Mostly homebound except for physical therapy sessions and an occasional ride to the grocery store plus the July 4 event to kick off the Sarasota County centennial and the Wonderful World of Chucko return to entertaining in senior centers and such, I was ready to just cruise the island part of Venice to see what was new.

With a friend at the wheel I was able to really look around and see things I might be missing unless I took my eyes off the road — not a good idea even on the quieter streets in Venice.

On one tiny street I had never noticed, there was a giant sign comprising individual letter signs to spell out Happy Birthday with side signs to dad and granddad.

There was but one car in the drive and it was an afternoon so perhaps the party was yet to come or had been the night before.

In any case, the 90-year-old birthday was obviously well-loved by someone who took the time to put together the greeting that covered the entire front yard.

Roaming around the residential streets we eventually headed downtown to see the hanging baskets put there by Bob Vedder and his VABI volunteers. That is when I spied more flowers — but painted ones on the exterior of the post office along West Venice Avenue. What a great addition. I need to find out who did such a wonderful thing.

I am not a fan of every mural in town although some are good. I do like the one behind the press building at the Gondolier site on the intracoastal waterway. It relates the history of Venice in a colorful and positive manner.

We then headed to the jetty which was surprisingly quiet — possibly because a giant storm cloud was moving in.

Heading for home, we noticed the two public lots at the end of Venice Avenue also were not filled but street parking was all taken.

It could be the storm clouds or it could be that the summer tourists have not yet arrived or that they have arrived but they are all getting ready to go to the birthday party for the unknown nonogenarian.

Given the giant sign in front of a certain house, odds are that there might be a party at the house with the big sign.

Considering that I covered real estate for nearly 15 years, I still could not believe that we ventured onto a street that seemed new to me. Or perhaps, it was a street with all new replacement homes for that is happening all over Venice these days.

Builder Mark Caithness has just built several homes on Gulf on part of the land that formerly belonged to “Black Stallion” author Walter

Farley and his family. He also had finished a new brokerage office for a company with which I was not familiar and, on this day of discovery,

I discovered at least six more Caithness projects which I am quite certain were replacing tear downs. As my friends have been taking me to the store and the many therapy and doctor appointments I have been able to check out most of the new homes on the island.

I also found some flowers that do not have to be maintained by those wonderful VABI volunteers in downtown Venice. While stopped next to the post office on West Venice Avenue while my friend and driver went in to get some stamps for me, I spied all sorts of lovely flowers and shrubs painted on the Venice Avenue side of the post office.

While I am not necessarily a fan of every mural in town, I found these smaller floral tributes to be charming. I would love to know the artist if anyone can tell me that little bit of info.

I do like the mural on the back of the Venice Gondolier’s press building for its many historic references to this wonderful historic city.

But most of all, every time I am in the downtown, I love the hanging planters and potted flowers maintained by Bob Vedder and a few of his friends in the Venice Area Beautification group and I am really looking forward to checking out the newer Urban Forest, one my second knee recovers from its surgery which is still to come.

Until then my walks are limited to about 1/4 mile at a time and mostly on my street with a cellphone hanging on my walker, just in case.

It may not be a pretty picture but I want to leave all my past falls on the ice skating rinks where they occurred rather than on a nearby sidewalk because I thought I could make it without a walker.

I see people doing that all the time and want to tell them — please be a little more careful, especially if alone. If you fall, who will pick you up? My rule of thumb is that I only go without a walker when I have four good strong football players at hand. Since I have yet to come up with such a group, I use my walker and welcome an occasional friend for the company but not to pick me up for living too dangerously.

When both surgeries are over and therapy completed, my goal is to visit a certain duck at WDW and not have to rent a scooter.

Since the “World” will celebrate its 50th birthday this October, I have a goal and a deadline.

That wonderful “World” is making all sorts of plans and I want to be there to see how the Imagineers redecorate Cinderella’s Castle, how they redo the Tower of Terror ride to accommodate more riders and how Mickey and Minnie will look in their new blue and gold outfits which I caught a glimpse of online.


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