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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Burt Reynolds Greets Linda Della Donna - Day 18 - A Sunday in The Villages

"Now I... I know we're not in Kansas"--Dorothy Gale

Dear Diary,

I am up early. Didn't sleep a wink last night thinking about that silly free mug. You remember, the one The Daily Sun is offering to first purchasers of the newspaper at select locations.

I got to have that mug. I have no idea why.

It's 4:30 a.m., 55 degrees, and the sky is the color of coal with a crescent moon glistening a star studded sky. Dressed in white jogging sweats and fleece jacket, I head out  to the vending machine located 1/4 mile from my front door. Nobody is out and the only sounds echoing the air are those of my sneakers hitting the pristine pavement.

It's one foot in front of the other thinking entire way how delicious a cup of coffee will taste in that dang mug with The Daily Sun's green and yellow logo splashed across it.

I turn the bend, walk the dark parking lot to the vending machine, and note that there isn't a golf cart in sight. Yes! I'm thinking yippee hooray, I'm first person making a newspaper purchase today.

Three quarters in the slot, Ka-klinck. Ka-klinck. Ka-klinck.

I hold my breath.

Five fingers on the handle, I grasp it firmly,

and lift.

Guess what?


I take my newspaper, fold it in half, place it under my left arm and head home. Tomorrow is another day and another chance to win a mug.

If dreams do come true in The Villages as Villagers profess they do, well, here's wishing by February 1, 2012, I own one of those mugs, because that is my dream. I'm just saying.

By 9:00 a.m., fair share of hefty newspaper read, dark of morning turned bright of day, I venture out into my yellow brick road through The Villages.

Got sunshine, got blue sky, got bed made and after a cup of coffee in mug the color of vanilla, I drive Putt-Putt, Putt-Putt is my small white electric golf cart, down the avenue to SweetBay. SweetBay is the store that has everything. I filled a notebook with daily notes and now I need a new notebook. I don't want just any notebook. I need a small notebook, something that will fit in my purse and have enough space to jot names of Happy people I meet, the friends I make, and useful information about The Villages.

There is a nip in the air this bright morning, I've made my purchase, and as I exit SweetBay parking lot, I make a last-minute decision to stop at Sumter Market Square three blocks away.

Newspaper and new notebook in hand, I head to StarBucks. 

Putt-Putt parked, I cross Canal Street and walk the shaded sidewalk to StarBucks across the street from Big Clock. At the entrance, there is a group of men sitting at an outdoor table drinking coffee. They are friendly Villagers and one by one, they introduce themselves.

A man in yellow jacket says he is Burt Reynolds.

In The Villages, a person can be anyone he/she wants to be.

Burt is owner of the TransAm with life size bride doll posed in front seat. He says come back Tuesday, I got a bag of oranges for you.

I meet Sue and Larry from Florida. They are in the process of moving to The Villages. Lulabelle, their pet dog, sits obediently at their feet. Sue and Larry smile. They say buy a place. They say you won't regret it.

I finish my cocoa, and head south.

If you drive the long winding Buena Vista golf path south to Tamarind Road, you will come to the entrance to The Village of St. James. Make a left at Ansley, another left at Montbrook, and continue to Ben Hogan, you'll find it, my best friend's house. It's past the new golf course, which stretches as far as the eye can see and sweeps endlessly into the horizon.

It's a long drive from Sumter Square to Ben Hogan, and as I turn into Ansley,  I check Putt-Putt's gauge on the dash. The needle reads empty.

Is empty a real word when describing running out of juice in an electric golf cart?

Sheesh. I have no idea. 

It's end of a long day. Time to put this blog to bed.

I shot some photos.

Hope you enjoy viewing them, as much as I enjoyed snapping them.

Until this time next time.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"...And sometime when I wasn't looking, I got a new life."

The Florida moon at 4:30 a.m.

My new notebook.
Moo-Moo having a cup of cocoa.
Meet The Village People at StarBucks. l-r, Ken (A Villager 4 years. Ken is from Florida and lives in The Village of Duval); Burt Reynolds, aka, Alex (A Villager 7 years. Burt Reynolds lives in The Village of Bonnybrook); Bob (A Villager 6 years in July is from Philly.), and Bob (from Milford, CT, lives in The Village of Hadley 3 years).

Sue and Larry with Lulabelle. They are in the process of moving into The Villages.

A park bench.

Gail with her Christmas tree. This is Gail's first Christmas in her spanking new villa. I met Gail the week she moved in back in September. Merry Christmas, Gail! Thank you for being my friend.

Putt-Putt and me made it back to Sumter Market Square...just barely. For added insurance, Gail followed me all the way home, just in case I needed a tow. Gail's a devoted Packers' fan. Here's Gail watching the game at City Fire.

Johnny Rockets' counter. I stopped by this evening for a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Say goodnight Linda. Goodnight Linda.

Writing Quote:

"The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true."--John Steinbeck

Writing Tip:

Read. Read. Read.

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