May: May 2–5, 2013 was the final Caloosa meeting for the season celebrated at Alligator Park in Punta Gorda, FL. This park is the best and welcomes clubs and chapters to share in their great facilities! Since a lot of our members have already begun their summer sojourns, there were fourteen coaches in attendance. A smaller than usual group—but we were big in fun things to do! Our theme was Kentucky Derby and we celebrated with brightly decorated tables and our first happy hour on Thursday brought us together. Dinner was served with the cooks preparing delicious pasta and meatballs. With the added side dishes, it was a colorful and delicious dinner. The ice cream social tradition was on tap following dinner with all the great flavors and toppings for sundaes. Our entertainment for the evening was a movie night and in keeping with the theme, we showed Racing Stripes—it was a cute movie and enjoyed by everyone!
We welcomed some new couples to our group, S.E. and Marge Weaver and Rich and Sharon Beck, who joined us for Friday breakfast. Our cooks made us breakfast before we headed to a local miniature golf course for a tournament. Lunch was on your own and some free time in the afternoon found some of the group at the pool, shopping, or visiting with each other. Happy hour was held and shortly after, we caravanned to Phil's 41 Restaurant for a wonderful dinner! Back at the rec hall, David Nobert kicked off our activity of the Caloosa Horse Races! Bets were placed on favorite horses and when dice were thrown, the horse in the lane with the corresponding number moved ahead a space until the winner reached the end of the course. It was a fun time and everyone enjoyed the antics of David and his dice throwing!
Saturday morning it was time to make omelets-in-a-bag for breakfast. Corinne Wightman, President, called the business meeting with all members present. Our new folks were introduced as joining our chapter and were welcomed with our usual Caloosa welcome. The rest of the afternoon was free time with happy hour and heavy hors d'oeuvres supplied by all members in lieu of dinner. Our members were asked to design a hat to participate in our traditional hat parade. All the members displayed their creations for judging by the park residents. The winners of various categories were Paula Geng, Jerry Miller, Rich Beck, Jack and Sandy Bleakley, and Diane Cipolla. Soon it was time for the betting window to be opened for placing bets. Jerry Miller had all the odds on the horses and Chris Ross helped Jerry take the bets. The group was served "Caloosa Mint Juleps" as is our tradition and soon, the race was underway on the big screen TV. All our winners lined up to claim their prizes. Later that evening several people stayed around to play cards and games.
Sunday morning was our continental breakfast. It was a long goodbye as we won't be together as a group until next November.
By Nancy Miller