Monday, March 10, 2014


It never occurred to me in my pre-retirement years that I would someday be living in an age restricted, gated community.  But here I am.

I like my house.  I like the city of Venice and this general area of Florida.  I have friendly neighbors.  I have made the effort to be more involved in activities and meet new people than I ever have before.  I have been going to yoga at the Y.  I joined a poetry group at the library.  I do my volunteering.  I have made the effort to stay in touch with the couple friends Mike and I had made down here, but I have also been inclined to branch out with female friends.  There is no shortage of widows around here.  I helped out with the fund raising big yard sale here in the park and I met a lot of new people that I had only waved to in the past.  I am trying to remember people's names.

Where I am going with this--I decided I would attend the park picnic.  It is the big deal for the social activities committee.  I don't have much interest in Bingo or euchre (don't even know what euchre is exactly).  I am not drawn to the group lunches at area restaurants, to the pot-lucks, or the pancake breakfasts. I have no interest in ever signing up for a bus trip to the casino.   But for some reason I thought a picnic sounded like an okay, relaxed, no pressure kind of way to socialize.

Strangely, wrong!

The outdoor pavilion was expanded last year and new chairs look inviting.

Most people were inside the club house where long tables were set up.

A nice, large outdoor kitchen where the food was cooked, then carried into the club house and set up on a single serving table.

Apparently the rule is at 11 a.m., rush down to the club house and reserve seating.  Come back at 12:30 and sit down in your claimed spot.  Stay seated so as to only have contact with those sitting nearby and gossip and/or complain until the master of ceremonies (because what is a picnic with out someone dressed as a bottle of ketchup and carrying around a microphone to harangue the crowd about having fun?) calls table numbers so there will be an orderly line for the food, which will be served with strict measurement by retired lunch ladies.  Yes, exactly like the ones you remember from your high school days.

The pool,

the shuffleboard courts and the bocci area--

all stood empty.  A picnic is for eating and drinking a couple of beers.  And, apparently, it is preferable that those two activities be carried out with military precision.

This was the spot for those of us newbies who did not know enough to reserve a space earlier in the day.  It was a pleasant, uncrowded spot--what I would have picked anyway.

The cupcakes for dessert were really delicious.  I had a chocolate one.  Then they started to raffle off door prizes and the love bugs started to swarm.  That was the end for me.


  1. Oh my! Yes, I have experienced this "hurry and reserve your seating" thing wherever seniors are involved. Apparently you wouldn't want to have to sit with someone not pre-approved. So, so much for the "picnic"!
    But I must say i really admire the ways you have chosen to become involved in your winter community. Those who have the pleasure of your company are the lucky ones.

  2. I think with your other involvement and volunteering, you have earned the right to skip the picnic. I sort prefer a few good friends at a picnic verses a crowd. Well you survived the experience.

  3. It is good to hear you are getting involved in your community and meeting new people. Some experiences do not meet expectations - the picnic! - but now you know and will skip it next year!

  4. Well, now you know. If it were me I would rather stay home with a good book and an adoring dog.

    1. Me, too, and next time around, I will.

  5. It's too bad that the picnic didn't turn out to be more picnic-like. There's such potential for a fun picnic with the pool and the shuffle board/bocci areas. I'm not sure if swarming love bugs are a bad thing or a good thing!

  6. "I'm saving this seat." Boloney!

  7. Sure sounds regimented. Aren't picnics supposed to be relaxed?? Well if you hadn't have gone, you wouldn't have known to skip it next year. Seems like you have incorporated all the things you enjoy and now you know what to avoid.
    All in all I'd say you have made your winter stay quite a success.

  8. PS I sure don't miss those horny little Love Bugs.

  9. David and I used to picnic at Magic Island here in Honolulu during the early years of our marriage. It was a sweet time with our young toddler daughter. We enjoyed barbecuing teriyaki chicken on the hibachi and watch the sun set. That's the kind of picnic I enjoy. Too lazy to do that now. Lol.

  10. I had to smile at this. I think you're too young at heart for some of these "senior" activities. Why oh why does there always have to be a pecking order? Well, at least you got a good cupcake!

  11. Now that is one social event I would certainly pass on. Stay home and make own cupcakes. Oddly everything you described reminded me of a wedding reception I recently attended. Wish I had passed on that, too!

  12. I'm sorry, I laughed out loud. I can't imagine why reserved seating would even be permitted...and lunch ladies? Too funny!

    I'd never fit in at an event like that....I'm a table hopper so I'd drive people nuts. Guess I'll find out in five years!


  13. I am so glad you got that cupcake.


I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.