And we thought the WEATHER was crazy...

Trip Start Jan 22, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Don Fidinger's guest room

Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, February 4, 2012

Once upon a time there was a girl named Kathie who was a "cradle Episcopalian" (born into the denomination, for those who don't know that term!).  She grew up at St. Lukes, downtown Rochester.  After college she met Jeff, who was a lapsed Presbyterian.  She asked him to go to church with her one day and the rest is history.  Jeff fell in love with the Episcopal tradition and was received into the church at St. Lukes in 1975.  At about that same time the national church had just made provisions for lay people to serve as licensed lay readers and chalice bearers.   There were two men at St. Lukes who were asked to serve in that capacity; Jeff and Don Fidinger.  This action of lay people serving on the altar was not without its critics and there were some parishioners from St. Lukes who left the church because of it.  The next few years at St. Lukes were ones that we look back on so fondly.  We had a great group of friends including Don and this was the time of Jeff's life that led him into ministry.  Don ended up moving to Florida in 1980 and we have kept loosely in touch since through Christmas cards and occasional visits.  We hadn't seen Don for almost 10 years and knew that our time in Florida would be incomplete without a visit.  Don now lives in Plantation, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, which is about 5 hours drive from our current location in Dunedin.  We planned a trip down there to have dinner with Don, spend the night and then come back on Sunday.  So in spite Jeff's misgivings about the condition of the rear tires on our car we threw caution to the wind and we left.  When we got 2 hours away from Dunedin and began to wonder what we were thinking when we decided to make this whirlwind trip.  How CRAZY to think that it made sense to drive 500 miles round trip in 24 hours??  Obviously we (Kathie, who comes up with all these bright ideas, and Jeff who for some reason goes along with them) weren't thinking.  It was insane to make that long trip for just one night but we reminded ourselves that this is our "great adventure" so we kept going.  AND we knew we had Don waiting at the other end for us.  That was worth the ride!  On our way down we started to pass signs that warned us of panthers, and that we were in a "Panther Preserve".  Well we didn't see any, but we did see a lot of birds and a croc (or gator we don't know which is which), in the canal along side of the road.  When we put our heads on the pillows in Don's guest room we were so glad that we had taken the time to come and take a hilarious walk down memory lane with our Don. 
Part II of our "great adventure" to Plantation to be continued...
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Charlie Conrad on

Panthers (or genus Panthera) includes most of the big cats of the world. The panthers of Florida are generally like the North American cougars. I'm disappointed that you didn't get to see one (from the inside of your car, of course).

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