March 2012
"In like a lion, out like a lamb"???  It was almost the other way around here in Casa Grande this year.  March first was a beautiful warm day and we were involved in our usual
Thursday "things."  Tom played golf with his regular group at a local course with our buddy, Dick Lehto from Ohio, along for the game.  Later in the day they tagged along with Mary
as she played "team tennis."  The Palm Creek Tennis Club had 8 teams of mixed mens and ladies.  They competed each Thursday with teams from two other local clubs, Mission
Royale and Robson Ranch.  It's a "fun and friendly" competition and the spectators are even encouraged to shout out "trashy but friendly" cheers.  The matches are followed by a
"happy hour" where we can all re-live the match.  :-)  
It's the "end of the season" at Palm Creek.  That means that the residents take time to show off their endeavors in their various activity and hobby areas.  There were a few "shows"
in February and they continued into March.  The chorus presented a great program titled "A Blast From the Past."  It featured popular music and movie and theatrical hits from the
50's thru the 80's.  The group has really worked hard and the performance was fantastic.   Another group presented a "Fine Arts Show."  This showcased the talents of our friends
and neighbors who use all sorts of media to produce paintings.  Even some of the ladies from the Sewing Guild got into the act.  At one of the regular  weekly meetings, a group
showed that they can do a little dancing as well as sewing.  It's always amazing to see what talent resides here in our park!
The Tennis Club Second Annual "Black Tie Affair" was held on the evening of March 10.  We're a casual bunch, so we were encouraged to be creative with our outfits for the
evening.  We began with the singing of the Canadian and US National anthems.  The party-goers brought wine to share and taste along with an appetizer and everyone grazed
through the various stations while watching tennis matches on the adjoining courts between some of the clubs best players.  Our buddies from Mission Royale and Robson Ranch
were also participating.  It was a fun evening!
While on the road over the years we have maintained friendships with some of buddies from "home" as well as forged some great new friendships.  We have kept in touch with a  
couple we met at an FMCA Rally several years ago as they began the fulltime lifestyle.  Carol and John Herr are from Indianapolis and seem to be really enjoying their travels.  By
following each other's blogs we knew we would cross paths in March so we arranged to meet for lunch one day.  We talked for several hours and it seemed as though we could
have gone on forever.  Our visit was too short and hopefully our paths will cross again.  
For the last several years Spring Training Season has meant a visit from our good friends and Cleveland Indians fans, Dick and Liz Lehto.  This year they drove to Arizona from our
old home town in Ohio, allowing them to see some of the US on their way west.  Then Liz had to fly back home to go back to work and Dick stayed in the area.  He and Tom played
lots of golf and Dick spent some time with his daughter who lives in Phoenix and he took a side trip to Las Vegas for a basketball tournament.  When Dick and Liz met up again back
here in Arizona they spent a few days in Sedona and then came back to Casa Grande where we thrust them into life at Palm Creek as well as took a few "tourist tours."  There was a
ball game in Glendale, a trip to Saguaro National Park, stops at Arizona Skydive and The Queen Creek Olive Mill, card games, meals, and plenty of golf.  It was all great fun and we
hope the tradition continues next year.
As they say, "all good things come to an end"...the great weather we started with at the first of the month gave way to a few cold, wet and windy days...but we can't complain overall!  
We actually had our first 90+ day on March 31...right before the high winds returned.  We had the usual round of "good-by" get-togethers and the park sponsored its "End of the
Season" party with plenty of good food, good music and good times.  The park began to empty out and quiet down....but there are still plenty of friends here for us to play with for a
while.
Mary's team waiting their turn at a Team Tennis
match at Palm Creek.
The folks at Mission Royale were great hosts on a hot
and sunny day at their place.
Our sixty-some member chorus puts in a lot of practice
hours!
Even ELVIS made an
appearance.
And then there was the BEACH BOYS....
.....and the VILLAGE PEOPLE!
There was lots of beautiful artwork on display and for
sale at the Fine Arts Show.
Our neighbor, Susan, had a display of how a
beginning artist at Palm Creek is helped by the group
and can enjoy getting involved the craft.
Some of the sewing ladies took some time to learn a
routine from one of the members who is a "retired"
studio owner and instructor.
Mary and some friends attended the Ladies
Luncheon and Style Show.
The tennis club president, Kate and husband Mark were
dressed in their finest formal wear for the
"Black-Tie-Affair."
Glen and Doug were in their
"best" as well!
The Palm Creek Mixed Doubles Team won their
matches against teams from the other parks.
After the matches were over, dessert and coffee were
served.  How do you like the centerpiece?
We met Carol and John for lunch at a halfway
point and shared full-timing tales.
Dick and Liz went to the Tennis Club annual
dinner with us.
We enjoyed a day at a different ball park this year and
watched the Cincinnati Reds win over
the Chicago White Sox.
We had great seats in the shade for a sunny day...great,
except it was overcast and only 50*.
We spent a beautiful day at Saguaro National Park in
Tucson learning all about the desert.
We joined the neighbors for a game
of bean-bag baseball....
and then a delicious meal at our buddy Dick Wells'
annual salmon bake....yummy!
No, it's not a prayer circle!  Mary took Liz to visit the "Quilt
Till U Wilt" night and the ladies were playing a
"left-right-center" game using fabric squares.
Friends Jeff and Elaine were the only ones able to make
our weekly card game night, but we taught Dick and Liz a
new game and had a good time.
We took our chairs and joined the crowd at Skydive
Arizona to watch a team of Germans try to break their
national record of a 245 man jump formation.
All those dots in the sky are some of the 240 jumpers.  
Their formation didn't quite work and they were directly in
between our camera and the sun when they tried.
But they floated back to the ground in a colorful display.
Eleven planes took them up to 18,000 feet so they could
jump to the desert.  It was a long walk back for some of
the jumpers who couldn't land at the grassy strip near
the hangars.
Some were "rescued" from the desert by a truck and
trailer
Sadly, they didn't set their record so they had to re-pack
the parachutes and get ready for the next try.  They did it
four times a day for a week and unfortunately, didn't
achieve their goal.
Our last stop with Dick and Liz was the Queen Creek Olive Mill...a
really fun place to visit, taste and purchase!
Please note rule #2.
The park's "End of the Season " party included a dunk
tank with various park employees taking turns tempting
the residents.  Tom's tennis buddy, Rex, was one of the
lucky swimmers.
Then there were the "bike races."  (We didn't try this one!)
As the daily temperature increased, our shady patio
became a favorite place to gather for "happy hour."
We closed out the month with a wonderful dinner at the
home of a tennis and quilting couple who live on the golf
course...shared with several other tennis couples.
The cactus are beginning to bloom.  This one is behind our shed.  We look
forward to seeing the desert "come alive" in April.
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