Unit Happenings

Fred Frauhiger, Fran Dorr and their amigos say, “bueno comida” (good food)!

Unit 3-S Cinco de Mayo fiesta

Mexican music flowed from the home of Helen and Steve Bellacqua on Sunday, May 5, for their annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

Fifty-five Unit 3-S neighbors and friends, some dressed in their finest Mexican attire, attended the celebration. Everyone enjoyed the variety of delicious Mexican dishes, desserts and, of course, sangria!

The Pueblo High School Mariachi Band made a grand entrance, playing as they joined us.

Unit 21 residents enjoyed great music, food and friendship

Cinco de Mayo is a special holiday ‘round these parts and Unit 21 residents always enjoy the opportunity to celebrate the occasion, which has become a tradition in the Unit. As usual, the event drew a large crowd of around 75 people. The attendees commented that our special guests, the acclaimed Pueblo High School Mariachi Band, had a lot to do with the size of the turnout.

The big event was held at the home of Al and Midge Mollenkopf on Desert Sun Drive. Their spacious, beautifully-landscaped backyard offered room for the guests and for the band as well.

Al and Midge also coordinated the band’s appearance, a major achievement considering that this year, they were able join us on the band’s busiest day of the year. This was their fourth performance of the day!

As always, the band’s performance was spectacular! The poise and talent in this group of high school students, many of whom have been playing an instrument since the age of five, is very impressive. The money they raise through their performance fees and contributions goes into a scholarship fund to pay for uniforms. Most of the band members are planning to continue their education after they graduate.

This year the party chairs were Sue and Jim Hagedon. According to Sue, “because of the work of our fantastic volunteers, everything just seemed to come together.” She added, “the beautiful weather that was much cooler than usual for this time of year was also a big help!”

A traditional Hispanic dinner, catered by Chuys Mesquite Grill, appeared to be well received if the plates filled with food were any indication. And again, based on comments from the attendees, there’s a pretty good chance there will be another Cinco de Mayo party in just about a year!

Some flew out of The Cuckoo’s Nest at the Preserve

Ann Lange

Someone left the bird cage open and the homing instinct was in full season, so on Sunday, April 14, well over 100 people from the Preserve Plantation (Units 42, 43 and 45) sang “so long” to our bosom bird buddies at a Garden Party. Fun was in full bloom in every color of crazy and we had all the happiness we could harvest. The Brooke’s Loony Bin Bevy met for bird bobbery, brew and bonding with the new budgies who were curious to find out what all the flurry and feather-flappin’ foofaraw in the aviary was all about. The one-bird-dog welcoming committee, Paddy Barazani “Pavlov,” who long ago had the backyard brood conditioned to begin salivating way before the dinner bell even rang, gave the old sniff test to our new beaked buds and confirmed every one of them certifiably crackers and a good candidate for the coop. We’re usually one sandwich short of a picnic here in The Cuckoo’s Nest so we just gave Carrabba’s Italian Grill a call to cater a cookout worth trilling about. No light pecking at this bird feeder – it was heavy helpings of chicken marsala right from the grill, ziti pasta, Caesar salad, garlic bread with pesto sauce and broccoli so tasty even the old vegetable-hater mamma’s-boys ended up with green stuff in their teeth. And the Preserve Pullets cooed the crowd into one sweet-tweetin’ sugar coma with their homemade brownies and lemon desserts.

We say goodbye to our fledged family as they take flight for life beyond the SaddleBrooke Bailey so that they can say “hello” to the good times that await at their summer homes, family reunions and worldly adventures. We send you off with love and wishes for the safety and health of you and your families. Those of us who did not draw the “Get out of the SaddleBrooke Sanatorium Free” card will miss you. And you will miss the wonders of the Preserve Pavilion – our new budding friendships, the fresh smell of the desert after a monsoon, the bountiful desert blooms of summer and watching the evening shadows move across the Santa Catalina Mountains as another beautiful day comes to a close. Although we will remain delightfully, delectably and deliriously deranged, we will never be delusional about our good fortune. We are truly blessed here in the nest where our friends have become family and we take the less fortunate under our wing. We enjoy every single barmy, bird-brained, feather-headed minute in our Desert of Eden. It’s all crazy good here so stay loony-tuned until we are all safely back together again in the bin.

Unit 48

Madelaine Salas

One of our Unit 48 neighbors recently asked if food related activities are all we do. Ultimately, I guess it is all about the food! For example, the Unit hosted an outing to Queen Creek Olive Mill, Schnepf’s Peach Farm and the Pork Shop earlier this month. Food – good food! But it’s also about the laughs, the camaraderie and getting to know some of our new neighbors. The evening of May 22, a couple dozen of us Unit 48ers headed over to Pastiche for a casual dining experience. You may know Pastiche as a long-time Tucson restaurant owned since 2017 by the SaddleBrooke couple Costas and Judie Georgacas. They have done a wonderful job of updating the restaurant and tweaking the menu selections. Their Greek influence on the cuisine was definitely felt and the restaurant has won Diners’ Choice Awards two years in a row. Again, food. Very good food! We were happy that several new Unit 48 neighbors joined us: Jim and Pat Bemis, Francie and Roger Entz, Gordon Wainwright and Heather Freeman and Tim and Lynn Babbitt. We welcome them all. Next event on the agenda is the June 2 brunch at the SaddleBrooke One Activities Center. Oh dear – more food! We’ll just have to suffer through it, I guess.