Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Florida.

We flew from Palm Springs to Tampa with one stop in Phoenix.  We arrived for a 3 night stay at the Doubletree Inn in Tampa, checked in, went to the hot tub to relax before dinner, and then to bed.  Over the next few days we had dinner with our friends Suzie and Brad Bohannon, lunch with friend Paula Williams, visited Deb’s stepmother, Mary Lou,  at the Arden Courts, and bought her some new nighties and socks for Christmas.   We visited Deb’s parents graves with flowers, visited her brother Sonny’s business, Tampa Regional Tolls office to see my former co-workers and Deb’s friends and co-workers at Glenn-Mar Marine Supply.  We also stopped by to see Deb’s friends at Tibbett’s holdings.We spent one afternoon and evening at Deb's sister's Donna's house.  We had a great dinner and spent time with the entire Butler family.  Hosted by Donna and Wayne, we spent time with our niece Danielle, her boyfriend Mike and his daughter Shelly.  Also there was our nephew Brian and his wife Terasia and their daughter Nevaeh. We also visited the property recently purchased by Danielle and Mike for their first home.  Friday we went to Sonny’s business, Ernie’s Welding, to participate in their annual Christmas open house. Sonny had a roasted pig and burgers, all sorts of food, deserts and drinks for family, friends, and customers.  That night we drove up to Citrus Springs to have an early Christmas with our extended family, the Casola-Monge family.  We had great pizza and other food prepared by Marlo and Tom.  We exchanged gifts and spent time with our nephew Sergio and niece Angelina.  Angelina even modeled her first communion dress for us.  That night we checked into the Hampton Inn in Brooksville for 3 nights. The next three days we spent at Deb’s families ranch in Webster, Florida.  Sonny and Kim were gracious hosts, keeping us well fed.  We got to spend those days on the ranch with Sonny, Kim, our nieces Tiffany, Amy, and Jessica, as well as Tiffany’s mate Gabriel and their son, our great nephew Zakkary.  Aunt Deb spent lots of time over the 3 days with Zakk. We helped put up the family's Christmas tree, the Chonko way, upside-down! Christmas was gift giving and eating.  We had another pig roast, with one of the pigs raised there on the ranch.  ofire each evening. Wehad a bThe day after Christmas was a work day.  I helped Sonny corral and rescue a cow being harassed by 7 bulls, fix a barn wall and reposition and repair 3 gates.  I had a great time doing some physical work.   Deb learned how to run the Kubota tractor and she spent time inside with Kim and Zakk.  We had a great time.  On our last two nights we stayed at the Hilton in Tampa, near the airport.  We visited a few more old friends, drove by our old house and spent lots of time at the pool and Jacuzzi. We were up early on Wednesday and headed for the Tampa airport for our flights to Phoenix and Palm Springs.  We got home to Hemet and went to bed.  We had a great time back in Florida.

Mary Lou Chonko
Terasia, Neveah, & Shelly

Deb driving Sonny's cart

The buffet at Ernie's Welding