I’d like to bring you into our private home life for a sweet story about my granddaughter, Samantha, and her boyfriend Jeff (who works at CJ’s on the Bay, by the way). It all started when Samantha got up and Jeff had a light breakfast ready for her before he left. As she finished, she found a picture of him on a card-stock (mask on a plastic handle), and when she turned it over the writing said, “This is a game, so look for my face all day long and follow the instructions,” so she did. Her first instruction was to go to CJ’s on the Bay, and when she got there… Surprise! Her dad Kyle was waiting for her and they ate lunch together (this is the reason Jeff had a very light breakfast for her at home). All was paid for, and when they got up to leave, a co-worker handed her a mask of Jeff, and when she turned it over, there were instructions to head over to an address for a seamstress (where he had purchased a dress for her). When she got there, her mom Sherri (my daughter) and her sister Jessica were waiting for her. Jeff had picked out a dress and when she tried it on, it fit perfectly. Another mask popped up with a gift card from her mom and sister who joined her to go to the nail salon. They all got their nails done together (it’s a mom & daughter thing). Then, hidden on the nail rack was another face that had the address for a hair salon, where she would get her hair and makeup done. Sarah, the nail tech and owner, then gave her the shoes that were awaiting her. When she opened the shoes, inside the shoe box was still another Jeff-face with the address of the Naples Grande. When she got there, a mask was taped to the valet station telling them to go inside. Inside, the concierge said, “Are you Samantha?” and when she got a nod yes, she gave them a mask that said to go to the lounge and relax a little. After a short time, a waiter came over with another mask and it said she should go to a room number (this is where her mom and sister peeled off), and when she got there she discovered the bedspread outlined with fresh flowers and a heart of flowers arranged in the middle, and Jeff stepped out from behind the curtains. She started crying as he got down on one knee and recited a beautiful proposal he had written and memorized (meanwhile his best friend Colin was hiding on the patio with a camera and filmed the whole proposal and then left). She was crying so hard that you could hardly hear his proposal (I got to see the film afterward, so I know), but he wrote it out later so we could read it. Her ring was everything she could wish for! It is a pink-gold etched band with a lovely diamond that is a perfect size for her. She said “yes” between sobs. Jeff then took her downstairs to the hotel lounge where her whole family and many friends were waiting to hear the good news and see the ring. Jeff must have worked for a couple months on this plan, with all the people he contacted and worked with who never said a word! He had prepared, saved, phoned, plotted, shopped, and she never knew a thing! Now THAT is romantic.
* Physician’s Regional Hospital- My best friend, Shirlee Barcic, is on the Board of Trustees for Physicians Regional Hospital, where she attended their annual trustee’s retreat a week ago, and then she invited me to attend a social afterward, so I got to hear all the good news fresh from the trustee board members. I was so pleased to hear all of the advancements they are making, and how their numbers have grown tremendously. That is “our” hospital, and we want it to be highly successful! I met some of the doctors, who were friendly and knowledgeable, and the CEO Scott Lowe (whom I had the pleasure of talking with) and the COO Susan Takacs, where we learned even more, and even the Chairman of the Board Jim Kauffman. The Trustees were talking about the advancement of the Robotics program, which excited everyone! They even had a demonstration earlier for the board members. I also had a great conversation with Tom Becker. He’s a fountain of information. One of the specific areas of growth that has truly tripled is in cardiac care. This growth has spearheaded current projects underway that will offer the latest in cardiac care at both campuses in the near future. Another item they discussed at their board meeting was the development of their Senior Friendly ER at the Collier campus. They also discussed the double digit growth year over year as they serve the extremely fast growing communities in and around East Naples as well as Marco Island, Isles of Capri and Goodland. The launch of their Senior Friendly ER included a redesign of the Emergency Department to provide a nicer environment and advanced training for all staff to better care for the specific needs of older adults. We are talking major improvements here! So happy for them and for US, who will be able to experience all of these positive advancements!
*Chef Asif- Lastly, although there is so much more going on, Chef Asif (you remember him as the master chef from the Marco Island Hilton) is about to receive a major award regarding his culinary skills, but that’s all I know. It might have something to do with his highly successful restaurant: 21 Spices. His business has been so busy out of season, as has the Lebanese restaurant next door to his business in the same shopping center on US 41E at Lakewood Boulevard, that he is always working and always smiling! We should hear in the next few weeks what the award will be, so keep a look out, or I’ll just write about it when I get the news.
Speaking of restaurants… the restaurants in this area are so busy! Here it is, the beginning of September when most people are gone, yet it is hard to get into any restaurant along the East Trail! What is going to happen once the winter residents are back? Reservations will be key.