It is kind of amazing how fast time flies by. We were just saying goodbye to many of our neighbors and friends as they were seeking to make their annual pilgrimage back to the Midwest, up to New England or into the Smokey Mountains to escape the summer heat and humidity of Florida
They travel north to see family and visit with grandchildren. Many of them still have homes that they’ve gone up to and are now shaking their heads and asking each other why they constantly put themselves through this ritual twice a year.
The lure of grandchildren is probably one of those greatest reasons. They realize in a couple of years those little kids will soon be entering high school and going off to college, leaving their parents as “empty-nesters,” and the grandparents with those great memories.
Some of my good friends have chosen to hit the open road this last summer. A great friend and fraternity brother from college who relocated to Marco Island with his wife from St. Johns in the U.S. Virgin Islands a couple of years ago bought a motorhome. They went off on an adventure to the Grand Canyon and all its majesty earlier this summer. He would then run up through Colorado and into Montana and some of the National Parks. Larry and Karen would have a wonderful time and sent dozens of pictures of that great adventure.
At the end of September he would join with other friends that keep a 67-foot wooden Schooner on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes of New York. This masterpiece of marine craftsmanship was built in 1926 in a Maine shipyard and provides passengers with cruises around the lake four times a day out of Watkins Glen, New York during the summer.
Larry would jump aboard her with his friends that own this marvelous piece of American Shipbuilding History which is now 93 years old. They would start on their epic adventure which would take them from Watkins Glen on September 30 on an adventure which would take them down through the Erie Canal and over to the Hudson River. Then south to New York City and into the Atlantic and along the eastern seaboard down to Baltimore.
It is there that the crew would participate in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. What a great adventure, and one for the books.
Compared to Larry and his adventure, mine was very mundane this summer, as I got to travel up to New England for a couple of weeks. I got to speak about that trip in an earlier column of mine but enjoyed it, nevertheless.
Four other couples who are friends of mine took their motor coaches and traveled up to Maine and enjoyed some spectacular leaf peeping themselves for about three weeks. They say they ate their weight in lobsters during that trip as they would report on the wonderful trip they had.
The important thing is that you enjoy the adventure that you’re on, and a great part of that involves enjoying the people that you surround yourself with. Men and women that can make the best out of the worst situations that get thrown at you. People that enjoy laughing and smiling, as well as being able to laugh at themselves. Our journey here in life is exactly that, a journey. It’s up to us to make the best of it.
We unfortunately also said goodbye to a number of wonderful acquaintances while many were gone during the spring and summer months. Great people like Bill Patterson, Jim Curran, Eddie Camposano, Ted Forcht, Rosemary Wick, Bob Walker, Elizabeth Foster and so many others that we’ve come to know and respect over the years.
All of these individuals have left their mark on the island, as will some of the newest members to our community such as the little girl born to Dan and Brittney Stoller, or the second son born to Jeff Kutzke and his wife Lauren. Both dads are firefighters and live here on Marco Island.
Yes, the island continues to say our goodbyes as part of the natural cycle of life. However, we also look forward to saying hello to new members of our community’s expanding family. We do so thankful for the time we have spent with those that have left us, but in great anticipation regarding additions to existing families and eager to meet new families which will now call Marco Island home.
We are such a lucky community. We have a diversity of residents who hail from so many corners of our nation and outside our borders. They share a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds and we are enriched by those experiences.
Some may be here for only four to six months out of the year, while other stay with us and make this their fulltime residence. Regardless of their length of stay, it’s our responsibility to welcome our friends home and make them feel welcomed.
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at