A couple of months ago I received a letter. It was from one of my "little grandma friends" that I've met vacationing in Florida.
My parents winter in Florida, so naturally, if my husband and I are invited - we go. To put it simply, it is 17 degrees in NE Ohio in January and it is NOT in SW Florida.
One of my favorite things to do in Florida is visit the other vacationers. This means while at the pool from 9am - 3pm, one does not just put on headphones and ignore others. Nope. My family "visits" and talk to friends at the pool. This could mean on the WAY to the pool, sitting AT the pool, while IN the pool, etc. As for me, I have found some dear people from all over the US that return to the same condo complex year after year - including Jim and Dory.
Dory sent me a hand written letter letting me know that her husband, Jim had passed. Jim got sick and died rather quickly. He was one of the nicest men you would ever meet. He was from NJ, but you wouldn't know it. He had NE Ohio roots and he would reminisce about working near where I live. He always had something good to say about the Browns and my beloved Packers.
Just about every nice day in Florida, Jim and Dory would come to the pool around 2pm - around the time my family was done for the day. We referred to them as the "night crew" or the "second shift". But I would always look for them at the north end about that time. Jim always had a smile on his face. You could hear him coming as he used a walker. I used to tease him that his sneaking up on the ladies days have passed. He would always say that it was their fair warning so they could run away.
Jim would often swim, while it would have to be near 90 degrees for Dory to get in the water. On a day that most of us would consider hot, she would wear long pants, sleeves and a hat. She used to tell me she's had plenty of sunning in her days. Jim's pool uniform included a bucket hat and always a white, short-sleeved, terry-cloth zipper cover up. If you didn't hear him coming, you could spot them coming, easily.
For the past 10 plus years, for about 9-14 days, in January/February, this was our routine. I would often visit with Jim and Dory under the veranda. They told me lots about the family, their losses, their home, etc. We would also see them in church and they always got "gussied up" for mass. They were a very handsome couple.
I've written to Dory twice, and she has written back. I'm sorry she will not be vacationing in Florida this year - and I will miss our talks. And I'm sorry Jim is gone. I will also miss his walker coming down the walkway to the pool.
My vacations in Florida
won't be the same without them there. But I'm glad I got the chance
to know such a sweet couple. Rest in peace, Jim.
3 days ago