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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Travels with Beaverhausen: My Florida Finale ~~ Life in Venice

I was bummed this morning to discover the pan filled with popcorn that I made last night was thrown into the garbage by my cousin Walter. Thinking it was the handiwork of children at yesterday's pool party, he tossed it all into the trash. It was childish in appearance, I admit, with way too much oil and way too many unpopped kernels at the bottom of the pot.

Tomorrow morning, I'll once more take to the friendly skies and fly off to LaGuardia Airport. But today was my last in Cape Coral. We set off to visit my stepfather at his assisted-living residence, and then my cousins, sisters Sherry and Margaret and their mom, my Aunt Eleanore.

Off Walt, Sue and I set off into the wild, blue yonder, after our morning java, to Venice. We breakfasted at the Bagel Factory. They make fresh bagels. I had mine with lox spread. And more coffee. We then proceeded down the Interstate to Venice, FL.

First stop: The Windsor of Venice. Such is this palace of assisted living where my stepfather resides. It was my first visit in five years. We had to go no further than the lobby where Jack was seated with a cane, behind his walker (pictured). I was saddened to find the 90-year-old now largely speaks pure unintelligible gibberish. Quite animatedly, though! He said two things, however, very clearly. Introduced me as one of his nephews to the nurse. And cursed out an old lady who banged into his walker with hers. He was quite fluent in words like "God-dammit!" and "Nasty bitch!"

I enquired of a nursing-home assistant if Jack had, as I suspected, a stroke. For that information, however, I had to contact a registered nurse, none of whom were available on the floor at the time. However, I can find out simply by calling Tony, Jack's biological son and estate executor, once back in NYC. I'm sure he already knows any details.

So, communication with Jack being quite curtailed, it wasn't long before we three were off to visit Sherry and my Aunt Eleanore. We arrived 1/2 an hour early. Sherry's college-age son, Thomas, let us in and Shane, Sherry's doberman, was also in the house. A very friendly dog, he followed me all over. A big cutie!

I went out to sit at the pool. There was a handsome stranger out there! I said hello, put my feet in the pool (a'la Neely O'Hara in Valley of the Dolls) and, from behind my Foster-Grants, I asked "And who are you?"

"I'm here to clean your pool," the salt-and-pepper-haired, tall hunk said. This is how porn films begin! I then imagined him saying "Mind if I take my shirt off? I feel so hot." "Yes, yes, I can see you're hot; so so hot" I'd say.

At this point of my fantasy, my cousins and aunt arrived, thank God.

It was such a joy to return to reality and greet my close relations. We sat on the couches and chairs and caught up. Aunt El is staying at an assisted living residence. Margaret, Sherry's sister, is the wife of a preacher man, the only man who could ever reach her (high-school sweethearts). They have recently returned to Venice from the northwest. So nice to have the two of them nearer.

It wasn't long before Sherry set the table with quite an amazing spread of cold cuts and salads. We reminisced together and talked of our current lives as well. I was happy to sit next to my Aunt El, whom I've always loved dearly, recalling how she was the first person I knew (as a kid in the '50s and '60s) who was into environmental issues and health food. She was an absolute trailblazer! She was also an amazing artist (oil paints) and poet, and very influential on my life.

Sherry and Margaret recalled what that was like for them, as her daughters. "I just hated when she'd take our candy canes at Christmas and wash off the red food dye." My aunt just chuckled.


  1. Sounds like a nice trip Buddy. Thanks for bringing back the sunshine when you returned. ox