Trip 2 – Day 26
Sunday, February 3, 2013
There is a tradition here at the Fountain of Youth. Each year a memorial service is held to honor those who have died in the prior year. FOY is a place where it is not uncommon to meet people who have made this their winter home for 15, 20, or even 30 years or more. It is a community that has grown and evolved yet never forgetting the sense of belonging that makes it an oasis of caring. Walking through the park, it is customary to smile and greet each person that you come in contact with. Despite differences that we may have, it is a place where people remember that we do belong to each other.
The memorial service was held this afternoon in the large building known as Hays Hall. Thirty-four past FOYers were honored. Loved ones submitted photos that were lovingly assembled into a slide show. The names of each person who had passed were read and those who knew them were encouraged to share stories and talk about their lives. We were friends of Lois, the wife of our friend Fred. She left us last October and was remembered during this celebration. Her daughter and grandson joined Fred for the weekend, and together, we all went to this lovely service.
Fred was the superintendent at my high school. Lois, his wife, was a part of my life throughout my teen years. I was on a court for a local festival, and she was our chaperone. She was a strong, yet gentle woman with a smile and laugh that brought joy into the room. Noted for her gorgeous red hair, and wonderful sense of style, she was a beauty. The last time I saw her was a summer ago, at the funeral of my beloved high school principal. Although I knew she had been having some health problems, she looked GREAT. I remember that she was so tickled by the idea that I had moved home and, as she put it, “You are living in your same little bedroom?” Her words triggered an immediate flashback to my girlhood room – turquoise with luxurious green and blue shag carpeting, posters on the walls, stuffed animals, and twin beds…….I assured her that it didn’t look ANYTHING like it did 40+ years ago, Mom had done some serious re-decorating through the years, and that it was much more of an adult space. I’m not sure if she actually believed me, but it is true.
This was also Super Bowl Sunday. The memorial service ended about 30 minutes before kick-off. Unfortunately, for reasons that we do not understand, the channel the game was on, was not a channel that we were able to get. The park offered it, but our TV “system” wouldn’t pick it up. So…..after making a nacho plate for each of us, the boys went to the café at the front of the park, and watched the game. (Wiley and stayed back at the Hag and worked on “our” sewing project.
Somewhere during the span of that LONG game, I heard sirens in the distance, and then much closer. Craig and I sent a few texts back and forth, and FOY had sustained a tragedy of epic proportions. An older couple had pulled up to the registration booth in their very large (bus-type) motorhome. (This was right across the street from the café where the boys were) Apparently, the wife had gotten out and was walking in front of the rig. The husband, not seeing her, pulled forward and ran over her. She was pretty seriously injured, the medics arrived and eventually, a helicopter came to airlift her to the hospital.
I tell this very upsetting story because:
- This could happen to any of us, especially the RVers among us.
- If you are the driver, and one of the occupants of your vehicle gets out, open the damn window so you can hear the commands being shouted at you.
- On second thought, just don’t get out of the rig.
- And, for god sakes, don’t ever back up.
During our morning walk, we came across what seems to be the graveyard for dead or dying golf carts. Located at the upper edge of the park, near the “dry camp,” it is a collection of carts in many states of disrepair, huddled around an awning, perhaps waiting to be recycled in someone’s “fix-it” project. It seems quite fitting, on this particular day, to mention this.
Today’s weather: Sunny during the day, with a definite change settling in for the night
Daytime temperature: In the high 70’s
Nighttime temperature: In the 50’s