|The Chronicles of
© 2009 Gail Hunter
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|Next: Heading to the land of ice and snow...
via the Outer Banks, taking every ferry and bridge/tunnel we can find.
If you care to read about our 2006 auto trip from Burlington, VT to visit
New Orleans and return via Florida's Big Bend and Venice, click here.
|Woosh! and it's gone!
I love winter - no more the feeling I must take advantage of the glorious sunny weather. With no apologies,
I can burrow into my nest, rumble through old photographs, edit new ones, throw some words here and there
onto the computer, sort my golf socks by color, start scrapbooking old recipes, play Scrabble and Lexullous
with friends and family online, make big blueberry pancakes, and generally chill out (actually, this winter.)
But this winter has been too short.
I left you with the arrival of Fred, shortly before Thanksgiving. He accounted for at least
50% of day light, but we loved every minute of it, from 7:15 a.m., when Cor would take him
for a walk with Kurmutt (a gigantic chocolate Newfie) and his owner, to the afternoons at
the PawPark, where Fred performed his Grover Whalen routine, running to the gate to
greet every new dog. We took him to doggie school at PetSmart, bought him a kiddie pool
to wallow in, laughed at his ability to play 'possum when he didn't want to hear something.
Unfortunately, it only took one or two strong pulls for Cor to realize he has
muscles in his lower back, and a bad back is not something to taunt. On the
flip side, we had some old Venice friends for lunch. They were crazy about
Fred, and had owned chocolate labs. A few days later, my friend Sonny called
to ask where I had found Fred. I gave her The Little Angels' phone number.
She contacted them and was told about two yellow labs waiting for a home. At
that news, Cor and I looked at one another and reality sparked.
It was the ideal solution. We were (and still are) devastated to lose him, but
happy to know he has a loving home that stays in one place. Sonny's husband
Ash, has built a fenced-in area with access to the screened porch; they take
Fred to the PawPark almost daily; he has made friends with their Alpha cat; and
all in all, it's a proper ending. As our neighbor here said, "You did the right
thing when you rescued Fred from the pound, and you did the right thing when
you found him a new home."
|Camp Venice is home to many animals: pets and otherwise Above is an
assortment of Canine and feline friends. Below are some of the more native ones.
Camp Venice is a jolly place. The campground runs along an offshoot of the Myakka River, replete with
animal, fish and fowl. Motorhomes, Fifth Wheels, and Trailers nestle among native palms and gnarly live
oak, dripping with Spanish Moss and on their horizontal branches, a frosting of Resurrection Fern is dry and
brown during drought, but alive and springy green at the first drop of rain.
It's a friendly place: At 4;30 each afternoon two of our more colorful residents sound the time to relax on
their conch horns. It is then the movement starts. Two by two, carrying folding chairs and refreshment, the
campers stroll around the park to socialize with their neighbors. There are no rules. See a group sitting
around and chatting? Pull up a chair and join in. Occasionally, there is a campfire.
Some neighbors are throwing a fish fry this afternoon. The fishing enthusiasts have been pulling in tons of
tilapia from the pond at the end of the inlet. They have been freezing them, and now, with plenty to spare,
are setting up the tables for all to feast. Only requirement: bring chair, drink and a salad or dessert to
share. One ambitious neighbor is collecting the recipes to put in a scrapbook.
The count at the
last fish fry was 151
people - spread up
and down the road.
The appetizer and dessert parties are a
favorite too. We better leave soon; my
scale is saying,
"No More Food."
FOOD! Cor is not
fond of digging the
meat out of stone
crabs. Right: Camp
Venice puts on monthly BBQs -
and what feasts they are! Enough food for three
days! Left: We go to Ft. Myers to join
Vermont friends - the Dions and Nerbers
for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes...
No More Food, Please!
There is no lack of opportunity in the park. A monthly calendar boasts groups for crafts, art, cards, coffee
klatsches. There is a shuffleboard court, fishing pond, canoes - name it! It's here!
I found the craft ladies most
accommodating - especially
when a button fell off my
purse. I can't sew with my
Symbiosis: One neighbor
needs a haircut while
another enjoys being the
barber on this nice sunny
Left: Heather, who is weaving a tapestry
to be sold at auction to benefit the Ohio
American Indian Museum. (I have notes
to add when I find them)
The Lanes came for a
week with Cara, (see
March '08); & Gail
pretends she has a new
bike - Tom Keenan's; Mike
and dog Kurmutt watch.
Once again, we enjoy the scrumptious Beach Dogs from
Anita's Sand Castle. Cousins Trubee and Peggy
Racioppi, whom we visited in Texas on our way here
from Denver, thought they were darned good too. In
fact, we spent many days, taking our camp chairs to the
jetties, watching boats and people, totally effortless!
Mother Nature sends her
garbage men to clean up after
road kill - and a fabulous job
they do. On our way into
town, one dead 'possum; on
our way home, All Gone!
Next door neighbors, Jim and Jean
Deforest give their Yellow Labrador
Retriever Samantha (Sam) a bath
in her new kiddie pool.
Jim to the rescue! Quickly, before
Sam decides to dry herself with a
good roll in the dirt, Jim manages
to give her a blow dry - as good as
hanging out the car window
But Venice offers other delights as well. Situated on
the Gulf of Mexico, with a beach full of shells and
sharks' teeth, it's a sunworshipers' heaven.
Could this be our next boat?
Perfect size and sturdy;
small outboard, but I think I'd
like a bimini. It would be nice
next to us on the Exeter
River this summer.
This would be a bit ambitious
for us. In an island accent,
the man on the right seemed
to be teaching the kids to
raft through a small wake
The jetties are lined with fishers, young and old,
men and women, boys and girls - this lady has
just caught a sheepshead - just rewards after
snagging a few rocks. In the background is
Snake Island, a great picnic spot with deep water
right up to the beach. The Crow's Nest Marina is
directly opposite it on the right.
Not all days were bright and sunny. Florida was
abnormally cool this winter. The blustery days
were a delight for some - the surfers gathered in
the waves along the Venice beach. A bit less
enthusiastic were the pelicans as they preferred
the relative calm just inside the jetties.