You can tell people are feeling better. More people on the road. More people out eating. More people attending meetings. More people willing to communicate, yet still cognizant of keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask. And with more communication and more public contact, people’s moods seem to be lifting. In fact, my Kiwanis Clubs are both meeting each week now. No, not everyone is there, but some are, and seem to be happy and relieved they can make contact with people outside of their homes. Both Kiwanis Clubs (Marco and East Naples) are gently becoming more active. I think when this is over some will not come back, and that is a sad loss, but I hope most do. Each person brings their own special personality into the organization which vitalizes it! I hope we can keep most of them!! Change that to say ALL OF THEM!
*This Sunday, Feb. 7th, the East Naples Kiwanis Club will be setting up a booth at Stan’s on Goodland from noon to 4 p.m. This club is little, but mighty! They are taking collections at Stan’s (Bless Steve and Trish’s hearts for allowing us to hold a fund raiser for the Lely High School Football team for new helmets) while enjoying great food and terrific music, and lots of dancing. I didn’t realize official helmets for Lely (and every other school) were so expensive! At $250 per helmet (and they need 50 of them), it’s a huge amount but I figure we can help them. These kids have had a GREAT year, and a few are headed for major colleges on scholarships because they are such excellent players! They deserve so much and probably have had to overcome great hardships to keep up their grades and come to every practice and still work after school. I’ll bet they will go far when they leave here. Maybe you’d like to help? You can always send a check to Lely High School Athletic Department or Principal Ellen Keegan, or come to Stan’s and help out. I’m sorry, but high school students are not invited to Stan’s, even though it would be great for everyone to meet them, but their pictures are in the Coastal Breeze regularly, like the stars they are, so you can see who they are in the paper!
*Talking about Kiwanis Clubs – the Marco Island Kiwanis Club will be holding their 18th annual Car Show! Yup, the car show that made them famous over the years. They normally have about 200 cars, but this year they really don’t know what to expect. This year it will be going back to the NCH parking lot, starting at 9:30 am and ending at 3:00 pm. The Knights of Columbus from San Marco Parish will be cooking hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. The Columbiettes will offer a cake and pastry booth (knowing them, it will be delicious!) plus the Marco Police Dept and the Police Foundation will be hosting a booth, and the Celtic Spirit Irish Dancers (for their 15th year) will entertain. We’ll never forget this guy in our club who stood up with what he called a great idea for a fund raiser- a car show! Most of us looked at each other quizzically and wondered if the guy knew what he was talking about! BOY, you bet he did!! It was the best fundraiser we’ve ever had and continues on year after year. John DeRosa is still standing at the helm, with his sidekick John Coff, covering first base! The two are there every year, and we love it! It seems they do too because they come back year after year for more!
*What a wonderful tribute to Dusty Rhodes in the January 28th edition of the Coastal Breeze! He deserves every kind word you can give him, and more, so much more! No, I didn’t know him like many others, but I knew him enough to know what an outstanding man he was, and Nancy was right there by his side. My son and I visited him in New York, and he treated my son like a prince. All I can say is I’m proud to have known him and able to call him friend. Happy Birthday, Dusty!
*Did you hear that Pickleball pinging in your ear? The Pickleball games have started back up and the first tournament of the year (and, since the year before that when COVID shut them down before they began) was held January 29th through January 31st. There were 978 players registered to play the first tournament at the Pickleball Park in East Naples. March of 2019 there were 2020 players! Jim Ludwig and his wife Carol (along with Aunt Nancy) were there with their never-ending enthusiasm. Even through the problem areas – like no one from the park was there to unlock the restrooms at 7 a.m., and for a while, with all that coffee people use to wake up, there was quite a problem! It took over an hour but ended up okay once the keys got there. I doubt that will ever happen again! Thanks to Barry Williams, the Parks Director (who also didn’t have a key) he got to the right people and got the problem resolved. Commissioner Rick LoCastro was right there (note the picture) and in the thick of things. I bet next year he’ll join them on the players courts! He looks like he’d be a great player and a great supporter. The Lely High School JROTC was there to open the ceremony and did an outstanding job. Their singer performed the National Anthem beautifully! This was the first Pickleball Tournament of the year, and a great way to move forward with this game for all to enjoy. There will be another official Tournament in March ending with the US Pickleball Championships at the end of April. By that time, many, many will have had their vaccinations and will feel freer to attend the game and sit in the stands with others. We’ve been very lucky down here compared to other more populated areas of Florida. My son in Ft. Lauderdale fears to even leave his condo except for work. People are pouring in from all over the world over there, so he feels it’s too dangerous to just walk around outside, and he’s not a fraidy cat! But you can’t fight the virus.
See you next week. For now, I’ll go to the Pickleball Courts.