Dec 28th what a great day we had. After our morning exercise Jon went to pick up his Aunt Minerva in Sebring. Debbie and Harvey and their spouses came down from Orlando and we just had a great time. We were together for over 5 hours and we did a lot reminiscing from both sides of our families. Talked about some of our escapades that we did as kids and our growing up years. We fixed some burgers and hot dogs along with snacks and desserts, as we talked and picked at food all day long. Diets went out the window as this is Christmas week. After taking Aunt Minerva home we attended a dance here at the resort. Just another good day to be had.
Dec. 25th MERRY CHRISTMAS we had a great day as we went up to Orlando in the early morning to be with Jon’s sister and her family, along with Jon’s brother and sister-in-law who came down from PA for two weeks. We had a great time together and totally enjoyed the day. We all laughed and laughed as we told stories about our antics and growing up years on the farm in PA. We viewed a video that was made for “Tiny” by the funeral home. If you remember that Tiny passed away just before Thanksgiving and it was Jon’s brother who was at his side for his last 100 days. They both needed this vacation and they are enjoying it. Their one daughter was so worried about them as it was the first time for them to fly. We all had a great time as this was probably the first time the three of the family got together for Christmas. We also learned that Jon’s niece that lives down here showed up at her parents’ house unexpected in PA. Her husband was dressed as Santa and her daughter was in a big box and when Jon’s sister answered the door she didn’t know Santa, but her granddaughter jumped out of the box, how great is that for a Christmas story. One we are sure will not be forgotten for many years.
The following was read at Tiny's funeral to the Ensminger family from Tiny.
To my Dearest family,
Some things I’d like to say but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay. I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above. Here, there are no more tears of sadness: here is just eternal love
Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight. Remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night. That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through, God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you”
It’s good to have you back again: you were missed while you were gone. As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on. I need you here badly; you’re part of my plan. There’s so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.
God gave me a list of things that he wished for me to do. And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you. And when you lie in bed at night, the day’s chores put to flight. God and I are closest to you…in the middle of the night.
When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears. But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain. Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.
I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned. But if I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand. But one thing is for certain, through my life on earth is o’er. I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.
There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb. But together we can do it by taking one day at a time. It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too…that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.
If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain, then you can say to God at night…”My day was not in vain”. And now I am contented... that my life has been worthwhile, knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.
So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low, just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go. When you’re walking down the street, and you’ve got me on your mind; I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.
And when it’s time for you to go…from that body to be free, remember you’re not going…you’re coming here to me.
Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
Dec. 20th what a great day is turned out to be. First we went to our church and helped pack boxes for Angel Food Ministries. Today was pick-up day and along with about 200 other helpers we got the job done without any trouble. This is the first time that we got a box ourselves and it will sure help the monthly food budget, as what we got for $30.00 will feed us for over a week. On the way back to our site we stopped at Craig & Ginny’s to show them what was all in the box, as they are interested in getting one next month. When they saw the contents it was a sell and we think they will be getting one next month, this is a great program and we a thankful that we can help. We just rested in the afternoon and got ready for our Gourmet meal that we signed up for at the resort. We have in the resort a surgeon that retired 14 years ago and about 6 years ago he attended culinary school to follow a passion he had for years to be a chef. In the past week he interviewed for help, and we were in the running but were not picked, and he added 6 more to his staff. The meal was a 5 course Italian cuisine meal that lasted over two hours, and to say a meal is wrong as it was a fantastic event, not only a meal but socializing with fellow residents here at the resort. We got to meet more people here and are finding out every day how much of a family that this place is becoming. It was a great day; and we know we will have to get to know the exercise room even better.
Dec. 19th what a great day, the weather was just perfect and along with Craig & Ginny (co-workampers at S-N-F from last winter) we went to the Bok Tower Sanctuary. We had such a wonderful day and it seems that each time we go it gets better, at this time of the year they have Pinewood all decorated for Christmas and every room is like going into a Christmas Shoppe. Pinewood when it was built was on an adjacent property and was built by Mr. Buck who at that time owned Bethlehem Steel Corp; for his winter house, the craftsmanship in the build was fantastic. Since that time and two owners later it has been added to the Bok Tower Sanctuary. Just the laid back serenity peacefulness of the area is great. We spent over 4 ½ hours at the tower and gardens and probably didn’t really want to leave. It is built on the highest land mass in FL and the tower itself goes up 205 feet and houses 60 bronze bells that are played over the course of the day, and at this time of the year it is Christmas music. If you ever get to central FL and have a day to spend and relax this place is great therapy and enjoyment. We could go on and on about this place, but we will return here again.
Dec. 12th Jon went out golfing as yesterday after three holes the skies opened up and it rained for most of the day. The course told the group to return today and start over again, and we thought it was a nice gesture on their part. In the afternoon we went to a meeting to help an in house chef to prepare a dinner once or twice a month. It was more of an interview for the jobs that are available, if one of us is picked the other one will have the opportunity to go to all of the meals for the rest of the season. After the meeting we went to a local opening of a Winn-Dixie, We had enough food to feed us as they were handing out samples, along with wine and cheese, and deserts we had a great time. They also had a jazz ensemble playing in the store and it was a festive time. Just another great day in FL.
Dec. 10th we had our golf lessons this morning, it is a three hour lesson and we have learned so much by taking them. The best part of this that it is free till the end of the year and starting the New Year it will be $3.00 per person per week. The same couple that gives the lessons also sets up all of the weekly outings for the resort at several golf courses. We both play golf on Tuesdays and have lessons on Wednesday and usually Jon plays on Thursdays as well. In the afternoon our good friends Mike & Kathy came over and visited with us and Craig & Ginny. Mike & Kathy worked with us last winter in Sarasota and returned back for another year of work. They just got to FL from MI and were happy to be here as all of the cold weather came early in the north. We did have a great time visiting with them and we are hoping to get back together with them along with Ron & Pat.
Dec. 7th after going to church and returning back to the resort Johanna contacted us. They are also workampers and at the present time are eroute to a job in Key Largo. They are at a nearby town for a few days and we like to get together with other workampers. Craig and Ginny went along with us and we went to visit in the afternoon. Israel, Johanna, Craig and Ginny will be working at the same location next summer, Craig & Ginny have worked at this place for several years and it was good to meet new coworkers. We will be about 175 miles from where they will be next summer and maybe we can meet up with them. We all went out to get something to eat at a Chinese restaurant.
Dec. 3rd we had our weekly golf lessons that go from 9am till noon, we still can’t get over the information that we are gaining. Kathleen had lessons before and Jon never did, but this is such a great help to both of us. After we got back to the resort we decided to take a walk and welcome Ginny back from her trip to Mass., and she told us of her journeys as this was the first time she ever flew, it was a good time. After that we were walking around and started to talk with another couple we met here, Dennis & Pat and we found out that they were also going to the performing arts center at the local college for tonight’s performance of “The Three Red-neck Tenors” and they said that they drive tonight. What a great performance that the red-neck tenors put on, it was a two and one/half hour show and there was a red-neck story behind it. We are lucky to be this close to the center as they have a lot of shows lined up for the winter season.