This day began with breakfast at Der Dutchman restaurant with J. C. and Jewel Shank. Jewel leads and promotes the annual history banquet in Sarasota that supported the writing of history of the Southeast Mennonites. My two books can be found at the local Pinecraft Everence Office and on Amazon.
Jewell took me from Der Dutchman to Sunnyside Retirement Community where Rhoda and I lived our last years in Florida. Mary Bew and Miriam Nissley arranged a noon-gathering of friends in a private dining room and I looked forward to that.
Since I had arrived early I sauntered through the library and the corporate offices and past the shuffle board court to the lake. The wall around the lake disrupted nature as I remember it. Gone were the hungry tilapia and turtles, the many lizards, the two toads who made their homes near each other in the mud or the faithful gallinules that nested in the reeds. But I was joined by a hawk, an anhinga and a pair of limpets.
Mary Bew and Miriam Nissley had invited a group to have dinner in a private dining room. Two non-Menno couples were invited. One was Fred and Thelma Clark. On the day Rhoda and I arrived in Sunnyside, Fred came to our door to offer me any tool I needed. I learned that he came with the tool to do what needed to be done.
The second non-Menno couple were Steve and Carol Hinkle. Steve read drafts of my books and offered insights from the view of one who knew nothing about Mennonites before coming to Sunnyside.)
Others present were Lowell and Miriam Nissley, Vi Kaufman, Arthur and Betty wise, Dorothy Zieset, Harold and Irene Schearer and Miriam Nauman. Each of these friends came shrouded in precious memories. Eldon and Rachel joined me for the noon luncheon. Check the indexes of my books to learn how we worked together to bring dreams to fruition.
After lunch, Mary Bew showed us their beautiful new chapel that has been built since Rhoda and I moved to Indiana. It is being well-used by the Sunnyside Retirement Community and the community that surrounds it. Leaving Sunnyside we did a memory tour that took us past our former home on Dean Ave. The big oak growing on our front lawn has been removed.
Now we headed for Siesta Beach. I had an extra cane so with the help of the two canes I walked most of the way on the mat over the sand to the water. Eldon came to my rescue on the return to the parking lot and the car. As a Native American would put it, “Grandfather Sun had gone to bed” and so did we. Only we first ate a navel orange which we had bought at the market in Pinecraft.
I write these blogs of the trip to relive old memories and fix new ones in the memory part of my brain.
Memories are kept
only as they are treasured
and told and retold