The weather was warming up and we were enjoying being outside. We had been looking forward to attending the Florida Strawberry Festival. Opening day of the festival dawned cold and rainy so we decided to wait until another day.
It was warm and sunny the day we drove to Plant City for the festival. The festival is much like a big country fair, with a strawberry theme. We walked around the grounds enjoying the exhibits. The main building contained exhibits of crafts and arts along with home made goodies like jams and baked goods. The exhibit of decorated cakes was particularly outstanding. We had never seen such a display of fantastic creations before.
We viewed the quilts and needlework items. Millie particularly liked the beautiful christening gown made with the heirloom technique.
Dick sat outside in the sun while Millie toured the livestock barns, then we wandered over to the show tent. We enjoyed a short Country/Western concert by a gentleman whose name we did not get. Then the main show took place. It was a group of young Chinese acrobats. This show lasted nearly an hour and was just outstanding.
Of course, at a Strawberry Festival, you can be sure there are lots of strawberry treats available. Millie decided that the “Make your own Strawberry Shortcake” sponsored by a local church would be her forte. For $3.50 you were given a bowl and some cake, then go thru the line where you could add all the strawberries and whipped cream you wanted. It was yummy.
One of the things on our list to do this month was to attend some Spring Training baseball games. It was a perfect afternoon for baseball when we drove to Clearwater to see our Houston Astros play the Philadelphia Phillies. It was a great game, even though we didn’t get to see any of the more famous players. It was upsetting when the Astros lost in the bottom of the 9th inning.
On Wednesday, March 16 we were preparing to do laundry when the phone rang and all our plans changed. Millie’s sister Mary called to tell us that their brother-in-law, Ron Forbis had suffered a fatal heart attack. Ron was the husband of Millie’s youngest sister, Evelyn. We decided to cut our stay in Florida short and head back to Richmond.
Millie talked to Evelyn and she was thinking that she would have the memorial service on the Saturday of Easter weekend, so we would have plenty of time to get back. We got the laundry done and started packing up. We were able to get all the outside things done before the rain started.
Thursday morning it was still pouring rain as we finished hitching up and headed north. We drove to Chattahoochee, FL where we stopped for the night. We had forgotten to take the phone out of the trailer and after we checked into the RV park and got set up, we checked for voice messages. There was one from Evelyn to let us know that the service had been set for Saturday of this week instead of the following week. We still had 700 miles to travel!
We got up early on Friday morning and pointed the rig west. Dick drove at a higher speed than we like but at 7:30 Friday evening we checked into Shiloh RV Park in Richmond. We had driven 12-1/2 hours. Not something we really wanted to do but just couldn’t be helped.
Saturday we picked up Ann and Amber (Millie’s niece) and attended the memorial service in Alvin, TX. Debbie and Russell were unable to attend, but both our boys were there. Following the service and a fellowship meal served by the ladies of the church, we came home to rest and visit with our boys.
We had a nice time together, catching up. Later in the evening we all went to Fuddruckers to eat. The boys went to visit Debbie and we spent the evening winding down. It had been quite a busy few days and we were tired.
We decided to use this time to get our Dr. appointments, etc taken care of. We both had eye exams and ordered new glasses. Millie had broken a gold crown, so a trip to see Dr. Thetford was on tap. Also, Millie has had a chronic cough for several weeks so she made a visit to Dr. Smith. It was decided that it was one of two things, allergy or a side effect of her blood pressure medicine. After trying some allergy meds, it was apparent that was what the problem was.
Dick talked to the folks at Dualco and spent a couple of days there, doing some computer work. Millie and Ann went to lunch one day at a favorite Chinese place and then spent the afternoon shopping.
Easter Sunday we attended church. In the afternoon Richard and Ann came to have dinner with us. We had a good time visiting and enjoyed the ham dinner that Millie had prepared.
On Thursday, the 31st, we decided to take Ann to Livingston to tour Rainbow’s End. We left Richmond shortly before 8 and arrived at the Escapees park about 15 minutes before the 10:15 tour. The tour covers most of the Escapees operation except for the CARE center, which offers its own tours.
We were given a short history of the Escapees organization, a tour of the mail forwarding service (largest in the country), a short greeting and talk by Cathy Carr. Cathy is the daughter of Joe and Kay, founders of the Escapees.
Following the tour, we headed into town for lunch. We decided to try the Whistle Stop Café, across the street from the county Courthouse. The meal was delicious. We highly recommend this place if you are in Livingston.
After lunch, Dick dropped Millie and Ann at a quilt shop so they could browse and he went back to Rainbow’s End to pick up our mail. You can only get your mail in the afternoon.
It was a great day and Ann really enjoyed her tour. She kept saying she just had not idea that it was such a large place.
See you next month when we will be back traveling.
In loving memory of Ronald Lynn Forbis
August 6, 1953 – March 16, 2005
Your quiet voice and presence in our family will be greatly missed.