March 2015
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March in Arizona "came in like a lamb."  There had been a fair amount of moisture in the desert through the fall and winter and we were rewarded with beautiful wildflowers
scattered across the landscape.  We took a drive to the Picacho Peak State Park to take a short hike and welcome the season "Arizona style."    Spring continued to make it's
mark and by the official first day of the season we were already enjoying temperatures in the 80's and days full of sunshine.  At the end of the month we had flirted with 100* -
actually above normal for this time of year and the cactus were blooming.
The Mexican Poppies were out in full force at Picacho Peak
State Park.
Even the green undergrowth helped
make the desert look alive.
Mary's 70th birthday brought on a several day celebration.  It all started off with a surprise appearance of a cake for those attending the weekly Quilt Guild Meeting on Thursday.  
The 125 ladies enjoyed the snack at the end of the meeting.  On Friday we enjoyed our annual celebration dinner with friends Jeff and Elaine and Judy and Ed. Mary and Jeff share a
birthday and over the years we have made it a cause for dinner together.  This year Mary did the cooking as we gathered in our RV.  On Saturday, Mary's actual birthday,  there was
the daily happy hour with wonderful neighborhood gang.  Cake #3 appeared along with lots of wishes from 30 or so friends.  Later that evening we attended the tennis club event,
"Tennis and All That Jazz."   Another 100 or so people gathered at the courts for a buffet pot-luck dinner with a blind wine tasting and a jazz concert. Part way through dinner a
stranger arrived searching for someone named Mary Williams.  It was a man who said his name was Melvin P. Doodie and that he and Mary had met previously through the dating
service "Your Prayers Are Answered".  He had come to wish Mary a very Happy Birthday and deliver flowers and a gift.  He shared some 'memories of his friendship and dates with
Mary' before heading back to his current love in Phoenix.  Cake #4 was served as we enjoyed the music of the Central Arizona College Jazz Ensemble.  One of our tennis players is
one of the community members of the group which played a variety of music for several hours....a great evening under the stars!
Tom brought cake #1 to the Quilt Guild meeting
Jeff and Elaine, Ed and Judy joined us for dinner to celebrate
Mary and Jeff's shared birthday.
Cake #2
These days we seek the shade for our happy hour circles.
It didn't take long for the neighbors to dig in to cake #3
Tennis members gathered in the pavilion at the courts for dinner.
Wines were wrapped in brown paper bags for a blind taste testing
and grouped in categories.
Our table mates Ron, Penny J, Nancy and Vern.
Our first surprise guests of the evening at the courts were Prince Philip and Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth.  They were dressed in their "sporting clothes" and were on their way to
catch up with grandson Harry at the nearby one-time Waylon Jennings hangout, The
Galloping Goose.  :-)
Have you seen Mary Williams? Oh, here she is!
Melvin P. Doodie and Mary enjoying their "reunion"...thanks to our
son and daughter-in-law.
The Central Arizona College Jazz Ensemble entertained us for
several hours.
Mary also enjoyed the 70 Birthday postcards sent from
various friends and relatives...
...and some gorgeous roses and lilies.
Of course, there were other things happening at Palm Creek.  Mary participated in the final "Quilt Till You Wilt Night" in the sewing room.  It was called "Tie One On" and the
ladies worked on projects crafted from mens ties they confiscated from their husband's unused stash and enjoyed a fabulous dinner of Thai food accompanied by refreshing
wines.  Another fun evening!  

The Pickleball Club hosted their annual tournament with players coming from all over the US.  Some great matches filled the courts for several days.  For the Palm Creek club it
was a "warm up" for the National Tournament which will be held here at Palm Creek in November with over 600 players expected.

There was quite a display of unique art work at the annual Palm Creek Fine Arts Show. We certainly have some talented people here in the park using all sorts of medium.

There's nothing like the cars that we drove early in our marriage to be classified old and classic cars.  But there they were at the annual car show here in the park.  Maybe we
should have kept those old Mustangs in storage somewhere.  Mary's Dad had one of the first ones and we've had three.
The "Duel in the Desert" brought about 350 pickleball
players to Palm Creek.
It was a busy and "hot time" on the 24 pickleball courts.
The art show featured work in watercolors, oils, acrylics,
pencil and fabrics among others.
Dinner was served among the sewing machines for the "Tie
One On" night in the sewing room.
Some ladies made a scarf, others an I-pad cover, and Mary's
group made a small purse from an unused tie.
A car for the future owned by one of the park's residents.
This "classic" looks much like our first Mustang.
Mary wasn't the only birthday person this month.  A group of her sewing buddies all went to lunch to celebrate friend and card-playing partner Betty Lou's big birthday and to
wish her well as they will not be returning to Palm Creek next year.  Neighbors Ann, Paul, Tedd and Mary D. also have March birthdays.  At our monthly neighborhood dinner
and game night, Tedd and Mary D. supplied us with margaritas and cake to go with our pizza.

We had a fun lunch on the Palm Creek Bistro Patio when former Palm Creek neighbors, Art and June, drove up from their home in Green Valley, AZ for a visit.  We enjoyed
showing them all the changes here in the park since they moved to their new home several years ago.  Neighbors Peter and Cathy joined us for lunch as well.
There were lots of laughs as the sewing ladies gathered for lunch.
We will all miss our friend Betty Lou.
We could not have had a nicer day for lunch on
the patio with Cathy, Peter, Art and June.
Mary D. blew out the candles on her birthday cupcakes.
After dinner it was on to the games.  We made so much noise
the occupants of another room came to see what was causing
so much laughter.
As the month and the "season" neared its end there were "final wrap-ups" in most of our activities.  The tennis club held a dinner to announce next year's managers and
events and we enjoyed a slide show of this season's activities.  Our photographer managed to catch some very "cute" moments as we tried to play our best.  Tom's bridge
group had a pizza party and the Sewing and Quilting group had a potluck luncheon.  Palm Creek management threw a "luau" to close out the season's events.  We had a
Polynesian dinner and watched a performance of island hula dancers and a firedancer.  The sewing ladies held their final meeting and a luncheon themed with aprons.  Each
table was given some craft supplies and told to fashion an apron, then shared a poem about the memories Grandma's apron could tell.
The tennis players lined up for "wraps" at our "wrap-up dinner"
and meeting.
President Glenn previewed our
schedule for next year.
The sewing ladies turned out some nifty creations with paper,
tape and ribbons.
We had a hot, sunny day for our luau in the park.
Don't try this at home!
They tried to teach us the hula, too!
Back in the "hood" our neighborhood gang put together a final dinner of the season.  Several friends cooked ribs and the rest of us brought the side dishes.  Thirty or so of us
gathered on the corner patio of Stephanie and Phil and had a great evening.  Peter and Cathy, the first people we met on our very first visit to Palm Creek in 2002, have decided to
sell their RV and will not be returning to the park next season.  We all shared our favorite moments through the years having them as wonderful friends (and a great
resource...Cathy is a retired nurse and Peter a retired military man and jack of all trades).  The neighborhood will truly miss them.  We'll miss the rest of our gang through the
summer, too!
Several varieties of ribs and plenty of side dishes
made for a tasty dinner.
About 30 of us squeezed around the tables to
share food and memories.
We'll certainly miss our good friends Cathy and Peter.
The desert landscape is certainly different than the area of Ohio where we spent most of our lives.  Some say it is dull and barren.  In spots, it definitely is.  But, what is
amazing is the gorgeous blooms that come on the sharp and spiny cactus.  Some are even found in the RV park and when they bloom, a notice goes out so that everyone can
come see the beautiful flowers before they droop.  Some of them last but 24 hours.

Sadly, on March 29 Tom's 92-year-old mother passed away in Ohio, on what would have been Dad's 98th birthday...another beautiful bloom leaving our world.  As we begin
April, we'll be heading to Ohio for her memorial service.