March 16 – A Busy … But Also A Very Sad … March

Over the course of the past two weeks we seem to have found ourselves busier than ever; Debbie (Walking, Classical Stretch, several Line Dancing classes, Belly Dancing and Water Aerobics) and I (a Morning Walking Group, Photography Club, Woodshop, Petanque, RC Sailing, time at a local driving range and a weekly round of Golf  with Tom Briggs {a friend from PA and Venice}, updating my political commentary Blog {www.thelegacyof1776,com} and working remotely on projects for our Rotary Club).   Then, there is always the inevitable maintenance which living on an RV entails.

Fortunately, we have also found time to get together again with Dick & Kate and Sandy & Jeff as well as catching up with Frank & Lynn Fowler

long-time friends we initially met during our winters in Naples who we met in Ft. Myers for lunch at Pinchers on the waterfront.

However, it is with great sadness that on March 5th we lost our best friend, Ken Grenier, after a long battle with Multiple Myeloma.

We met Ken and Cheryl on June 11th, 1966 when we were all traveling to Bermuda on our respective honeymoons.

After spending a week with them exploring the island, our bond with them grew stronger over the intervening years even during those, when due to work, distance and raising children meant not seeing much of each other.  Fortunately, over the course of the past 20 years, we have been able to spend a great deal of time with them both on Cape Cod and in Sarasota.

Ours has been an amazing and extremely valued 52-plus year friendship with Ken and Cheryl and we will miss him for the rest of our lives.  Just last week when leaving the golf course I began to pick up my cell phone to give Ken a ring … as he was always interested in how I played … and then realized such calls would never happen again.

Meanwhile, in our local travels, I have continued to add to my collection of photographs of mailboxes and mailbox posts across American and Canada … which I have been photographing for years and now total several hundred.

Last weekend, the Sun N Fun Honor Guard sponsored their annual Veneran's Luncheon, which both Debbie and I attended,

I assisted with setting up "A Place Setting ofr One", paying tribute to American veterans still listed as POWs or MIAs,

The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of our prisoners of war and missing comrades has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War.

The table is decorated in a manner which is full of special symbols to help us remember our missing brothers and sisters in arms.

The POW/MIA table is smaller than the other tables, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors.

This table is separate from the others and can be set for one to five place settings to represent each service participating in the event.

The Sumbolism for the table and items placed on it

The Table itself is round to show that our concern for them is never ending.

The White Tablecloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.

The Empty Chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but who are not here with us.

The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.

The Black Napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends. 

A Purple Heart medal can be pinned to the napkin.

The Single Red Rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. 

The Red Ribbon represents the love of their country, which inspired them to answer their nation’s call.

The Yellow Candle and its yellow ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for.

The Slices of Lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate.

The Salt upon the bread plate represents the tears of their families.

The Wine Glass, turned upside down, reminds us that some of our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the day or evening.

Leaving the luncheon, I was off to Sunday afternoon remote-controlled sailing … finishng third after the day's races.

For the second year, I was asked to be the "official" photogrpaher for the Sun N Fun Chorus' annual concert.

 

Last Tuesday, I had a fairly deep squamous carcinoma removed from the back of my right hand, followed a day later by some 15-20 stitches which will be in for a week.  This has limited any golf, petanque and other activites which invovled more than very limited use of my hand in order to ensure the stitches do not pull out while the hand heals properly.  And, showering, while possible, proves to be a bit awkard and cumbersome.

Yesterday, we had an opportunity to Facetime with our grandaughter Calleigh,

our small way of helping her celebrate her 11th birthday, even if only remotely.

Today, I had several pictures shown Sun N Fun's annual art show, the first such event in which I have participated.

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After sailing, we are planning on getting together with my couusin and his wife, Chip and Debby Burt for an early dinner tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, Cheryl will be flying in to Tampa tomorrow to see her dad and begin the process of closing up her home and preparing it for sale.  We are really looking forward to seeing her after the extremely challenging caretaker role she had to undertake during the past year..

 

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