Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Army-Navy Game; Sharknado; Bikes and Hikes; Suzanne's Events; "If My Nose Was Running Money..."; Bob's Rainbow; A Swipe at Moriarty; Tomtoes and Brocklie

It is with great sadness that I write this part of the post. Army has lost to Navy in football for the 14th consecutive year, a record that even some Navy folks might find appalling. Well, in a weak moment of compassion, at least. On the positive side for at least some Army supporters, the Black Knights on the Hudson did win the point spread. Navy had been predicted to win by 17 points, and Army fought like the devil to win, and only lost by 4 points, a very creditable performance. But in vain. (Mea culpa, it just slipped out.) We had given our great friend, Colonel Charles Cunis, 17 points, so we owe him a dinner when we get out to Colorado. (Let's see, we were thinking about a choice of Army or Navy delicacies, either Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) or lobster and filet mignon...) 

This next entry may be a little weird... we were told by a good friend, a retired US Navy Vice Admiral, about a movie that another Navy admiral (a former boss of mine, in fact) had recommended to him, which makes me seriously question their taste in movies. Sharknado is about a waterspout spawned by a hurricane off the West Coast that sucks up thousands of sharks and deposits them onto the flooded streets of Los Angeles. (Think on the bright side; it could have deposited thousands of lawyers instead... but I digress.) I looked online at the write-up of Sharknado, and despite the ridiculous nature of the concept, there were several redeeming attributes of the movie, actress Tara Reid for one. And there were follow-on sequels with great whites, hammerheads and tiger sharks landing in Manhattan. I am hoping that D.C. is next... the sharks could feed on the lawyers there, if they weren't dissuaded by professional courtesy.

Okay, getting away from sci-fi humor, it's been a busy bicycling week. It started with my working with the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club to fix up donated bikes for underprivileged kids in Sumter County. We must have received about 50 bikes that were repairable, and a dozen more that were designated as spare parts bikes (the term hangar queen is used in the Navy for unflyable aircraft in that sad state of disrepair). It's been years since I had ridden a cruiser, which is obviously the bike of choice for many Villagers. The readied bikes were then loaded onto trailers by Sumter County Sheriffs and carted away for distribution. 

My Lovely Bride and I also got in several forest hikes and bike rides on local roads and on mountain biking trails at Santos Trailhead near Ocala. One was to the Landbridge overpass across I-75, part of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross-Florida Greenway, a 110-mile swath of forest and prairies that runs from the St. Johns River to the Gulf of Mexico. It's amazing how few people use these trails, especially on weekdays. The Greenway is a fabulous place to get away from the noise and bustle of city (and Villages) life.

Suzanne has been busy with events lately, including this Sanaya presentation at Unity of The Villages. It was almost SRO, and the snowbirds aren't even back yet!

We also headed to Lecanto, Florida, for Suzanne to present the Sunday Message and a Sanaya session at Unity of Citrus County. Both were very well received by the enthusiastic and hospitable Unity community, led by Rev. Marciah McCartney.

I would like to acknowledge the anonymous blog reader who sent me a link to a spoof video of a country and western singer.  The title of the song? "If My Nose Was Running Money, I'd Blow It All On You..."  I don't think it's going to win the next Country Music Award for best new hit song. 

We haven't had a lot of rain lately, but this past Sunday I walked the puppies out front and there was a double rainbow over My Good Friend Bob's house. By the time I ran in to get my camera and tell Suzanne, the secondary rainbow had faded, but the primary was still vibrant. Bob must think that his house is guaranteed good fortune this year...

Lest anyone think that Suzanne and I take ourselves too seriously, this photo should dispel that erroneous thought. Only Britons, Aussies and Kiwis are likely to recognize what's going on here. It is a game I learned while serving on exchange with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK. Two players lie on their stomachs about three feet apart, blindfolded, holding rolled-up newspapers in their right hands, and the hand of their opponent in their left. The starting player asks, "Are you there, Moriarty?" The other says, "Yes" and tries to roll out of the way of the impending newspaper strike. Rudy and Gretchen are acting as referees as we demonstrated this parlour game for good friends. It is said that consumption of wine or beer makes this game much more fun... and who said that the Brits never contributed anything to American culture except the Beatles?

Finally, this sign for U-pick Tomtoes and Brocklie caught my eye the other day while driving up US-301...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

We Have a Winner! Early Arrivals; Reminisces; "Ty, You Can't Be Trusted"; Husbandly Travails

Great news! I am not the only person who reads this blog and has a strange sense of humor. I am looking forward to meeting our latest contest winner, Dawn Ryan, from Longmont, Colorado, who successfully answered the question, "What do Vespa and Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral have in common?" The cathedral's bell-ringer was named Quasimodo, and a Vespa motorscooter is a "quasi-moto". Har har har! The young lady at left was suitably awe-struck by my humor... (Actually, that's Maureen O'Hara, Charles Laughton's co-star in the 1939 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.) My Lovely Bride was also struck dumb for a few moments as we were driving down the highway in our RV and I told her about the playful pun for this contest. Thanks also to our dear friend Charles Cunis, Dawn's neighbor, who facilitated her entry. Both couples will be appropriately feted when we return to snowy Colorado in the Spring. (Yes, Colonel, I know it's a toasty 59F out there today, but you're going to get hammered Friday night!)

Have you ever been invited to a dinner party, gotten dressed up, fixed a dessert to bring over, gotten a nice bottle of wine, and shown up at your hosts' door to find them in shorts and tee shirts, looking at you with "deer in the headlights" looks and saying, "Well, dinner is actually tomorrow night..." It happened recently when a couple that we treasure showed up at our door 24 hours early. They were appalled, but we were ecstatic, because we then got to enjoy their company two nights in a row! Suzanne was just preparing a very simple meal of pasta and sausage, because we knew we would stuff ourselves the next night, but it was one of those experiences that we will never forget; nor will we ever let our friends forget it... and yes, we did help them drink that nice bottle of wine.

We were chatting with Suzanne's Lovely Mom Ruthie the other night, and she mentioned that she was not a big bingo fan. That reminded me of an interesting experience when we stayed at an Elk's Lodge in Bremerton, Washington, a few years ago. I was checking in at the bar (really, the bartender handles all RV check-ins... really!) A bingo game with about 50 ladies was going on, and I jokingly asked an older gent having a beer what would happen if I yelled, "BINGO!" His deadpan reply: "Son, you wouldn't make it out the door alive."

Suzanne and I were also reminiscing about an experience with the late Dr. Wayne Knoll, PhD, Professor of English Literature at Georgetown University, former Jesuit priest, and husband to noted medium Anne Gehman, when they visited us here in The Villages. (Readers will recall that Wayne and Anne were the subjects of Suzanne's book The Priest and the Medium.) Wayne had been grading a big stack of student final exams, which he left on our coffee table. When we returned from dinner, there was Rudy, standing in a big pile of chewed-up composition books. Wayne sat down on the couch, stunned... speechless... until we said, "Wayne, it's okay, those were some blank papers we tore up; here are your exams." Fortunately, he had a great sense of humor.

This next experience was not even funny. In fact, I was deeply insulted by My Lovely Bride when we were out shopping. The last place on our list was a home goods store where she wanted to get some new place mats for our dining room table. Because she had a reading scheduled in 30 minutes, and was feeling a bit rushed and edgy, I offered to drop her off at home and return to the store and get the place mats. She looked at me rather skeptically, saying, "Ty, you can't be trusted to pick out place mats. You couldn't even remember the color of the walls or the carpeting in your cube where you worked for two years!" "But Love of my Life, you were going to get red place mats, and I think black and blue would be a nice combination." "Ty, if you came home with place mats like that, they would match your eyes!" Hmmm....