On Friday, March 2, Unit 3-S residents boarded a train for a wonderful garden party in the warm Arizona sun. Bruce and Pat Somerhalder hosted 45 Unit 3-S neighbors on the Somerhalder train that steamed along through their backyard. Residents brought tasty platters of food that were served in the Dining Car and everyone had a great time. If you drove down Ridgeview that afternoon, you may have heard the train whistle!
Sharing a meal with old and new friends is a great way to bring folks together. That’s the purpose of Unit 21’s Friendship Dinners, a tradition that goes back ten years. The most recent event in February was held in ten host homes and drew 69 attendees. Co-hosts Kay Kunze and Midge Mollenkopf were very pleased with the turnout.
“The idea is to have small, intimate dinner parties so we can all get to know each other. New residents are paired with veteran residents,” Midge explained. “The host prepares the main course, and the others are asked to bring dishes to complete the menu.
“About ten years ago, my husband Al and I were guests at Kay and Chuck Kunze’s home,” Midge added. “They were newcomers at the time. Since then we have had an extremely close relationship, enjoying many activities together. We wanted new neighbors to have the same opportunity to form friendships in these small, intimate settings.”
The host couples for the dinners were Lea and Bob Stocks, Dave and Kay Caulkins, Dolores Root/Ron Morris, Suzanne and Pat Donlon, Silke and Randy Bender, Dick and Irene Somes, John and Nancy Hanna, Ann and Nile Vernon, Kay Kunze/Chuck Fries, and Al and Midge Mollenkopf. “We really appreciate everything our hosts did to make the Friendship Dinners a huge success,” Midge said.
In addition to welcoming new neighbors, the dinners also provide a chance for neighbors who just know each other through a wave or a chance meeting at their mailboxes to get better acquainted as well. One thing seems pretty certain: we will be having more Unit 21 Friendship Dinners in the not too distant future!
Wednesday, March 7 our unit started a new tradition! About 30 residents gathered at The Preserve for cocktails and comradery. We enjoyed a beautiful view from the patio, meeting some of our new neighbors, catching up with others and of course, having some good food and drinks. A good time was had by all!
Hope to see you all at The Preserve in May!
Remember the date: May 2 at 4:00 p.m.
If the February 23 Snack and Chat, hosted by Pat and Ted Olson, was a great example of “coming in like a lion,” the March 23 Snack and Chat, hosted by Peggy and Jim Fetrow, represented “going out like a lamb.” And so it is with the southern Arizona winter/spring weather.
The Olsons’ house seems always to be able to accommodate a great many guests. Not only is the main house spacious, but also the clean garage is often used for winter weather parties. The garage was well used on the evening of February 23, when a group of Unit 27 residents gathered, or more appropriately, huddled, together for the monthly Snack and Chat. But as always, the weather was not a deterrent to the spirited conversations of those attending, nor to the intake of all the food, both savory and sweet, which was brought by each of them to share.
By the time the Fetrows held their Snack and Chat a month later, the weather beckoned those in attendance to the outside, where there were plenty of tables and chairs to accommodate everyone that wished to look out at the neighborhood and mountain views while conversing with one another. One of the seating areas surrounded a fire pit; however, on that evening, the extra warmth wasn’t really necessary. However, it is impossible to entice some folks out in any type of weather when a national sporting event, takes place, for instance, the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. For those die-hard sports watchers, Jim had turned on the TV to one of the Sweet Sixteen games. They were very happy campers.
Our Unit 27 Block Party will be held on April 21 in the Terrace Park cul-de-sac. Lots of activities and food are planned. It should be fun, whether you do it all, or only eat. It will be the last unit event before our winter visitors begin leaving again for the summer.
Fifty-five roadies with high-mileage and slightly worn tread scampered onto the MountainView Tours luxury coach Saturday, March 3 for an all-day, three-destination, multi-watering hole excursion, planned by Preserve resident Ron Lenz. The bus buddies stayed quietly behaved in their seats as they watched the “Desert Dreams Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert” video. Driver Larry was happy to report no popcorn or paper airplane throwing and no needless poking or ponytail pulling all the way to the first stop at Canyon Lake, for a cruising tour on the Dolly Steamboat. Captain Jeff provided a narrative on the geology, wildlife, and history of this man-made lake located just off the Apache Trail (AZ 88) and recounted the legends and lore of the mysterious Superstition Mountains. Music played as the steamboat plied through the water, and from the two open air observation decks, bald eagles and a variety of water fowl were spotted. Picnickers ate on the grounds, which are part of Tonto National Forest, and took in the splendor of what has been called “a junior Grand Canyon” and “one of Arizona’s best kept secrets.”
With less curmudgeon than herding cats, the bus brigade boarded and headed to the second stop – Goldfield Ghost Town, an authentic replica of the mining town established in 1892. The gang painted up the town real good for an hour and a half meandering through museums, historical buildings and shops, enjoying art, fudge and ice cream; taking rides on the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad or Toronado at the O.K. Corral; panning for gold; and witnessing gun fights. The most frequented spot in town was the Mammoth Saloon, where rumor had it, partakers wet their whistle with the consumption of a whole lot more than 55 beers. The least frequented spot was Lu Lu’s Bordello, where just a few old stallions who were feeling unusually frisky, with a small side of hanky-panky, ducked in hoping to carry on with some good lookin’ floozies. Hard to say what happened in there, but probably not a lot, since the has-been wanna-be customers weren’t hauled off to the jailhouse and eventually ended up at the saloon.
The Buckaroos grabbed their grit, and without too much horseplay, loaded up for the six-mile ride to the final spot – Barleen’s Dinner and Show in Apache Junction, family-owned and operated by twin sisters Brenda and Barbara, and brother Jeff. After the family-style dinner of chicken, shredded beef and gravy, potatoes, salad, carrot balls and chocolate cake, it was time to grab yer fiddle and rosin up yer bow for the Variety Spectacular. The 11-piece band, which included the 3 Barleens, performed amazing comedy acts and music featuring Elvis, rock ‘n roll, country blues, boogie woogie, big band, gospel and steel drums. A highlight of the night was the parody of buffoon Barney Fife, the well-loved deputy sheriff from The Andy Griffith Show, played by Don Knotts, which caused even the daintiest of guests to let loose and howl, and eventually join the others rolling around on the floor. The girls all get purdier at closing time, so the guys grabbed their own gal before someone else did and saddled up to head back to the Brooke.
Not to be outdone by Barleen’s Arizona Opry, the cruiser-snoozers performed their own spontaneous Uberschnorren Opry. A multitude of strings, woods and percussion in the orchestra created a philharmonic fiasco of nose whistling, hog calling, coffee percolating, washers on rinse cycle, humming insects and clearcutting of entire forests. The composition reached a crescendo with one last snoregasm as the bus pulled in at 11:30, setting a new record for fungevity.
Thanks to Ron Lenz, now known around campus as “an encyclopedia of fun,” for his research, detailed planning and knowing what a good time is all about!
The Social Committee of Villas II hosted an Italian Dinner on February 24. It was held at the SaddleBrooke One Activity Center and was attended by 66 residents. Each household in attendance brought an Italian themed main dish, salad, side dish or dessert to share.
The guest tables each were covered with a tablecloth of red, white or green, the colors of the Italian flag, and centerpieces were wine bottles surrounded by grape leaves. Plenty of wine flowed during the evening. It was an appropriate beverage for an Italian dinner.
A bountiful buffet filled a long table at the front of the room. The buffet line began with beautiful green salads, including one that resembled a flower with artichoke petals and continued with luscious pastas and meat and cheese filled main dishes that wafted the aroma of tomatoes throughout the room. Not to be outdone, vegetable dishes and casseroles of side dishes made a splash of color at the end of the buffet. Garlic bread was on every table to round out the feast. Everyone ate to their heart’s content, and then the Social Committee put out the desserts. Oh my! There was tiramisu, a death by chocolate trifle, chocolate cake, cookies, carrot cake and fresh fruit; something for everyone.
At the conclusion of the dinner, the diners sat back to wait for the raffle, which is traditional at every Villas event. There were five winners of the raffle proceeds. They were Richard Weber, Jerry Adamec, Janette Volz, Donna Weber and Tom Kontos. An additional raffle, for prizes donated by Phoebe Bax was held, and the lucky winners of four Italian cookbooks were Marissa Volz, Bob Spence, Shirley Nuss and Jim Fleming.
Social Committee member, Phoebe Bax chaired the event, and Fran Meckler made the centerpieces. Maureen Spence served as master of ceremonies. The next Social Committee event will be the annual community St. Patrick’s Day party, on March 17.