September 30, 2012

A Wedding in Jacksonville

We headed for Sioux Falls on Tuesday, the 11th of September. We passed through Saint Peter, where my mother was born. We stopped in Madelia to say "hello" to my uncle Vernon. And after a very short visit we were back on the road. We stopped in Sioux Falls to register to vote and get new license tabs. We kept on driving, heading south on I-29. We passed through Beresford, which is just a few miles from where my father was born. Finally, after a very long day of driving we stopped about 30 miles short of Kansas City. On Wednesday we headed across Missouri and into Tennessee. We crossed the northwest corner of Mississippi and into Alabama. With the sun setting we stopped and spent the night north of Birmingham, Alabama.

On Thursday we headed to Panama City Beach in Florida. We checked into a hotel and then we started to look for a place to rent. We re planning on staying in Florida until Thanksgiving, and Panama City seemed like as good a place as any to stay. We found the prices this time of year to be quiet reasonable for fully furnished units. But only one condo seemed to click. We put this condo in the back of our minds as the place to compare all other places to.

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of the Wedding.

Joan and Jacob at the Church
Joan and Jacob at the Church 3
First Dance of the Newlyweds
IMG_3787: First Dance of the Newly Weds

On Friday we headed for Jacksonville. We were going to the wedding of Betty's nephew, Jacob Cassady. His bride-to-be was Joan Tomlinson whose parents live in Jacksonville. Joan's father is a cardiologist. We arrived mid-afternoon in Jacksonville Beach. We stayed at Casa Marina, a beautiful old hotel on the beach. Betty's sister, Mary Rodrick, and her husband Jim arrived at the same time that we did. The hotel is incredibly charming. We checked in and headed for the bar, which overlooked the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. About 6:30 we went to a nearby restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. It was great. Betty's brother and Jacob's father, Leo, was there, as was Jacob's mother Mary Zanmiller. There were lots of Zanmillers there from Minnesota, including the grand dame of them all - Betty Zanmiller, grandmother of the groom. The food was great and so was the company at the table. Well, almost everybody at the table; there was a wedding crasher sitting right next to me. She was asked to leave before dinner was served. There was an extremely interesting couple, Dennis and Frances Griesing, sitting across from us. We had a great time talking with them throughout the evening.

Betty and Her Sister Mary
IMG_3788: Betty and Her Sister Mary

The wedding was on Saturday, the 15th of September at the Saint Paul's Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach. It was not a lengthy ceremony and there was no communion. I like weddings, but as an atheist I do not care for all the religious stuff. But who cares what I like, the wedding is for the bride and groom and their immediate families. Soon, we were on our way back to our hotel, where the wedding reception would be held in the early evening. The reception was great! There was a band playing great dance music. Dinner was served and the food was great. The bar was open! Who could ask for more? We had a wonderful time.

On Sunday we were invited to small get-together at the Tomlinson home. They have a lovely home in Jacksonville. We got a chance to visit with Joan's parents and some of other family and friends.

On Monday we drove a couple of hours south along the coast. We were going to meet Betty's cousin and his wife, Greg and Joni Esch. We had lunch together and talked about our lives and family. I had never met Greg before and I think that it had been years since Betty had talked to Greg. Oh, that's right, Betty also mentioned that Greg was her godfather. After leaving the Esches, we drove a few more miles to Ormond Beach, which abuts Daytona Beach. We booked in for two nights to enjoy the beach on Tuesday.

Press HERE to see a slideshow
from the Tampa Bay area.

Mike and Bill Metal Detecting
IMG_3811: Mike and Bill metal detecting
Lisa and Mike Miller
IMG_3817: Lisa and Mike Miller

On Wednesday the 13th of September, we drove across the Florida peninsula passing through Orlando and stopping in Palmetto on the south side of Tampa Bay. I came to visit my cousin and his wife, Mike and Lisa Miller. They are a very charming couple. They have a home on a small lake where thousands of large southern Florida birds live. There are fish and alligators in the pond. One day we saw an alligator munching on a large fish. Mike and Lisa showed us around a bit. My great-great grandparents, Charles and Louisa Miller, lived and farmed near Faribault, Minnesota, but when they decided to retire in 1909 they moved to the nearby town of Ruskin, Florida, where their oldest son Clarence had a small farm. In just one year they caught yellow fever and died. We visited their gravesite in Ruskin.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with the Millers. They gave us a good sense of the area. We went out to eat several times. I do love the seafood and continued eating fish at almost every meal. Mike and I share an interest in genealogy and were able to exchange information and old photos. Mike’s hobby is metal detecting. He started a number of years ago when he was on assignment in Lithuania. He showed me a number of his finds. My favorites were the very old European coins. He also is in a club that helps folks recover lost jewelry, especially rings. People tend to lose them in the waters along the beach. He and his club members are quite adept at recovering them. On our last night we played Mexican train dominoes late into the evening. This was a new game to me and both Betty and I really enjoyed it.

While visiting the Millers, we were able to see much of the area south of Tampa Bay, visiting Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice. We also got to drive up to Clearwater with its fantastically white beaches. All of this travel was made in a continued attempt to find a nice rental property. Whether it was the extreme heat and humidity or the just the lack of better housing than we had seen in Panama City, I am not sure. But we finally decided to take the place in Panama City Beach.

We sadly departed the Miller home on Sunday morning. We really hope to see them again one day. We drove several hours north to Gainesville. Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida. It is a lovely college town, where we found it to be cooler and less humid than Tampa Bay. We were visiting an old couch-surfing friend, Heather Christian. She is a lovely woman, a schoolteacher and a world traveler. While we were there she also was hosting Tim van Emmerik, who hails from Delft in the Netherlands. He is working on some astounding technology that will one-day be used to determine which plants need irrigation from satellite readings. We got time to talk a lot about our mutual travels. We like Gainesville.

Finally on Wednesday the 26th of September, we drove back to Panama City Beach where we will stay until November. I will write more about that in a week or so.

Posted by bill at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)