to decorate the spread! I had an instant big party of about 80 people!

the turkey and dressings and sides spread
Three Flags RV Resort
The campground has a great clubhouse where we held the party. It is also equipped with a billiards hall and a card room. The campground also has a heated pool, mini-golf and horseshoe courses, free DVDs and coffee. But the reason many Eastern snowbirders congregate here for the winter is because of its weekly well-attended activities: bingo, Texas Hold’em, karaoke and jam sessions, great potlucks and ice cream socials. I classify it as an RV haven, an hour from Orlando with special amenities or activities.
Bill takes me out to TGIF near Universal Studios
My 63rd Birthday
The day after Thanksgiving was my birthday and it started with our usual session at Bally’s Fitness Center in Orlando, Florida (when we settle down after all this traveling, it will have to be where there is a Bally’s!). Then Bill took me to lunch at TGIF near the entry to Universal Studios. I finally got a smart phone on my fingers as Bill gifted me with the newly launched, most powerful, and thinnest Droid Razr! Afterwards, I had a taste of America’s Black Friday complete with crazy traffic jams and even crazier store crowds! Next time we will just do online Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday!

balloons and gifts
The Gift of a Cruise
I also got another perfect gift…a Caribbean cruise for birthday and Christmas leaving Miami on February 24…from my kids! They figured that since we are in Florida, we might as well. We definitely would like to experience this other kind of cruising...on water. It will give me plenty of juicy stuff to write about, comparing and contrasting the two! Maraming Salamat, my three lovely daughters: Trisha, Claudine, and April!
Bill and the 'plain-looking' Hooters girls

The day before Thanksgiving we went to Hooters to watch the Nadal-Federer match of the ATP Finals in London. (We thought they would have it because they had the Pacquiao-Marquez fight on ppv the week before). I was so thrilled and even wondered what the kids will say when I tell them I, not Bill, want Hooters gift cards for Christmas! But alas! They didn’t have the Tennis Channel! And Nadal was trashed! Utterly dismayed, I vented my frustration on Bill! He had to deal with three plain Hooter girls!

the dance at The Villages
The Villages
As if the 3 day celebrations were not enough, on Saturday we still went with full timer friends Bev and Dan Johnson to an evening dance with live rock and roll music at The Villages and some chowder, nachos and chili at a bar nearby. We met them at Moses Lake last year. They own a Mountain Aire, too, and, like us, originated from Seattle, Washington! The Villages is a fabulous retirement community where, out of 77,000 residents, there are 40,000 golf carts plying around neatly manicured golf courses, sports/recreation centers, and shopping havens through special lanes, overpasses, and crossings.

music provided by the jamming campers led by Jim
Bill and I have a lot to be thankful for that we regularly include in our prayers. But this Thanksgiving 2011 we give special thanks for the opportunity to live this cruising lifestyle and the wherewithal to capture, in writing and photography, this exciting period in our lives. We could not have done it without the continuing support of our children and their beautiful families and the ‘company’ of our lifelong friends. Relative good health helps, too, as well as the new friends we meet on the road.  And my birthday that always hovers around this great American tradition makes for a grand celebration for me each time!