Living in a warm climate in the winter, is an incentive for anyone to make a special effort to come for a visit with us. Overnight guests were a rarity in Indiana, but we have delightedly found out that will not be the case now that we live in Florida.
Our first overnight guests arrived three days after we closed on the house. To accommodate their stay, we borrowed a very small table and four chairs from our friends, Ed and Cheryl Byers, as well as an air mattress and a few other items. We brought two mattresses from the boat to finish the necessary items needed to stay at the house.
Kirby and Roberta Mehrhof are friends from Annapolis, Maryland. We met them while we were boat slip neighbors at Port Annapolis Marina. We soon became the best of friends. Many times, we have stayed at their lovely condo that overlooks the Chesapeake Bay, when we have gone to Annapolis to open or close our boat for the sailing season. Their visit gave us the opportunity to gladly reciprocate their hospitality.
Sleeping on boat mattresses were nothing out of the ordinary for Kirby and Roberta, as they remain avid sailors as well. The only thing missing was the sway of the boat and hearing halyards clanging. (Halyards are the lines used to raise a sail and if they are not tightly secured, they will make a clanging sound. In a marina, usually, there are halyards clanging…music to most sailor’s ears, and probably terribly annoying to power boaters.)
Our small dinner table was just large enough to hold our dinnerware. The four of us are so long legged, frequent bumps against the supports under the table, kept everything on the table jiggling. Our dinner table served as a game table to play Parcheesi, which was the evening’s entertainment (no TV or DVD’s) . Roberta taught Gary and I how to play Parcheesi during a stay at their home. I won’t repeat what she called me once while we were playing the game and I sent one of her men home. Suffice it to say, “She is a sailor.” I forgave her and have repeated the phrase to her a few times since. All in good fun. Accompanied by tunes on the radio, a dance in our ballroom, (empty living room) was also part of our first evening with overnight guests.
One afternoon was spent going to Cocoa Beach, which is only a 20 minute drive north of the marina where White Swan is docked. Kirby wanted to go to Ron Jon Surf Shop, since he had not been there since the 70’s. It was fun seeing all the surfing stuff and Gary thinks we might have to take up body boarding sometime in the near future. Would someone please remind this guy how old we are??? Oh well, if he really wants to try it, of course, “I’m in.”
We visited Historic Cocoa Village and ate pizza for lunch at an eclectic little café. We then walked the small village, perusing some of the little shops. When the Swinehart’s were here, they went to Historic Cocoa Village and brought us back a bottle of Tuscany Herb Olive Oil, purchased at “from Olives and Grapes“, a little shop on Oleander Street. We found the shop and made our own purchases of flavored oils and vinegars. If you are ever in Cocoa, this is one shop we think you would love. Numerous flavored oils and vinegars are available to sample and/or buy. They even sell a chocolate vinegar. Delicious…
We stopped by a channel near the marina that usually has manatees in it. We were not disappointed and saw quite a few. They look like big rocks under the water and the only thing that rises above the water are their nostrils as they come up for air. This winter has been hard on the manatees with the unusually cold water temperatures and they have been congregating in the channels to stay warm. One day during the cold snap, three manatees were found dead and pulled from the Indian River Lagoon. One was just a baby. This endangered species is the most gentle mammal on the earth and it’s so sad to hear of their demise just because the water is too cold for them to survive in it.
An evening was spent with other Annapolitan boaters who spent the winters at Telemar Bay Marina, Pat and Tom Dennis, and Doug Dangerfield. Also joining us, was Matt Salantino’s recently wedded wife, Susan. Susan lived in New York and she and Matt were married on Valentine’s Day in Cape Cod. She now lives on their boat and the two of them plan to circumnavigate beginning this December. Matt was in Asia, working, while the eight of us enjoyed happy hour, (which is always two hours), and then we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Mexican restaurants always seem to operate at a high decibel noise level, and our group contributed to it nicely.
The last afternoon of our visit with Kirby and Roberta was spent touring Historic Downtown Melbourne. We had coffee in a quaint little French café while exploring the area. We found Grimaldi Candies, where they make chocolate covered potato chips. They are “to die for”. Seriously. Gary and I have had to put reins on ourselves to keep from going back again and again for more.
Walking through the old downtown, gave us the opportunity to check out all the restaurants and decide where to go for dinner that evening. We made reservations to return to an Italian restaurant with an enticing menu. Suffice it to say, the presentation of the menu was the best thing they had to offer. The whole dinner experience was about as bad as it could be. It was so bad, we ended up laughing at how comical it became as one thing after another contributed to the charade. Oh well… as our dear friend, Ted Azbill says, “That’s life in the big city.” And we chose not to allow the incident to ruin precious moments together with good friends.
Of course, we had to take time to walk on the beach and enjoy the sun, sand, and the majestic roar of the ocean. Gary and I have vowed to occasionally take time out of our (still) busy days, and go for a walk on the beach. That’s how we “stop and smell the roses”…