Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spending TIME with loved ones.......

We are recently back from a road trip to Florida where Louis Dean had the opportunity to spend some quality time with his niece and her family and I had the pleasure of getting to know them! We arrived in Clearwwater, Florida on a Friday evening.....right in the middle of rush hour traffic!! We checked into our hotel (chosen because it was 0.82 miles from Becky and Simon's) and headed right over to their place. We all ordered some delicious take out Italian food from the restaurant located conveniently across the street from their house! We were so delighted to actually BE there in Florida visiting with them. I had only met them briefly on our wedding day and then we were all together a couple of summers ago to celebrate her brother's birthday when they were up here on vacation. Simon is gracious and hospitable and I like him VERY much!! Elizabeth is their five year daughter and she is such a beautiful little girl! She kept me entertained with a fashion show featuring a collection of luxurious fabrics that she and I draped in a variety of ways. Louis Dean and Becky got out their guitars and began to play. LD had practiced 'Fly Butterfly' all winter so he could sing it to Elizabeth...and he DID! He and Becky sang and played together and talked of times remembered years ago! The evening went by all too fast!

The next morning we all drove to Tampa together where we had lunch at the historic Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. Excellent!! Next was the Little House on the Prairie Musical with Melissa Gilbert as 'Ma' you have to know Louis Dean to appreciate his excitement over this! He was a second grade school teacher for 25 years and he specialized in unit studies using the Little House books! He was in 'Hog Heaven'!! Seeing this special play with his special niece was a memory making event! To top the cake....Becky spied Melissa Gilbert at the stage door as we were walking to the parking lot and turning to her uncle said, "Well, you wanted to MEET her! There she is!" Simon snapped a photo as he was getting the playbill autographed! PERFECT!!

Dinner that evening was extra special because it was all homemade by Becky and Simon! Lovely baked fish, green beans, okra, asparagus, tofu....delicious!! The meal was served with a local Sweet Blueberry wine!

While the others visited and played music, Elizabeth and I did ART!! I had shopped the local Walmart earlier that day and came prepared for Arts/Crafts projects! Book marks done in watercolors and embellished with some heart stickers. She made some for her parents, grandparents, her TWO Uncle Dean's as well as her teachers and one even for me! It was a fun night for all of us!

Sunday would be our last day together...the time went all too quick! LD and I shopped Publix (Becky and Simon's favorite grocery store there and I LOVED it!!!) for cold cuts and fixings and that was an easy lunch so we would have more 'memory making' hours! LD and Becky played music and shopped a huge music store while I sewed a fancy dance skirt for Elizabeth and then she and her daddy and I walked to the duck pond and back. Many of the houses in Florida feature 'Florida Rooms' which are screened porches and/or patios and also screened swimming pools! I saw a variety of these on our walk that afternoon.

Louis Dean had gifted both Becky and Elizabeth with Scottish whistle he bought on our trip to Aberdeen, Scotland in December. By the time we left Little Lizzy was already making some pretty music! Not NOISE, mind you, but sweet musical notes! Becky said she had not spent such quality time with her Uncle in over TWENTY years! Which brings me to the thought that all too often we take our family and our family relationships rather lightly. We act as if people will last forever. We also assume that relationships simply 'are' and you do not have to invest anything to keep them thriving and growing. I am blessed to still have my mother who is now in her 80's, my siblings, two sons and two daughters, three grandchildren as well as a host of friends and other loved ones! Life is precious. Relationships are priceless. They are worth every effort made to keep them vibrant and active!! As for Louis Dean and his niece.....he is already wondering if they will be in Texas any time soon! I think he is wanting to make more memories while he CAN!!


Tennis Girl said...

Linda, loved your story this morning. Glad you had a great time! How neat to see Melissa Gilbert, too!

Texas Tales from Scotland said...

I am just so happy you guys had such a wonderful trip. You are busy spending lots of quality time with family these days... we loved making memories in Scotland with you both!! It sounds like it was just the trip you were hoping for and it's great that you guys get to take these moments and enjoy them to the fullest. Love you!

Linda Chapman said...

Thanks for both comments! Amber....please feel free to 'fix' my pics....I am going to try to figure it out in the meantime. Do I need to add a photo gadget or something?

Tennis Girl said...

Can't wait to see the gazebo, Linda!