Note: New photos coming tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.
I met my friend Carol in 1985 in a bar in Bloomington, Minnesota, the same bar where I met Tom in 1991. No, I wasn’t a barfly, but I occasionally went out with friends after work to this fun establishment that is now long gone. On that particular night, I was there with several female friends.
When I went to the bar to order a drink, I noticed a woman standing there, appearing alone. I asked her if she wanted to join my friends and me at our table. Oddly, we became fast friends under those circumstances and have been in touch since then. She was a commercial airline pilot before she retired about the same time as Tom, over ten years ago. I loved her independence, daring nature, and enthusiasm for living life to the fullest.
We visited her in Florida on a few occasions, where she eventually made her permanent home in a beautiful house on the intercoastal waterway. Once I met Tom in 1991, coincidentally at the same establishment, she also became his friend.
Over the years, she visited us at our home in Minnesota, and since we began traveling, we had an opportunity to meet up with her twice, once when we first began our journey, staying at her home for a few nights, and again in 2017 during a short stint in Florida, while awaiting a cruise.
When we knew we were coming to Florida this time, we definitely planned to see Carol and meet her boyfriend of the past three years, Mark, who is a great guy, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed his company as well. Since we don’t have a car here regularly, we planned for them to visit us in The Villages, a two-hour drive from their home in Boca Raton.
It was delightful to see them drive up yesterday afternoon when they arrived before 2:00 pm, and the afternoon and evening hours flew by as we sat around the house, enjoying lively conversation. At happy hour, we sat outdoors on the lanai with a few snacky items and drinks, finally heading indoors for dinner around 7:30 pm.
Luckily, I had prepped most of the dinner the previous day and was able to put everything together, cook the meal, set the table, and be ready to serve when they all came indoors. Again, the conversation flowed easily while we enjoyed our chicken stir-fry dinner with fluffy white rice.
I’d decided to make a stir-fry again since it worked well when friends Karen and Rich were here over a week ago. When guests visit, it’s an easy meal to prep when all the vegetables and chicken can be cut in advance, letting the chicken marinate in Asian spices overnight. Once again, the cake was a big hit.
Tonight, we’re heading to Brownwood Paddock Square for the late afternoon and evening. We’ll be dining at the Bluefin Grill and Bar in the town square after we check out the live band in the square starting at 5:00 pm. From there, we’ll walk to the restaurant, a short distance, for our 7:15 reservation. Of course, we’ll take photos of our evening out and begin sharing them in tomorrow’s post.
Photo from ten years ago, May 21, 2013: