Monday, March 14, 2011

Chili In Florida

Moving away from my last post and its bit of controversy and also letting its comments speak for themselves, yesterday was a time for more light hearted thoughts here in sunny Buttonwood Bay.

All last week we had Springfest events in the park and I have to sadly report that no seniors were arrested for drunken brawling or crude and lascivious behaviour around the swimming pools. There were a few reports of wind breaking but I think these were accidental and pretty much par for the course here really.

Anyway the events week came to an end yesterday with a chili cookout held in the (not slim) shady grove area which, as those of you who are familiar with the park layout will know, lies on the edge of beautiful Lake Josephine...which just happened to be especially beautiful on the day.

Unknown hundreds of park residents made the short trip to the grove on bikes, golf carts, motorised scooters, and even some on shanks' mare (or pony in the UK).

Google it if you lost me there.

Although the area contained many picnic tables, most people brought their own chairs as comfort was the order of the day and we were to be there for several hours. As well as the promise of free chili from the competition entrants and the usual park cooks, we were treated to music which led to dancing....which due to the heat and age of the residents, then led to some nodding off until the various raffle prize tickets were drawn !

The dancing was performed on the grove's generous concrete pad created for just such events.

I probably need to explain here that the shady grove is a nightmare for me as the shade part of the name means that photographs inevitably turn out 'shady' and especially so yesterday as I'd decided to only take my phone camera with me. It does have certain limitations and not dealing well with shade is one of them.

With that in mind then, here are a couple more shady shots to set the tone of the event.

So there we were, slowly roasting and/or slumbering in the warm sunshine, listening to the sombre wailings of Patsy Cline and other C&W artistes, when the mood suddenly changed. The free chili was up for grabs !!

I've rarely seen a line forming so quickly and in no time it looked like a scene from outside an Apple store when the latest iPad goes on sale. Holy crap but these people CAN move fast when they want to and at that time yesterday, they WANTED to.

This photo shows the tables groaning with chili. Nearest to me are the efforts of the official cookoff contestants who prepared their offerings in different categories from mild, through medium all the way to 'oh dear lord my ass is on fire.' The other tables contained more general offerings and you may just be able to make out the lines of residents who have split ranks at this end point and are going along whichever table looks to be giving out the best portions !

Not being a great chili lover (yes yes I know, I know....why limit that statement to just chili) I didn't care which table I went to but considering the state of my stomach since then, I suspect I picked the ass kicking one. Sales of Rolaids will be going off the charts by the time I get this under control !

Here is a photo of the contest entries followed by one taken as I moved along the table to get my bowl of chili.....with 2 cookies and 2 packs of crackers. Verily it was a feast.

Back at my chair, I wanted a photo of the chili so I balanced the bowl on my knee. My stomach is now telling me I should've left it there !

With the chili gone and everyone finished dancing, sleeping or discussing who really won WWII, it was time for the various prize draws. Our event tickets had all been torn in half when we went for the chili offerings and the other halves entered into a draw for numerous low key but perfectly acceptable prizes - $15 vouchers for local restaurants, Springfest baseball caps and t-shirts, a free oil change (??), a box set of Conway Twitty albums....that sort of thing.

Due to the number of prizes on offer and, we suspect, winners pretending they weren't winners if the prize was pretty naff, this particular draw went on and on. Some people HAD left the grove of course but I still think the 'I don't even want to admit I've won THAT prize' was the biggest factor to it dragging on too long.

Once over, we had various other draws. A quilt draw was soon over as there was just the one prize...the quilt. Then we had the draw I was really up for as I'd bought into it. I wanted 5 free golf lessons with the local pro but as with most things in my sad, loser existence (violins please), I didn't win. Finally we had another draw with many prizes and then it was all over.

With a speed worthy of a nomadic tribe of bedouins, everyone packed up their gear and medicare equipment, climbed onto or into their various modes of transport and within minutes, the grove had returned to its usual state of peace and tranquillity, standing as an impressive natural guard over the calm waters of Lake Josephine and its inhabitants.

And that was Springfest over for another year. Cakes and cookies had been baked and sold. Arts and crafts had been displayed. Even archery had been demonstrated with hardly an incident, although the poor old soul walking around with an arrowhead lodged above her left ear might disagree. Thank God her hearing aid took the brunt of the impact and caused her to only remark "there's no need to push me, dear" at the time.

I jest.

Today everything is back to normal - well except for my stomach but, as you know, I'm not one to make a fuss. I'm just going to eat lots of ice cream and drink gallons of milk.

Chili may not agree with me but yesterday was a grand day out at the end of a grand week of events and a big thank you goes out to everyone who worked so hard to make it possible.

Thank you.

(Oscar winners please note. Yes saying thanks CAN be that simple).


Jennyta said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all! ;)

Ruth said...

Wow! that photo of Lake Josephine is soooo beautiful. I'd love to have a copy of it.

I like your method of dealing with post chilli stomach. Well not the milk because I can't stand the stuff but ice cream is a great curative for most things.

Daphne said...

Dappled sunshine through trees is always delightful - - - sighhh!

rhymeswithplague said...

Don't mean to put a damper on your fun, but the first time I visited St. Petersburg it seemed to me to be "the city of the walking dead." I was 20 at the time.

Buttonwood Bay reminds me a lot of St. Petersburg.

I guess a sunny disposition counts for something, though. And chili. Mustn't forget the chili.

rhymeswithplague said...

Don't mind me; I haven't had my morning coffee yet, and that always straightens me out. Your milk cure is spot on. In my college days in Texas, when the lot of us would gather at the local Mexican restaurant late at night, I always had a huge glass of milk with my enchiladas.

rhymeswithplague said...

I note that the time associated with comments on this blog is Greenwich Mean Time....even when you are in Flah-de-dah.

Verification word is theake which is almost "the lake" which is very fitting.

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