Saturday, February 23, 2008

2008 Relay for Life

The American Cancer Society's 2008 Relay for Life is just around the corner. This team event to fight cancer is a worthy cause that touches all of our lives. Tomlin Middle School, where I teach, is very involved and donates thousands of dollars every year. In 2002, my whole family attended the Relay for Life at Plant City High School. My mother, Evelyn Blount, who is a survivor of breast cancer, participated when the survivors walked the first lap.

Mama with Jackie Waller Rollyson and Louise Crowley Sullivan, three survivors from the Turkey Creek High School Class of 1954

Mama and other survivors take the first lap.

My sister Carla joins Mama for the caregivers' lap.

Our whole family was there . . .

. . . including baby Nathan.

My good friend Jerry Woods and his daughter Brandy lost their wife and mother, Judy, to breast cancer on November 8, 2006. Jerry is the director of Relay for Life for the City of Mulberry, Florida. Jerry's 2008 relay team, the Couch Potatoes, are sponsored by his employer Florida Air Tool.

Jerry, Brandy, Judy

One of the easiest ways to get involved in the Relay for Life is to make a donation online. I encourage all of my readers to join me in this fight against cancer. You can visit Jerry's Relay web page, read his family's story, and make an online donation by clicking HERE. Together we can stamp out cancer!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Florida State Fair

The view from the ferris wheel.

Saturday afternoon I went to the Florida State Fair with my buddy Jerry and his daughter Brandy. We had tried to go to the fair Sunday afternoon a week ago, but the fairgrounds were packed to the gills. The front parking entrance was closed, and people were parking outside the gate all the way down Hwy. 301. We took it as a sign to try another day. This time we got in easily and even got free parking.

Walking the midway.

Brandy and Jerry wanted to go to the midway, so we headed that direction first. Brandy kept trying to get me on these crazy rides, but that wasn't about to happen. I did agree, however, to ride the giant ferris wheel.

Brandy at the top.

Jerry and I hold on for dear life.
That's I-4 in the background.

Brandy trying to coerce me to ride the Dream Catcher.

Brandy and Jerry on the Dream Catcher.
Sorry, Brandy, somebody had to stay on the ground to take the picture!

We finally left the midway . . . whew! . . . and hit the fair food. After grabbing a couple of corn dogs and a sausage sandwich, we headed across the fairgrounds to my favorite spot . . . Cracker Country! Cracker Country is bigger and better than ever. They have a depot, a barn, a garden, a couple of general stores, a church, a schoolhouse, a smokehouse, an outhouse, and some loud live irritating bluegrass music. This Florida pioneer village is just like Little House on the Prairie. I would love to have lived back then . . . at least for a day!

Entering Cracker Country.

Behind the Carlton house.

Resting at a picnic table by the outhouse. How appropriate!

A funny thing happened while we were sitting at the picnic table. To the right was the back of the schoolhouse, and a man was sitting on a wooden box behind it. The box was a cover for an air conditioner or generator or something electrical. All of a sudden, it cut on with a loud grinding sound. That man shot off the top of the box like a rocket! I could tell he was hoping no one saw, but then he looked at me and saw me laughing, and like a good sport he laughed too. I would love to have caught that scene on video.

Brandy finally found something I would ride.

Before heading home, all three of us rode the giant slide. I could have sat at the bottom and entertained myself all day people-watching. Just as we started climbing the stairs, a rather large lady with a child on her lap came whipping down the slide. The surface was so slick it spun her around, and they went flying to the bottom backwards. It was hilarious! I'm sure the three of us entertained the spectators, too. I know at one point I went airborne! All-in-all we had a great afternoon at the fair.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Happy 60th, Susan!

Last Saturday evening we surprised my dear friend and colleague Susan Stephens with a party at Mary Roberts' house to celebrate her 60th birthday. Many of Susan's family members and friends were there, and of course there was an amazing spread of food.


Susan sees her sister.

More surprises.

Mary Roberts, party hostess extraordinaire!

Mary's lovely daughter Ashley and Elvis

Lauren, Emerson Rose, and Derrick

Susan, Brandon, and Emerson

Marilyn and Pam

My buddy Greg pulled in as I was leaving.

Happy birthday, Susan! We love you!