Old Friends Come to Visit


Mauri and Dee Rice, Terry and Jerry Crawford

Friday we were blessed to have a visit from some long-time friends from Indianapolis. Mauri and Dee Rice come to central Florida each winter for about three months. Jerry and Terry Crawford are down for about a week.

Mauri, Jerry, and I played golf while Mrs. Major, Dee, and Terry visited. Fortunately, I didn’t embarrass myself. Neither did Mauri or Jerry.

Later we went to dinner at one of the local clubs, El Santiago. It specializes in fish with a Caribbean flavor. Yummy.

All in all it was a fun afternoon and evening. Friends are great! These are no exception.

Rick & Marilynn

Wow! What a great visit we had with our friends Rick and Marilynn Phipps. One of the drawbacks of retiring to Florida is that you leave all your friends behind. Rick and Marilynn are good friends whom we abandoned when we moved. We worked for several years with them in youth ministry at Chapel Rock Christian Church. Rick and I always greeted each other with a huge hug while saying, “My Brothah!” Charlene and I taught their three daughters, Laura, Stephanie, and Emily in 9th grade Sunday school, and Emily played guitar and sang in our band, “Free Delivery.” We spent a lot of time together in youth worship on Wednesday nights, many hours together on the Youth Mission Committee, and lots of work time together (mostly tearing buildings apart) with Mission Indy. Rick is a funny, sometimes goofy, guy who loves teen-agers and the Lord. Marilynn brings stability to the couple. She loves the Lord and teens, too. Although we only shared 24 hours during this visit, they enriched our lives once again. We love you guys!


About two months have elapsed since I last wrote of our life happenings. So, after a review of my calendar, here’s a summary:

My kid brother, Tim, who lives in Oakland, CA, came for a visit. He stayed for a few days…we had a great time catching up…his daughter, Anne, is now a freshman at Stanford University…and touring The Villages. Tim was facinated with all the historical plaques around the town squares relaying the fictitious history of the area.

Said goodbye to our good friends Matt and Rachel Anthony. They left for Seattle, WA, to plant a church. Just when we were beginning to get really close . . . God speed.

Attended the annual Belvedere Babes Christmas party. The Belvedere Babes are women who live in our village, Belvedere. They gather for lunch once a month and have a Christmas dinner to which the husbands are invited. This year we went to Vic’s Embers in Leesburg. Nice digs.

Changed the batteries in our six smoke detectors and one CO detector.

Had dinner at a neighbors. They are Thai and fixed the most scrumptious Thai food. Yumm.

Had a Christmas party at our house. This is a tradition and a gift to our neighbors. This year we hung sheets on ropes all around the garage and decorated the tops with lights, making a nice cozy room. Charlene fixed cheese, crackers, and veggies to start. Black bean soup and potato soup and turkey and ham wraps for the main course. And lemon squares for dessert. Of course there was plenty of homebrew, wine, and soft drinks to go around. Great success.

Then we made another trip to Indy for Christmas to enjoy the company of our offspring. Stacey’s beau Todd cooked marvelous meals while we were there. The weather was even good enough for Dave and I to get in a round of golf.

Arranged for our screened porch to be enclosed with acrylic windows. They started work yesterday.

Mrs. Major’s mother died so we went to San Jose, CA, for the funeral and to support the rest of the family. The ceremony was simple but very nice. Helen had been in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in the second world war, so she had a military honor guard to play taps and fold the flag. One of her granddaughters read an original poem and I spoke.

Played many rounds of golf.

Mrs. Major participated weekly (except when we were gone) in Operation Shoebox, an organization that sends “care” packages to our military folks in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Participated in weekly worship at Village View Community Church and as youth coaches in the youth group. I’m also in the youth band which leads worship at youth group.

Got a bridge in my mouth. Got my teeth cleaned. Got some lab work done in anticipation of my annual physical next week.

Ordered Mrs. Major’s anniversary present: a one hour massage.

That’s about it. Soon I’ll resume my news/dah oh?/culture/beer/etc. posts.

Good Friends

Mark, Laura, and Olivia Waltz

Yesterday we had a great day. Turns out our good friends from way, way, back, Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections at Granger Community Church and his lovely and lively bride, Laura, were on a roat trip for Wired Churches. One of their stops was to Church @ The Springs in Ocala, FL, just 18 miles north of us.

We met for lunch and coffee and catching up. When I say, “good friends,” I really mean it. For 20 years we’ve had a connection that’s rare. Though after the first few years of our friendship, we have lived hundreds of miles from each other, every time we meet, it seems like we’ve been neighbors all along. So when we found out that Mark and Laura were going to be nearby, we knew we’d have to do whatever it took to see them. Fortunately, they had a four hour break in their schedule.

The visit could only have been improved by the presence of their beautiful, funny, and personable daughter, Olivia, who remained at home in Indiana. We missed you Liv. We love you Mark and Laura.