The people here are great, eh?

Isn’t it fascinating how little of a connection we need to become friends with people? This story begins with my Canadian cousins. Myrna, I met at pool volleyball on March 15th at Outdoor Resorts at Long Key, Florida (ORLK). When I arrived late to the St. Patty’s Day party, she invited me to sit with “us.” Only knowing a few people from volleyball, I took her up on her offer. She grabbed a chair for me and introduced me to her husband, Ernie, her cousin Anita, and Anita’s husband, Tom, all from Ontario. I told them I visited Ontario on my first trip in my motorhome and that my dad had relatives there.

When I said I could remember Tom’s name because that was my brother’s name, Tom said, “and he’s your favorite brother, right?”

I said, “yes that’s what I tell him all the time.”

Then, of course, Tom said, “he’s your only brother, right?”

Somehow, in all the laughter, Tom became my “other favorite brother” and the other three became my “Canadian cousins.” After the usual questions of where are you from, when did you get here, what’s your story, and how did you find out about Outdoor Resorts?, Anita said, “the people here are great, eh?” I had to agree! My new cousins got me dancing (I don’t dance) and we exchanged pictures and phone numbers. They showed me a great time at the party. After that, we saw each other nearly every day, playing volleyball, ping-pong, bocce ball, pickle ball, and even at a play at the Community Theater. We also enjoyed sunset chats and neighborhood walks until the night before they left.

Another friend I met at pool volleyball is Sheila. Sheila is Beautiful with a capital B, inside and out. She is from Michigan, so having been born in Michigan myself, it was an instant connection. Despite enduring the recent tragic deaths of three loved ones, Sheila maintains a cheery, infectious disposition. Everyone loves her. Sheila went home to snow a few days later, but we will certainly stay connected.

When I met Dave, he looked at me and said, “You need to know, I’m legally blind, so if the volleyball comes to us, go ahead and hit it. Don’t assume I’m going to see it.”

Dave told me he is from Bloomington, Indiana. Because I got a master’s degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, I knew we would be forever friends. One day I stopped at Dave’s lot, and we talked about writing, riding, his eyes, ownership at Outdoor Resorts, family, you name it. He and his wife, Sally, took me to church on Easter Sunday. They introduced me to Pastor Brad, who baptized me in the canal of the Atlantic by the church the next week. Such special people!

Everyone I have met at ORLK has been over-the-top friendly. Even though some of them have wintered here for 5, 10, 20, 30 years, they have included me as one of their own. The snowbirds could be cliquish, but they are the opposite. Everyone is welcome here. Thanks to Ray (A Ray of Sunshine) for inviting me to Outdoor Resorts, I have a park full of new friends (60 + and counting). As I prepare to leave, two weeks after my original departure date, I say a big thank you to all who made my stay so special. Because of you, not only do I not want to leave, but you also have me seriously considering coming back. You are truly special people.

Yes, Anita, I must agree, the people at ORLK are great! Beautiful inside and out, eh? (PS, I know you told me Canadians never write out that word, but it’s my new favorite word. It will take me a while to learn when and how to use it. Maybe I can get some personal coaching on Canadian speak when I come visit you via Indiana and Michigan, eh?)