Still in Florida-love the Sunshine State

I departed Melbourne on Monday morning and drove to Clermont, Florida where I stayed at the home of Shannon Elswick. Shannon is the current president of the International Barbershop Harmony Society. I am confident that I saw a different side of him than most people would normally see. He is a hospital administrator and I am certain that the people who work for him see a completely different Shannon. They see the capable, confident leader who makes sure that the hospital is running efficiently. I saw a relaxed guy in short pants and flip-flops on the sofa at home with the t.v. on (muted, of coarse). As we chatted about the BHS and my travels I pictured the man in his suit sitting behind a huge desk in an impressive office working hard and making important decisions. I’m pretty sure that I had an accurate picture in my head. He talked about his time away from the hospital and said that he will most likely be returning at the end of his term as president of the BHS. I saw a humble, down to earth guy that I was favorably impressed by. He was gracious and hospitable. He introduced me to his wife, son and mother while I was there. They were gracious and hospitable too. I sat at the breakfast table with Shannon and his mother before leaving on Tuesday morning sharing coffee, small talk and the news paper. I mentioned that I would like to share about my travels in the Harmonizer some day. He said, “That might be something that I could help with since I still have a little influence around there”. I thanked him for his service to the Society and he passed it off, saying “Wait until this next year unfolds before you thank me”. I want him to know that there are a lot of other people like me who appreciate his leadership! I encourage you to send him an e-mail if you agree.

I headed back to the Sarasota area on Tuesday and stayed with my host from the previous week. When I called him and told him that my brother and sister where going to be in St. Petersburg he invited me to come back to stay with him for as long as I liked. We went to the Sarasota chapter rehearsal Tuesday night. I spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday visiting with my sister Susan, her husband Bruce, my brother David and his wife Donna. David, Bruce and I went to the air show in Lakeland, Florida on Friday. I was also able to attend the rehearsal for the Gulfcoast Sandpiper Chorus in Bradenton on Thursday with my host. That was my 16th chapter to visit. Thank You Ray for your hospitality!

I made a decision this week. I decided that I want to attend Directors Training as soon as I can work it out to do so. That will probably be at Harmony University in July. I hope that I still have time to be able to make that happen. I’ll be checking into it first thing tomorrow morning. Something that I should have done long ago.

Before leaving Bradenton on Saturday morning I had been in touch with the gentleman who hosted me in Gainesville and he offered to let me stay with him as I am heading out of Florida. On 75 North yesterday I experienced a problem with my van. The engine light came on and it was running a little hot. I was able to pull off and stopped in a truck stop where I asked for some help. The guys looked it over thoroughly and even did a computer check which indicated that the ERG valve is having a problem. They reset the engine light and told me that I would need to get it repaired soon. I was very thankful that they didn’t charge me. I was able to make it to Gainesville but was not able to make it in time for the performance that the chorus was doing at an arts festival in the downtown area.

I am waiting to hear back from a gentleman in Atlanta, Ga that is a member of the Atlanta Vocal Project. I am hoping to attend their rehearsal on Thursday evening. My youngest sister, who is a Sweet Adeline in South Carolina, has invited me to attend the regional convention that will be taking place in Winston/Salem, NC this coming week-end. I am considering that.

This was an interesting week. I only had access to the internet when I would stop at a McDonalds or Starbucks. Even after arriving in Gainesville I still have to seek out a McDonalds because my hosts internet crashed just before my arrival. I’m sure that he will be back up and running tomorrow. It’s interesting how dependent I have become on the internet. I think that we all have. Stay tuned!

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