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January 06, 2012

Christmas 2011

We left Baltimore on December 9th for our road trip to Florida and made our first stop in Wilmington, NC where we stayed with Vicki Meese who was a neighbor of Sue’s in Haddonfield many years ago. Vicki’s sister Lucretia and brother Bud had driven up from Tennessee where they both live to visit and see Sue again after 40+ years. It was a very nice reunion and the four of them had a lot of old stories to share and good memories of growing up together in Haddonfield. I also enjoyed it since a lot of the Haddonfield stuff was familiar to me too. We also got to visit with boating friends Martha and John who are neighbors of Vicki. We met last summer here on the Chesapeake and got to know them well. John turned over to me all of the materials he had put together to study for his Coast Guard Captain’s License and it has been helpful.
I have decided to study so I can pass the sample USCG tests but not actually get the license itself. It costs about $600 in various fee and medical tests plus the annual renewal and I have no real need for the formal license since I don’t plan to use it to make a living. This is a good winter activity for me while we are here in Baltimore and it’s always good to know as much as possible about boating safety, etc.
From Wilmington we took Route 17 down through Charleston SC and joined I-95 near Savannah where we checked into a motel for the night. The next day we continued on to Daytona Beach where we stayed with friends Chuck and Denny in the “aft cabin” overlooking the ICW from the back (waterfront) side of Chuck’s property. It is a very quaint and restful place to stay and Chuck and Denny were their usual graceful host and hostess. Chuck is an avid and good surf fisherman and had just caught a nice batch of blue fish which he had smoked. He made a very good dip with it. We also enjoyed sundowners in their hot tub as we watched the sun set over the ICW.
On the 13th we made the drive across Florida to Ft Myers and the Drs Langford’s home. Sue’s granddaughter Kaya’s school put on a grandparents Christmas show which we attended. This is an excellent private school and the music teacher is a very good and talented woman. The kids these ages are a hoot to watch perform!
The weather in Ft Myers was picture postcard perfect for all of our time there. Balmy 80+ degree days, low humidity and lots of sunshine. We drove out past LaBelle on the 20th to visit boating friends Mark and Joyce for a wonderful lunch and a good visit. Mark’s latest major project was the conversion of a 22’ sailboat into an electric powered launch. We took a pleasant (quiet!) ride around the canal system of the development where they live.
Christmas with the grandchildren Kaya (age4) and Jet (age 20 months) was fun. Watching kids this age enjoy opening all the presents and removing wrapping paper is a hoot. We had a traditional baked ham Christmas dinner after driving out to Sanibel Island to walk the beach. It was a beautiful warm sunny day with almost no wind and a lot of people were swimming. Sue and I took walks around the block in their development as often and we remembered and agreed that we definitely like the warm Florida winter climate vs. a cold northern winter.
We also met up with friends John and Judith Stang who live in Naples for dinner at the Bone Fish Restaurant in Bonita Springs. As always, the food a Bone Fish was excellent and it was fun to visit with them again.
Our final visit with friends in the Ft Myers area was with Marsha French who lives in Venice. We walked around the grounds at Osprey Point which is gardens and the old winter estate and home of the family that owned the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. Marsha took us to a local outdoor bar/restaurant overlooking the water of Sarasota Bay for lunch and we stopped at the local orange grove/ice cream store for desert.
On the 28th we said our sad farewells to the Langford’s and headed back across Florida to Daytona Beach and a 2 day visit with Chuck and Denny again. We went to the John D Rockefeller historic site home one day where Denny volunteers and she gave us the personalized tour. The house was decorated for the Christmas holidays and very festive. There was also a small farmer’s market going on that day and we got s few fresh veggies for dinner.
We made the trip back from Daytona in 2 days with the overnight stop near Savannah again followed by a long 11 hours on the road day arriving at Courage in Baltimore about 6:30 pm New Years Eve. We didn’t bother to try and stay up to welcome in the New Year but were woken up at midnight wondering what was “hitting” the boat only to discover that it was the booming of the fireworks at the Baltimore Inner Harbor!
Last November I joined the Arundel County Woodcarvers Club and have been going to their Wednesday morning meetings whenever we are in town. It is an interesting and fun (older) group and I have been getting tips on carving techniques and woodcarving tools. I gave myself a Christmas present of a power carving tool (like a Dremel) and some new carving bits for it. It is a real help with the finishing details on the Courage Ships Badge I am working on now. The club has a tabletop display at the local woodworking show in Timonium and I will be doing booth duty tomorrow for fun and to get into the show free and look around for more tools!
Sunday we are driving to Liz’s to baby sit the 2 dogs and 6 cats while she goes on a business trip to the mid west for three days. She comes home Wednesday night and we will return to Courage that same evening. Thursday I am flying to Cleveland to spend a long weekend and help my son Rich celebrate his birthday. I return the following Tuesday and then take off for a Fresh Creek board meeting the 19th. Busy, busy, busy!!

Posted by Dick at January 6, 2012 01:45 PM