Hello from the beautiful sandy beaches of Florida! This weeks "Wits End" will be short and sweet because I have a sunny beach just calling my name.
Al and I come to Ormond Beach every January. Being from New York, Al's family started this tradition in 1988. We gather yearly in Florida for my mother in-law’s birthday and to catch up on the Christmas they're are unable to spend together. It's a nice meeting place for us all to have a family vacation and get a break from the snow and cold weather in both Indiana and New York . We've come to the same place for many years. We've gotten to know other families who come the same time of year and our kids have all grown up here and made great friendships of their own along the way! We look forward to seeing our family and old friends each year. This place has become extra special to us as a family.
As I sit here, I cannot help but reminisce the years we've shared and the memories we've made.
Of course, the kids have now grown and it is just Al and I. We meet Al's mom, Faye, and her life partner, Phil, who we lovingly refer to as "Uncle Phil."
We cherish our visits each year because we never know for sure when we may be together again. The distance when you have family out of state can be trying on the heart. Especially as the years pass and we find ourselves savoring every moment we have together.
We lost my father in-law (Pop) several years ago to cancer. He was a big guy with a strong personality and a heart just as big. There wasn't a person he would meet that he couldn't sit and talk with for hours and before long they would be best of friends. We knew things would never be the same when we lost our family patriarch, but as God's plan unfolds, we have a new normal that holds a new and different beauty all of its own. Although we miss him terribly, I know "Pop" would be proud that we've carried on this tradition in this place he loved so much.
When the kids were little they would wake up here as if each morning were Christmas morning, anticipating a day ahead of sand castles and playing in the pool. As soon as they'd wake, they'd throw on their swimsuits and run down the hall to see if their "Poppop" was ready to go to the pool deck. He would never disappoint. He would sit on the deck as long as their little hearts desired keeping a watchful eye on them splashing and having fun, as Nana (Faye) feverishly chased them applying multiple coats of sunscreen so they wouldn't get a sunburn. With their fair skin and red hair . . . and very generous coat of white sunblock, they could not be missed!
Our youngest, Emily, was the baby of the family. Wherever her Poppop went, you could bet she would be right by his side. Exception being, when it came time to cook! She loved helping her Nana prepare dinner, especially if she was baking a desert. You know the kind . . . the kind of desert that only a grandmother can make. Not only delicious but each bite is a reminder of "home" and the love she has for you. I sure am grateful someone taught her to cook because it's no secret she didn't pick that skill up from me!
Several of our kids have expressed interest in carrying on this Florida vacation tradition with their own children and families. Our oldest son even purchased a place for him and his fiance to begin their journey together and to carry on with his future family. It brings us such joy that they want to share this part of their childhood with their children in hopes that the next generation has similar memories of their own.
So as our week wraps up and we soak up every second we have left visiting with family I leave you with this . . . cherish one another, be kind to one another and appreciate the time we have with our friends and loved ones.
In the words of Frederick Buechner,
"You can kiss your family goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you."
Friday: Don't miss the 3rd annual Golden Girls Coloring & Cheesecake event from the good folks at the CDPL and Carnegie Museum at the Carnegie Museum. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. There will be snacks and a cash bar along with prizes for trivia and costumes. Event is free but you must register your spot today on the library website at
calendar: http://cdpl.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=3732&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2020/01/01 The event is for ages 15 and up. ID for the cash bar is required. Call the Carnegie Museum at 362-4618 for more information.
Saturday: Check out the Winter Market from 8 a.m. to noon at 400 Park Ave.! The winter market is very different from the regular season market. Vendors are needed! If you are interested in having a booth please message the @crawfordsvillefarmersmarket FB page and request information for the market via leaving your email.